Letters

Letters

Della Franco

Suzanne Verdal

Lola Terrell

Gene Mendez

Michael Millman

Ted

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Dear Beachhead,

I would like to thank the Beachhead for printing the article by Brian Connolly “On Being Homeless in Venice”.

I thought the article was extremely well written and the content and message stayed with me long after after reading it. I think it is important for people to read this article as it shows a side to being “homeless”  that so many choose not to see or think about. It shows the daily struggles, the hardships, the pain, and a glimpse into a world that many of us just want to ignore. Too many Venetians like to blame and criticize and condemn the homeless, and I am sickened by the ignorant few who refer to homeless people as “crusties” or worse. Too many assume being homeless means you are only a drug crazed violent criminal. This article is a perfect example as to how false and misguided those sentiments are and I welcome that! I encourage that. And I thank Brian Connolly for doing that. It shows the compassion, the humanity and the intelligence that exists in the lives of those who have to live on the streets.

My hope is that people who judge or vaguely ignore the homeless, realize that the person sleeping on the concrete may in fact be the person who could inspire them.

Good luck to Brian Connolly and all the homeless people who are trying to survive in this world. Just like all of us are.

Della Franco

Venice Resident

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Dear Beachhead,

Soon after 6am, the many unhoused Venetians must vacate their concrete repose on 3rd Street until well after dark, permitted only to set their bedding down at 9pm.

Teri Shapiro, an unemployed nurse who is partially disabled, sleeps there, side by side, with her 17-year old cat “Possum.”

Being a feline rescuer most of my adult life, I thought someone would be touched by this fact and might donate some quality cat food for her precious elderly kitty.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Verdal

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Dear Beachhead, Just read the letter in the Sept issue (yes I’m late!) from Anthony Castillo re: gentrification on Abbot Kinney, and then the article, “LAPD in the Spotlight for Racial Profiling” by Mark Lipman.
Does anyone see a connect here…profiling of all human beings and gentrification? I have three stories to tell. I’m also appalled to know Ocean Front Walk is now closed from midnight to 5 am. I’m a night owl who lives in Mar Vista.I occasionally go down to the Venice Pier to walk late at night when I haven’t gotten my exercise during the day. About 5 weeks ago (maybe beginning of September/end of August) I was walking from the end of the pier back towards the parking lot, and a police truck had been moseying down the beach from the north. I saw it stop once further north, shining its light on something or other in the dark.  When the police got to just past the pier where that pile of rocks is, I saw them turn the light on towards the rocks, stop their truck and get out. It was a young man and a woman officer. There were two young people, a man and a woman, who had been ‘snuggling’ under some blankets there. Disturbing no one, making no noise. When I walked up, the blanket was off, and it looked like they were putting their clothes on (still sitting down on the bottom blanket) with the bright light shining away of course. I bucked up and walked over and asked the police (tactfully, no animosity) why they were doing this. Well, for one, I was informed, the beach now closes at midnight! I was like, what??!! They said it’s been a couple of years (I’m not normally down there quite that late) and that I need to talk to the City Council about passing the law. They were ‘interrogating’ these two young people who did not appear to be homeless (God forbid!) extracting all kinds of information from them. I wish – Continued from page 2: Letter I had thought to say more…but I did have more conversation with the police, saying, that it is the people’s beach! I never heard of closing the Beach! And then, instead of the police just explaining to the couple most likely making whoopee that they were sorry, but the beach is closed and they have to leave…how many young (and maybe even old!) people do such things, when there no other convenient place for them to go for a modicum of privacy.  Probably what galled me the most was the police were asking them for ID and of course running checks on them. The guy looked white; she may have been of a light color. There was no reason for the police to interrogate these folks or give them a hard time. Tell them, time to go now. That’s it!  But instead, they interrogate people, like they’ve committed some crime. (OK, once they’ve been told, if they keep coming back, that is another story, then you get their info, write a ticket (a ticket for being on the beach at 12:30 am at night, right next to a lit pier!) Sounds INSANE to me. Gentrification anyone? This is what is going on. A couple of months back, I was out and about (in my car) and rode down to the main channel on the Marina side, where the jetty is, where there are pull in parking spots, lights, etc. and it’s a few minutes after 10…I find it strange there are no other cars.  I then see the sign. No Parking 10 PM to 5 AM (or whatever the second time was). I was APPALLED. (I hadn’t been there in a few years, obviously). I looked to the north, and saw newer buildings of mostly condos perhaps…It could likely have been these folks (and their tax money) that caused this wonderful little section of parking/grass to close down at 10 pm. Can’t have the ‘riff-raff’ who are not from here (or even if they are!) coming down to this nice little public space, can we?  Now if there were real /problems there, let’s work on that. Not closing the area to everyone! Then, a week after the beach blanket whoopee was stopped by ‘LAPD coitus interruptus’, I was at the pier again, much earlier, perhaps just about 10:30 pm. There was a small white ‘police’ car on the pier; he had driven out to the end and then back, and was about to close the gates. I’m like, what’s up?  He said we close the pier now at midnight, nice enough fellow. He explained to me that he has other places to close, and he can’t get to them all unless he starts closing before midnight. So now, at 10:30pm the pier is closed at to us who enjoy it and the fishermen?? SOMETHING is VERY WRONG with this picture. It’s like we (even us more or less ‘normals’!) are being walled off from public spaces within our communities.  Right here I’ve listed four areas (three I experienced for myself) and one I read about – OFW, where the public is not allowed during certain hours. Some starting as early as 10 pm.  This feels like I (and all the others like me, i.e. regular people, part of the 99%) am being slowly imprisoned/walled off from community public spaces, where it is slowly being encroached upon by—–Money! I mean, the Beach, for God’s sake?!! And there is only ONE ANSWER as to who is forcing this encroachment. It’s the 1%, the gentrifiers. Some gentrification is okay, but when does it ever work out that way? The rents go up, the locals who created the community in the first place is being forced out.  So Sad!!! It’s all part and parcel of what Anthony Castillo wrote about in his letter re: the gentrification of Abbot Kinney. Locals being pushed out, fancier, more costly, up-scale taking their place. It’s all of a piece, and it’s a sad piece. I agree with Mr. Castillo, This is NOT Venice, that is for sure.  Is nothing sacrosanct? I feel Venetians and others who care about the real Venice really do need to rise up and fight for her…yes, things do change, but this is happening before our eyes and if it continues, there will hardly be any space for just ‘normals’ or artists or those who want to be, to live free and work in Venice.  Maybe we like it as it is?  I used to like the SM Pier better too, when it was more old-style with its bumper cars. Of course the rides are great, but can’t we have a MIX? I feel this encroachment more and more myself, all the time. By the way, the young fellow on the sand, of course, agreed with me that it just isn’t right. He thanked me as I was leaving.  He also said, “and we know, it’s all about the money!”

