A High-Tech Squeeze and Gridlock at OFW and Sunset Threaten to Take Venice Down

June 1, 2015

By John Stein

An office building for general and internet technology uses has been proposed for 601 Ocean Front Walk (OFW) at Sunset Avenue. It would have 22,738sf of office space on second and third floors, 5254sf of retail across the front at OFW ground level with parking behind, and two more levels of subterranean parking. It would have an 800sf live/work apartment at the back of the second floor, which by the developer’s statement, allows him to qualify the project as “mixed use residential/commercial” and gain a 50% development intensity bonus. Project architect Glen Irani of Venice tells us the apartment would be used for a night watchman. In the end, 82% of the total leasable space would be for office and office security uses, 18% for retail. Essentially, it’s an office building.
While there are many objectionable details to this project (the elegant design, to my mind, not among them), what I want to focus on are office uses taking over OFW and how this building would gridlock the surrounding neighborhood. First the gridlock.
It may be difficult for outsiders to recognize but this lot holds a keystone position at the center of a quarter-mile, 6-block long section of OFW between Rose and Brooks Avenues and is the last remaining undeveloped lot in the area. The pressure this proposed project would exert on the system of 20ft wide alleys behind it would extend throughout the neighborhood. It would swamp local parking, clog the alleys when one truck can’t get past another one unloading, and hold the entire community in its grip. The subject property now serves as a parking lot and relieves the severe parking deficit for blocks around. It is where people park when they visit Walk Street residents, where delivery and construction vehicles can find temporary parking, where nearby institutions can lease parking required for their operations, and where beachgoers park. It is the neighborhood’s safety valve.
This project could turn that 6-block length of OFW into an access nightmare of traffic and congestion for residents and visitors alike, and incidentally for office occupants as well. This project provides just 91 parking spaces for an anticipated 404 occupants and most will not find parking for blocks around. Those that do will displace others. The project supplies extra bicycle parking and presumably would organize shuttle busses for its employees, as does Google nearby, but the immediate local parking crunch would only be exacerbated by this project. All sorts of nearby large structures built before WWII depend on being able to park cars here. The Ellison Apartments, 615 OFW adjacent to the South, Thornton Towers, Phoenix House, Figtree Restaurant, Su Casa at Venice Beach, Cadillac Hotel, Venice Beach Suites, none of which have parking of their own and some of which establishments depend for their business licenses on existing contractual arrangements for parking on this lot, all would feel the strangling squeeze. Additional lesser residential structures dotted without parking among the Walk Streets and having 2 or 3 stories of small apartments, all count on the safety valve of this parking lot. Much is at stake here.
Extending out from this section of OFW, the 13-block section between Rose and Windward Avenues is the heart of Venice Beach, with its direct proximity to the sand and views of the ocean not blocked by athletic courts or parking lots. This is where Los Angelinos and visitors from afar come by bus and by car to commune with the beach and the ocean, enjoy the free-wheeling carnival atmosphere, feel the fresh ocean breezes, sense the absence of cars, and be at home in their souls.
If this project were allowed to go forward, its precedent would encourage high tech office redevelopment all along OFW because high tech pays higher rents than other uses and because most of the OFW lots are similarly zoned. Office uses do already exist along OFW in similarly designated Community Commercial lots, but this proposed project would be the first to be developed under the Venice Local Coastal Program Land Use Plan, commonly referred to as the “Venice Specific Plan”, enacted in 2001. With this project as precedent, the rest of OFW would likely soon become a high-tech office campus. The cumulative effect on traffic and parking would be horrific. (While the section of OFW immediately surrounding the project has 20ft wide Walk Street feeder alleys, 15ft wide feeder alleys are common elsewhere.) The beach vibe would metamorphose into that of an office park. Venice Beach would cease to exist as we know it. It is a sad and frightening prospect, but this project could bust the neighborhood at its seams, destroy it, and take the entire OFW and Venice Beach with it.
The Specific Plan states: “The Community Commercial designation is intended to provide focal points for local shopping, civic and social activities and for visitor-
– Continued from page 1

