A Historic Showdown In Venice:June 13th
By David Busch
I was asked recently in an email survey to support Los Angeles’ “A Bridge Home”; and attend a support rally and photo-op for it proponents –on Saturday, June 13, in Venice.
This will be under the historic “Venice” sign: At Windward and Pacific.
I’ve copied here my response below in the comments section of the “A Bridge Home” Community Survey, and it looks like many of us will also be there, on the 20th, instead –to massively protest it.
In fact, hopefully including from around the world. Everyone, everywhere, who’s visited Venice: appreciated it as a community of resistance, and human culture; and resisted magnificently, all attempts to “Siliconize” it –and or Gentrafaconsumerize it:”
You should all show up now.
For as it stands, “A Bridge Home” is about as much about Venice –as Snapchat –that failure that we’ve already pushed back against, and is now being forced out –in one of the biggest anti-gentrification victories in any community in America. And as we next move to force this failing tech giant to return all of our illegally converted, siezed, and commercialized beachfront property, this coming summer in Venice.
Many of us will be sending out the invitations for the launching day of these, and other upcoming actions, in the coming weeks.
So here’s what I wrote about “Bridge to Home” as currently proposed for Venice:
Today, “shelters” throughout Los Angeles –offer no privacy; have daily kick-out hours; do not allow for cohabitation of informal couples; or even married ones: prison diets, no pets; large numbers of unstable, untreated, and misunderstood mentally ill; sexual harassment –no access to higher education –only coercion to work. No room for artists; contagious diseases; inadequate laundry and showers -miniscule personal storage, or even room for personal amenities.
In short, they are Guantanamos.
And that is now –what the city of Los Angeles, and it’s Mayor, Gil Garcetti –expects people to go to willingly?
And even more importantly for the historic community of Venice: They CANNOT now be used, here, to deny the additional numbers of thriving traveling artists and counterculture street community here –where we have long homed –the right to continue to camp on the beach; and also to live in affordable vans and RV’s in Venice in this coastal zone.
And even already won court victories to do so.
RIGHT VISION: SEE VENICE AS IT IS:
One to 3% of America is homeless on any given day. And Venice, without a single shelterbed, has about 42,,000 residents. So 420 to 1260 people, right now, must additionally have the right to sleep on the streets of Venice unmolested –just to accommodate its current fair share of street-dwelling residents. This –with all their civil and human rights: to food, clothing, showers, and safe storage addressed.
And which, to this moment in Venice, is still being viciously denied.
Clearly, 100 tents in a parking lot does not come close to meeting that need.
And this –is in addition to the other one-percent, to three-percent, of Venice’s weekly tourist visitors: Of, on average, 100,000 people per-week.
Roughly another 1,000 to 3,000 homeless people who have a right, each week, to equal access to our coastal zone. Including additional proportionate overnight lodging.
Nor will the 100 beds in this shelter come close to meeting that need either.
But it will now be used to deny the right to be here –of not just the 300 to 1,100 remaining unhoused residents: But, in addition, these thousands of these weekly unhoused tourists.
This is not about NIMBYism. It is about No Criminalization in My Backyardism: NCIMBY. This is not about opposing solutions for the unhoused. It is about using a token camp in your community to cover for homeless hate: “Oh look –we are not economically-segregating fascists, denying people their right to be in Venice, we have camps for them.”
Citywide, right now –this all about proposing roughly 1,600 shelter beds to criminalize another 39,000. Put them increasing peril of criminalization; and increased violence; and higher morbidity for the next decade. This –as this City’s Mayor launches his Presidential bid. And hoping he’ll be long gone before the reality of this massive bait-and-switch sets in.
Here, we in the historic street-culture of Venice make Venice uniquely free: and the second largest tourist attraction in Southern California.
Meanwhile — “A Bridge Home” proposed for Venice offers no guarantees that there is any recognition of any of that, anywhere, in the discussion: The problem of homeless criminalization; gentrification of Venice; and increasing segregation of Venice for the wealthy –will just be made worse by this proposal as it currently stands.
RIGHT INTENTION: FORM A GOOD INTENTION
Most of all: It is disappointing, that both the Mayor and Bonin’s videos –announcing “A Bridge Home” –begin by emphasizing so angrily that they are going to “get homeless people off ‘our’ streets,” and end “homeless encampments in ‘our’ neighborhoods.” This is especially sad to see in Councilman Bonin’s video. Very alarmingly, this is Trump-style dog-whistle: to further legitimize L.A.’s rampant homeless hate. As a part of “A Bridge Home” they have new websites to encourage Angelenos to specifically target any group of unhoused as soon as they are spotted for property siezure if they do not leave. And behind the scene, new forms of high-tech harassment and criminalizing. This is not leadership —it is cowardice in the face of neighborhoods in L.A. of increasing hate.
