Category Archives: Venice Beach Organizations

Blossom

Venice Animal Rescue to host 5th Anniversary Dinner Party

Venice-based Dirty Dog Squad will host its 5th anniversary party on Thursday, Sept. 18, at the  Sage Bistro & Beer Garden in Culver City.

The community is invited to join the non-profit organization for happy hour followed by a five-course dinner at 7 pm.

Organizers say attendees can reserve their own table, or “join the pack” at one of its communal dining tables.

Meet fellow Dirty Dog adopters, volunteers, friends, neighbors, supporters, and other folks wanting a fun night out of great food and drinks.

Tickets are just $55 (tax and gratuity included in ticket price) until Sept. 17, and then $65 at the door.

Visit its website for more details – www.dirtydogsquad.org – and to purchase tickets to the event.

All proceeds benefit Dirty Dog Squad, a Venice-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit  organization that directly saves the lives of homeless pets.

PJC

Venice Chamber monthly mixer at Pacific Jewish Center tonight

Pacific Jewish Center opens its doors to host a Venice Chamber of Commerce mixer tonight, Aug. 27 from 6-8 pm.

Rabbi Eliyahu Fink along with PJC members, warmly invite Chamber members along with guests to enjoy an evening of stimulating conversation and business networking.

Immersed in an environment filled with tradition, the Chamber encourages attendees to explore and learn more about the PJC community.

The Venice Chamber of Commerce mixers are the fourth Wednesday of every month with great venues, food and drink and a dynamic group of members.

The Pacific Jewish Center is located at 505 Ocean Front Walk, Venice 90291.

The cost is $5 (members), $10 (First time, prospective members), and $20 (non-members).

To RSVP or for more information, call 310.822.5425 or visit www.venicechamber.net.

Street Vending

Proposed Street Vending Law Could Meet Opposition

When the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) meets Tuesday (Aug. 19), its members could be deciding on whether to support a developing law at Los Angeles City Hall to create and implement “Special Sidewalk Vending Districts” citywide.

A motion at next week’s VNC meeting asks the council’s voting members to oppose the legislative report of the City’s proposed ordinance, claiming it “it fails to study the impact on residential areas and does not acknowledge that existing commercial/restaurants (which pay sales tax) may lose business to street vendors.”

According to City Hall, street vending on Los Angeles rights-of-way and sidewalks are illegal, with hundreds of tickets issued to vendors annually. A high volume of arrests are also made, according to Councilmen Jose Huizar and Curren Price, who co-authored a motion in November 2013 to look into regulating street vendors and establishing vending districts.

“In Los Angeles, a more comprehensive legal framework is required to effectively address sidewalk vending,” their motion states. “An effective regulatory system has the potential to protect health and increase public safety and economic activity. Such a policy should also consider the rights and investments of brick-and-mortar businesses, including opportunities to expand and promote their businesses through street vending and with the overall goal of enhancing economic growth and the viability of neighborhoods.”

Street vending, which is categorized as either the sales of food or non-food merchandise, is already permitted and regulated in several large cities, including Chicago, Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Portland.

There are arguments on both sides of the street vending debate as to the breadth of City regulation and involvement.

On the one hand, street vendor advocates have reportedly indicated to City Hall that selling food or merchandise on public thoroughfares is the only source of income for immigrants, war veterans, older adults, and single mothers, all of whom sold goods in order to make ends meet.

There are also some cases where street vendors have, according to the City’s Chief Legislative Analyst, been regularly harassed.

On the other hand, business leaders have voiced concern or opposition to street vendors, claiming a legalized program could lead to increased trash pick-ups (hence additional costs), the regular blocking of sidewalks, and the vendors not paying sales, property, or business taxes, among other issues.

The impact of a legalized street vending program on local businesses appears, based on the motion in front of it next week, to be a concern for the VNC.

A date has yet to be set for when the full City Council will vote on setting up a structured street vending program. In the meantime, YoVenice.com will update this story next week after the VNC votes on its motion to oppose a Citywide street vending program until more information is made available.

affordable housing

VNC Planning Committee to discuss Housing Audit Bill

The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) could be deciding Tuesday, Aug. 5 whether to support a bill in Sacramento to audit the affordable housing inventory in Los Angeles and ensure density bonus projects are, according to a City Council motion, “being properly operated.”

A vote is expected at the VNC’s Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) meeting Tuesday night at Oakwood Community Center of whether the neighborhood council should recommend the Los Angeles City Council to support Assembly Bill 2222 (AB 2222). According to the LUPC, the bill is currently circulating in the State Senate.