serving commercial uses”. It goes on to state: “The integration and mixing of uses will increase opportunities for employees to live near jobs and residents to live near shopping,” thereby decreasing automobile trips and traffic. The wording appears to exclude general office uses, as not providing a focal point for local shopping, civic and social activities or visitor-serving commercial uses, and displacing retail uses that would allow residents to live near shopping. The developer argues the opposite, that by including office uses in a residential neighborhood the project increases opportunities for employees to live near jobs (although not for residents to live near shopping), and thereby reduces commuting and traffic.
But as another consequence of high-tech office uses proliferating in Venice, decently paid high-tech employees are competing in the local rental housing market and driving out long-time and poorer residents. We all (mostly) use high-tech. We love it. But Venice dies if the local rental housing stock gets scooped up and taken off the market by the new influx of high-tech employees. Rents have soared and the up-and-coming artists and musicians who give Venice its life and who always struggle are being forced out. Without them the Venice Spirit as we know it dries up. Venice becomes a boringly predictable, quite wealthy community like every other urban beach community from the Mexican to Oregon border, and ordinary folk, those without money, lose their place in the sole beach community that welcomes them with both arms. Venice Beach ceases to be the place we all know and love, i.e. that place which is NOT like everywhere else.
The consequences of allowing high-tech office development all along OFW would be tragic. Decision-makers in the Planning Department and at the Coastal Commission might not be aware just how tragic, and may need to be educated and enlightened, because people who don’t live here might just not be able to see the full extent of what is happening and foresee where it leads. But the Coastal Commission has as its mandate to protect and encourage public access along the beach. Traffic gridlock and a parking squeeze undermine that mandate. So would general office uses taking up Community Commercial lots “intended to provide focal points for local shopping, civic and social activities and for visitor-serving commercial uses” on OFW. High tech offices employ security guards to keep the public out, while local shopping, civic and social activities and visitor-serving commercial uses invite people in. High tech office uses on OFW do not promote public access, and in fact they seriously undermine it.
Things that happen on Venice Beach often become magnified into big news that travels far. The high-tech office incursion is already national news, but were this allowed to become a complete take-over, it would only come from blindness or short-sightedness, and the whole world would be watching. For the sake of Venice and the wider world, Venice residents need to make the picture crystal clear to all who will listen and look.
Write, call, or e-mail City Planning, the Venice Neighborhood Council  and the Coastal Commission, as follows:
Refer to  Case ZA-2015-102, 601 Ocean Front Walk, Venice.

Lynda Smith, Project Point Person
Los Angeles City Planning Dept
213.978.1196
Lynda.Smith@LACITY.ORG

Robin Rudisill, Chairperson, LUPC
Venice Neighborhood Council
Chair-lupc@venice.org

Zach.rehm@coastal.ca.gov

OFW Development2

Above and below: Proposed office-building development for 601 OFWOFW Development1

 

OFW parking lot

 

Above: Parking lot, site of proposed development, 601 OFW

Photo: Greta Cobar

Snapchat

Above: Snapchat leased out the two buildings at 619 and 701 OFW and illegally transformed them into business offices, which are not permitted on OFW. Curtains hide the cubicles and numerous computers inside what was built to be residences. Security guys (pictured) have a 24-hour presence.

