by Mark Lipman
Over the past several years we have all noticed significant changes to our Venice community. A pro-big business, pro-development agenda has literally demolished its way through Venice, while rents and eviction rates have skyrocketed. Longstanding neighbors and local residents have disappeared almost overnight as a tourist industry, which brings no revenues back to Venice, has eradicated our affordable housing stock and decimated our existing community in one of the greatest Displacement Crises of modern history. Where have all our neighbors gone?
Big Tech companies like Google and Snapchat receive an 80% tax break from the City of Los Angeles, as they buy up entire neighborhoods, driving up our rents by importing high paid employees, who come here with bags of money and no manners. These public subsidies given to gentrify our neighborhoods directly support real estate tycoons – like Tami Pardee of Pardee Properties, whose entire business model is to implant wealthy elite onto low income neighborhoods, while making boatloads of money, in a 3-step process which involves multiple LLCs, Ellis Act evictions and bulldozers.
All the while all we hear is “long term” lip service when it comes to solutions (i.e. housing) to deal with homelessness from our elected officials. In place of Pubic Services there are police sweeps to sweep the needs of our community under the rug, so that the business of making a few people extremely rich at the expense of the rest of us can go on as usual.
If things like this happening in our community infuriate you, you’re not alone. And Venice is not alone in this struggle. All across Los Angeles the words Gentrification and Mansionization are on every ones lips. Tenants (anyone who does not have control over their own housing) are coming together to organize and stand up for their rights.
Here in Venice, the Westside Tenants Union is a part of that fight. Bringing tenants together from Venice, Mar Vista, West LA, Santa Monica and Culver City, the Westside Tenants Union is a chapter of the regional Los Angeles Tenants Union and together, along with many organizational allies, we are actively working on Displacement Prevention, Eviction Defense and Policy Changes to protect housing for all of us. It is our core belief that Housing is a Human Right.
A real positive change is coming – one where we put the rights and well being of the people in our community above the profit margin of a handful of wealthy elite. It will not be easy. Power never concedes a thing without a fight … this we know, however when we, as a community, come together and work together for the common good, we will win.
You can be a part of this. Please join us for our next organizing meeting, on Thursday, April 21st, 6:30pm at the Venice Community Housing Corp. 720 Rose Ave., Venice 90291