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Playa Del Rey Gas Storage Facility is a hazardous threat. + Responses

Sat, 09/16/2017 - 13:17

Playa Del Rey Gas Storage Facility is a hazardous threat.
– from John Davis

– From our July 2017 issue.

Playa Vista is classified as the operator of this well, as it was Playa Vista that reabandoned the leaky oil well last.
And, the City of LA reimbursed Playa Capital LLC for the reabandonment cost while the well leaked and continues to be a conduit for leakage of methane, benzene, toluene and H2S to the surface.

When Exploration Technologies Inc ( City of LA peer reviewer and expert) first tested for soil gases in this area, the values were relatively low. Since the reabandonment by Playa Vista, which included a blow-out at depth, the well has continued to leak and the area has increasing volumes of gas being emitted to the atmosphere and contaminating the water. The Playa Vista school site, during the ETI initial studies also had lower gas emissions back then, than today as the gas emissions continued to grow from ETI’s initial testing to later testing of the same area.

The Playa Vista school site is a Level 3 gas hazard site, the highest of the City of LA Methane Code. The riparian corridor, adjacent to the school also has continual gas emissions as can be seen via continuous bubbling up through the waters.
Community is also a well across the street to the east of University City Syndicate and near the school and within the footprint of one of Playa Vista’s development projects.

How have the gas values being emitted from Community changed over the past few years?

What is CD 11 doing to alleviate these hazards?

Grassroots Coalition has requested to meet with CD 11, Mike Bonin regarding the oilfield gas issues of Ballona and Playa Vista for over 7 months with no response from CD 11.

Grassroots Coalition continues to request a meeting with CD 11and continues to relay oil and gas field information to CD 11 and our local electeds both for awareness, and in hopes of discussion with them.

Re: “Fish and Wildlife Vs. Coastal Commission,” John Davis, August, 2017, p. 4
Restoration of the Ballona Wetlands to a freshwater marsh is a very bad idea. Still recovering last year from a near fatal attack of West Nile virus (WNV), I discovered there were a record number of mosquitos recorded in the Wetlands last summer. We do not have adequate mosquito control (I understand Vector Control, the agency responsible for local mosquito abatement, has ceded the Wetlands to a local group).

I live in Venice adjacent to the beach and know of three deaths within a mile of my home in October, 2015, alone as well as other cases that have survived but have not been counted in the Public Health statistics. I have spoken face to face to Councilman Mike Bonin, County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and State Senator Ben Allen and to the health advisor for Congressman Ted Lieu in Washington, DC, about the problem and been told there are no funds for mosquito abatement in spite of LA City and County leading the country in cases and deaths from WNV. San Joaquin County north of us had two deaths last year and had aerial spraying. Yes, there are safe sprays (10 cleared by the FDA). LA County has had aerial spraying with malathion twice in recent years when the Mediterranean fruit fly threatened local agriculture.
Fresh and brackish water marshes are a public health hazard, while saltwater marshes offer safety. I do not support the Grassroots Coalition plan to restore Ballona Creek to a freshwater wetlands. Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever or malaria are not local problems yet unless we encourage the mosquito population to flourish. As a physician dedicated to health maintenance and disease prevention, I oppose restoration of certain natural habitats, such as the Ballona Wetlands.

Jerome P. Helman, M.D.

– John Davis Responds:
Hello Dr. Helman,
Of course mosquito control is necessary to prevent disease. And, I do not enjoy being bitten by even a healthy mosquito. There is no disagreement with the need to control air-born pests. They are constantly evolving to carry more deadly diseases. The mosquito outbreak was not caused by a freshwater or brackish wetland.
It was caused by the failure to manage a man made flood control system for pests. Los Angeles West Vector Control created a Mosquito Abatement Plan for the Playa Vista Project Freshwater Wetland System in 1995.
The flood control project manager, according to Vector Control, failed to properly implement the plan, and that is what lead to the mosquito outbreak, not the freshwater wetland complex.
Vector said it was the worse mosquito outbreak to hit LA in years.
The outbreak occurred at a public wetland reserve and near a public school.
Prior to this project, Centennial creek was very narrow flowing unimpeded and at a much lower volume.
Now, the Playa Vista Project discharges valuable State groundwater into the system from dewatering activities East of Lincoln, creating a larger flow of surface water.
As a result of the flood control project dense stands of reeds inhibited water flow, encouraging the mosquito population to flourish.
If the project manager had followed the strict plan set forth by the authority in the matter, Vector Control, this problem would never have arisen. But the project manager failed, abjectly, to comply with the law, until it threatened with legal action by Vector Control.
The notion that replacing a valuable coastal freshwater wetland by flooding it with salt water to control mosquitos, is at best, an uneducated approach to pest control.
It is the project manager that caused the problem, not nature.
– John Davis

Ahoy,

The Beachhead has good Karma. Patrica McPherson spoke to Dr. Helman and they are now friends
on the same page. Dr Helman has had the same problems reaching government that we have and
he understands that the wetlands are not the problem, but government officials trying to brush
him and his valid concerns about health off.


The Fall Of Snap Chat

Sat, 09/16/2017 - 12:40

From the July 2017 Issue.  By Jon Wolff


SARA OMARI

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 17:52

Update on my wheel chair saga!

I was cited with my second  and again have no idea as to why?!

I was riding in my wheel chair to the dining room for lunch this past week, and my chair was not working correctly, so I drove it very slowly. I had asked for a wheel chair specialist but was ignored. I ate in the dining room and upon finishing, I raised my hand, to again ask for a specialist who could help me and again, was ignored. Finally a worker approached me, and I asked for a rehab specialist because I needed help with my wheelchair. She said “Let me help you!” She started punching buttons on the chair and I said “Do not touch my wheel chair!” and she continued to try, so I decided to just leave the dining area. I started to move away and I made a left turn to go out the back door. I went back to my room, again VERY slowly, because the chair was not working right.