Photo: Greta Cobar


LAPD Murder Is Followed by Bonin’s Retaliation

June 1, 2015

By Greta Cobar

It is now a month after the LAPD killed Brendon Glenn in front of the Townhouse in Venice. Still no questions have been answered, no information was released, and the public has still not seen the video of the crime – which the LAPD is holding on to.
Dylan Andre, a musician who performs on OFW, was on Windward and Pacific a little after 11pm on that tragic night of May 5. The atmosphere was jolly and care-free, as more people than usual were out for a Tuesday night, celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
The two gunshots that were fired by officer Clifford Proctor startled the animated crowd filling the bars and spilling onto the street. According to Andre, the fun was instantly killed as everyone quietly walked away, in shock. “There were no screams, no scuffles, no lingering: Everyone was like ‘Let’s get the fuck out of here now’”, said Andre. Quite a few drinkers were outside the Townhouse smoking, socializing or bar-hopping when the gunshots were heard. According to someone who was present, everyone was surprised. Even though a gunshot sounds nothing like a Taser, initially the crowd thought that Brendon had been Tasered.
The 911 call that brought officers Proctor and Jonathan Kawahara to the Townhouse relayed that Brendon was harassing the customers in front of the Townhouse. Even though the Townhouse people sustain that it wasn’t them that called the cops, circumstantial evidence indicates otherwise. According to a worker at the Townhouse, there were two bouncers there that night: a White guy and a Black guy.
Brendon was drinking, feeling sad, lonely and homesick. He was doing some kind of panhandling around the Townhouse and probably just shooting the breeze with others, drinking and celebrating Cinco de Mayo. When the cops arrived, Brendon got into some type of an altercation with Proctor. That altercation resulted in some type of knee injury for the cop and the death of Brendon, who was shot twice.
The May 7 Town Hall meeting packed upwards of 500 concerned citizens, media and cops into the Westminster school auditorium. Bonin was weak, didn’t know what to say, was confused and overwhelmed. The public walked all over him and booed him with passion. Oh, Poor Little Bonin!
Yes, the poor little guy had no other choice than to retaliate. And so he gathered all of the little toys the spoiled brat has at his disposal, like hazmat vehicles and dozens of little guys in police uniforms, grabbed his ball and started running with a conniving smile while repeatedly screaming: “Ha, ha, ha, I got the ball!”
Indeed he wasted no time: on March 8, less than 12 hours after the Town Hall meeting, the Friday morning $7,500 OFW clean-up was more vicious than ever, assisted by three times the usual number of cops. Tons of things were confiscated and taken downtown while Bonin tried to feel appeased and practice his fake laugh.
Yes, following the police murder of an unarmed Black homeless 29 year old, what the Venice community was faced with was police retaliation. The $7,500 OFW cleanups were doubled, from every other Friday, to every Friday. The daily police presence on OFW was increased significantly, probably tripled. The number of tickets and incidents of police harassment tripled as well.
But of course we ought to be happy with our elected officials who are supposed to represent us and whose salaries we are paying.
And here’s a glimpse into the LAPD’s investigation of the murder: on Wednesday, May 13 dozens of men dressed up in suits and ties descended on OFW, and each one of them stuck out like a sore thumb. They were LAPD detectives pretending to get witness statements about the shooting. I knew at that time that Andre was on Windward and Pacific when it happened, and he was right there on OFW singing. I pointed him out to a couple of the detectives and told them to talk to him, because he was there. A few days later I asked Andre if the detectives had approached him, and the answer was no. They weren’t even pretending to try! Of course, they already have the video, but just like anybody else, they too need to somehow justify their paychecks.
So what do we do now, get the cops to wear body cameras? Ya, except that those are pointing at YOU, not them. As I stated in my article last month, the only way to prevent something like this from happening again is to disarm the cops. It has become apparent that they are not trustworthy with a gun.
Some of them are trigger happy, others have itchy trigger fingers. They all suffer from what we call “police mentality.” Quite a few of them are veterans, who were taught to kill before they even went through police training. Whether from over-sea battles or local abuse, most of them suffer from some type of mental illness. Ironically, mental illness was brought up time and time again at the May 7 Town Hall meeting, as if Brendon’s killing could be partly justified by the possibility of him suffering from something like that. The tables need to be turned: mental illness is more prevalent in the police force than in the civilian masses. Namely PTSD, inferiority complexes, need to prove oneself for others’ acceptance and approval, and so on. If that’s not a can full of worms, I don’t know what is.
Here in Venice people were heartbroken over Brendon’s untimely and undeserved death. I saw quite a few grabbing the May Beachhead and starting to sob. The community was saddened and hurt that somethings like this, that we hear of every day as happening somewhere else, actually happened here, where we felt safe. Unlike some of the other police killings that recently took place nation-wide, Brendon’s killing in Venice did not make the national news. If you weren’t living here, you wouldn’t even know about it.
We came together with outpourings of love and tears at the Memorial dedicated to Brendon, built by all of us at the site of his killing. On May 20, Occupy Venice set up a nice spread and fed everybody warm, yummy vegetarian food at the site of the Memorial. A near-by business found that get-together to be too disturbing, and had the cops remove all sentimental mementos the community had generously gathered at the Memorial since the day after Brendon’s death.
The LAPD had taken his life and then came back to take his Memorial as well.

Memorial

Above: May 20 Memorial

Photo by: Luis Minatti

Memorial - gone

Above: What used to be Brendon’s Memorial, all of it confiscated by the LAPD during the night of May 20, after a big get-together organized by Occupy Venice

Photo: Greta Cobar
Memorial2

Above: Paying respects to Brendon at his Memorial, before the LAPD stole it in the middle of the night

Photo: Greta Cobar


Letters

June 1, 2015

Thank You, Venice! – Greta Cobar
Dear BH – Marty Liboff
T-Shirt Fraud on OFW – Rachel Bloomfield
Attention LAPD: We Need You to Defend Us – Shane Williams
Bonin Unable to Solve Venice-Centric Issues – Nick Antonicello
——————————————————————–
Thank You, Venice!

