Category Archives: Venice Beach California

VNC Want Bootleg Units Legalized in Venice

The Venice Neighborhood Council has approved a motion, 10-3-2,  to legalize safe and habitable bootleg units in Venice.

The motion was originally recommended by LUPC at their meeting on June 2nd this year. The idea being that converted, self-contained spaces on properties in Venice, such as a  shed or pool house, that have not gone through the correct permitting procedures and are currently illegal, be legalized.

9 people stood up for public comment, most in favor of the motion, including Steve Clare of the Venice Community Housing Corporation.

Clare said the motion was a way to protect low-income dwellings and “…increase the supply of affordable housing without much of a burden to the city.”

The motion read, “In the midst of our current housing crisis, 44,000 people are without any housing and hundreds of thousands more are doubling and tripling up to maintain a roof over their heads; Therefore Be It Resolved that the Venice Neighborhood Council recommends that safe and habitable bootleg units should be legalized by granting exceptions to the VCZSP, zoning codes and parking requirements, on condition that they are rented to low income tenants at low or very low affordable levels, and that such conditions be recorded on title to the properties and monitored by the City or a designated agent.”

The motion suggests that the process begin with an amnesty to encourage property owners to apply to legalize their bootleg units, with subsequent imposition of fines for noncompliance.

The  City of Los Angeles has estimated that there are between 40,000 and 60,000 bootleg units in Los Angeles.

An amendment was made to include that leases run no shorter than on a month to month basis to protect against the units being rented on home sharing sites such as AirBnB.

While most on the board voted in favor of the motion, Ira Koslow was against it, “I can’t believe the solution to such a big problem is to make something illegal, legal.”

Koslow questioned the city of Los Angles ability to inspect so many units and successfully enforce safe maintenance, “It does not solve a problem and it will put low income tenants at risk” said Koslow.

Robin Rudisill of LUPC said that while she would not usually support a motion such as this she felt compelled to do so, saying of the current housing shortage in Los Angeles, “We are in extreme  conditions and a crisis.”

Standing up for public comment, the VNC’s Yolanda Gonzalez was torn, “In a way I’m for it, in away I’m against it. I made a lot of love in these garages in the 70’s,” she said.

Festival of the Chariots – Tomorrow

Setting up has begun on Ocean Front Walk for tFestival of the Chariots Set Up 2he 39th Annual Festival of the Chariots Parade. The event takes place in Venice tomorrow, starting at 10am.

Three ornate thirty-foot chariots will parade from the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to a colorful festival site in the park on Ocean front Walk at Windward Ave.

Music, exotic Indian dance, and educational exhibits on bhakti-yoga and east-Asian culture will be part of the free exhibit.

There will be family and children activities, the popular Govinda’s Gifts tent, free yoga lessons, a variety of exotic and traditional vegetarian food tents, as well as a free feast booth to serve 10,000.

The free festival is hosted by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and each year it continues to draw a crowd upward of 50,000 to Venice. First initiated in 1977 by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who instructed his disciples to hold a grand parade and distribute free vegetarian food as an offering to God, to share the love of God, as a part of the tradition of India.

During the parade the crowd sings and dances, as volunteers pull  the chariots. The idea that the huge chariots are pulled simply by the devotional enthusiasm of the crowd. They contain no motors. It is the traditional rumor among festival goers that by pulling the thick ropes one is able to pull God close to one’s heart and drive out all unwanted things.

These same forms parade every year through the ancient seaside city of Jagannatha Puri, Orissa, India. The Los Angeles version of the Festival of the Chariots is inspired by this original version held in Puri for over a thousand years, attended by a crowd of one million annually.

Lifeguard Beaten on Venice Pier

A lifeguard is suffering a broken hand after being violently attacked on the Pier around 6:30pm yesterday Lifeguard Attack 2Lifeguard Attack 1in Venice.

One witness said they thought one of the attackers had flicked a lit cigarette at the lifeguard, prompting the altercation.

In a video on social media the lifeguard is seen being pulled down off his tower as he starts to climb down the ladder.

 

Two men and one woman are seen relentlessly attacking the lifeguard. The woman yelling “You sexually harassed me”

One of the attackers remains in hospital today after being beaten unconscious during the altercation.