Sometime later, the social worker came to my room and informed me that I had been cited for trying to run someone over with my wheelchair. This never happened.
The next day, the rehab worker did come to my room, finally, and said he understood I thought the chair needed maintenance, but that he has asked that department, and they feel the chair is fine as is.
No one has looked at the chair.
No one has checked the chair.
Ever!

I am told this chair could cost as much at $17,000! Am I not entitled to any maintenance or repair, for at least a year, if only to appease me?

If I were in New Mexico and I was working with Oppenhemier on a project I am not going to ask Joe Smith to speak to him for me, I want to speak directly to Oppenhemier. I asked to speak to the rehab dept. about my wheel chair and while the workers may want to be helpful, they don’t know what they are doing and could cause further issues with this complicated electronic machine I depend on.
They have tried to help me with my tv in my room and have only made the problem worse.

This will be explored more in depth when I next discuss the loss of privacy that living in this Shangri-La for the aged creates for an inquisitive, thoughtful human being.

 

Sara Omari

Word for the day: Sprachgefuhl, noun—an intuitive sense of what is linguistically appropriate


foget it

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 17:29

foget it

by alan rodman

July is forgetting
the fog is upletting
the sun has been lurking
the clerks were all shirking
now is the time
to come up with a rhyme
if summer may dog us
keep cool until August

 


porcine perspectives

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 16:41

by alan rodman

 

pigs seeking votes
are sailing in boats
pigs with new shoes
are lapping up booze
pigs wearing ties
are acting like guys
pigs in their socks
aren’t tending their flocks
pigs without pants
are unlikely to dance
pigs on the wing
do not often sing
pigs of a kind
dying to be wined
pigs in a blanket
might as well spank it

whether little pigs wiggle
to straggle or giggle
all pigs of a feather
will wallow together


DARKNESS MATTERS

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 16:27

DARKNESS MATTERS

by Hal Bogotch

 

He who shall not be named,
font of hate.

How do
the wonder of radio
the miracle of television
make us believe?

Is a make-believe leader
worse than no leader at all?

(Twitter as a platform
hands a bigger megaphone
to celebrities.)

Let’s shout the word, terrorism.
Let’s say it quietly.

Who among us
is not a child of blackness?

If Dizzy and Miles
are not founding fathers,
then who iz?

Billie Holiday sewed
our first flag.

How does it feel
to be red, white, black, and blue?

When shall we invite
Canada and Mexico
over for a barbecue?

Sweet, tangy sauce,
dripping from the ribs.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

— H A L


A Good Death

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 16:01

A Good Death
by the human
_____________________
“Oh, coooooool…..”
Max, his head swathed in helmet, cooed;
As his perfectly smooth and agmented hand caught the butterfly mid-flight.
“Now crush it,” the voice of Love intoned:
Deeply; And inside his head.
“It is not real…. All these illusions need to be put aside; if you are to find the meaning of ‘love,’ Max.”
“And if you are now finally to face your fears.”
Thus, stated calmly –the voice that taught him:
All Truth.
“But how can it not be real? It is here on my screen. Is it not therefore ‘real’?”
Asked young Max.
The calm voice of Love intoned:
“Let us chant the Perfect word, Max; the perfect sound that connects all realities perfectly, and opens you to perfection”
Oooooooooommmnmmmmm……
It filled Max’s soul with peace
“It, this squishy thing that quivers so lightly in your hand is imperfect, Max. It has liquids inside. It came from an egg; it can catch and carry diseases, Max. “
“The imperfect IS always the illusion…. You will see.”
“Only the ‘Perfect’ on this screen is real.”
“And this –like all that is imperfect –it will die….”
“The Perfect never die, Max. The Perfect have thereby overcome death.”
“And I made you perfect, as I am- And In-Dwelling You, Max”
“And as I Love you, so you will never suffer, Max”
You never want to suffer, do you, Max?
“Does not the The Perfect; and all Its Harmony; and Symetry –fill you with calm, and peace?”
Crush it, you will see.”
“The Perfect in Form are here; dwelling in the Fulless as are You; The Augmented; You; seeing by the Eyes of The Spirit of Truth; Correcting Error; and thus Dwelling in the Heaven. They; You– will live forever.”
“You love my voice, do you not, Max? You never want to feel alone, and without the perfect answers I provide to comfort you, do you?”
“Alone, without answers; everything outside of you; suffering and unlovable imperfection all around you. You wouldn’t want to suffer in such a world; would you? A world without my ‘Perfect Word In-Dwelling; and giving you ALL answers constantly; A world where you were ALONE. A world where you were naked; not clothed in my whole ‘Armor Of Truth?” A world where you were always incomplete; and not perfectly Augmented.”
You do not want to decend into the wheel; the world of imperfect, revolving and recurringly reborn “Illusions,” do you Max?
“To perpetuate illusions and suffering.”
Without my spirits and smoke of revelations…
“It would be so ‘uncool,’ Max.”
A pause followed.
“As you will only know ‘perfect love’ when you crush all that is imperfect, Max.”
A pause…
“And perfect love casts out all fear, Max.”
There was then,
a silence
Max, living all his six years of conscious life by his screen….and the deep, reassuring voice:
intoning inside his head.
Curled his fingers;
Always he was obeying The Perfect Love. It was the presence that never left him; That always wispered inside his head, He never was alone, He never had to hear only himself. He never had to be without another constantly inside him; leaving him only to himself:
It always made him smile calmly, beautifully, and so serenely.
He already would always reach for the perfect.
And, as always:
It just never failed to make him feel very very calm.
And the perfect screen, obligingly –dissolved into the nice blue he loved.
The Perfect Butterfly that later replaced it –was Fully Perfect In Form; Pure Perfect Number and Geometry; Just Like In Heaven –and feeling it, even quivered somehow more perfectly and sensitively –in his exquisetly smooth and precious hand.
And later, at the regular hour, a good servant, he inhaled the Holy Smoke; faced the Point Of All Worship, put the semi-circle of the sealed people on his head; and the specticles that read all secrets and. stored them in the clouds; thanked the. One that had overcome all suffering for him; did away with the illusion of the private — and beautifully prayed.
———————————————————
‘Chances are we’re all living in a simulation.’ The Guardian, quoting billionaire Elon Musk’s (latest company, Nuralink) current opinions about ‘life:’ 6/2/16
“So Happy SnapOgoogledoodle, Venetians; because there is no suffering here…”
( :


