September 2008 – The Never Ending Neighborhood Council Meeting

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By C.V. Beck

At this meeting, (which didn’t start until 7:20pm and didn’t end until 10:40), had an 8-page agenda which was largely unreadable to anyone over 30. My feeling was that it was like a cruel and unusual punishment. It was dimly lit by fluorescent lights, chairs were hard and uncomfortable. The auditorium was about three-quarters filled. There were several tables in dark places with informational materials and snacks.A water container leaked all over the floor. The meeting was very slow in getting started and pretty much moved at a glacial pace for much of itself. However, the agenda was gotten through. The public had their two minutes of comment and everyone else had all the time they wanted. At 7pm, in another room, elections were going on until 9pm on other matters. The meeting was chaired quite well by Mike Newhouse. 

Results of this Board of Officers meeting are as follows: Announcements were made about upcoming meetings and programs such as Emergency Preparedness and Drills, Neighborhood Preparedness Program (three Saturdays Sept. 27, Oct. 4 and 11 from 9-1pm at Fire Station 5, contact Mona Curry at Emergency Management Dept., 213-473-9921. An October Town Hall meeting and 3rd quarter newsletter were announced. Various other announcements and requests for assistance for putting away chairs were made. 

There was a presentation by a representative of the owners of the Breezes Del Mar (Holiday Venice) Apartments, GH Capital, by Monique LaShey. These are 14 apartment buildings through the Oakwood area, 246 apartments within 14 buildings, project-based section 8 (low income). GH Capital wants to prepay the existing mortgages and apparently replace these with new shorter mortgages. There was present the threat of not renewing the section 8’s, instead going to market rate. This was denied by LaShey. 

People from the community spoke in favor of respecting what the residents of these apartments are trying to achieve in their negotiations and there was a lot of support for them from the community. There were some neighbors who spoke about drug dealing and fear on certain streets. After discussion, it was decided to hear this matter again on October 8, which would give enough time for the desired communications to occur between the residents and the landlords, with a final hearing by Board of Officers now scheduled for October 21.

The next item was the Arts and OFW Committee regarding approval of a letter of support for a Venice Beach Concert Series by Mickey Schuman to begin in September and continue through October, a total of four concerts in a pilot program. 

LAPD Officer Williams was not in favor of this concert series, being concerned with public safety and crowd management. Other concerns of this nature, like parking, were expressed. The concert promoter assured people that there would be security backed up by the police, parking would be finessed and he did not envision untoward events. After more discussion it was approved, with four separate permits but would not set any kind of precedent.

In public comment, Dennis Hathaway, East Venice, spoke about 2 pieces of land belonging to the City in the Venice Trust, which he felt would be good to use for open space, community gardens, parks or affordable housing, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Mark Lipman spoke about opposing the war, forming an antiwar committee and was shut down after his two or three minutes were up. He was told that he could put his comments on the email and it would be available in their entirety online. A speaker from Venice 2000 stated that they needed help from the VNC with the mayor and Councilperson Rosendahl in continuing funding for their programs in Venice. Also that the Senior Citizen Prom will be held on September 27 at the Oakwood Rec Center.

In the matter of 660 Venice Boulevard, a presentation was made regarding this proposed art gallery by “L&M, LA, LLC” and was approved with conditions regarding lighting, parking and valet parking. Also a historic plaque commemorating Ray Bradbury is to be displayed in a publicly visible location.

Regarding 612 San Juan Avenue, recommendation was made by the LUPC that this fence variance be approved because of extenuating circumstances. After much discussion, included more reports on drug dealing on this street, this was approved.

Mr. McKomis spoke about drug dealing and hostility in this area.Phyllis Des Verney spoke about her experiences. Jed Parker said this variance was setting a precedent even though the Fences and Hedges Subcommittee has not yet finished its work. 

In the matter of the elections, the ratification of Hugh Harrison was approved. The other four items, regarding proposed bylaws changes failed per vote of the people present at this meeting, after the elections in the separate room, held at the same time the Board of Officers meeting was being held. This room, also was not well lit. You had to stand or sit facing the people running the election, not a comfortable situation not private either.)

Item D3, Marina Pacific hotel was discussed at length and was denied. It was stated that the applicant had been asking “for the moon.”

In public comment, Jed Parker expressed his belief that with the board actions regarding the fence variance, that precedence has been established and that the Venice Neighborhood Council does not care about the law. Meeting ended at 10:40 pm.

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