By Krista Schwimmer
As the fast-paced, inappropriate and illegal development of Venice continues its rush towards infamy, a symbol of community and connection is being eroded from Venice forever: the front porch.
Once a place where people could meet each other naturally, the loss of the porch first began with the increased height of fences. Next came the “BUB’s”*– strange, over-sized, box-shaped homes that not only do not fit the character of neighborhoods, but make a statement of isolation rather than of invitation. Not homes, not places of sanctuary, these structures are more like the castles of feudal lords distancing themselves from the peasants around them.
Despite the uproar in the local community at the (often ineffective) Neighborhood Council, demolitions continue. And they will continue unless we act. We need to complain to the Coastal Commission and the City of Los Angeles on each one and to demand a study of the cumulative impact on our community. Street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, people must organize together and say ABSOLUTELY NO! No to any development that has no thought of people, environment, history, parking, affordability, green space, or traffic.
Go to the Coastal Commission and write letters of opposition. Next time you walk down the streets of your neighborhood, take a look around. Notice what is happening. Decide if you agree. And don’t hesitate to take action. Here is what Venice Coalition to Preserve our Unique Community Character (VCPUCC) calls for:
Monitor and collect information on ALL developments springing up in the community by: Signing up to receive advance planning notices in the Venicearea at: http://bit.ly/1jJ6REm
Check the address on www.cityhood.org for project details. If it looks like a significant project, take a photo of the existing house for the record. Even if construction has begun, take photos and document clearly the location and possible violations. Take photos of places with and without notices. Take photos of the home as well as the surrounding area, particularly noting where there is grading and no mitigation of dust, and uncovered piles of excavated dirt in the street or alley.
Organize your information by address and date. Then, send all of your information to [email protected]
The battle for Venice is an old battle, one that even Abbot Kinney himself had to fight. But Venetians, the battle that we are in the midst of now is even stronger and more powerful than before. Backed by unprecedented wealth, this battle is not only here – but around the world. Although there may be places to hide from it now, unless the majority of people wake up to the fact that a small percentage of the world is claiming land rights, eventually there will be no place to hide.
Stakeholders of Venice, we ask you to be a beacon of light for the rest of the world. The time to act is NOW.
*BUB’s: Big, Ugly, Boxes. See last month’s article, “Stopping Hyper-gentrification One Conversation At A Time,” for more on the origins of this acronym.
By Krista Schwimmer