July 2008 – Venice Still Has A Heart!

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A packed hearing, June 26, on overnight parking districts (OPDs), firmly rejected the city’s scheme which could require all Venetians to pay to park in front of their homes, while forcing those who live in mobile homes out of their vehicles and on to the streets. 

More than 80 percent of those who paraded to the podium during the three and a half hour hearing said no, no, no to permit parking during their two minutes of allotted time. The turn out was probably the largest public meeting in Venice in recent years. Many homeowners and renters came to the defense of the women, children and veterans living in RVs.

The OPDs would, in effect, make Venice into a gated community, without the gates. No one would be allowed to park overnight unless they paid the city for a permit to put on their car. This would eliminate coastal access for anyone outside Venice who just wanted to dip their toe into the ocean at night, or watch the grunion run.

Whether or not this exercise in local democracy will carry any weight with the people in city hall is problematic. In addition, the Venice Community Housing Corporation and the Venice Town Council went on record in opposition to the OPDs. Around 700 signatures of Venice residents also have been received against the plan.

Something must be done about the social problems that force people out of their homes and into vehicles or on to the street. But most of us understand that the OPDs will only make matters worse. We need more affordable housing, more jobs, more helping hands and more concern for others. We’re all in this together.

The Beachhead Collective feels good to know that so many Venetians feel compassion toward the less fortunate. Last night at least, the homeless haters were a distinct minority.

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