Development/Gentrification

VNC OWNED

It is very clear that the VNC is not interested in what the community wants, they are in a business for themselves and that is making themselves RICH.  It is very clear they care nothing about inclusiveness of everyone in Venice (Renters, Unhoused, Artists long time residents of Venice) they care only about those who have come with MONEY to turn our wonderful diverse community into a haven for the SUPER RICH.  We want our Mayor Eric Garcetti and Mike Bonin our city council person to understand the Venice Neighborhood Council is representing themselves as a business (architects, developers and people with lots of MONEY) to take over our wonderful  VENICE COMMUNITY of inclusiveness, artist, musicians and people of great  personality and strength.  This is what has made VENICE known all over the world, not ugliness, greed, greed and more greed!  The Venice Neighborhood Council does not represent the Venice we all have come to know and LOVE.  “Standing up and Showing out for VENICE!”
 Laddie Williams

Here we present a compilation of the grievances filed against the current Venice Neighborhood Council members. It was clear in the last Neighborhood council election that a coalition of commercial property owners and developers came together to take over the Neighborhood council completely. They want to be able to green-light projects that are sent to the Neighborhood Council for review before going the LA Department of City Planning (LADCP). This is the basic self-dealing that the Chamber of Commerce has been doing all over the LA City Neighborhood Councils. They are protecting their interests, and the interests of all businesses and property owners to do what they want in the pursuit of making big bucks. They whine terribly when their ambitions are thwarted. When examined closely a pattern of self-dealing emerges. Previously the development of community review for Real Estate Development projects was negotiated with LADCP, and so the insertion of community review caused a lot of worry and chagrin for re-developers and realtors. So what they have done here is a form of regulatory capture.

Developers, if they don’t just demolish and overbuild with impunity, often hire consultants to grease the wheels of the Real Estate deals. They have their own lobbyists working city hall with campaign donations, charitable donations, and lots of meetings with deciders, who may be looking for jobs when their tenure expires. Resident communities, i.e. mostly renters in Venice, resisting inappropriate projects and overdevelopment, cannot be allowed to have a voice. Remember to join the Tenant’s Union.

Fortunately several community members decided to be there and witness the process, and document it. You can read their entire document online here: https://goo.gl/FzP1NX
It is hard to tell where the stupidity and incompetence ends and the malfeasance begins.

Below is an excerpt.  Read the original list of grievances here.


July 9, 2017:

GRIEVANCE 1: ZA-2015-629-CDP-ZV-ZAA-SPP-MEL – date June 16, 2017
On June 1, Carl Lambert held a “community” meeting about his plans for 417 Ocean Front Walk at the Rose Room, 6 Rose Avenue in Venice. 15-25 people attended. LUPC member Daffodil Tyminski arrived towards the end. Ms.Tyminski stated that the meeting was required by the city attorney but she could not or would not specify which city attorney. We asked if 417 OFW was scheduled for a LUPC hearing. Ms. Tyminski specifically said that the meetingwas not a LUPC outreach meeting and was not related to a LUPC schedule. Before Ms. Tyminski left, Dr. JudyGoldman asked for a show of hands of those who supported Mr. Lambert’s hotel proposal. No-one present raised their hand.

Ms. Tyminski left quickly with Brian Silviera saying they had to get to a LUPC meeting. LUPC committee memberMr. Silviera was present for most of the meeting. In his professional life Mr. Silviera works as a land use consultantand expeditor. I asked Mr. Silviera if he was at the meeting as a representative for Mr. Lambert. He stated that he does not work with or represent Mr. Lambert.

On March 28, 2016 I had visited the City of Los Angeles planning department & signed the sign-in sheet. Mr.Silviera’s signature was on the same sheet from the previous day delivering documents for 417 Ocean Front Walkto ZA Juliet Oh. It is unclear why he would do this if he does not work with or represent Mr. Lambert as he stated.
The current Venice Neighborhood Council board was elected in June 2016.

The new board approved a new VNC website. No update notification was sent to community members or posted on the VNC website alerting community members to important changes with the new website.

The VNC board & the Land Use & Planning Committee are the most consequential groups on the VNC. Historically all LUPC members could be contacted through the single email lupc@venicenc.org. Individual emails were also historically available for all LUPC and VNC members. Individual LUPC committee members are staff for projects coming to LUPC.

Up until June 8, 2017, the redesigned VNC website had only 1 email contact for LUPC. It was an individual email for LUPC chair Matthew Royce at chair-lupc@venicenc.org. No other emails were available. The group email lupc@venicenc.org that has historically allowed community members to contact all LUPC members was not working but the community did not know this.

On June 8, LUPC agenda item 8a was ZA-2015-629-CDP-ZV-ZAA-SPP-MEL, 417 Ocean Front Walk, Venice Suites, LLC. The applicant is Carl Lambert. LUPC committee member Daffodil Tyminski was the assigned staff person.

Many people sent protest emails in advance of the June 8 meeting using lupc@venicenc.org so that all committee members could see their opposition to ZA-2015-629-CDP-ZV-ZAA-SPP-MEL.