Leaders lead with our vision of bridging our differences as people: Not by “getting them out of our way;” not by ignoring that these are our neighbors, people; and not calling attention to our common humanity –and, instead –dehumanizing them, and charaterizing them often, merely as the “encampments” they live in. And then trying to deny and pretend that you are not directing hate and anger at people in preparation for their massive criminalization –those who you’ve viciously dehumanized –as, rather than people, these targeted “encampments.”
Coming from Democrats here, it is even more deeply appalling –and disgusting.
Mayor Garcetti, Councilman Bonin: Is this what you think we should now come to as a City? Is this is how you bring a community of people together and inspire them to see each other as people that need to stop valuing themselves by the price –they pay for their horrific and alarmingly-inflated, real estate? Divide us, over where we poor must live in order to stand –by the thousands –for our own humanity?
Like in this one, the repeated rhetoric of division and dehumanization –and who’s neighborhoods these are –in these videos is vile and alarming.
Moreover, specifically for Venice, there is no recognition of the unique, free, and counter-culture character of Venice: Or of the extra burdens of wealthy gentrification, that have been brought here by these wealthy new people raking in millions –and while launching their campaigns to now segregate Venice for the rich.
And who are now determined just as viciously destroy it’s historic beach character.
RIGHT SPEECH: SPEAK THE TRUTH; NOT PLATITUDES
Anybody now arguing that we shouldn’t oppose this MTA camp because it is “at least a step in the right direction” — is about as good an advocate for their own humanity:
Not to mention homeless people’s basic human rights; and their basic safety against criminalization in Venice:
As Trump is trading the safety of 100 unhoused for the criminalization of 100 a week; locking up of 50 a month in jail; and the increased siezing of 400 homeless people’s cars, Rv’s, bicycles; sleeping bags, tents, backpacks –musical instruments; clothing and most needed suvival items –in our weekly parking and “Sanitation Sweeps” is what you countenance: Because you really don’t give a damn. You good German. The city is going to make it all look good with their token camp in your midst; you won’t hear them screaming in jail. Pushed out. Increased attacks on the homeless; denying them storage and then siezing any suitcase they set down; even if it is next to a bird scooter; denying them even food in Venice: You continue to accept that.
You want to look the other way; as 1,100 of us here are about to be hunted like animals.
The guy with the cross who sleeps on the street, collects sick birds and prays for them; the woman who breaks up fights among the other homeless and tells them to be loving.
The struggling artist on the boardwalk who grew up here and is willing to never be chased away. The homeless woman on the boardwalk who makes flowers –and navagates all the potemntially stalking men here with amazing grace and skill. And writes imortal poetry about these times. The former IDF soldier who is finding the only relief from his PTSD after years –here, finally on this beach; and digs through your garbage can –because you won’t feed Venice’s fair share of the homeless here. In fact you stand by as local haters with enough money to move anywhere they want; come out and cuirse and threaten anyone who now tries to bring meals anywhere to the streets of Venice. The black muscian who will never go into this white-ruled system –but will make music for all and die here in tribute to Venice’s street culture –rather than do anythiing else.
RIGHT LIVELYHOOD: PRESERVE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A LIVELYHOOD FOR ALL IN VENICE
Proposals for the use of an empty MTA city bus lot must show it opens only a door to more services for our 1,200 unhoused on the street here first–and to offer the privacy, opportunity, autonomy and respect for fundamental human rights –that current L.A. shelters do not.
Before Councilman Bonin asks for support from this community for this minor proposal –and use it to cover for a massive increase in police attacks here on Venice street artists, traveling youth and the homeless and their property –anybody with any human conscience left here needs to demand that he first couple it with better guarantees against these attacks; property seizures, and attempts to drive out Venice’s historic street culture: And outline how he will help the preserve it going forward –and finally protect the rest of this community’s unhoused against Venice’s off-the-hook gentrifying greed.
In this, their largest attempt yet to segregate this beach and deny poor people here their equal access, that is protected under State law to this unique and historic coastal zone.
To turn your eyes away from this is not equanimity –and peace.
It is unacceptably disgusting.