On September 25th, 2019 you missed an action packed Venice community meeting at Oakwood Park. The intention of the meeting was to ensure the voices of Oakwood, especially the marginalized, traditional residents, and POC voices were being heard by the city (L.A.) regarding the lack of enforcement for violation of the Los Angeles City dog leash law. That gist of that law says that all dogs must be on a leash. However a contingent of arrogant gentry still believe they are above the law and should be accommodated.
The impetus for this situation seems to be sparked from Oakwood Park Director Keith Rice’s “Dog Training Classes.” We are not sure when the dog classes started but due to growing issues and controversy of the past couple seasons the classes ended at the end of August of this year (2019). Our Sunday congregation at E.L. Holmes Square (7th/Westminster) every Sunday have noticed this off-leash dog problem since at least Summer of 2018.
The meeting was attending by relevant local agencies, Keith Rice – Oakwood Park Director, Morgan Bostic – Mike Bonin’s Office, LAPD Pacific Division (3), Lt. Wall – WLA City Animal Shelter, Darryl Ford – Superintendent Planning Rec and Parks, Gonzalo Manrique – LA City Recreation Branch, Mark Isreal – Shorleline District Suervisor Recreation n Parks, and Joe Losorelli – Chief Ranger, LA City Park Ranger Division.
Laura Ceballos who organized the community meeting, and Oakwood Park director Keith Rice did a good job of facilitating it. Of the agencies represented LAPD, Animal Control, and Park rangers were the primary exchangers. Morgan Bostick coming in second with nothing to say but letingt us know “she was listening to our concerns.” The other agency panel guests were so quiet they were as good as absent.
Traditional Venetians dominated the space of course along with our newer neighbors who are respectful of our neighborhood’s socio-historic context and who have also been subject to some of the same arrogance and injury by disrespectful dog owners. The northeast corner of the room is where the gentry proponents of dog park time/space zones in the park and people who think they can pay their way out of obeying the law sat. However, halfway through the meeting majority of the “off-leasher” crowd were gone. Some questionable and nervous alt-right styled characters were in the crowd too.
During public comments testimonies of injuries of dog bites were heard. The general sentiment from traditional Venetians and like advocates was simply: follow the law that is already existence, we need enforcement, this is a historic Black and Brown neighborhood, respect it and use the designated dog parks in the close vicinity. Speakers included community elder Jataun Valentine, elders from the community, Save Venice representatives, and VBFC Soccer coaches who also brought their injured players to speak against gentry getting a free pass from leash enforcement. From the VNC only Matt Fisher and Nisa Kove seemed to be the only ones who cared enough to attend.
The public comments from the ”off-leasher” crowd included Daniel Samakow, co-owner of James Beach and a very mentally unstable and disruptive woman named Alexandria Falkoff whose friends shouldn’t have let her be there for her own health and safety. Aside from constant inference that they shouldn’t have to abide by the already existing leash law as though it was optional for them, the sentiment of their message was: there’s a compromise, we shouldn’t have to follow the leash law, you cant’ keep pulling the history card, reverse racism, your discontent with our demand for dog space is what’s causing disharmony.
The video of the meeting speaks for itself https://vog.news/dogleashmeeting
Despite there being an official dog park 4 blocks away, kids being hurt and bit, and the call from the community and city officials to obey the leash law there are still a contingent of off-leash dog owners who are deliberately disrespecting the community park space and the community. All this is aside from the fact that dog parks have been shown to be a mechanism of gentrification.
In our fight for the First Baptist Church of Venice (FBCV) we understand the subtleties that give environment for gentrification agents and projects like the Penske’s single family mansion to feel welcome and comfortable. Allowing any form of dog park (mechanism of displacement) in the heart of Oakwood and next to the FBCV would do just that. The issue is bigger than a mere dog leash law. It’s the about cumulative impact these seemingly innocent actions and spaces have on the historic Black and Brown Oakwood community.
The refusal to respect our requests as traditional residents and as historically marginalized peoples who understand what is best for the survival of our community is to consciously perpetuate mechanisms of systemic racism. Plain and simple. They want us to “compromise” but anymore compromises would just be investments to our complete displacement from the neighborhood and you know we’re not gonna let that happen.
savexvenice.com | #defendoakwood
If you would like to help us pass out flyers and inform off-leash dog owners in the morning or evening please contact [email protected]
Sunday October 6th: A young couple with off-leash dogs were engaging in racial insults to elder Black women in the community.
Many instance like the ones above have happened. Not all have been documented. LAPD and Animal Control have already performed 2-3 stings during “prime time” off leash offending hours. More expected.