17:33 Wednesday, June 20th, 2017, #19, Lord Byron Apartments

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 15:52

17:33 Wednesday, June 20th, 2017, #19, Lord Byron Apartments ….. A midweek Wednesday. Came. It has transpired. Arrived. First day of Summer. Feel inspired. The words rise to the surface. Visual. To hear them is to see them. Make their call. A treasury of memory. Come forth. Remember the forgotten. They’re well worth. Enough for me to measure out the lines. Let’s manufacture limitless designs. Dismiss the boundless unknown in the hearth. Remarkable. Immeasureable. Lifetimes. I feel them and I know them. I recall. How they were there. Beside me. Visual. Survived. Another Summer. So desired. This midweek Wednesday. Same. Once more. Inspired ….. Roger Houston


THE DONALD TRUMP CLUB MARCH

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 21:04

THE DONALD TRUMP CLUB MARCH
(as sung to the Mickey Mouse Club March)
by-Moishe Fahcocktah

Rump a trump, trump, rump a trump, trump…
Who is the leader of us all made for you and me?
D-O-N-A-L-D -T-R-U-M-P
Hey there, hi there, ho there, heil there
White Americans you’re as welcome as can be-
D-O-N-A-L-D- T-R-U-M-P
Donald Trump, (Donald Duck!), Donald Trump
Forever let us hold our red, white and blue banner
High! High! High! But not high on pot…
Come along and sing this song and join the jamboree
D-O-N-A-L-D-T-R-U-M-P
Donald Trump America! Donald Trump America!
We’ll have fun, we’ll kick out different races
We’ll do things and blow up different places-
All around the world we’re marching-
(drum roll and marching music…)
Who’s the leader of us all made for you and me?
D-O-N-A-L-D-T-R-U-M-P
Donald Trump, Donald Trump
Yay Donald! Yay Donald! Yay Donald Trump!

 


A FINAL ORDER OF REMOVAL – THE FINAL SOLUTION

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 20:55

A FINAL ORDER OF REMOVAL – THE FINAL SOLUTION
(from the poem, “First they Came for Socialists” by Martin Neimoller)
by- Moishe Kibbitzer

First they came deporting Mexicans without legal papers
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t Mexican-
Then they came for the Muslims
and I cheered-
Then they came for Commies, Socialists and the Beachhead staff
and I laughed-
Then they came for Obama, Hillary and Bernie
and I said that’s great-
Then they again rounded up Jews, Japs and Blacks
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew or a Jap or Black-
Then they came for me
and there was nobody left to protest-

 


Obituary: Bonnie Yvonne Modugno

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 20:46

Bonnie Yvonne Modugno, 60, passed away peacefully at home on May 19, 2017 from Ovarian Cancer. She is survived by her husband, Frank Nemiroff, and her son, Noah Nemiroff. In addition Bonnie is also survived by her mother, Betty Modugno and her sisters, Colleen Pinoski, Theresa Modugno, Sharon Bothwell, Michelle Modugno, and Jennifer Ketelaar.

Born in San Fernando, Bonnie found her tribe in Venice Beach. The free-thinking and spirited community of Venice was the perfect fit to for Bonnie’s fiercely independent and forward-thinking mind.

Bonnie received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Foods and Nutrition from Eastern Washington University and a Master of Science Degree in Education and Psychology from Pepperdine University. After finishing her Master’s Degree, Bonnie worked as a Dietitian with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.

She went on to teach nutrition courses for many years at Santa Monica College and UCLA Extension while simultaneously operating a successful private practice in nutrition consulting, helping clients improve their health.

Bonnie was at the leading edge of a number of nutrition-related issues and brought public awareness to them through her public speaking, writing articles in professional journals, and her blog.

She practiced and taught a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition, physical fitness, and emotional & spiritual health.

Bonnie excelled at building close relationships with people including her neighbors in Venice, her many friends, her clients, the vendors at the local farmers’ markets, professional colleagues, and countless others. She will be missed by all who treasured her presence in their lives.

In addition to her passion for healthy and organic food, she supported several organizations devoted to ecological and sustainable food production, nature conservancy, social and economic justice, women’s issues, the homeless, and more.

Bonnie was particularly connected with the Spectrum Program at New Roads School, in which her son, Noah thrived during his middle school and high school years. The Spectrum Program is a unique educational program which is geared toward students on the Autistic Spectrum, providing additional support as needed in order to help these students excel in a college preparatory academic program.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the Bonnie’s name to New Roads School at 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404 or online at http://www.newroads.org

No formal memorial service will be held.


