Category Archives: Venice Beach

High Surf

No ice rink or mini-mart for Venice: Neighborhood Council denies motions

The Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) delivered several Land Use permit decisions, at the November Board of Officers meeting held at Westminster Elementary School on Tuesday, November 18.

The denied motions included the Chevron mini-mart at the intersection of Lincoln and Rose and St. Joseph Center at 204 Hampton Dr.,  and an Ice Rink for Ocean Park Walk at Venice Beach slated for next winter.

The Board also made a number of recommendations on Venice community issues including visible outdoor dining permits, offsite parking, “mansionization,” a proposed free shuttle service and new bathrooms at Oakwood Park.

Toy drive

Great Venice Toy Drive & Holiday Festival seeks volunteers

The Great Venice Toy Drive and Holiday Festival is looking for volunteers to help collect new, unwrapped, non-violent toys at locations around Venice on Nov. 14, as well as the Nov. 18 and Dec. 16 Venice Neighborhood Council board meetings and at the VNC booth at the Venice Farmers’ Market.

On Dec. 20, toys will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis as part of a fun-filled day at Oakwood Recreation Center from 10 am to 2 pm, including photos with Santa, arts and crafts, food, a moon bounce, and snow (children must be present with a parent or guardian to receive a toy).

However, volunteers  and donations are needed to make this event happen. Residents can bring a new, unwrapped, non-violent toy to a designated location (details to be announced soon) or, if you cannot wait, email thegreatvenicetoydrive@gmail.com to arrange for pick-up.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the event or if they can donate holiday wrapping paper or decorations (fake trees, wreaths, poinsettias, etc.), email thegreatvenicetoydrive@gmail.com.

The Great Venice Toy Drive & Holiday Festival is sponsored in part by the Venice Neighborhood Council, Vera Davis McClendon Youth and Family Center, and the City of Los Angeles.

For more information, contact GreatVeniceToyDrive@VeniceNC.org.

Ted Lieu

Congressman-elect Ted Lieu looks ahead after 33rd District win

State Senator Ted Lieu, who had established a campaign office in Venice, was humble and gracious at his election night party Tuesday following his defeat of Republican gang prosecutor Elan Carr in the battle to replace retiring Congressman Henry Waxman.

With all precincts reporting, Lieu claimed victory with 58.37 percent of the vote (79,708 votes) to Carr’s 41.63 percent (56,854 votes).

The predominantly Democratic 33rd District includes Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Agoura Hills, Venice, Mar Vista, and the South Bay.

Waxman, who has held the seat since 1975 and endorsed Lieu, received a loud welcome when he and his wife Janet joined Lieu and his family on stage at the Proud Bird restaurant near LAX at about 11 pm Tuesday.

“This is the first time I’ve not been on the ballot since 1968,” Waxman told several hundred of Lieu’s supporters. “To me it’s been a great honor to represent this 33rd Congressional District which includes West L.A. and all the way down into the South Bay to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I’m leaving my career in Congress and Janet Waxman, my wife, and I are here to pass on the mantle of the job of being a Representative to Ted Lieu.”

Waxman wished Lieu well in the next chapter of his political career.

“While this has been a discouraging night for our Democrats, and a sad time for me because so many of the people that have lost throughout the country were astounding public servants,” Waxman said. “The highlight of this whole evening is to see Ted win.”

Lieu spoke about how remarkable Waxman’s 40-year career in Congress had been.

“He is an amazing legislator who for four decades has passed so many laws that help save lives for millions of Americans from his work on the AIDS Act, to Clean Air amendments, to his fight against tobacco – virtually every aspect of our lives has been touched by Henry Waxman.”

Lieu spoke about his commitment to the voters who elected him.

“As your member of Congress, I’m going to do what I have done in State Legislature, which is work on bipartisan basis with Democrats and Republicans to solve our challenging problems, to grow our economy, to create new jobs, and get California and America to a better place,” Lieu said. “But there’s also going to be areas where there’s not going to be an agreement. And those areas I’m going to fight for you and for our constituents on issues such as climate change, I’m going to fight to make sure we enact strong climate change legislature, as an immigrant myself I’m going to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, and I’m going to work every day to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. And what we’ve seen with that profoundly stupid decision is a flood of money into politics, but there’s only so much that money can do.”

Lieu said if money was the only thing driving politics, he would not have been elected Tuesday.

“I was outspent in the Primary by at least two of my opponents, and in the General Election, we were outspent again because two Super PACs came in and spent over $800,000 attacking us and supporting our opponent, and yet we’re ahead,” he said. “The reason we’re ahead because the Super PACs have something which is just money, but we have our view and that’s why we’re ahead.”

Carr surprised some by finishing atop a crowded field of candidates in the June primary election with 21.5 percent of the vote. But Carr benefited from the splitting of Democratic votes among a list of candidates that included former Los Angeles City Councilwoman and City Controller Wendy Greuel.

Lieu is a graduate of Stanford University and the Georgetown University Law Center. He served in the U.S. Air Force, serving at one point in Guam and helping airlift Kurds out of northern Iraq. He later worked as a clerk at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and practiced civil law. He was elected to the Torrance City Council in 2002, the Assembly in 2005 and, the state Senate in 2011.

Venice fire

Authorities still unable to determine cause of Venice storage facility fire

After more than a week of investigation, fire officials and federal authorities have been unable to determine the cause of a fire that heavily damaged a storage facility in Venice, the Los Angeles Fire Department announced Tuesday.

Investigators with the LAFD and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the cause of the Oct. 25 blaze at Extra Space Storage, 658 Venice Blvd., is “undetermined.”

Carlos Canino, ATF Special Agent in Charge in Los Angeles, said an “undetermined” finding is made “when the cause cannot be proven to an acceptable level of certainty, which could be due to insufficient information or if multiple causes could not be eliminated.”

“While the scene examination has been completed, the investigation will remain open for purposes of conducting additional interviews, forensic examination of collected evidence and following up of any additional leads as they develop,” he said.

The fire broke out at the two-story facility at 7:37 p.m. Oct. 25. It
took crews more than 14 hours to douse the blaze. Several firefighters were injured while battling the blaze, including one who suffered a back injury and heat blisters, and two who were slightly burned.

Other firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion. The confined spaces, concrete walls, steel doors and metal ceilings in the building left firefighters confronted with blast oven-like heat.

More than 50 agents, investigators and experts took part in the probe of the fire’s cause. More than 60 leads were developed and more than 50 interviews were conducted, fire officials said. As part of the scene excavation, investigators and agents sifted through thousands of pounds of fire debris, and forensic mappers digitally reconstructed the impacted areas of the building.

A damage estimate has not been made. People who rented storage units at the facility will need to make their own assessments of their losses, officials said.