The time has come for me to step away from the Beachhead and give others the opportunity to rise to the occasion.
I have been part of the Collective continuously for the past six years. For the past three years my duties escalated to include doing layout, keeping track of sustainers and ads, and facilitating meetings. While at the same time I continued to write, do distribution and attend meetings. Oh, and I also held a full-time job.
It’s been a bumpy ride through which I grew from both positive and negative experiences. I am proud of each and every edition of the Beachhead that we put out monthly, for the past six years – we never missed a month! That accomplishment involves getting enough content to fill the paper, which ranged from 12 to 16 pages; raising enough money to pay the printer; and distributing all 8,000 copies.
As you all know, the Beachhead is never perfect and always late. With all its faults, I am especially proud of the past three years of Beachheads because I managed to put it together, and I know I did my best. It wasn’t that things didn’t come up (or they weren’t already going on), but I made the Beachhead my priority.
For now I feel that I had put in my time and effort into this beautiful, historical Venice community endeavor that is valued and unique. I gave the current Collective two month notice of my departure, and now that the time has come, I continue to look forward to many, many more Beachheads to come.
Thank you, Venice, for allowing me to be part of this great adventure.

Sincerely,
Greta Cobar
——————————————————
Dear BH,

I’m an everyday regular on the Ocean Front Walk. One day a couple years ago a very sweet gal rode up on a cool bike and asked me if I read the Beachhead? I had an old “Free Venice” button on and we talked about Venice and the newspaper and she invited me to submit something. Her name was Greta and in the last two years she inspired me and other friends to submit poems, art and articles. I know many people on the OFW and the ONLY member of the Beachhead staff that anyone knows is Greta. Even those who don’t know her name know her as that Beachhead gal on the wild bikes! A few Venice old timers like me remember Jim Smith, but he moved up north. The day to day work and compiling it was left up to dear Greta. She slaved and ran around for interviews and came and picked up and edited articles for those submitting work. She was a one woman dynamo for the Beachhead! All for no pay and little recognition! The founders of this paper, John & Anna Haag would be totally proud of her contributions! I have since met a couple other Beachhead members but I rarely see any of them on the OFW and nobody knows them in connection with this paper. The one and ONLY is Greta the Great!
The REAL everyday Venice people are sad that she is leaving because of petty criticism from other Beachhead members. Attacks on the paper’s content are one thing, but this paper will suffer greatly because of needless personal attacks. I worked on the Beachhead 35 years ago and I also quit when a couple new members began editing my work. Greta convinced me to try again and it has been a lot of work but was fun with Greta putting up with my many rewrites. Let us hope Greta will reconsider leaving and the Beachhead staff will stay out of other member’s personal business. I hope everyone will cry out, “Greta, we love you, please don’t go!”
– Marty & Pharoah
—————————————————-
T-Shirt Fraud on OFW
Dear Beachhead:

A total of eight T-shirt shops owned by the same person have opened on OFW recently. They sell the same generic merchandise, which is offensive, especially to women.
Owned by Liran Azoulay, an Israeli immigrant, these businesses were able to multiply so quickly because of the higher-than-average rent payments he offered to the owners: upwards of $10,000/month. Vendors of stores that own the lease of their shops were approached and offered upwards of $100,000 to sell the remainder of their leases.
When contemplating how someone can afford such high rent payments and enormous buying-out sums, the word on OFW is that some type of money laundering is behind the operation.
This business scheme had the ripple effect of raising all OFW shops’ rent payments. The remaining old-time vendors are considering selling out while worrying whether they’ll be able to make it through the summer.
Several tourists reported buying a shirt for $20 to have their credit card charged several hundred dollars. Because this is a civil case, as opposed to a criminal one, the LAPD won’t help them. And the tourists don’t have the time or the know-how to go through the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to sue the unscrupulous business owner. Several warnings against these custom T-shirt businesses have been published online, on sites such as Trip Advisor and YouTube.
What the LAPD is required to do is not allow these eight stores to play music with offensive, X-rated lyrics. They tend to do this loudly and obnoxiously, with no fear. Also, they stay open long after all other stores on OFW have closed: as late as 11pm. It was reported that some of the workers live in the stores, which is of course illegal.
We call on the LAPD to address and investigate this high-level crime that is infesting all OFW businesses and customers, local and foreigners alike. And we call on you, locals, to boycott these eight businesses.