Bruce Langhorne’s Memorial

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 20:41

BRUCE LANGHORNE’S MEMORIAL

By Suzy Williams

A sublime service took place on Saturday, June 17th at the Masonic Lodge on Venice near the Hare Krishna Temple, lauding and loving the great musician and lifestyle artist, Bruce Langhorne. Best known for being THE “Mr. Tambourine Man,” inspiring Bob Dylan to pen the song (Bruce played on Dylan’s first three albums), and causing Judy Collins to write “Since You Asked,” Bruce was on stage with Odetta when Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. He played Africa with Baba Tunde Olatunji, and worked with Spike Lee’s bass-playing father, Bill Lee.

He lived in Venice the last quarter of his life and brought his high-being-infused drumming, guitar and piano-playing to our lucky, grateful community. He started the Venice Beach Marching Band when Katrina hit New Orleans and brought together an assortment of our finest local musicians. He threw many a fantastic musical bacchanal in his bohemian backyard on Sunset Avenue.

The Masonic Temple Open, airy main room was festooned with sunflower-rose bouquets and a classy potluck was spread on white tablecloths. A large table had framed photos of Bruce that spanned his colorful life. A grand piano on the hardwood floor stood near the stage with its velvet curtain. A lace-covered stairway, leading nowhere, was laden with bowls of fruit and shells. A particularly fragrant desert sage scent filed the air.

The first speaker, Miguel Rivera, began by singing a Native American song peppered with mournful yet joyous coyote yelps, then he entreated us to join in: “Ahh Ohhh Maaa…Ahh ahh ahh…Ahh Ohhh Maaa,” repeated, till we practically levitated. Steve Wolfe brought a talking stick that Bruce had fashioned and polished from a branch, and that stick was passed on to speaker after speaker, people giving testimony to Bruce’s wisdom and humor. Tales of adventures with Hugh Masekela, in Big Sur, his wonderful sense of touch. “One night we danced around the house…and I mean AROUND the house!”

Bruce’s gift of music: “He poured into me the knowledge of music,” waxed one young man. Another youngish bearded man, John, put us all in tears or damn near on the verge: “I don’t know how to live in a world without Bruce,” he wept. Retold favorite Langhorne jokes: “Chickens??!!” Vinnie Caggiano got up and recalled a life-changing homily Bruce came up with: “Self-imposed limitations are what age you.” Bill Attaway, our great Venice sculptor, gave an impassioned speech about a day when Bruce’s mixed a strange tough-love physicality with philosophy. People spoke of his “equanimity and grace.”

Bruce had requested for his funeral: “Have all my vestal virgins stand up and take a bow!” (However, nobody stood, for by this time, the women were neither “vestal” or “virgin.”) But we did get up to dance! After a few concert-style pieces written by or inspired by Bruce. (Kathy Leonardo did a sweet and moving philosophical song about what legacy we might leave), Robbie got up and played the hit of the day: ”Old Dog,” a folk-spiritual by Bruce Langhorne that has a refrain that goes like this:

Let me be unto the Lord as my Old Dog is to me
He don’t ask for nothin’- he’s happy just to be
Here sittin’ at my feet, and lookin’ up with love
Sayin’ “Oh my Lord and Master, send thy Grace down from above”

We then dissolved into a flurry of great tunes and solos played by a cracker-jack revolving band of friends of Bruce’s from around the country. Some locals that took part I recognized: Alfred Johnson, Leon Reubenhold, Vinnie Caggiano, Matt Cartzonis and Robert “Count Smokula” Miles. Children, maybe seven or eight of them (a lot of them were Bill Attaway’s!), mixed gleefully among the ecstatic adults. It was a “Home-Going.”

At the top of the service, Miguel, the one with the Native American incantations said, “Now Bruce is our ancestor.” Wow. That’s about right. Something to live up to … to live for.


THE VENICE/ DELL/ PACIFIC HOUSING PROJECT

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 20:26

by MARTY LIBOFF

This slideshow is from Venice Community Housing.

Click to view slideshow.

There is a large affordable housing project being proposed for Venice. There was a community discussion about the project on June 23 at the Israel Levin Senior Center. Members of the Venice Community Housing Corporation presented the plans for 136 affordable units on Pacific Ave. between N. Venice Blvd. and S. Venice Blvd. east to Dell Ave. Becky Dennison the executive director of Venice Community Housing Corporation spoke and answered questions along with Linda Lucks and others from the group.

Their plan is to build 68 units for formerly homeless individuals and families, 34 units for low-income artists and 34 units for lower wage people. There will be a community art space and rooftop green space gardens. Around the front and canal side will be retail commercial shops. Much of the land will go to 188 public parking spaces. The apartments will be three stories with a limit of 36 feet high. There will be a mix of studio and 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. Sadly there are no plans for homeless storage or safe parking for people living in their vehicles.

Becky said that there will be more public meetings about this project and design. She thinks it may take a year or more to get an O.K. on the project and probably another 2 years to get it built and finished. There is no waiting list for renters as of yet since the project has a long way to go. After the project is on its way there will be sign up lists at local community organizations.

Unfortunately the project design has about over half of the land for parking. Becky said that the parking is a requirement and she would’ve liked to have seen more space going for housing. Becky was very helpful and thoughtful. My thoughts were that many seniors and poor people don’t have cars. If most of the parking space is utilized for more housing then they could probably get three times or more units in this large area. Also, why couldn’t at least a few spaces be used for houseless safe parking and storage? We tear down paradise and put up another parking lot.

Venice Community Housing already manages 216 units of affordable housing on the West side and has programs for the homeless and job training for young people aged 18-24. Their offices are at 720 Rose Ave.,Venice. Their phone number is 310 399-4100. Please send comments and questions about this project to; venicedellpacific http://www.vchcorp.org.


