By Mary Getlein

The who, what, where, when, and why of it is! Who gathered long time residents of Venice, mostly artists. What? The LAPD showed up at 5:30 in the morning of December 17. Where? 3rd St.

Ibriham Butler heard a sound which was the sound of a tow truck operator, wrapping the chains around the van’s axle to tow it away.

Diane Butler was still I’m the car asleep and her husband, Ibriham, had to persuade the tow-truck operator not to tow the truck until Diane got out. Leaving Diane on the street, with her four dogs at 6am. It took $260 to get the van out of impound. The same thing happened to Jeff Hirsch, a Venice artist.

Ibriham Butler alerted other residents and most of them got away. They were yelling back at the police what a fucked up thing this was, to persecute harrass and steal their vehicles away from people at Christmas time.

Butler and Lisa Green were shaming the cops and telling them they made the wrong choice. Eventually, one police officer looked at Butler and said they were not going to do anymore towing. They handed out citations for height violations. The artists are all disabled and have disabled plates, which are supposed to be exempt from the seven foot height law imposed on vehicles.

I spoke to Butler later that day and he said his wife, Diane, was still upset about it. “They tow your van, and all your stuff is thrown together and upside down and who wants to wake up that way? It’s scary and frightening.”

As to why? Why? That’s what I want to know, these people, that they are picking on, they have been artists and musicians, for their entire lives. They are free spirits who have found a way to live without paying rent. Why is this so bad? So you step out of line and go to the other side of the tracks where no bills dog you around. So why? Don’t know/Don’t Ask?

L.A. City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl has done such a good job of “cleaning up” Venice of eccentric, different artistic types- one by one, over and over again. Google, Whole Foods, and the Movie industry types all want homeless people to disappear.

Once again, we are people, not cockroaches. Poverty is not a disease-sometimes it’s a lifestyle change, some people are happy living off the grid. It’s a threat to see people living “For Free.” It awakens an anger in all the 9-5 types, who cling to their jobs.

Why? Police up and down the coast of California have been harassing homeless people and taking all their stuff. It’s not just Venice, it’s also Fresno and other towns.

It’s an assault on the poor, which reminds me of the way the cops in the 1930s would harass homeless people. They would burn down their “shanty towns” and beat up people who were trying to escape. Homeless people are at-risk for violence inflicted upon them at any given time. Why does the L.A.P.D have to go out of their way to make people’s lives miserable?

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