Wishing they go away soon,
Rachel Bloomfield
T-shirt fraud

Above: One of eight generic and fraudulent T-shirt shops on OFW –

this one where Sea Horse, ran by Barbara Duffy for 15 years, used to be

————————————————————————————-

Attention LAPD: We Need You to Defend Us

Dear Beachhead:

The person pictured to the left, selling CDs on OFW, is extremely aggressive towards the people around him. He does not respect your personal space and conducts in-your-face panhandling. His behavior makes all of us who walk down OFW uncomfortable and ultimately annoyed. It also gives a bad image of Venice to the tourists. Why are LAPD officers so busy all day long harassing people for minor, insignificant infractions while this guy comes into Venice every morning to conduct the most aggressive panhandling on OFW, undisturbed? Some people get a ticket just for being a few inches out of the boxes marked on OFW, yet this guy travels the entire OFW, from Navy to Venice, all day long, unabated. It is time that the LAPD did something that we would all appreciate.

– Shane Williams

annoying rapper

————————————————————————————————-

Bonin Unable to Solve Venice-Centric Issues
Dear Beachhead:
 
In response to Krista Schwimmer’s assessment of the job Councilman Mike Bonin is doing (Mike Bonin, “Technically” Doing His Job), this longtime government bureaucrat and political insider is simply long on rhetoric and short in results.
 A perennial “guide on the side” instead of a “sage on the stage”, Bonin’s leadership style or lack of one is evident for all to see!
 Bonin is clearly bright and articulate, which makes his tenure as an elected official so puzzling and disappointing to so many Venetians!
 As a resident insider who served as a staffer to a member of the United States House of Representatives as well as his predecessor on the Los Angeles City Council, Bonin seems lost in translating rhetoric into substantial public policy, especially in the area of crime and homelessness here in Venice.
 What you would consider his most reliable supporters within the progressive movement in the area of affordable housing, they too have become inpatient and almost hostile to his lack of action, solutions or support of the homeless.
 His inability to engage the community in a serious fashion is disturbing as he spends more time trying to create controlled environments versus simply listening and learning from those who elected him to solve complicated and challenging issues that are truly Venice centric in scope and detail.
 It was painful to watch him let the latest Town Hall meeting deteriorate into a shouting match of angry residents searching for answers as well as the truth.
 Why didn’t he moderate the event?  
 It was clearly his idea to stage this event, but political miscalculations on his part saw this three-hour slugfest revel in the politically absurd.
 As the only elected official in the room, it was his responsibility to grab the bull by the horns and let everyone know one thing, he was in charge and that the buck stopped with him.
 That he would take responsibility and he would listen.
 That did not occur.
 Instead, eroding public confidence will likely continue because of the utter failure of that evening to resolve anything at all.
 I don’t know Bonin, but his approach to governing and reaching out to those who do not agree is not working.
 Surrounding yourself with an echo chamber doesn’t get the job done and never will.

 Sincerely,
 Nick Antonicello


Lagoon Killers

June 1, 2015

By John Davis

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors are on a rampage. They want to wipe out the natural virtues of natural coastal environments, replacing them with sterile flood control projects. First, the County supported California State Parks as it went after Malibu Lagoon; surfer Athena N. Shlien witnessed it.

“As far as I can tell it looks like another sterilized version of nature, the lagoons at Zuma and Topanga have also had work done but the wildlife never seems to return as it once was or at least it will take several decades to recover… They ought to leave nature be and only use funds to acquire new land…do no harm!!!! ”

