Environmentalists versus Playa Vista

It ain’t over, ‘til it’s over, might have been coined to describe the nearly 30 year fight to preserve the Ballona wetlands. The latest round began Feb. 24 when environmentalists submitted briefs to the Appellate Court alleging that the city of Los Angeles did not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) or the California Political Reform Act.

The briefs were filed by Attorney Todd Cardiff for the Grassroots Coalition and by conservationist John Davis. The case involves Playa Vista Phase I development and its demand for state groundwater resources.

Davis alleges that some Los Angeles City Council members and the City Attorney violated the California Political Reform Act. His brief claims that some City Council members took $126,150. from Playa Capital and individuals associated with it while the former City Attorney took $54,150 and then advised the city council on Playa Vista without disclosing the contribution. Davis says the city council members did not step aside when the city acted in favor of Playa Vista.

Should Davis and the Grassroots Coaltion be sucessful in their appeal, the court may order the city to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and may take action to enforce the Political Reform Act by voiding city council actions on the Playa Vista project.

The city of Los Angeles and Playa Capital, et.al. have 75 days to respond.

-Jim Smith

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Vera Davis Center in Danger of Closing?

The word on the street is that the Vera Davis Center (VDC), 610 California Ave., will shut down March 31.

At press time this was still not confirmed and no one has informed Cliff McClendon and Eddie Nuno what exactly will happen to the Center.

How can it close? The City of L.A. is broke.  Both the Venice and Mar Vista Community benefit from the services housed at the VDC such as the Latino Resource Center, Venice Neighborhood Arts, Tech Team and Venice 2000. The VDC also shares the space with the community to have meetings such as – Alcoholics Anonymous and the Venice Neighborhood Council. VDC provides food distribution twice a month (See calendar on page 11). The VDC has holiday turkey and toy distribution for families in need. There are jobs posted, other resources and information. Until recently there was free internet at the center but when Time Warner Cable became the monopoly in the Venice area, this monster conglomerate discontinued the free internet service.

Venetians should stop in, visit the VDC, and check out the resources at the front door. See how you can volunteer, be of assistance, and be part of the solution in our neighborhood to keep this community center open.

Let’s get proactive and not wait until the City decision makers close this center down. Write a letter in support of the VDC and send it to Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and to Mayor Villaraigosa, let them know the VDC cannot be cut from the Venice community nor cut in the budget. We need the Vera Davis Youth  & Family Center, now more than ever. Call for more information: 305-1865.

The Center is housed in the old Venice Library and is named after the late Venice activist, Vera Davis McClendon.

–Lydia Poncé

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