Is it really possible that the powerful California Coastal Commission will cave in to a lawsuit started by an irate Venice resident?
It’s more than possible, it’s probable, unless Venice residents turn out in force at the June 10 meeting at the Marina del Rey hotel to remind the Commissioners of their mission to protect the coastal zone for all, and to place access to the beach above all political considerations.
Under the proposed settlement, whose terms will also be considered by the L.A. City Council at its June 2 meeting, “movable home” residents will be evicted from Venice. Last month’s Beachhead broke the story, and the City Council finally came clean on its agreement with Mark Ryavec’s Venice Stakeholders Ass’n. on May 25.
The agreement would phase in permit parking, beginning with six months of enforcement of a new no oversized vehicle law from 2-6am. After that, the city could announce that the oversized vehicle law is not working and a full permit parking law is needed.
The Coastal Commission blocked permit parking (OPDs) in Venice last June, calling it a violation of beach access. The Commission’s staff had recommended that the Commission go along with the city by allowing permit parking. After a huge turnout of Venetians opposed to the OPDs, the Commission defied its staff and voted against the permits. The Commission then directed the staff to write a revised report in opposition to permit parking.
That report concludes, “…Commission approval of the proposed project would be a bad precedent that would prejudice the ability of the City to prepare an LCP that is in conformity with Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act, and is therefore not consistent with Section 30604(a) of the Coastal Act.
An LCP is a Local Coastal Program. Each part of the coast is supposed to have one. Yet, Los Angeles has been unable to create one that is acceptable to the Coastal Commission. Past efforts have been too friendly to development, and permit parking would be yet another sticking point (See April 2008 Beachhead: http://bit.ly/ccboDb).
There are at least two aspects to this battle which has sucked in Venice organizations, the city of L.A., the Coastal Commission, and the right-wing Pacific Legal Foundation, so far.
At stake, are the legal and moral rights of poor people who are unable to defend themselves.
Can they be treated like animals who have to be controlled with a “carrot and a stick”? The result of this policy, as Beachhead readers know, has been early morning sweeps by crews of police, who would probably rather be home in bed, or out chasing criminals.
It has also been responsible for utilizing an obscure law that prevents vehicles taller than six feet from parking within 100 feet of an intersection.
Councilmember Bill Rosendahl has been a force in keeping permit parking alive in Venice. He has promised to find RV owners a safe place to sleep, yet he is rushing to get agreement on their eviction from city streets prior to finding an alternative location for them.
Coastal access is at issue, as well. It was this issue more than any other that caused the Coastal Commission to vote against permit parking because it reserves precious street parking for residents and denies it to visitors to the beach.
The revised staff report points out that it is not just 2-6am parking that is the problem, but that it gives residents with permits a head start on beach goers who may arrive later in the day.
Proponents have argued that Venetians have the “right” to impose permit parking on themselves. Next they will be promoting high rents as a “right” we should enjoy.
Peggy Lee Kennedy, a third-generation Venetian, believes that the most important right is that those who are homeless or live in “movable homes” should have basic civil rights. An assumption of the lawsuit settlement documents, says Kennedy, “is that someone living in a vehicle is not part of the general public or even considered a resident of Venice. Nothing is further from the truth,” she adds.
“People using a vehicle for shelter or home do reside in the Venice Coastal Zone. Most are regularly using the homeless services provided in Venice, such as the Venice Family Clinic,” observes Kennedy.
June 10 at the Coastal Commission will be a critical meeting for those who believe that Venice should be a haven for a diversity of people. It will also be a time to speak up for those who do not want to pay to park in front of their homes.
June 10 will be a clash of two views of future Venice: the free-spirited Venice of its residents, or the income generating Venice of the gentrifiers, backed by the city of Los Angeles. Call (310)-398-7192 to find out how you can help stop permit parking and RV evictions in Venice.
Which do you choose?