Like State Parks, the County Supervisors have established a pattern and practice of stealth advertising to market bad projects. This means they are representing something they are not really selling. They really want you to buy something else, without knowing about it, something you did not bargain for.
Their current target is our local Oxford Lagoon, adjacent to Washington Blvd.
In the case of Oxford the Supervisors disguised the public value of the Lagoon as it stood. The overstated lie is that it would be a better place.
The word “restoration” is bounced about by political types like a ball. The correct term for projects like these is “creation”. There is no restoration, whatsoever. It is all creation of an environment that was not there, but the making of something new.
The County paints a euphoric vision of lush native plants, walkways and lighting, with fences and places to observe wildlife, of course. But, they failed to fully measure the costs and necessary authorities.
Oxford Lagoon has been a place of quiet refuge. Home to a variety of wading birds, and a place for people who walked the silent path beneath the canopy of mature trees, the place was valued by neighbors. The black crown night herons’ voice could be heard drifting through the evening. This spring, colorful, delicate Monarch Butterflies were documented over-wintering here. They require a peaceful surrounding and very small things can disrupt their survival. A large bird, an Osprey, surprised everyone when it began perching high above the lagoon, seeking food in the cool waters below.
Then, Supervisor Knabe’s favored chainsaws leveled all of it, including the majestic raptors high perch.
Later that day, other local birds paddled around the lagoon confused and panicked, without shelter. The last tree, the tallest was left standing for a couple of days where the Osprey continued to perch, until after a California Coastal Commission meeting.
The Commissioners asked the County to at least keep that one tree. Within days, the County cut it too, demonstrating its utter disregard for the value of the existing environment, as if it was never there.
They said the trees were sick, so they had to chainsaw all of them. Or, that they were not native, ignoring the existing ecological value of such large stands. The monarch butterflies valued them enough to try using them to over-winter.
Oxford Lagoon was designated by the United States Congress as a bird sanctuary in partial compensation for the creation of a man-made boat harbor. U.S. Public Law 780, the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1954 as implemented by Congress, spells this out plainly. Douglas Fay, a local resident zeroed in on this important fact.
Yet the Supervisors, led by Don Knabe, continue to call it the Oxford Flood Control Basin. They have disregarded the will of the Congress, blatantly, and without repercussion. In fact, the County was required to deed all lands, easements, and rights of way to the United States, including Oxford Lagoon, but did not. The deed was never recorded with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, as required by federal law. It appears the County has been defrauding the United States for decades, and Oxford is only the most recent visible, and painful example.
Supervisor Knabe wants to please developers the county leases to in Marina del Rey. This is how he does it.
The public can expect traffic delays, jams and equipment moving on and off the site for months to come. As the County drains and dredges the lagoon, bulldozers will grade and change the area while belching smoke and clanking around on what used to be a peaceful public place.
Douglas Fay accurately predicts the County’s next move:

“It’s all propaganda = ongoing habitat loss and species extinction. Ballona is next.”

VIDEO LINK: http://bit.ly/1Ih1nzU
Photo by Jonathan CoffinAbove photo by: Jonathan Coffin

 


