This letter was sent to our Councilmember, Bill Rosendahl.
I am writing to you so that in the future you as my representative may have a window into the daily life of one of your constituents here in Venice. I am a 30-year-old woman married to a disabled man who still works as an artist. We chose the building on 5 Rose for serious reasons. I am an epileptic and have not driven for five years because of uncontrollable seizures. Since I work for Santa Monica/UCLA Medical Center, I like the accessibility of the public bus system as much as the affordable rent compared to apartments closer to the hospital. When my husband was working, he was able to ride his bicycle instead of drive, which saved on gasoline and other expenses. The building was a community within itself that offered a neighborly atmosphere as well as security. Overall, the building made life convenient and comfortable, the things that a home should be.
Things here have changed. Since the new owners have taken over, the rent has increased and it has been made clear that it could rise higher. One of my neighbors has received an eviction notice after paying rent late, despite a history of timely payment in all previous months. The lack of understanding during his appeal made it clear that pushing him and rest of us out was their ultimate goal. Security cameras have been placed throughout the building and there is a growing sense that we, the residents, are the ones that are being watched. I have informed all friends and family not to visit us here at 5 Rose in order to circumvent any possible reason to find fault with us.
There has been construction on our building and when another neighbor complained of the fumes and dust in his apartment, quick retaliation in the form of another eviction notice came to him for being on the fire escape. If the fire escape is not safe, is it not a hazard that should be repaired?
A common area in the building known as the Recreation Room has been taken away. When we asked for an explanation in writing, the response was vague and ambiguous. It seems we must wait until after the holidays to know what the plans for our Recreation Room are. We are paying for the use of this space and our request for compensation has been ignored. There was a loading area in the rear of the building that the tenants used for grocery drop off and 15 minute parking (since parking is such a hassle in this neighborhood). So many of us are disabled and elderly and it is impossible to bring a full week’s worth of groceries from two or more blocks away.
Since the purchase of the building, however, the space where the manager used to park is now gated off and therefore she is forced to park in the loading zone. When we addressed this in our letter to the new owners they asked for make/model and proof of disability for the tenants who want to park there. Many of us, including myself, find this request moot. If the manager cannot park where she used to park what good can come out of supplying a company in Calabasas information about what kind of vehicle I own?
There have been an uncommon amount of “inspections” since the building has been taken over. During the first few months I was dismayed to discover there were photos taken of the inside of my apartment without my approval. This was during a time when my husband was dealing with a lot of pain and was under a lot of prescription medication. I cannot ask legal questions of a patient in the hospital under the influence, what gives them the right to interrogate him about our belongings? I was forced to remove a lot of the collectable items that we own as well as art reference books to appease the utilitarian expectations of the new owner. The space I pay for is not my own to live in comfort anymore.
I refuse to leave out of sheer annoyance. I have been saving for a house so that I can be a homeowner in this community and if that dream is squashed by this new company’s greed then I have nothing else keeping me in Venice. If I am evicted then UCLA will lose an employee and the city will lose a taxpayer and voter. The worst part of it is I will not be replaced. This building’s future is unclear. What is certain is the empty apartments in our building are not being filled. I speak with my neighbors in this community and my situation is not isolated. The middle and low income professionals are being squeezed out for an enigmatic vacuum of “luxury” that nobody can afford. As my representative, I am telling you that is not what I want for this community. I want a neighborhood filled with real people, not vacant real estate and LLCs.
Respectfully, Shirley M. Anderson
Beach Access for All
To Beachhead and Venice Neighborhood Council:
In the matter of overnight parking in beach area, it is important to remind people that the beach belongs to everyone – beach access must not be denied to anyone, no matter how they might look to you.
Sincerely, C.V. Beck, Lincoln Place