May 26, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Venice Beat: Boardwalk, Surplus Property, and Gang Intervention Funds:

LAPD Officer Richards reported to the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) that the first compliment of 10 additional officers for Venice Beach will begin service on Sunday, April 27. Further additional officers are expected in another month or so as the summertime crowds grow.

The report, which was made to the Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 15, came days after the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, April 9, unanimously passed a new ordinance regulating the outdoor vendors, performance artists, and others who regularly ply their wares, talents, and ideas on the Ocean Front Walk in Venice. The new ordinance was crafted under the direction of U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson, who was hearing a legal challenge to the earlier ordinance that is replaced by this one.

Also on April 15, the Council adopted two resolutions in response to suggestions by Mayor Villaraigosa that Los Angeles sell city-owned “surplus” real estate in order to help balance city budget shortfalls. (Los Angeles is facing a $406 million deficit, the largest in history according to Neighborhood Council President Mike Newhouse.) One resolution provides that the city “should be researching and considering reducing wasteful spending habits before selling property that could be better used to serve the community, especially with the shortage of affordable housing,” and concludes that VNC “opposes selling city property or using surplus property in Venice to balance the city budget.”

The other resolution provides that VNC “supports Councilman Rosendahl in his efforts to reserve two sites listed as surplus property in [Council District] 11 from being sold to help balance the city budget and that we support his plan to use those properties for more affordable housing.” The properties in question are unused Mar Vista fire stations, according to Newhouse.

In other action on April 15, VNC approved a letter to Villaraigosa opposing provisions in “your proposed Budget funding for gang intervention programs in Venice” under which the programs “will be cut dramatically or even eliminated.” The letter noted that “ongoing, successful gang intervention programs…have reduced violence and personal loss in Venice.”

Noting that Venice is not a designated Gang Reduction Zone (GRZ), to which zones the budget proposes to allocate all such funds, the letter argues that “Venice is not a GRZ because of the continued efforts of Venice 2000/H.E.L.P.E.R ALLIANCE which has been working the streets/gangs of Venice since 1999 to effect positive change” and concludes that “[b]y cutting the funding of these intervention programs in the Venice area, we believe the success they have achieved could be lost and we could become a GRZ.”

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