All three attackers have been arrested and face charges of felony assault, “It is a felony to assault an ocean lifeguard, who is a peace officer,” L.A. County Lifeguards Capt. Ken Haskett said.

The attack is under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

An Op-Ed from Councilmember Bonin on the Homeless Crisis

This is an op-ed from Councilmember Mike Bonin. Here he expands on recent coverage of ordinances, allowing the city to clean up sidewalks and parks, that were approved by the City Council and talks about solutions to the challenges presented by the increase in homelessness in Los Angeles’s neighborhoods.

Sanitation Sweeps 1
A garbage truck removes abandoned trash from Ocean Front Walk during a weekly sanitation sweep

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Mike Bonin

In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more progress in combating homelessness than it ever has — yet the problem is still getting worse.

Since 2011, the region has housed more than 23,000 people — a record number even by national standards. Yet homelessness is on the rise. Encampments are proliferating in our neighborhoods throughout the city. There are villages of tents on sidewalks from Venice to Van Nuys, and shantytowns in neighborhoods from Skid Row to San Pedro.

How is this possible? And how can we fix it?

The problem has roots in Los Angeles’ failure to provide sufficient housing and shelter. In 2006, the city got slapped hard by federal courts, which ruled that it was cruel and unusual punishment to forbid people from sleeping on sidewalks if there was not sufficient housing or shelter. In response, the city made a long-term commitment to build more housing, agreed to allow sidewalk camping, and enshrined that policy in a legally binding agreement.

Predictably, the stock of available housing has come nowhere close to meeting the demand. As a result, there are nearly 20,000 people in the city without shelter — and they are going where the law and the lack of resources is telling them to go: sidewalks, parks, and canyons.

While it must have been a tempting way for the city to wash its hands of the legal issue, this policy has been a disaster. The impacts have been as harmful as they should have been predictable: Encampments are increasing. The unsheltered homeless are falling deeper into chronic homelessness and mental illness. Neighborhood quality of life is being damaged. No one wins.

The ultimate solution to homelessness is providing housing first, with supportive services as needed. But even if we build exponentially more housing faster than we ever have, we will have tens of thousands of people without shelter for years. That’s not acceptable.

While we wait to build enough housing, we spend a tremendous amount of time and money dealing with the issue of encampments, but we focus very little on giving people an alternative to sidewalks. We can’t ignore the problem or wish it away. Housing first cannot mean housing only.

We need real alternatives to living in shanties — a menu of options between our sidewalks and our far too scarce permanent housing. That includes shared housing, bridge housing, sobering centers, transitional shelters, and even emergency shelters. We need options that keep people off the streets, out of risk, and engaged in case management and services unavailable on the street. We need to create and invest in a continuum of care rather than in our current policy of malignant neglect.

We must do better than a system of bare-bones, one-size-fits-all shelters that feel like prisons, and become permanent warehouses for people. We need specialized, welcoming centers or shared housing for couples, for families with children, for teenage runaways, for veterans and others. New York has begun to move toward this model. Agencies there have begun to implement a new “safe haven” system of shelters to lure the chronically unsheltered and service resistant from the streets. Officials are creating a series of round-the-clock “drop-in” centers. Churches and synagogues are opening small overnight “respite programs.”

We should do that here.

The issue of the unsheltered homeless population in Los Angeles is daunting. Citywide, 73 percent of our homeless go without shelter. Addressing this problem will require significant investment from and partnership with other levels of government. We will need money from the state, and from the county, and its health, mental health and social service agencies. We will need partners in the private sector and in the faith communities. We will likely need to change or suspend some land-use regulations to make it easier to create more housing and shelter options.

This will be challenging. It will cost money and political capital — neither of which is unlimited, and both of which are needed to build permanent supportive housing. We need more of both. We cannot ignore the enormous gap between our small supply of permanent housing and our tremendous demand. And we cannot ignore the costs and consequences — to our unhoused and unsheltered neighbors and to our neighborhoods — of the City of Angels being a City of Encampments.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin is a member of the council’s Committee on Homelessness.