A Yen for a Hen in a Pen

June 1, 2015

By Marty Liboff

As a small child, my mom used to scare me with gory stories and ghastly books that had horrible photos of dead Jews in concentration camps. She would cry, “See what the Nazis did to our family!”
I remember around 1953 when I was about five there was a shop on Main St. between Venice and Ocean Park that sold live chickens. My mom took me there a couple times to buy a chicken for dinner. Sometimes she would get some unformed eggs that I loved. The shells hadn’t formed yet and they were just yolks with a deep gold color. Sometimes there were tiny eggs all attached. They were sweeter than regular eggs and my mom used to fry them up with some chicken fat and salt and garlic. The butcher would sell them in a plastic bag or sometimes we got lucky and the hen my mom selected for execution would have eggs inside and the butcher would ask my mom if she wanted them. She would always say yes and also take the neck, gizzard, feet and liver. We were very poor although at the time I didn’t realize it, so every scrap of food was important.
Usually we bought food down the block at the Wonder market that was in the ornate old Parkhurst building which is still there at the NW corner of Main St. and Pier Ave. The Wonder market had already murdered and packaged chicken and meat that was cheaper than the fresh kill chicken store. Back then there were several markets by the beach in Venice and Ocean Park. People in our neighborhood didn’t have to drive anywhere since everything you needed was right here. We weren’t sold out to the tourist dollar yet like we are now with fancy restaurants, yuppie bars, expensive clothing shops, “tsayske” junk stores and Asian nail and foot massage shops on Main St. There was a Safeway market at Main and Hill St. where American Apparel is today and other markets on Pier Ave. and on Windward Ave. Barr’s market was north of Ocean Park Blvd. There were small markets on the Ocean Front Walk like Ada’s on Raymond Ave. Back then the Ocean Front Walk continued from Venice to beyond the Santa Monica Pier! The great L&A market & deli was just south of Rose Ave. next to where the Venice Ale House is now. The L & A market had everything from beer & wine to corned beef, pastrami and pickles in a wood barrel. It had a big, red Coca Cola ice box with cold sodas out in front like many little grocery stores of the time. You would fish around to the bottom to get the coldest soda. Now it is a T-shirt shop. Of course the local’s favorite, Henry’s market on Dudley Ave. was unfortunately kicked out a couple years ago.
I remember the live chicken butcher shop well since as a young boy I was both fascinated and appalled by the goings on there. My mom took me there on my first visit when I was especially young and innocent. When you walked in the shop there were about 30 to 100 chickens piled high in small coops or cages. Sometimes there were a couple ducks. On the other side was a regular glass deli case with chicken parts in metal pans. In the back was a door to the inner chamber of doom. The back room was dimly lit with a light bulb hanging on a wire above a wood torture table that you could easily see.
The old but brawny butcher asked my mom what she’d like. My mom told him the sex and size and age of the victim. My mom asked for, “A hen, not too young, not too old and not too expensive.” The butcher showed my mom a few cages to pick from at her cheaper price, then he went back to work as we selected.
The first time I went there my mom said to me, “So, which one shall we get?” I began checking them out. I looked and looked and talked to them in English and chickeneese and tried to pick out the prettiest colors and cutest tops. One hen had nice bright eyes and seemed to give me a happy wink and I chose her. What a nice pet this one will be! I couldn’t wait to get her home to show my brother so we can name her. I thought of names for her like Matilda, Chickeneta or Henrieta. I asked my mom if we needed a cage too? She said, “No, I don’t think we’ll need one.” My mom seemed curiously surprised by my question. Well, I figured that chickens don’t fly good, so she can just walk around our house and backyard without a cage. That was cool. I’d seen it on many cowboy movies where the chickens just roam free on the farm.
My mom yelled to the butcher, “This one!”
The big ugly Nazi guard came over and opened the cage. The little feathered Jew began to squawk and wiggle and squiggle but the Nazi with a giggle grabbed her by the neck and took her in the back. The door was open and I could see – he took a big wood mallet and smack, smack on the chicken’s noggin, and I almost shit & pee! He had a Bunsen burner that he turned up high and he stuck my pet chicken into to fry off its feathers, but she wouldn’t die!
As soon as the flames hit the Juden, she awoke with a terrible squawking and gagging and fluttering of wings. The butcher twisted her neck and she finally gave up its chicken ghost. He burned off the feathers and plucked out a few more. I kept hoping the chicken would awake and bite him on the nose and run away. He took out a giant cleaver and whack went the head into a box below. Whack, whack, whack – the neck, breast open, feet off. At that moment I realized my pretty chicken wasn’t going to be like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, always getting away from Elmer Fudd who was trying to kill them. Instead of Bugs and Daffy laughing at Elmer there was the cruel reality of blood and chicken guts.
The butcher came out to the counter and threw it on a scale and wrapped it in paper and a brown paper bag. My mom paid and out the door we went to go home and cook roast chicken for dinner. For some strange reason I didn’t want to eat any chicken that night? I also never seemed to want to go back to that little shop down the block, even when my mom asked if I’d like to go and select another chicken. And for some time after that when I even walked by that shop I was afraid that the butcher was going to run out and chop my head off with that giant meat cleaver and toss my head in that bloody box with chicken heads pecking at my eyes and looking like a Jew corpse in one of my mother’s holocaust books…Cartoon - Marty Liboff


Six Degrees of Separation

June 1, 2015

I had the honor of attending the Los Angeles Unified School District Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. I was there to accept the award and induction of former Venice High student Wally O’Connor, Class of 1921. Yes, 1921! When a person is inducted, they try to contact the person or family members. If they can’t find anyone, they contact the school, which is how I got involved.
Wally is considered to be one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, American water polo players. He was in 5 Olympics and even carried the flag into the stadium for the 1936 Hitler Olympics (Jesse Owens Games). Of great note here, Wally (on his own) did not dip the flag to Hitler. He said that the United States does not dip its flag to any nation. That’s been our tradition ever since.
Anyway, I have his award and Venice High is prepared to put it in a display case, but I think his family, where ever they are, needs to have it and be told about the honor. He died in the 1950s, but he HAS to have some family out there, no matter how distant the relation. Siblings, cousins, nieces/nephews, grandnieces/grandnephews, etc. I was told he never married, but I can’t confirm that. The last bit of info I got on him was that he had moved to the Bay Area before he died, but I have not confirmed that either.
So, let’s see if the idea of Six Degrees of Separation can help find his relatives. Even if you don’t know him, please send this out to EVERYONE you know (even if you know they don’t know him), either on Facebook or any other social network site or email lists you have. Then, ask those people to do the same and on and on. You can have people email me at:
sayne812@yahoo if they have any information.

