Women have a right to live free of violence

Another woman has been murdered in Venice. Eun Kang, a 39-year-old Korean resident of Electric Avenue, who was pregnant with twins, was brutally raped and stabbed on Dec. 8. In October, 25-year-old Devin Petelski suffered a brutal death when two tons of a silent running police cruiser on Venice Blvd. plowed into her car at high speed. Petelski’s death was a tragedy that could have been avoided by practicing safe police procedures.

Kang’s death, likewise, should anger all of us. The Beachhead reported last month on a recent series of rapes on the beach. They may have been done by Kang’s murderer. It would be nice to think that women are safe because one possibly mentally ill man is behind bars. Yet according to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division, which includes Venice, there were 31 rapes in 2009 and 41 the year before.

News reports state that Kang screamed loud and long but only one person came to investigate. He was unable to confront the rapist and went away to call police. Where were all the other neighbors? Is this a repeat of the Kitty Genovese incident? In 1964, she was stabbed to death as at least a dozen neighbors heard her screams and did nothing. Could Eun Kang’s neighbors have prevented her death and that of her unborn twins if they had rushed to her defense? A friend tells me that in the old days, if a woman screamed on her block, everyone would rush out of their homes, some armed with baseball bats. If we want to have a real community, we have to look out for each other.

I would also like to know why there are scores of yoga classes in Venice but no classes teaching women’s self-defense. Women of Venice, if the men aren’t going to defend you, demand self-defense training from the city, from nonprofits and from expert volunteers. It’s time for women, together with supportive men, to get together to end this violence!

Goodbye to two thrift stores

Venice has been favored with having a number of quite good thrift stores. Here’s how it works: the cheapest shopping is in your own alley where you can find incredible things discarded by yuppies; next up the economic ladder are the thrift stores where clothes, appliances, furniture, books and knick-knacks can be had; then for the upscale shopper there’s Ross Dress for less with a senior discount every Tuesday. Some people know even more expensive places to shop, but I have no idea where they are.

In the next month, we’ll be losing both the Boys and Girls Thrift Shop, on Washington, and the St. Joseph’s Thrift Shop on Lincoln. I’ve been purchasing fine furnishings and clothing from B&G since they were on Lincoln Blvd. where their corporate-looking headquarters now looms. St. Joseph’s reportedly fired its entire staff at the thrift shop around Dec. 1. Sources say they will be reopening in Santa Monica, but the old staff will have to reapply for their old jobs. A strange policy for an organization whose purpose is helping the poor.

This is one more example why you should have a union regardless who your employer happens to be. Register your concern: St. Joseph’s – 396-6468; Boys & Girls Club – 390-4477.

Ralphs Market

Who would have thought that this money-grubbing chain store would be a place to meet old Venetian friends. I rejoice every time I go there to see the face of Venice in all its glory. It’s always full of Black people, Brown people, long hairs, long beards. No pretensions here, just Venice as it always has been.

However, Ralphs or Kroger or whoever you are, you need to get rid of those plastic bags. Ralphie boy, you’re too near the ocean to push those dreaded non-degradable polluters and fish killers on unsuspecting shoppers. And why are you out of paper bags half the time? Bill Rosendahl, can’t we ban plastic bags this close to the ocean, if not everywhere?

Medical Marijuana regulations

How about a little democracy here? The city council of Los Angeles is attempting (unsuccessfully so far) to regulate medical marijuana for widely differing communities. Venice and parts of the San Fernando Valley may have different attitudes on the subject. This is where we could use our long-lost cityhood. Meanwhile, how about allowing Venice to be a special zone, a la Amsterdam, where this medical herb is tolerated and embraced? Let Venice set up a medical marijuana district and let us decide how much is too much in our community.

What’s up with Ocean Front Walk?

The city council is once more sticking its nose into daily life on our front porch. This is another issue where Venetians should be able to decide what we want, not a bunch of suits downtown who have never laid eyes on the place. I’d like to see it return to its free speech status as it was before L.A. started meddling in it. That’s right, no selling, no suggested donations, lots of benches and strolling. Let anyone set up, as long as they don’t think it’s a place to make money. Let’s have community, not commercialism, on the walk. Let’s get rid of the lottery, which is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

As to the noise, tell the stores to stop blasting recorded sound at us. The drum circle, which is far out on the sand, should stay, as should great acoustic musicians like Peter Demian. The current ordinance already regulates noise after sunset: “Amplified sound is permitted only in the designated spaces in the P-Zones in the locations specified in Section 42.15 between 9:00 a.m. and sunset, and is prohibited after sunset and before 9:00 a.m…No noise, whether from amplified or non-amplified, sound may exceed the Lmax levels of: a) 75 dBA, when measured at a minimum distance of 25 feet from the source of the noise; or,b) 96 dBA, when measured at a minimum distance of one foot from the source of the noise.” (http://bit.ly/7acspv) Obviously, the current ordinance is not being enforced.

–Jim Smith


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