Sincerely, Lola Terrell

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Dear  Beachhead,

My thanks to you and CJ Gronner for the informative article on the Abbot Kinney Hotel debacle. New York transplant Abrams and his minions were no doubt stung by the reception to their planned gift to the neighborhood by an ungrateful citizenry. No good greed goes unpunished. Mr. Abrams, take a bow. You are not only the most disliked (putting it mildly) man in Venice, but also, with Angelica gone, FatCat Outsider of the Year! (Joel Silver is livid.) Now run down to Aviator Nation and buy yourself a $50 “Locals Only” trucker’s hat. Oh. You have. Well, of course you have.

Sincerely,

Gene Mendez

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Dear Beachhead,

Approximately a week ago I attended the Venice Community Council PLUM meeting at the Oakwood Recreational Center. There were over 300 residents. It was well run and very well organized.

Everyone agreed that there are perhaps 5,000 or more “illegal” short term rentals in Venice wherein the property owners are indeed serving as a surrogate, stealth motel or hotel Business, and not paying any Business or Bed taxes. A simple examination review of many of the popular computer sites will reveal that there may be as many as 10,000 or more illegal short-term rental operators. All of that revenue is lost.

Simply stated, we already have several dozen or more illegal hotels in the city. We have transients or tourists using our highway, street parking, beach attractions and of course, our restaurants and other amenities.

The new hotel of course would establish a new, substantial TAX BASE; employ only local Venice residents as staff or others; generate enormous taxes and be a destination venue for anniversaries, conventions, weddings and bar mitzvahs. In no way would it obstruct anyone’s view. The zoning already has been designated by the Coastal Commission as appropriate for a hotel. It brings good paying jobs to Venice. It’s well designed and appropriate. Accordingly, let’s stop being hypocrites: there are already major, substantial hotel businesses in Venice, although they are below the radar, inappropriate and illegal.

Your friend always,

Michael Millman

Dear Michael Millman,

Respectfully, Mr. Millman, “Everyone” did not agree that there were illegal short term rentals in Venice – that was your argument alone. Those “illegal” rentals, in fact, help enable many people to meet their mortgages and/or rents that have skyrocketed in recent years, so that they may continue to live in the Venice they love. That revenue is not “lost” … it helps to keep Venice residents in their homes. Our tax money never stays in Venice anyway. We are merely 1% (ironically) of the greater Los Angeles budget, so that argument doesn’t hold water either, and only reinforces our need for cityhood. Renting out your spare room to give a visitor a real Venice experience and help families through financial strain is hardly the same thing as a big hotel, which we – and nearly everyone else at the meeting you attended – wholly oppose.

Sincerely,

The Beachhead

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Free Venetians,

As an over-mountains Venetian, I have always taken exception to Ocean Front Walk being called “the boardwalk”. I always presumed that that was just a conceit of those from the wrong ocean. But to see it used in the Beachhead  is most disconcerting.

Best Regards to the  City of Venice!

Ted

Dear Ted,

You are absolutely right. Ocean Front Walk should never be referred to as the Boardwalk. We apologize for the oversight.

The Beachhead

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Categories: Letters

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