Thanks for helping,
Sayne MazaWally


The Rosa Parks of Venice

June 1, 2015

By Deborah Lashever

Eden Andes, with slightly silvered hair, medium length, thoughtful look on her sun-drenched face, mischievous smiles illustrating her clever ironic wit, lived in Venice Beach for many years. Intelligent, articulate, peaceful, funny; a visionary, activist, artist, animal lover and friend, she could often be found on Venice Ocean Font Walk in jeans and colorful tee shirts. Some might say she was a bit nondescript outwardly but all would agree inside she was a lioness. For years she decried the injustice of the city’s continued criminalization of homeless people. She knew about it first hand. Eden Andes lived in her van.
Interestingly, the simple act of sleeping in her vehicle thrust Eden into activism. Civil rights attorney, Carol Sobel, maintains that the successful fight in December 2013 against LAMC 85.02, a discriminatory ordinance against sleeping in vehicles, started in 2003 when Eden, faced with a “Stay Away Order” for being cited for sleeping in her vehicle, took a stand and refused to leave Venice, her beloved home.
In a recent April 22 interview, Venice civil rights attorney, John Raphling, who tried Eden’s original case, concurs. “It was a case of ‘well, where do you want her to sleep that she wouldn’t be breaking the law’? This was a woman, by herself, and vulnerable. At least in her vehicle she had a place with four walls that she could lock. It guaranteed a certain degree of safety for her possessions and herself.”  At the time Venice was embroiled in a vicious battle between Venetians who understood that for a number of artists, like Eden, sleeping in vehicles was financially necessary, versus wealthier property owners–most of them new to the area–that just wanted them gone.
Sobel successfully argued to have 85.02 overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the groundbreaking case, Desertrain vs the City of Los Angeles. Judge Harry Pregerson stated, “For many homeless persons, their automobile may be their last major possession — the means by which they can look for work and seek social services. The City of Los Angeles has many options at its disposal to alleviate the plight and suffering of its homeless citizens. Selectively preventing the homeless and the poor from using their vehicles….should not be one of those options.”
Raphling also points out that 85.02 raises serious enforcement issues. “Legally we are all guaranteed a certain amount of privacy in our vehicles,” he says, “if laws criminalizing sleeping in vehicles are in place, police would necessarily need access to vehicles to determine if they are being slept in or not and that creates a slippery slope with regard to violations of constitutional rights to privacy and encouraging discriminatory practices by LAPD.”
Earlier this month, City Attorney Mike Feuer penned two amended options for 85.02:
Option 1: No sleeping in any vehicle on any street in Los Angeles 9pm to 6am. $100 first offense, $250 second offense, $1000 and 6 months in jail for number three – with vehicles impounded and since vehicle dwellers are usually unable to afford fees, lost, along with pets and possessions, causing more people to live on sidewalks, unprotected.
Option 2: Same as above, except select non-residential streets would be designated for sleeping in vehicles but only accessed if vehicle dwellers complete the CES (Coordinated Entry System) registration process through already overloaded LAHSA (Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority) to obtain permits that must be renewed again and again every few months.
Currently LA city/county is focused upon processing every unhoused person through CES, a data system that gives accesses to all files anywhere in the county. The city and county argue that coordinating this data will streamline people’s access to housing – which would be wonderful except for the problem is that in reality little housing is actually available, and scant functional services are either when compared to LA’s 29,000 unhoused people that were recorded in the recent 2015 Homeless Count. Coordinating data will do nothing to remedy this lack.
In fact, the searing April 2015 report by Miguel A. Santana, City Administrative Officer, reveals that the City of Los Angeles spends more than $100 million a year on homelessness and that, tellingly, $87 million of that is spent on LAPD’s interactions with homeless persons. The city’s focus is clear.
Lack of funding is not the problem. Priorities are. For example, instead of making an inexpensive storage facility available in Venice, an estimate of $500,000 – half a million dollars per year – is spent on forced weekly sweeps, or “clean ups,” to remove belongings of Venice’s homeless people, according to Councilman Mike Bonin’s office recently. That doesn’t leave much money for services people actually need to live with dignity – food, bathrooms, a safe place to sleep, storage, health services, showers, washing machines – and clearly illustrates the city’s favoring of penalization instead of solutions.
As Raphling says, “The City needs to see housing and services as an investment and get away from the staus quo of ticketing and jailing people until they disappear.”
Hopefully with the shock of the new report and the creation of a City Council Ad Hoc Committee on Homelessness, priorities will change. When we finally do find a way to honor the dignity of each and every person, Eden Andes would have been the happiest of all. But it will be way too late for Eden. She died riddled with cancer, just short of her 58th birthday, about this time last year, still living in her van in Venice.

Eden Windgate Eastin Andes
6/25/1956 – 6/22/2014
Cary LopiccoloAbove photo by: Cary Lopiccolo

 


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