In May, Mike Bonin, the councilman who represents Venice, joined two of his colleagues in drafting a motion to have the City Council direct the Housing and Community Investment Dept. to prepare a report essentially auditing whether affordable housing units contained in density bonus projects were being honored.

The motion was filed on May 27 and jointly presented by Bonin and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell; seconding the motion was Councilman Paul Krekorian.

A second motion was also introduced calling for stricter enforcement of the City’s density bonus ordinance.

Density bonuses allow developers to build larger buildings or more housing units than allowable under current zoning laws in exchange for public benefits such as affordable housing.

A density bonus ordinance within Los Angeles took effect in April 2008. The ordinance stated its purpose was to “increase the production of affordable housing” within the City.

At the heart of both motions are Senate Bill 1818 (SB 1818) and Assembly Bill 2222 (AB 2222).

Signed into law in 2004, SB 1818 aimed, according to one of Bonin’s motions, to “create more affordable housing throughout the state.”

“This law allowed developers to benefit from density bonuses and incentives, in exchange for setting aside a percentage of the residential units in a project for lower- or middle-income households,” the motion asking for stricter enforcement of SB 1818 stated.

That same motion stated projects approved in the six years since the City’s ordinance on density bonuses became law have “changed the character of our communities” without providing the requisite number of affordable housing units called for under California and Los Angeles law.

“These projects have burdened our neighborhoods without providing the benefit of a meaningful increase in affordable housing stock,” Bonin’s motion calling for stricter enforcement of SB 1818 stated. “In fact, in too many instances, these density bonus projects have resulted in a net loss of affordable units, dramatically altering the character of neighborhoods and undermining the goal of diverse and affordable neighborhoods.”

While one motion calls for greater enforcement of both the State’s and City’s density bonus laws, Bonin’s second motion specifically requested an audit of the affordable housing stock in Los Angeles to determine how many “affordable units” have been built or demolished since April 15, 2008.

“If our neighborhoods are going to be asked to absorb the additional density, traffic, and development impacts from density bonus projects, the City must ensure that the affordable units being produced are being operated as affordable units, are being maintained at affordable rent or sale levels, and are occupied by residents, who truly qualify for the housing,” the motion requesting an audit of affordable housing stock stated.

Both motions have yet to come in front of the full council.

In May, the council unanimously voted to support AB 2222, legislation described as intending to clean up the State Density Bonus Act (the formal reference to SB 1818).

Venice

Venice Neighborhood Council Meetings This Week

This first full week of August features four meetings for the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC).

VNC’s Housing Committee meets Aug. 4 at Extra Space Storage from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., where the Los Angeles County Dept. of Mental Health and the City’s Homeless Services Authority will make presentations.

At 8 a.m. on Aug. 5, VNC’s Budget & Finance Committee will convene, also at Extra Space Storage.

Several items are on the Budget & Finance agenda, including an expenditure report for July 2014, possible expansion of committee membership, a report on new checking and debit card arrangements, funding requests for September 2014, development of an internal funding request form, and “how best to maximize the use of the City funding and avoid last minute restrictions.”

With respect to the discussion on possible expansion of the committee, the Budget & Finance group of VNC currently has three members: Chair Hugh Harrison, Sylvia Aroth, and Ivan Spiegel.

The Council’s Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) will meet between 6:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on Aug. 5 at the Oakwood Community Center.

Cases will be heard on five properties at the Aug. 5 LUPC meeting, including 320 Sunset, 600 Mildred, 2404 Boone, 665 Vernon, and 672 Brooks.

Other items up for discussion at the LUPC meeting include a complaints filed about converting garages into living spaces, the alleged non-cooperation of AT&T at 737 Washington, and Assembly Bill 2222.

A report from Sue Kaplan of the Mass, Scale & Character Ad-hoc Committee will also be made at the LPUC meeting.

Finally, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. the VNC Discussion Forum Committee will meet at Macchi’s Bistro. At the meeting, committee members will discuss the Walkability Impact Disclosure Ordinance (WIDO), brainstorm ideas on the Diversity Vision Goal, and review possible bylaw amendments (including staggering 4-year terms).

The meetings at Extra Space Storage take place in the community room. Extra Space Storage is located at 658 Venice.

Oakwood Community Center is located at 767 California.

Macchi’s Bistro is located at 425 Washington.