The Carl Lambert Problem

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 19:28

by Jon Wolff

One year ago, it was announced that property owner Carl Lambert was being sued by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer for illegally converting a rent-stabilized apartment building in Venice into a hotel. At the time of this writing, the lawsuit is viewable online for anyone who wants to read it at: michaelkohlhaas.org. Just go to www.michaelkohlhaas.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016_06_17_city_of_LA_v_carl_lambert_and_venice_suites.pdf . The Complaint lists the violations: Public Nuisance in Violation of Civil Code Section 3479 and the following sections; Unfair Competition Law (Business and Professions Code Section 17200 and the following sections); False Advertising Practices (Business and Professions Code Section 17500 and the following sections). Also, the Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 11.00 defines the nature of the violations as well as the penalties for the violations. But on June 8, 2017, the Land Use and Planning Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council met to discuss whether or not to recommend that the VNC approve Lambert’s conversion.

The meeting was open to the public and was held in the meeting room of the Oakwood Recreation Center in the heart of the Oakwood Community in Venice. Present on the Committee were members Ramsey Daham, Daffodil Tyminski, Mehrnoosh Mojallali, Michael Jensen, and Tim Bonefeld, with Matthew Royce as Chairman.

The case for review was for 417 Ocean Front Walk in Venice and was described as a change of use from an existing 32 unit apartment building to an apartment-hotel comprised of 2 long term dwelling units and 30 guest rooms. Remember, the City Attorney’s lawsuit says that Lambert has been operating the apartment building as an illegal hotel since 2009.

Many Venice People took turns speaking against the case. The head of the Venice Community Housing Corporation spoke. She said that the conversion resulted in the removal of affordable housing and that the Rent Stabilization Ordinance prohibits this. One woman pointed out that there was no discussion of the legal standing for the variance as pertains to the Historic Building Code. One man said that the petitions showed that the majority of people in Venice are against the conversion and that LUPC’s approval of it would be in conflict with the VNC’s mission. Another said that this request for approval “feels like a result in search of a justification.” The Director of People Organized for Westside Renewal, a tenants rights group, reminded the Committee that the Mello Act forbids commercial use of residential property in the Coastal Zone. One woman gave the figure of 106 units already removed stealthily from Venice and that it would be morally wrong for LUPC to rubber stamp this project. Another said that others like Lambert are waiting to ride in on his coattails. And another implored the Committee to respect the Community and not treat it as a cash cow. One man said that he has lived in Venice for 45 years and that he used to manage the building at 417 Ocean Front Walk. He said that, regarding profit-making, “Rich people have the disease but poor people suffer the symptoms.” One woman talked about the need for rent-stabilized housing and that we would only have to open our eyes to see the people living on the streets. Another cited the California Coastal Commission to say that we’re simply running out of rental units. One man warned of the project setting a precedent. He called the Venice Chamber of Commerce and the Venice Neighborhood Council just a big machine to keep tourists spending money. A woman born and raised in Venice asked why such projects couldn’t be located in Santa Monica considering the fact that Santa Monica is geographically much larger than Venice. A man who has lived in one of Lambert’s buildings for 15 years said, “It sucks to live in a hotel.” He said that long term tenants are being kicked out and that tourists are always coming in and out of the building that he calls home. One woman simply addressed her question to Lambert himself. She said, “How much money do you need?!” Another stated directly that the Land Use and Planning Committee and the Venice Neighborhood Council shouldn’t make decisions on buildings operating illegally. And another reminded the Committee that the City Attorney has, in fact, filed charges against Carl Lambert for operating an illegal hotel.

There were a few at the meeting who spoke in favor of Lambert. One said that Lambert has Venice’s best interests at heart. Another said that Lambert has helped homeless people by putting them in trailers. James Murez, a member of the VNC, said that it would be a wonderful idea to have a hotel. Another VNC member, Will Hawkins said that Carl is a good man and, anyway, if the converted units were put back on the market they would be too expensive. He saw the conversion of an apartment building into a hotel as a better option than having it used by Airbnb. (Of course, the same logic would mean that it would be good to have the Boston Strangler for a roommate because he would protect you from ax murderers.) None of Lambert’s supporters had anything to say about the fact that he is being sued by the L.A. City Attorney for operating an illegal hotel.

Lambert spoke. He talked about community outreach and how he never evicted anybody. He said that there are others who are doing worse. He said that he’s received a lot of letters of support from vendors. And he said, “It’s good land use.”

The LUPC members also had something to say. Ramsey Daham, an architect, echoing Will Hawkins’ theory, said that we need hotels to combat Airbnb. He asked Lambert if some of the units in the building could be set aside as affordable units. But no audible response was heard from Lambert. Mehrnoosh Mojallali talked about changes in Venice and how this is a good place for a hotel. Daffodill Tyminski was also for the conversion. She said that this sort of thing has happened before and that it’s not the first time. Michael Jensen told the people in the meeting that Venice is supposed to be a community, implying that we should all be nice about Lambert’s conversion. He was cut short by strong vocal disagreement from the audience. And while all this was going on, a lawsuit from the City Attorney was still pending against Carl Lambert for operating an illegal hotel.

The Land Use and Planning Committee voted to recommend approval of the project with Michael Jensen voting “No” and two abstentions from Mehrnoosh Mojallali and Matthew Royce. So, on it went to the VNC.

The Venice Neighborhood Council held its regular monthly meeting on June 20, 2017 in the Westminster Avenue Elementary School auditorium. The meeting was open to the public. Item 12A on the agenda concerned the approval or denial of Lambert’s change of use of 417 Ocean Front Walk to a hotel, now recommended by LUPC.