It was not until several days after that meeting that community members understood that their protests had not been received, read, or counted in opposition to ZA-2015-629-CDP-ZV-ZAA-SPP-MEL. LUPC members are supposed to consider all community input in advance of their vote.

On June 16, 2017, VNC president Ira Koslow stated in an email exchange that he also was not aware of the LUPC email change & he also had been sending emails to the lupc@venicenc.org address. This is 1yr after he was elected as President in June 2016 and many months after the VNC website was updated.

Only 1 letter of protest was posted in the “supporting documents” file for this case on LUPC’s archive. Ms. Tyminski stated that about 150 letters of support for Mr. Lambert had been received. She did not say how supporters of Mr. Lambert had successfully communicated with LUPC when those opposed to his proposal had been unable to do so.
Approximately 40 people spoke in opposition to ZA-2015-629-CDP-ZV-ZAA-SPP-MEL. 3 people spoke in support of Mr. Lambert.

VNC By-Laws Article VII, Section 1.F. states that “the Land Use and Planning Committee recommendations to theBoard of Officers shall be in the form of a written report, which shall include a project description, pros & cons, A SUMMARY OF COMMUNITY INPUT and any LUPC findings.”

VNC standing Rules #8 requires that “opposition or support (speaker cards) will be tallied and the tally shall be announced to the board prior to any action by the board.”
Neither of these requirements happened at the June 8 hearing.

LUPC is a 9-member committee. The 417 Ocean Front Walk vote was 3-1-2.
On June 20, the VNC board meeting heard the ZA-2015-629-CDP-ZV-ZAA-SPP-MEL application for 417 Ocean Front Walk.

MANY people sent protest emails to the VNC board in advance of the June 20 VNC meeting.

Matthew Royce requested Ms. Tyminski to present the LUPC staff report to VNC.
In her professional life Ms. Tyminski works as a lawyer for the Office of the United States Attorney.

Ms. Tyminski stated that about 250 letters of support had been received for Mr. Lambert.
Ms. Tyminski (LUPC staff), Mathew Royce (LUPC chair), Melissa Diner (secretary) or George Francisco (vice-president) did not present the number of emails and petition signatures received by LUPC or VNC in opposition to Mr. Lambert’s proposal.

VNC By-Laws Article VII, Section 1.F. states that “the Land Use and Planning Committee recommendations to theBoard of Officers shall be in the form of a written report, which shall include a project description, pros & cons, A SUMMARY OF COMMUNITY INPUT and any LUPC findings.”

VNC By-Laws Article VI: Officers: B: states “Vice President-Maintains oversight of Standing and Ad Hoc Committees.”

Article VI: Officers: C. Secretary states “Maintains all public records of the VNC. -Receives and logs all submissions and correspondence to the VNC and refers them to the appropriate Officer or Committee within seven (7) days.

In her staff report to VNC Ms. Tyminski stated that she had attended the community outreach meeting at the Rose Room and that no-one present supported the proposal. This contradicted what she told those at the June 1 meeting. She did not give the number of attendees who unanimously opposed the proposal.

Significantly, Ms. Tyminski stated that the current use of the building is a legal use.
Exactly one year earlier, on June 20, 2016, City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a civil lawsuit (criminal division) against Mr. Lambert because his current use of 417 Ocean Front Walk, a 32-unit RSO apartment building, is an illegal hotel. LAMC violations are quoted in the lawsuit (below).

A letter to VNC from Mark Kleinman, lawyer, & former LUPC staff with Kathleen Rawson for the 2016 VNC hearing of 417 Ocean Front Walk, was forwarded to VNC & Ms. Tyminski by Dr. Judy Goldman on the morning of June 20. Both she & Mr. Kleinman remarked on the “unnoticed” change to the LUPC contact email. Mr. Kleinman’s important letter on the previous hearing & findings was not posted in the case file online (supporting documents) or referred to in any way by Ms. Tyminski.

ZA-2015-629-CDP-ZV-ZAA-SPP-MEL, 417 Ocean Front Walk, should be reheard because:

1. LUPC and VNC should not hear this case while it is an open investigation with the Office of the City Attorney.

2. The change to the general email for LUPC was not shared in any way with the public. VNC President Ira Koslow was unaware of the change & stated that he himself was using the lupc@venicence.org email, unaware of the change. The letters of those opposed to this application were not received, read or counted by LUPC prior to their vote. The number of letters of support was presented to LUPC prior to their vote.

3. VNC Standing Rule (#8) states “Speaker cards shall have an ‘in lieu of speaking’ option and shall become part of the permanent record. Choice of the ‘in lieu of speaking’ option means that opposition or support will be tallied and the tally shall be announced to the board prior to any action by the board. These permanent records of the VNC should be put on record prior to any action by the board.

This did not happen at LUPC.

4. The city attorney’s lawsuit states that the current use of 417 Ocean Front Walk is an illegal use. Ms. Tyminski stated in her LUPC staff presentation to VNC that the current use of the building is a legal use (video). This statement was made prior to the VNC board vote.

