Monday, April 18, 2016

Zuma Dogg on Los Angeles City Council's Plan To Address Homelessness In Venice, CA

Article in Los Angeles Times ( about Venice Beach homeless crisis; and measures being considered by CD 11 Councilman Mike Bonin (@MikeBonin). 

[Zuma Dogg comments in brackets.]

Los Angeles is considering a new effort to deal with the burgeoning homeless population in Venice that includes 24-hour access to bathrooms, free storage facilities and development of supportive housing on city land.

The measures by L.A. Councilman Mike Bonin, are among the first concrete proposals in what city leaders say will be a $2-billion plan to ease, if not end, homelessness.  Bonin's plan, announced Friday, comes amid a significant increase in Los Angeles' homeless problem in recent years, prompting much debate at City Hall and beyond about how to reduce the problem. Venice has long struggled with a large homeless population, especially in and around the landmark boardwalk.

[$2 billion will not END homelessness (I stick to the term, "reduce"); and sadly, $2 billion is still a drip in the bucket -- but as first measure/step -- NO JOKE, either. It may at least have an organizing effect on the current homeless encampments on the streets. So, yeah; it will sweep some of it (MAYBE a lot) under the rug. For the mostpart; it's a needed start. Q: WHY DOES VENICE GET THIS MONEY, and not have it distributed across the city; in other in-need districts? A: Like it, or not (and if you live in Venice it's, "or not") the world-famous, westside beach (Venice Beach) DOES get hit with the brunt of people from across America; and now, thanks to Obama policy, (action and inaction), never moreso.]

It also marks one of the first times a city leader has proposed specific sites to provide local homeless services as the city continues to craft plans to deal with the larger shortage of housing for those in need. 

[The Zuma Dogg concern, here, is not with this concept; but making sure the money stays with the project; and doesn't get pilferd/ciphoned/racketeered into boondoggle-oblivion. I know it's a big city; and you got mafia-racketeering; but I hope results are produced, as well. Perhaps a, 20% less mafia racketeering corruption pledge, for this ONE project.]

Tensions have increased more recently as the homeless population has grown and the surrounding area has become a favorite of tech companies and employees.

[NOTHING is going to stop the growing of the homeless population in Venice. Beyond the perception of Venice Beach and it's reputation for a 70's, all-good, homeless hangout vibe; it DOES have to do with the fact it is more open and spacious, because of the beach....they are already here; and more and more are visibily noticeable, on the streets; by the day. Today, April 18 2016; the homeless encampment that Mishkoff Tephilio (206 Main St) allows on it's private property has NEVER been more populated. So, it's FIRST thing ALL the Main St/Google/Hi-Tech/GoldsGym/Tourists see when they cross the, "WELCOME TO VENICE/LOS ANGELES" sign.]

The Westside councilman described his plan as a “street strategy” to help more than 1,000 homeless people drawn to the coastal community, and said the measures would mitigate the effect of street encampments on neighborhoods and business districts.

The provisions include:

Developing the Pacific-Dell site, currently a city-owned parking lot, as housing for homeless people and public parking. The lot is at 200 N. Venice Blvd.

Reopening the vacant Westminster Senior Center at 1234 Pacific Ave. for homeless storage, bathroom access and office space for a case manager to connect people to housing and other services.

Providing 24-hour access to restrooms at Venice Beach. Bonin also called for exploring other ways to increase bathroom facilities, including the use of portable toilets.

Giving $50,000 in city funds to Steven and Regina Weller, whom Bonin said had teamed with Los Angeles police to place homeless people in substance abuse treatment programs and in shared or permanent housing. The money will come from the Venice surplus real property fund, the motion said. 

[I gotta check these two out. Probably good folks, trying to be helpful/benevolent; but this is where shadiness can creep in. BUT AGAIN...not saying that is the situation, here.]

Advocates applauded the proposals, saying the bathroom and storage plans could move quickly, if the council supports them.

“These are really positive steps forward,” said Becky Dennison, executive director of Venice Community Housing. [Yea, Becky/VCH!]

Other community members questioned some of the plans. 
[Mark Ryavec (see below) IS a community member; but a highly politicized one; who seems to be the only quote, used by LA Times, representing the community.]