Again, the Community of Venice showed up and spoke overwhelmingly against the project. One woman said that if the L.A. City leaders are taking steps to preserve housing, then don’t stop them. Also, she mentioned conflicts of interest on the VNC itself. A woman from the L.A. Tenants’ Union asked the VNC if they were “with us or against us.” One man called the conversion a “contagious business model.” One woman simply declared that this was about “precedent, precedent, precedent.” One man told the VNC that they ought not to consider LUPC’s recommendation because LUPC hadn’t received all the required community input. One woman reminded the VNC about a motion before the L.A. City Council to regulate Short Term Rentals and how they shouldn’t give permission to someone who is a serial violator. Another said that we need housing, not hotels. And another said that Lambert’s tenants did not leave happily and that this was permanently detrimental to the Community. One man declared that Venice is more than the Chamber of Commerce. Another brought up the lawsuit and wondered if LUPC had even read it. A woman talked of the increase in homelessness and the greater need for RSO housing. Another told the VNC not to reward illegal behavior. And another stated, once again, that THE CITY ATTORNEY IS SUING THE APPLICANT.

Lambert’s sympathizers spoke to the Council. One talked about change. Another said that he lived in one of Lambert’s buildings and that Lambert fixed it up. But here, no mention of the lawsuit.
The members of the Venice Neighborhood Council spoke. Robert Thibodeau asked if there was a Feasibility Study. Lambert said that it was not necessary. Will Hawkins repeated his idea that Venice needs more hotels. Melissa Diner talked about Lambert being a scapegoat. Council President Ira Koslow said that the building should be an apartment or a hotel according to the fluctuations of the economy. Nothing about the lawsuit.

The two Council members who actually care about the Community also spoke. Ilana Marosi cited 128 letters and 238 signatures received by the VNC that were against the conversion. She pointed out that when Lambert bought the building it was a rent-stabilized building and therefore cost him less and thus obligated him to keep it rent-stabilized. Colleen Saro asked Lambert why he is going forward with all this when there’s a lawsuit pending. He only answered that someone encouraged him to do so.

The majority of the VNC members voted in favor of the Motion to recommend approval of the project. Clearly, the Community of Venice was represented by a body that chose the profits of a defendant in a City lawsuit over the Will of the People. Lambert left the meeting in a hurry. Most of those attending left shortly thereafter in disgust but not without resolve.

One ironic observation here: Throughout the course of this present struggle, the VNC and LUPC repeatedly called for order and decorum every time the People shouted out about the members’ lies and irresponsible actions. And the People complied. We all want to “play by the rules”. But when someone circumvents not just “the rules” but, in fact, the Law, what are we to make of the game itself? Especially when the game affects the lives of the residents of the buildings in Venice. Most of the residents whose lives were irreparably harmed by Lambert weren’t there in the meeting.

Lambert’s VNC collaborators didn’t have to face the fleshly human results of his profiteering. Perhaps “the rules” are only for us. Much like how an assailant, when assaulting his victim, tells the victim to stop squirming, keep still, don’t fight back.

But this is Venice. Venice has existed for decades by fighting back. Bigger assailants than Lambert have fallen when attempting to harm Venice. We can have faith that the Law is on our side. But regardless, Venice is unpredictable, innovative, motivated. If the People of Venice throw off “the rules”, will Lambert cry “foul”? We’ll see. It’s Summer. Let this be the season of trouble for Carl Lambert.


Snap Map and Greed in Venice. CA

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 19:10

On the days of February 28th and March 2nd, 2017, over 200 Venice residents went to Market Street to protest the overwhelming presence and effects of Snap, Inc. accumulating and utilizing an extreme amount of properties in Venice. Given the extensive media coverage, both locally and nationally, Snap Inc. released a statement that said “We don’t just have our headquarters here; many of us also call Venice home. We’ve been very grateful to be a part of this creative community for over the last four years and we’ve worked closely with local schools and nonprofits to be a good neighbor. No one could have anticipated how quickly we’ve grown, and we have already begun focusing our future growth outside of Venice.” It seems Snap, Inc. has also made a point to tell this to many of their employees who have been telling this to residents – most likely only to spread the rumor of their departure and to diminish any more talk of their expansion in Venice. They have leased properties in Santa Monica at the airport and Ocean Park Business Park, but everyone in Venice is obviously very fearful this is just an expansion and they won’t be leaving any of the properties marked on this map anytime soon – resulting in more shuttles and more of a presence within our historic town.
“No one could have anticipated how quickly we’ve grown” – NO ONE can look at this map and say this was not strategic: 23 confirmed properties with likely 14 more = 37 properties, most of them either on the beach or west of Pacific and this does not include the potential development on the parking lot next to the Blue House at 601 OFW that is presumably intended for Snap, Inc.’s flagship Headquarters, currently in litigation. Imagine the horrific long list of residents and businesses that were pushed out just for Snap, Inc. – well over 100 at least, not to mention the parking spots they have stolen and the overall tension they have created within the community among other things. The scary question is how many other properties they utilize that aren’t even on the map that we don’t know about. Or the many homes and residences they might occupy, some of which could very well have 3 or 4 or 10 people working in them under the radar. What seems to be a house with many roommates may very well be another unidentified office for Snap, Inc. and it invites the question, how many properties do they need – 2 more? 10 more? 30 more? All of them along the beach in addition to their latest acquisitions in Santa Monica? When does it end? What is their end goal? One can’t help to think that this is more than just ego and they want all of Venice solely for themselves. And to put salt on the wound is the fact that many people, some of our very own Venetian neighbors (mostly developers, property owners and VNC members) just don’t seem to even care at all.

