Category Archives: Venice Beach

Venice Burglary Suspect Self-Surrenders to Police


A possible burglary suspect self-surrendered, police said today,  following hours of negotiations.

The incident began about 9:30 p.m. last night when the man was noticed in an apartment complex near Washington Boulevard
and Ocean Front Walk, said Lt. Joseph Sanchez of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Station.

The man ran around the Venice apartment complex, climbing
on rooftops and balconies while the police helicopter illuminated the area.

Police began talking to the man when he was on a third-floor balcony, Sanchez said.  He finally came down at about 11:30 p.m. and was taken to a facility to be given a mental health evaluation, he said.

Polluted water in Santa Monica Bay

On Sept. 15 it rained in Los Angeles. It was the first big deluge since February and this “first flush” of the season was a good one.

Emergency crews rushed to multiple swift water rescues, but it wasn’t just people caught in the gush of the storm’s waters.

Months of grease and grime was washed off the streets of Los Angeles, into the river, into storm drains, and flushed out into the Santa Monica Bay. Riddled with bacteria and toxins, the runoff resulted in a surge in the ocean’s bacteria levels.

“We have a low end of the scale and a high end,” said Leslie Griffin, a data analyst at Heal the Bay. “The readings we were getting on bacteria levels after the rain were so far past the high end that we could not quantify them. The water quality was that bad.”

It is not unusual for bacteria levels in the Bay to rise after rain. Heal the Bay always recommends beach-goers avoid the ocean for up to three days after any storm. However, the most recent post storm bacteria levels were off the chart.

Before the Sept. 15 storm, water quality levels had been consistently good for sometime. Heal the Bay explained that the drought was a major contributing factor, as record low rainfall reduced “the amount of polluted runoff funneled into our seas.”

A week after the storm, reports of medical waste and refuse washing up on Dockweiler Beach began to trickle in. Ultimately the beach was ordered closed after cleanup crews worked throughout the night on Sept. 23, and over the days following, cleaning the beach and clearing debris that included tampon applicators, hypodermic needles, and condoms.

A stretch of the beach at El Segundo was also closed and the levels of bacteria at both beaches read too high to be safe. All in all, cleanup crews collected over 200 pounds of debris from the beaches in just a few days.

Officials from Los Angeles Sanitation, a division of the city Department of Public Works, said it was likely the previous week’s heavy rain had inundated systems at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in Playa del Rey and forced a discharge through a pipe that had not been used in a decade, causing the resulting tide of trash.

Each day, the Hyperion Treatment Plant at Dockweiler Beach discharges hundreds of millions of gallons of treated wastewater into Santa Monica Bay.
Each day, the Hyperion Treatment Plant at Dockweiler Beach discharges hundreds of millions of gallons of treated wastewater into Santa Monica Bay.

Heal the Bay said the reason bacteria levels can rise when the plant flushes water through the one-mile pipe is because, amongst other things, the nutrient-rich wastewater can help feed harmful algal blooms in the shallow, warmer waters.

According to LA Sanitation the debris could have been gathering in the unused pipe for close to 10 years, and also “the peak storm flow from last week may have impacted the screening process filtering these types of items and was compounded by the first flush through the one-mile outfall.’’

Griffin explained that while Hyperion has a state of the art wastewater treatment system, this system is designed to break down biosolids, not trash.

“The plant does a good job disposing of biodegradable waste but the issue begins at home,” Griffin said. “Medication and plastics are things that should not be flushed down the toilet. Hyperion doesn’t have the resources to process these things.”

The rule of thumb; if you put it down the drain – sink, toilet, or storm water drain – keep in mind that it is going into the ocean.

The Hyperion treatment plant and the first flush of the season were two coinciding issues that both drew attention to a problem that exists in our drought-dry Los Angeles; why are we wasting our water?

The biosolids extracted via the wastewater treatment process at Hyperion are ultimately turned into a heat dried fertilizer that is sent to Green Acres, the City of Los Angeles’ farm. The farm grows crops such as corn, alfalfa, and wheat. The harvested crops are sold to dairy farms across the state for feed.

