The paternalistic charity known as SamJam put on by Winston House and 2332 Collective is at it again. Disrespecting Oakwood, the First Baptist Church of Venice, illegally closing sidewalks to not only the general public but even residents, last year at SamJam 2018 wasn’t enough apparently.
Beginning of April 2019 residents in Oakwood saw an announcement for SamJam’s return to Oakwood Park. Considering people were still upset about last year’s event and that no dialogue was had with the community regarding bringing the event back, residents took this as added insult to the injuries incurred from their 2018 event.
Concerned residents emailed Bonin’s office. His deputy Taylor Bazley responded saying Bonin was not in support, nor was LAPD likely to issue them a permit for alcohol vending, and he assured the people that SamJam would not get a permit to operate in Venice this year.
Sounded hopeful but we know how Bonin’s promises go. We lovin’ all that “saving” he’s promised for the First Baptist Church of Venice ya know? A quick political activism tip: “If it’s not in writing it doesn’t exist.” At least in this instance there was something in writing but still, we should never rest our laurels on promises from politicians.
Forward to mid-May 2019 and SamJam organizers are canvassing for signatures in Oakwood. One of the more vocal Oakwood residents taking lead engaged them. Knowing of the disrespect that happened to the First Baptist Church of Venice (FBCV) at their event last year the Oakwood our neighbor asked SamJam organizers if they ever tried to reach out to anyone from the FBCV defense group. Their answer was yes, last year, but that we were “too militant” =) (thanks for the compliment), and he couldn’t bring up any names of people he allegedly corresponded with.
Our neighbor said SamJam organizers sounded desperate, even offering to get them a hotel for the day. Concluding that encounter the canvassers continued to contradict Taylor Bazley’s initial statement saying that Bonin, LAPD, and Parks & Recs were in fact, in support of SamJam happening in Oakwood.
After receiving this new information Bonin’s office was contacted to ask about SamJam’s advertising of the event as if it was going to happen and about what was perceived as Bonin’s new “about face” position regarding SamJam. Taylor Bazley returned correspondence reiterating Bonin’s original stance, that they would not be issuing permits, nor would any other of the relevant review entities be approving permits for SamJam in Venice this year.
The Oakwood neighbor felt slighted by SamJam organizers because they were supposed to send him the proposed changes to the event and from there he would would share that information to the rest of the neighbors who were negatively impacted by their 2018 event. Instead SamJam organizers generated their own petition and falsely stated to other neighbors that “only 2 neighbors were in opposition.”
They continued to say they had LAPD’s support and also the support of “Oakwood Park Staff, Oakwood Park neighbor advisory board, LAPD, a massive majority of neighbors, and the Venice community” Which is interesting because, again, it was contradicting what Bonin’s office had been saying and also because there hasn’t been an Oakwood Park Advisory Board for about two years now.
Our Oakwood neighbor noticed how SamJam’s false information iterated on the Venice Chamber of Commerce’s (VCC) website. He asked VCC to correct the misinformation which they did, albeit it was a trivial edit that did not really subtract from the general misrepresentation of the event.
SamJam canvassers went on exploit the VNC Elections on June 2nd soliciting signatures from the election lines. A smart move on their part because most there don’t know what SamJam was, nor what happened last year, and unfortunately many of our new neighbors love events of the gentrifying nature.
Our weekly Sunday gatherings at the First Baptist Church of Venice fell on that election day as well. Two canvassers walked by the church with no sign of engaging us until we addressed them. Suffice it to say that all their skilled deflection and diffusing techniques didn’t work. Being nice doesn’t work on us when your principles are shit.
Why the desperation to have it in Oakwood again? All previous SamJam events have taken place at different locations. Many often ask why the Penske’s are so adamant about living on that corner when they can literally live anywhere in the world?
The Penskes obviously gave SamJam permission to put an alcoholic playground at E.L. Holmes Square at their 2018 event. To my understanding, as it applies to the First Baptist Church of Venice, the property owners of the First Baptist Church of Venice is 685 Westminster Holdings LLC, not “the Penske family.” Property gangster and Venice Chamber of Commerce (VCC) President George Francisco is their well documented lap dog whose been taking the lead the ground level opposition to racial equity in Venice. VCC is a clear supporter of the SamJam event and there are credible rumors of George Francisco promising to help SamJam organizers make the 2019 event happen.
Also, right next door to the “nice Penske family” lives Camaj of infamous Gjusta “Fakery” fame with his Oakwood Park LLC. Consider also the recent rerouting of the buses going down 7th right through E.L. Holmes Square, and don’t get me started on that defacto dog park situation over at Oakwood Park.
The gathering of LLCs at E.L. Holmes Square, the desperation for the Penskes to live there, the desperation for Sam Jam, and all that. These are important elements and activities to scrutinize. Whats LAPD’s role in all this? Bonin’s? The Venice Chamber, etc? Please break that down to individuals because we all know eventually accountability for this leads back to that “nice person” you know or maybe even yourself.
As of today our understanding is that Parks and Recs denied their application. SamJam organizers have yet to apologize or public acknowledge all their transgressions and disrespect from last years event, especially to our Black community and Elders. If SamJam organizers really wanna have it go do it on Abbot Kinney, and to reaffirm our sentiment from last year—we don’t need charity, we demand solidarity.
Feel free to send Bonin and LAPD an email letting them know you don’t these shenanigans in Venice anymore:
If Bonin doesn’t keep his word and/or these dudes try to sly by then we’ll see you at the disruption the day of.