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VENICE BOARDWALK OCEAN FRONT WALK Task Force Meeting 10/6/10

by Boardwalker Saturday, Oct. 09, 2010 at 10:19 AM

this 1x/month meeting facilitated by LA City Council is a place for sharing information...or contentious arguments..



The monthly meeting occurred on Oct 6, 2010 in a local Venice restaurant room while rain magically poured and cleansed our streets and souls outside. Not inside. Only a few of those listed on agenda attended, leaving about 10 participants speaking, accusing, listening, and sometimes even sharing information with each other.

Strangely, many of hose who were listed to give feedback, reports, or listen to concerns that as paid LA City staff it is their responsibility to address - were missing. For instance: City Recreation & Parks Maintenance and Monitors and Supervisors, and County Beaches & Harbors representatives, and General Services/ Office of Public Safety, and the City Attorney / Neighborhood Prosecutor.

Where were they ? Possible reasons might be:

Not interested ?

More important things to attend to ?

No one seemed to know or maybe care what is said at these contentious meetings with the paying public ?

More assigned work to do ?

Raining too much ?

It was not clear why only about 1/2 of the usual attendees came to this scheduled meeting.

The Attendees were the essential regulars, with Mr. Pina representing the LA City Council District and facilitator, doing the difficult function of giving speakers a fair turn and keeping those who want to dominate all conversations in check as best he could do.

Other regulars were an activist who sits at a “free speech’ table on boardwalk regularly and addresses the vast exploding commercialization of boardwalk junk vendors.

The VNC was well represented by a member who provided information, responded to exaggerated negative demands and accusations by a psychic ‘vendor’ and she was well-spoken and helpful in keeping the overall tone of meeting realistic and in some order.

Anotehr public person-woman also gave some legalistic information occasionally. A woman came, represented the Venice Beach Merchants and a business person from a local sushi restaurant came there to learn what was happening in her community as well. Two or 4 others were not identified easily and midway thru the meeting. LAPD Sgt. came to respond to questions and learn of more concerns and hear accusations.

Some topics were addressed but as usual no solutions or answers that satisfied the speaker were provided. Apparently these meetings are for people to speak to another, provide some correct information to those who don’t know the rules, regulations or work in progress.

Sometimes it seems that “we are doing all we can so don’t ask or accuse of not doing our job” prevails in the City-paid-responders which only frustrates others who want more IMPROVEMENTS that seem impossible or bureaucratically clogged somewhere. Frustrations all around were frequently evident to all and shared openly.

IMPROVEMENTS that seem to not be in effect or delayed or denied or put only on a ‘wish-list’ for some future generation or tsunami-recovery-plan maybe are : {not listed in order of importance or value}

Bicycle riders and Skateboard riders on Ocean Front Boardwalk:

are a public safety issue and a danger to everyone but themselves, as they jump off or ride off when an injury occurs….these are often locals or even tourists who ignore signs, ignore the [only sometimes, often or seldom is not confirmable] LAPD warnings, insult anyone who speaks to them about their illegality, and are not informed by bicycle rental places that they must ride only on the available bike path.

Merchants in stores on east side of Boardwalk:

These vendors of same cheap flea market mdse as those w/o paying rent in tents on west side extend far out into the sidewalk area, pushing pedestrians [with bicycles and skateboarders dangerously crossing in between walkers ] into clogging clumps. The sandwich board signs are ugly and protrude into the walking areas.

The cheap mdse is displayed way outside their legally paid for rental spaces. This illegal extension into what is legally an LA CITY SIDEWALK for walking use only has been given 3 ft extension ‘special permission’ by the LAPD ‘in the spirit of the law’ that makes no sense to pedestrians. Tho these merchants violate code #4350 which limits space for displaying their stuff, they go far, actually illegally.

Many LA City departments have admitted and noted this illegality but reported that “this is not in our jurisdiction to control…call…[someone else]”. They can and should be ticketed for this extension as both wanted tourists [wanted buyers that help LA City then get taxes on sales of junk they buy] and city dwelling visitors out for a stroll find it difficult to get through the pressed-in-together wandering crowds.

Commercial vending and other illegal acts of rent-free- space-users on Boardwalk:

This has been a long time and continual concern of many who see the Flea Market Junk Store effect that has surpassed the prior artistic and aesthetically enjoyable sidewalk along the sea and sand in Venice. The ‘ordinances” that have been passed and rules mis-applied to the intentions of those ordinances passed by the LA City Council have become a source of violence, extortioning, cheating, trading, and abuse of privileges by the lottery spot vendors.

No tourist finds any of what was “Venice Beach” in earlier days attractive or unusual or worth the trip their tour book promised them. Instead of enhancing the city of LA’s most so-called ‘popular’ or visited site, the Boardwalk has become equivalent to downtown cheap shops with the same wholesale made-in-Asia trinkets exported globally.

The concern that the Rec & Park Monitors do not actually monitor to the actual rules and ordinances is continually addressed at this meeting. The accusation that the excuse of “no money for that” is an avoidance maneuver of not doing ‘their job appropriately’ by those paid to keep illegal and indecent actions in check has been repeated frequently. This seems like a solution that is not being adequately taken seriously by the officialdom of LA City and the deterioration of the area can more easily lead to gentrification by developers who are patiently watching from behind the money lines.

Mr. Pina of LA City Council indicated that there might be some funding for a few supervisors or staff to spot check the monitors and vendors adherence to their agreements…and yet many part-time monitors do not chose to add to their work schedule to do this curiously so. It is necessary to have some more supervision of what appears to be collusion, denial, disregard of rules by those paid to enforce the current system, as distorted as it currently seems to be.

The Venice Neighborhood Council: The VNC continues trying to solve and address the problem and big divide between those who own/ rent property and want to live in a residential area and those who are living in all sizes of vans, RV’s, trucks, cars, et al.

The fighting is fierce and those who want to continue to use both the Rose Ave. parking lot - especially on weekdays [disabled placards enter free then] - for the 12-18 hours that they can reside there. The residents want to see more than a line of big vehicles crowding the streets they live on with the accompanying noises, and other inconveniences they did not count on when paying for occupancy in brick & mortar habitats.

VNC also opens up dialogue with Town Hall events, Preparedness for Emergency events, BBQ’s, and more for the entire community [tho community is disintegrating, crumbling and hardly visible as a unified group nowadays]. These are advertised and were announced at this meeting for all to disseminate as well.

LAPD: Answering a question, it was confirmed that the expanded LAPD workforce of 43 officers that is assigned during summer months is continuing on during these times. It was mentioned that property crimes, car thefts and such were on an increase in Venice.

It was also stated that #4215 is being amended so that performers [ so tips to be given] in “P” performance zone must share the spaces every hours, instead of it just being an option and holding on to the space for themselves. That amplified loud noise must be discontinued after sunset from P zone performers. The illegal use of ‘emergency access’ spaces by vendors will be included in this amendment.

The Venice Boardwalk Task Force Meetings are at 9:30 AM on 1st Weds of month, so next meeting will be November 3rd. Contact Councilman Rosendahl’s office for further information. Many other disturbing aspects of the Boardwalk may need to be revealed and corrected.

IF NO ONE BOTHERS TO HELP…IMPROVE…CARE…ABOUT what once was a delightful friendly open space on the Venice Boardwalk will deteriorate more, become meaner, more violent, uglier and be lost to those who want access to our sun, sea breezes, nice people walking together, and revive the ‘community’ that once existed pleasantly and free for all who came here…[that was before the commercial greed took hold and ate up all the pleasant atmosphere and open-air spaces]

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