“Years of research have shown that land application of biosolids is safe,” said LA City Sanitation. A safe, and wonderful, example of a cycle where waste is not wasted.

LA City Sanitation said that “biosolids are monitored for metals, pathogens, organics, and inorganic constituents. Groundwater monitoring and soil analysis are performed to ensure proper nutrient management for specific crops planted. Thirteen plus years of data exists and shows that groundwater parameters remain consistent, and are well below the regulatory limits since land application of biosolids at Green Acres.”

So, if treated poop is safe enough for the cows that give us milk then why is there such a stigma surrounding the water that is reclaimed in the process?

“The wastewater that usually goes out into the bay is, in many cases, actually cleaner than the water in our taps, and we pump close to 250 million gallons of this water, each day, into the ocean,” says Griffin. Currently only a small percentage, about 15 percent, of Los Angeles’ wastewater is recycled.

Griffin says there are a few things that get in the way of Los Angeles being able to tap this valuable resource: “infrastructure, money, and public perception.”

Griffin said it is a matter of investing in the infrastructure, saying that the large amount of money that California spends on bringing water into our drought addled State would be better spent on recycling the water we already have.

“If people realized how much we spend on bringing in water from outside of California, the relative cost of building the infrastructure to treat the water we already have is not so huge by comparison,” Griffin said.

The biggest block to the flow of reclaimed wastewater is public perception.

“If you think about it, all water on our planet is recycled,” Griffin said.
Before being flushed out into the bay, the wastewater at Hyperion goes through a series of physical, biological, and chemical treatments. The process is a “secondary treatment” that successfully removes a large amount of the organic matter contained in the wastewater, making it safe for many applications such as irrigation or dual-plumbed systems.

Already the City of Santa Monica has been successfully recycling a percentage of storm water and urban runoff. The Santa Monica’s Urban Runoff Recycling Facility, otherwise known as the “SMURRF,” is an example of how waste water does not need to be wasted.
Runoff water is diverted from two of the city’s main storm drains into SMURRF where it is treated. It removes pollutants such as trash, sediment, oil, grease, and pathogens.

Once treated, the water is safe for landscape irrigation and dual-plumbed systems. Some of the landscape irrigation customers include CalTrans highway landscaping along the Santa Monica Freeway, City of Santa Monica parks, and the Woodlawn Cemetery.

While it doesn’t happen anywhere across Los Angeles or at SMURRF, treating the wastewater to an even higher level would allow it to be pumped back into local aquifers, where it would be naturally polished prior to being pumped out for consumption.

Heal the Bay said they hope to see more water recycling across Los Angeles in the coming years “to help address local water woes, while reducing effluent discharge to Santa Monica Bay.”

For now, a goal is to see recycled water used for irrigation, dual-flush systems, water features, and fighting fires; whereby seeing Los Angeles put an end to flushing this precious resource down the drain.

Body Found in Ballona Creek Playa del Rey


An unidentified body was found  last night in Playa del Rey, in a rocky area of the water along the shore in the 6100 block of Ballona Creek about 7:20 p.m., Deputy Jeff Gordon said.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, Gordon said.

Sheriff’s homicide detectives are investigating the discovery.

KCAL9’s Cristy Fajardo reported live from the scene saying investigators did not know how the person died or give an age range, but that the dead body was male.

Fishermen Fajardo spoke to said they had overheard that a lifeguard had found the body floating near rocks at Ballona Creek.

Gordon said the investigation was ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Opinion: Mayor Garcetti Mistakes Santa Monica For Venice Beach

By Mark Ryavec

Given the obvious choice of L.A.’s own Venice Beach, with its ocean views, blue sky and palm trees, as the venue to hold the press conference to announce Los Angeles as the official U.S. bid city for the 2024 Olympics, it was odd to see Mayor Eric Garcetti standing at a podium in Santa Monica instead on Sept. 1.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Santa Monica. I was born there and have fond memories of growing up in the sleepy town that Santa Monica once was.