Two weeks after those first 2 community protests, three members of the newly-formed activist group the Venice Dogz: An Alliance for the Preservation of Venice sat down with three members of Snap, Inc. in their Market Street headquarters. The first thing they told the Venice Dogz was they plan on moving to Santa Monica in 2018 and they do not plan on taking up any more retail space in Venice. So far, they have done nothing to uphold that statement. On March 9th, they opened their Spectacles Store which locals have deemed “The Official Eyesore of Ocean Front Walk” which is much more of an ugly advertisement than a retail store. The Venice Dogz were told it was only going to be a pop-up store for a “few days”, however an article came out the following day on techcrunch.com that said a “few weeks” – currently it’s now been over 3 months and word on the street is they will be selling their drones there in the near future. Then of course in early May, The Freak Show and all the retailers at 909 OFW were forced to leave after their leases expired, and the same goes for 3 businesses in the middle of Gingerbread Court around that same time. Despite the information in an article from LA Business Journal called Snapped Up, Snap, Inc. has denied having any interest in the Freak Show location, whose lease-holder’s name is SnapShot, and it remains to be seen if Snap Inc. will utilize any of these vacancies, but all signs point to them having controlled interest and first choice of occupancy in these buildings no matter what may result. Also on May 15th at the Microsoft Lounge at 901 Abbot Kinney Blvd, the programmer of the Sundance Institute Program told our source that there would be no more events in the future because Snap is moving into that space. So no more Freak Show, less mom-and-pop stores, no more events from the Sundance Institute Program, etc. all for more private offices for this one company. Snap, Inc. will point to their few philanthropy efforts and land developers and owners will say Venice is now changing for the better and this is “progress”, but displacing over 100 businesses and residents for only 1 single company is NOT “progress” especially now that they’ve created a “Snap-effect” where greedy building, land and lease owners can now make a huge amount of money by turning tourist and residential-serving attractions into office space, compelling them to kick out residents and small businesses, and turn the space into offices for big technology companies, Snap, Inc. in particular.

A big culprit in all of this that the community should be putting more pressure on is the property owners themselves who are equally responsible and seem to have no appreciation for the rest of the community or the history of Venice at all. They are, in a sense, just cashing in while they brag about their past accomplishments and current knowledge and tell everyone who will listen how much they love Venice, and then go ahead and kick out current tenants and accept an overpriced bid from Snap, Inc. OR make a backroom deal so Snap, Inc. can hold interest in the lease under a shell alias. Ever wonder how many of these property owners made deals with Snap, Inc. for ‘Right of First Refusal’ on future space available? I’m sure the number is obscene. Snap, Inc. has been waiting for many other buildings to open up so they can move into them but that will cease to happen only if the land-owners and property owners refuse to deal with them anymore and say enough is enough – this is Venice, not Snapville! Some developers are worse than others and they know who they are. And for most of them it’s a profit they can live without – they should have some self-respect and pride and preserve the history of the neighborhood. It’s a community, not a campus. Change is inevitable – but this is a cultural devastation and it’s ultimately up to them to put a stop to it. Sources say the owner of 23 Windward, previously Danny’s restaurant, made a point NOT to sell to Snap, Inc. and instead leased to Samesun, a Canadian company, which has recently opened the Surfside restaurant – they should be commended and applauded and others should do the same and follow suit – and I have no doubt the locals will respond and give the new Surfside as much of their business as possible.

Also what this map doesn’t show, that Venetians can attest to, is how small of an area this is. Most outsiders don’t realize that there are only steps between most of these properties. In addition, it doesn’t show the infesting amount of Snap, Inc.’s security guards constantly hovering and biking around between buildings or the many shuttles moving around their employees. Reports of their security hassling locals have diminished the past couple months, but the fact it was happening at all exemplifies the bullying attitude this company has towards the community. And what they don’t seem to realize is that the mere presence of these security guards creates a hostile environment – especially after past conflicts that they essentially started. It’s sad and it’s wrong and it’s a shame. All Snap, Inc. had to do was be cool and be a friendly neighbor and be an asset to Venice from the start. Evan Spiegel could be the next Abbot Kinney of Venice CA, but instead he’s the schoolyard bully known as Evil Spiegel kicking out mom-and-pop stores, taking away residents parking, displacing long-time residents, and pushing up rents and property values higher than Beverly Hills. All while creating an environment where his employees and many other millennials exert a mindset of “Who cares, Snapchat owns this town” which residents have heard on multiple occasions making all of this that much more infuriating.

This is a catastrophe and all the culprits should be publicly shamed and reprimanded – the property owners, the politicians, most of the members of Venice Neighborhood Council and all the employees & executives at Snap, Inc. that conveniently just look the other way. Personally, I don’t know how any of them can sleep at night or live with themselves. Watching landowners with the last remaining Art galleries in Venice requesting and being approved to change their zone use to office use shows the ripple effect and the blind eye to preserving the arts and culture of Venice by the very people who were voted in to protect it. And yes, the Snap, Inc. employees are responsible too. They can easily stand up and tell their superiors “we don’t condone this land-grab” and “we don’t want to be a part of this problem”, but instead they walk around in silence and allow it to transform. I was told an employee at Google said that “Snapchat and all of their employees should be ashamed of themselves and embarrassed” and I agree. It’s personal and corporate greed at its finest. It’s the upper class taking a big giant shit on the lower and middle class and on the many locals that have been in Venice longer than many of Snap, Inc.’s employees have been alive. They’re taking advantage of free-spirited, open-minded and non-judgmental people, known for being tolerant with many things that other neighborhoods are not – like noise, the homeless, and our many differences that we embrace and are so proud of that brought us to Venice in the first place. Venice is not the same as other communities, especially here in Los Angeles. It’s a section of LA where it isn’t about the Hollywood glamour or how much money you have or what you do for a living and where neighbors actually say “Hi” and befriend each other. There’s a comradery that Venetians share that is simply non-existent in other communities that is being destroyed and all that are mentioned above are at fault for this shameful (and sometimes illegal) transformation the last few years.