Ms. Tyminski did not reference the violations of city and state law quoted in the city attorney’s lawsuit.

5. Ms. Tyminski quoted the number for the letters of support received for Mr. Lambert. Ms. Tyminski (LUPCstaff), Mathew Royce (LUPC chair), Melissa Diner (secretary) or George Francisco (vice-president) did notpresent the number of emails and petition signatures received by LUPC or VNC in opposition to Mr.Lambert’s proposal.
VNC By-Laws Article VII, Section 1.F. states that “the Land Use and Planning Committee recommendationsto the Board of Officers shall be in the form of a written report, which shall include a project description,pros & cons, A SUMMARY OF COMMUNITY INPUT and any LUPC findings.”
VNC By-Laws Article VI: Officers: B: states “Vice President-Maintains oversight of Standing and Ad Hoc Committees.”
Article VI: Officers: C. Secretary states “Maintains all public records of the VNC. -Receives and logs allsubmissions and correspondence to the VNC and refers them to the appropriate Officer or Committeewithin seven (7) days.
None of these VNC board members presented the number of opposition emails & petitions received. Thisviolates VNC By-Laws Article VII, Section 1.F.

6. Speaker cards shall have an ‘in lieu of speaking’ option and shall become part of the permanent record.Choice of the ‘in lieu of speaking’ option means that opposition or support will be tallied and the tally shall be announced to the board prior to any action by the board; comments shall not be read out loud.

VNC Vice-President George Francisco did not count and record the number of speaker cards in opposition or support of Mr. Lambert prior to the board vote as required by VNC standing Rules #8.

7. ZA-2015-629-CDP-ZV-ZAA-SPP-MEL is a serious and potentially precedent-setting case. Many propertyowners would like to turn their multi-unit Rent-Stabilized apartment buildings into hotels.

Mr. Lambert is the immediate past president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce. He actively promoted a VNC slate as president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce in 2016. 9 out of 10 of the candidates he promoted are VNC board members.

Mr. Lambert did not promote a candidate for VNC president. It is disturbing that Mr. Koslow was unaware of the changes to the LUPC general email as he attempted to communicate with that important committee over many months.

Matthew Royce reserved the Westminster Elementary School auditorium as chair of LUPC for a VNC event on October 13, 2016. He hosted a Survey LA community meeting on that evening and invited Ken Bernstein & Jonathan Hershey to make a presentation on Survey LA in Venice. Both Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Hershey stated in emails that they understood it was a VNC invitation and event.

That meeting did not have the required 72hr notice on VNC’s website (Brown Act violation) and it was posted with no committee attribution or agenda in violation of VNC By-Laws: Article VII: Committees and their Duties.

Mr. Royce reserved the auditorium on September 29, 2016.

A Venice Anti-Survey LA petition appeared on Facebook on the same date. Comments on that thread and in other online postings show that Venice anti-Survey LA factions knew about the VNC Survey LA meeting on October 3 or earlier.

VNC President Ira Koslow did not know about the meeting and was not present.
This is deeply disturbing to the community. Our voices are not being heard, acknowledged, counted, and entered into the record as required by NC rules.
The VNC president has also been excluded.

8. In April of 2017, VNC Rules & Selection Committee chaired by John Reed voted unanimously in favor of recommending changes to VNC By-Laws & Standing Rules. This included a recommendation to remove VNC Standing Rules/10. Meetings: Code of Ethics:
“Any member of the Board of Officers of the VNC who has a financial or material pecuniary interest in an item, as defined by State, Federal or local laws, shall recuse themselves from voting on any item in question. Board members must receive a certificate of completion for the mandated Ethics training within 55 days of taking office, whether by appointment or election, or they will be prohibited from voting on any land use issues or financial expenditures of any city funds. This Standing Rule shall also apply to all members of the Budget Committee and Land Use and Planning Committee effective August 1, 2013.”

Several members of the board & committees are developers and architects. VNC vice-president George Francisco is the Chamber President and several VNC board members are also VCOC board members.
Understandably the community has concerns about conflicts of interest. Ultimately this clause was not removed because of community protest.

For all of these reasons the June 8 LUPC vote and the June 20 VNC vote for ZA-2015-629-CDP-ZV-ZAA-SPP-MEL should be voided. This case should be reheard by LUPC & VNC.
The VNC is subject to city and state laws as well as VNC By-Laws and Standing Rules. Important VNC By-Laws and Standing Rules were not followed.
Letters of support for Mr. Lambert were acknowledged but the community opposition was not received, read,counted & entered into the record ahead of the LUPC and VNC votes.

Speaker cards in opposition or support were not tallied and announced to the board prior to the LUPC and VNC vote.
Laws matter.

Mr. Lambert is operating an illegal hotel in an RSO apartment building. The city attorney has said so. The Venice Neighborhood Council has a mandate to represent all stakeholders. VNC By-Laws and Standing Rules matter. Appreciatively, Margaret Molloy, Laddie Williams, Jataun Valentine.


Space does not allow us to print this entire list of grievances. You will find the list of these grievances here: https://goo.gl/FzP1NX

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