But doesn’t the Mayor know that Santa Monica is a separate municipality? It is not like Santa Monica is going to host a lot of events or absorb any of the cost overruns on the Olympics, which the rest of L.A., including Venice, will face if the 2024 Olympics go the way of almost every other Olympics in history.

Part of the purpose of garnering the Olympics is to boost Los Angeles’ notoriety and garner all those tourist dollars. So, what’s with putting the spotlight on our toney neighbor next door?

One poster on Yo! Venice suggested that the Mayor is scared of Venice.  Well, I understand that it would not do for him or one of the many athletes or journalists at the press conference to get a finger bitten off but I’m sure that the LAPD could have provided sufficient security just this once.

Maybe the Mayor is just not very familiar with all that Venice has to offer.

Two years ago, during the mayoral campaign, a group of Venetians attempted to remedy this. We held two well-attended fundraisers for Garcetti that raised about $30,000. We used the events as an opportunity to tell Garcetti about our on-going nightmare with the transient population and the use of Venice Beach as a campgrounds that attracts deranged and drug-addicted campers from all over the nation. He seemed to get it and gave us his personal phone number, telling us we could call him anytime. Oddly, after the election that number was disconnected and his campaign liaison moved on to other pursuits. Now no one in his office replies to telephone calls or emails. This must just be an oversight, of course.

So, let me use this column as an opportunity to acquaint His Honor with Venice’s many Olympic attributes.

First, he should consider that Venice has been pioneering new sports for Olympics consideration.

While Spain has the running of the bulls in Pamplona, we have the running of the cars on the Boardwalk. Imagine, visitors can stroll Ocean Front Walk, carefully listening for the rev of the engine of a car driven by a drugged-out guy angry at a drug deal gone bad.  Their challenge is to jump out of the way before they’re run over. No medals here, they just get to keep living. Trust me; the course is still open; I could have driven a car onto the Boardwalk at Rose Ave. last week.

Spain has “running with the bulls,” Venice Beach has “running from the cars.” Above, the aftermath of Nathan Campbell’s deadly drive down the Boardwalk.
Spain has “running with the bulls,” Venice Beach has “running from the cars.” Above, the aftermath of Nathan Campbell’s deadly drive down the Boardwalk.

Then there’s competitive roof climbing.

The object of this sport is for the roof climber to find and disable the half naked resident before she can call for help or escape. (The climbing venue pictured is at Windward and Riviera Avenues.)

On Washington Blvd. we have the novel and ever popular homeless-on-restaurateur finger-biting and chair-tossing competitions (Clabe Hartley was just clobbered again, by a chair hurled by a deranged man. Clabe had the temerity to ask not to keep dumping all the trash cans lining the street).

New Olympic Sport: Competitive Roof Climbing.
New Olympic Sport: Competitive Roof Climbing.

On Rose Ave. there is the annual police versus knife-wielding psycho challenge. So far, the LAPD is beating all comers.

We also have the unusual sport of curtain wrestling. Never heard of it? The objective is to frighten a young woman and her children out of their skin while you bleed all over their apartment and finish by convincingly wrestling a shower curtain to the floor of their blood covered bathroom before the police can arrive.

Then, to help all those athletes increase their performance and treat their pain, there is the mile long drug emporium from one end of Venice Beach to the other.

Now, who would want to stroll the dull streets of Paris with all these entertaining options available on the streets of Venice?

And Rome, well, I’m sure the Italians will look past the revulsion I saw in their faces when they heard that their countrywoman Alice Gruppioni had been run over on a pedestrian walkway at Venice Beach and they’ll just give up their Olympic bid.

Maybe, if Garcetti can arrange to hold all the Olympic events in Santa Monica, he can convince the world that none of the visitors and athletes arriving in 2024 will get hurt. But he seems to have given up on protecting the rest of us.