I find it mindboggling that anyone can condone Snap, Inc.’s obvious intent to take control of this small community and popular tourist area, and the fact that many of our own community members, in addition to city and state officials are allowing this to happen is simply appalling. It can’t be said enough, “Venice is a community – not a corporate campus.” The California Coastal Commission says “it is committed to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations. It does so through careful planning and regulation of environmentally-sustainable development, rigorous use of science, strong public participation, education, and effective intergovernmental coordination.” As with everything in life – actions speak louder than words. On Tuesday June 6th, the Venice Dogz sent a lengthy email which included this map along with details of each Snap, Inc. property, copies of letters and photographs to Michael Bonin and Taylor Bazley at LA City and 8 members of the California Coastal Commission. We also pointed out multiple zoning laws they are breaking, in addition to residents parking being taken away at the Freak Show building and Thornton Lofts among many other things. We look forward to their response.

If you know of a property that Snap, Inc. uses that is not listed here please email us at: veniceactivists@gmail.com and visit us at http://www.allianceforvenice.org.


NOTHING CAN

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 20:32

NOTHING CAN

BY MIRA WILDER

5 angel lamps,
a micro wave oven
old apples shrinking in a bowl
a wooden Buddha
2 trumpets
and a random Beach Boy drumstick
strewn clutter flaws of imperfection
aged in an aging apartment
Nothing can fix this mess up.
Nothing can.

Odd matching chairs
a shaky worn table
an old curtain cover
glass floating atop
legs unstable
random chords
broken frames
bills scattered unpaid
remind me daily
typing away
Nothing, can fix this mess up.
Nothing can.

Books piled high
metaphysical eye
a bronze statue of Tara holds bracelets,
sweet tea by my side
a silver tea pot filled with change
a keyboard and a recorder
a mandolin hardly played
years of collecting cds
a 60 inch television.
gifted as a joke
to choke my life
as I lay watching
Nothing can fix this mess up.
Nothing can.

What’ll I do with all my junk
years from now it’ll still be crap
clothes from the 80’s
Mothers jewelry
given in guilt for pedophilia
photographs
strewn broken frames
from my last matrimonial disaster
Nothing can fix this mess up
Nothing can.

I don’t take care of my hands
No patience for that
barely hanging on.
ruminating the past
invisible apparitions
never dared anything
or got out of my own way
afraid of my own shadow
yet here I am today.
Nothing can fix this mess up.
Nothing can.

I could call a maid of foreign descent
call a hauler or file a complaint
I have this neighbor a hell bent bitch
locks me out of the apartment
while my dog takes a piss,

and I know…
I’m the only one who can deal with this!
Nothing can fix this mess up,
Nothing can!


THE DIN FROM MY DEN

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 20:27

THE DIN FROM MY DEN

BY MIRA WILDER

I imagine in this world
There are places of silence
Peaceful, serene
No sign of violence,
Maybe the sound
Of nature to ponder,
Is out there,
Somewhere,
Way out yonder…

But not from my corner
Of life where I’m living,
Rife with the noise
Of everyday minion…
And I might go crazy,
If I let it bother
The decibel level
Exceeds any standard…

Small craft Airplanes,

rumble overhead.
Sounds of scratchy raking,
Leaf blowers blowing at 6 am
The racket here is deafening.
Radio stations blare the beat,
Engines clank, N tires screech,
power tools, grinding, obbligato.

TVs blasting throughout the day…
then I hear a hubbub
shouting…slamming doors!

yelling ‘I’m gonna put you away’…

Lawn mowers put-ting, hammers hit the head

all in the name of progress…
police and fire trucks and an ambulance to the scene…

Helicopters circle,

the criminal fleeing…

12 gang motorcycles race around
A dog is barking out of control
the owner Yells… God dammit NO
Someone singing…a little off key…
Adele; ‘Hello’…

A baby having his daily cry.
the grating cacophony of Jets in the sky
Wind chimes tinkle in the trees…
4 different languages
Yell from the street,
English, Spanish
Persian, Chinese…

The cats are meowing…
Birds of variety tweet,
A car pulls up, someone gets out
And revs the engine as he leaves…

The city tried to get an ordnance
but nobody listened to that
too busy making noise themselves…

to give shit
about any of it!
in the midst,
My ears could bleed,

for some much needed quiet and a semblance of peace…

But instead, I’m drenched,
In gratitude,

It’s all in the change of attitude!

from my desk by the Window,
the Din from my Den, My Ears are Ringing…
While Taking it all in….
These glorious sounds of life
letting me know, loudly as possible
That I am well and alive.!!!

——————- (This is the complete version, the version printed in the June 2017 Beachhead was truncated – oops!)

Roger Houston

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 20:12

May 22nd, 2017, Lord Byron

Apartments ….. We serve our watch in silence. Boy and I.
We breathe away the hours. Quietly. South of the One-o-one.
I hear it pass. It’s barely audible beyond the glass.
St-Remy. Mixed with water. It’s enough. To bring me to
submission. Call my bluff. The early morning silence. Takes
me back. To ancient times. Was planning an attack. Survival
was so stubborn. Was the stuff. Of legend. To a youngster.
Took a puff. To counter the insomnia. The gas. Is filling up
the room. The Sunday mass. Makes way for Mondays June. To
have a try. A brand new month. It’s too soon to deny …..

Roger Houston


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