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Thumbs Up to the VNC for Giving the Thumbs Down to a Motion Criminalizing Homeless

by Peggy Lee Kennedy Friday, Jul. 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM

The community showed up to say NO to Unconstitutionally Criminalizing Venice Homeless!

Thumbs Up to the VNC...
vnc-7-17-12_1_courtesybarbarapeckspritiofvenice.jpg, image/jpeg, 720x528

Tuesday, July 18, 2012, the community showed up to say NO when the Venice Neighborhood Council agenized a motion meant to criminalize homeless people in Venice. This included Occupy Venice people, Civil Rights Attorney John Raphling, Steve Clare from Venice Community Housing, Spirit of Venice, Venice Community Unity, the Heartbeat of Venice and plenty of other community members that came to speak against criminalizing people and in favor of positive humane solutions to homelessness.

The proposal to take up this motion came to the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) Board through its Public Safety Committee where it was introduced by Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Assoc. (VSA) - a local nonprofit corporation that some Venice people question the “public good” it was formed to do. Especially considering this motion that effectively asked the LAPD to unconstitutionally enforce laws on homeless people.

The motion was item 7b on the agenda and it was well into the evening, probably after 9:30pm, before it was introduced (read and officially made) by board member Daffodil Tyminski from the Public Safety Committee. Ryavec gave a presentation and handed paper copies of a letter from his attorney that was a response to a letter submitted to the VNC by Civil Rights Attorney Carol Sobel. Ryavec stated that his attorney basically said that Sobel’s letter had no merit. Sobel’s letter cited a Supreme Court case striking the very same language in the law that the motion was telling the LAPD to enforce on homeless people.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, a different substitute motion was introduced by board member Ira Koslow. Turns out that Koslow had met with Ryavec and created this new substitute motion in the anticipation that the original motion would not pass. Hmm.

The problem with introducing a different new substitute motion at the meeting (not an amendment to the original motion) was that it was not provided to the public 72-hours in advance per the Brown Act. Paper copies were given to board members because many had not read it in Koslow’s email from that afternoon. Also some paper copies of the new motion were passed to members of the public.

To complicate things, VNC President Linda Lucks, recluse herself from this motion due to some minor perceived conflict of interest, even though Hillary Clinton (a s/hero of Luck’s) would not have done that. VNC Vice President Marc Saltzberg, who took over chairing the meeting, and the so-called parliamentarian, Ivan Spiegel, did not see a problem with this new substitute motion. Board member Ivonne Guzman tried to make a motion to indefinitely table the motion and said that it “did not make sense.”

I personally believe that hearing and voting on the different substitute motion was a Brown Act violation committed by the VNC. Nonetheless Marc Saltzberg appeared to be in command and went on to try to limit public comment! The people who came and waited hours to make public comments went into an uproar.

It appeared to be a bit of a VNC fiasco at that point, yet still many passionate public comments were allowed and these were predominately against the motion/s (?).

Venice Community Activist David Ewing stated in his public comment, “On one hand you have a cautionary letter from the city attorney’s office and a letter from one of the nation’s preeminent civil rights attorney [Carol Sobel], and on the other hand Mr. Ryavec has managed to find an entertainment attorney to promote his point a view.”

The substitute motion was eventually voted down: 12 against, 2 abstentions, and 5 in favor. The votes in favor were cast by Ira Koslow, Daffodil Tyminski, Mariana Aguilar, Scott Kramarich and Brennin Lindner.

Following that vote, Saltzberg brought back the original motion (that was substituted?) and no public comment was allowed. This motion was voted down unanimously except for two abstentions.

“This vote was a great victory for the people of Venice.” According to Venice Civil Rights Attorney John Raphling, “Our neighborhood council rejected Mr. Ryavec's proposal, whose only purpose was to drive poor people out of our community. The proposal, basically demanding that police arrest homeless people for the crimes of sitting down on the sidewalk and setting their stuff on the ground is a morally wrong.”

Despite my criticisms of how the VNC conducted the meeting, I agree wholeheartedly with Raphling and I’m glad both motions were voted down.The only thing I might add, in conclusion, is that Ryavec certainly has earned the un-honorary title of head cheerleader for crushing homeless people out of Venice using unconstitutional law enforcement.

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Venice Neighborhood Council - Pictures courtesy of Barbara Peck, Spirit of Venice

by Peggy Lee Kennedy Friday, Jul. 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Venice Neighborhood ...
vnc_7-17-12-2_courtesybarbarapeckspiritofvenice.jpg, image/jpeg, 720x528

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John Raphling at VNC

by Peggy Lee Kennedy Friday, Jul. 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM

John Raphling at VNC...
raphling-courtesybarbarapeckspiritofvenice.jpg, image/jpeg, 438x522

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 7 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
JULY 17, 2012 VNC MEETING - RYAVEC'S MOTION Spirit Of Venice Friday, Jul. 20, 2012 at 8:28 PM
JULY 17 VNC MEETING FULL VIDEO Spirit Of Venice Friday, Jul. 20, 2012 at 8:35 PM
Brown Act Defunding May Remove Notice Requirements Robert Norse Sunday, Jul. 29, 2012 at 3:01 AM
Venice anti-homeless proposal drew jones Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 at 7:12 AM
confused writing making info unreadable here venicereader Monday, Sep. 10, 2012 at 3:48 PM
President Linda Lucks Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2012 at 9:44 AM
is this the BROWN ACT referred to repeatedly ? venicereader Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM

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