Mark Ryavec, president of Venice Stakeholders Assn., said homeless storage should be in an industrial zone, not the residential neighborhood surrounding the old senior center.

[KINDA misleading to call it residential neighborhood, even though residential is around it. It's on PACIFIC AVE, a block from the boardwalk. It's the MUNICIPAL BEACH AREA, with residential neighborhood around it. City CANNOT lose use of this facility cause of the streets around it. SORRY. Do not move a block from the beach if this bothers you. RE: Have it in an industrial zone: Is Mr. Ryavec gonna run a free shuttle service for people and their belogings, to and from this industrial zone? Gotta get REALalistic, people.]

“The focus should be on intake, a road to a bed,” Ryavec said. “It's ludicrous to do it in a residential neighborhood.”

[The term, "residential neighborhood," needs to be amended to, "municipal beach community."]

The costs of the Westminster access center could be covered by funds set aside for storage and emergency shelter during the now-fizzled El NiƱo season, Bonin said.

Dennison said building the Pacific-Dell housing on city land was crucial to overcoming the Westside's high land prices. Bonin, in his motion, said the project could maintain or increase the amount of public parking in the area.

Ryavec, however, said the Pacific-Dell lot should be redeveloped as a parking structure and warned that the housing project could exacerbate the community's severe parking shortage. 

[I'm starting to REALLY think this guy Ryavec is a purposeful troublemaker. He needs to move to Perfect-Worldville. I think he is just here to say outrageously, dumb stuff; to make Bonin sound good.]

He also said opening the bathrooms overnight would encourage homeless people to continue camping on or near the boardwalk. 

[Keeping bathrooms closed encourages them to use your tree lawn/sidewalk as the bathroom. AND, GOTTA ACCEPT THIS LAW OF PHYSICS: The people are gonna gather SOMEWHERE! It's just not EVER gonna change. Looks like the bathrooms by the boardwalk are where the homeless people gather. OR, maybe Ryavec can let them sleep on his lawn.]

“Santa Monica closes their beach restrooms at night,” Ryavec said. “It's going to ensconce folks exactly where they are.”

[RE: ALL OF RYAVEC COMMENTS: All good points; and I can take a hardline approach; and hop on this bandwagon; because all of this stuff; is VERY close to my own street. I see it EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY. IT WEARS ON MY NERVES. I AVOID VENICE, ENTIRELY AND STICK TO SANTA MONICA...BUT, again; this isn't going away/it's only gonna get worse/Santa Monica has different zoning/layout/not as commercial around the beach/harder to access/not a lot of stores/etc. AND, VENICE BEACH is where they come to. SOMETHING needs to be done. Better to some some organization of the situation. Trying to to achieve a perfect world scenario, like Ryveck wants means NOTHING will happen. Go to Main Street, today. It has NEVER looked worse than it does, today. Gotta do something. This is something. Hope it isn't too corrupt on the contracts.]

The proposal is part of a larger debate about homelessness in Venice. Late last year, activists sued the city to strike down Los Angeles' 27-year-old overnight beach curfew. Some community groups fear lifting the curfew could worsen crime. [The beach curfew is WRONG/ILLEGAL. The coastal commision says the beaches are open 24/7.]

There have also been some controversial clashes between the LAPD and Venice homeless people. Last year, a police officer fatally shot Brendon Glenn, an unarmed homeless man, generating criticism of the LAPD and a lack of city resources for homeless people. [No offense, getting homeless people into homes, doesn't mean they sit in them, 24/7. People leave their units and go to the beach. He wasn't screaming for homeless services.]

The city’s Police Commission last week ruled that the shooting was unjustified, and Chief Charlie Beck has publicly called on the district attorney’s office to prosecute the officer who shot Glenn. [The term, "unjustified," makes it seem like it was done in bad spirit/on purpose. My intel says it was a REALLY nice guy (the cop) who got scared and made a mistake, in a split second. IT'S TRAGIC/BAD that it happened. BUT, it's not like cops are running around shooting people, with evil intent. Again, it's my understanding the cop made a terrible mistake, while scared.  But, NOW; there's going to be added tension. In a city this size; anomolies will occur.]

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