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


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

 


Historic OFW Houses to be Demolished

June 1, 2015

By Greta Cobar

The very last two historic houses on OFW are about to be torn down.
According to the Notice of Public Hearing posted on the Speedway side of the 811-815 Ocean Front Walk properties:
“Permit for the demolition of two existing residential buildings containing a total of nine dwelling units, and the construction of a new 35-foot tall, 2,691 square-foot restaurant on the ground-floor with two residential units above totaling 8,456 square feet.”
“Conditional use to permit the dispensing of a full line of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption in conjunction with 100 seats having operating hours between 8am to 1am Friday and Saturday and 8am to 12 midnight Sunday through Thursday.”
The Notice does not mention where the patrons or the employees will park. It also fails to take into consideration the illegal, selectively enforced curfew now in effect on OFW between midnight and 5am. How are the customers and employees going to exit the restaurant after midnight? Speedway is not pedestrian-friendly and is overall less safe than OFW.
Furthermore, Venice already has the highest concentration of liquor licenses in the L.A. County – 33 per square mile, compared to an average of four in the rest of the county. A year ago there were 108 alcohol licenses in Venice, and there are probably more now. That equates to one license per 370 people. The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) regulation is one per 2000 people at the most. The public has been supportive of a ban on new liquor licenses in Venice, with our elected representative ignoring us. To sign a petition advocating for a moratorium on alcohol licenses in Venice, go to: http://chn.ge/1ALHgdn.
The trend in Venice over-development has been to maximize square footage of all projects by building to the edge of the property line and by maximizing height. The market value stands at $1250 per square foot of new development. That raises the property value and therefore the amount of tax paid on the properties. And all that tax money goes to the city of Los Angeles to do whatever it wants with, such as cover the salaries of our City Council representatives, who happen to be the highest-paid city reps in the country. Do you now see why our City Council representative Mike Bonin has been supporting over-development in Venice although the people he represents, and who elected him, bitterly oppose it? He’s working for the greedy city of Los Angeles, not for Venice. The more over-development is built here in Venice, the more tax money Los Angeles collects. Do you agree that we need cityhood?
The proposed project for 811-815 OFW lists John Reed as the Representative. The public hearing will take place on Thursday, June 11 at 10:30am at the Hearing Office of Zoning Administration, West L.A. Municipal Building, second floor, hearing room. The address is: 1645 Corinth Ave., L.A., CA 90025.
The hideous wave of over-development not coincidentally started in Oakwood, targeting the less-affluent, minority residents of Venice. However, in no time it moved further and further West, now beginning to hit OFW itself – the last line in the sand.

 

 

OFW historic houses1Above: 811 and 815 OFW, built in 1905

Photo: Greta Cobar

 


House demolished based on permits issued in error

June 1, 2015

Below, from top to bottom: Tom O’Neill in his demolished house, March 28, at 713-721 Venice Blvd. O’Neill was paid to move (outside of Venice) and to not talk to the media. Developer: Murphy. Photo by: Nick Smith.

The city of L.A.’s Department of Building and Safety left a note at the location revoking the demolition permits. However, that notice was ignored and demolition proceeded as planned on May 28. Note states “Demo permits possibly issued in error.” Way to go, L.A.!

What the new, planned development is set to look like

What the property used to look like

 

 


Demo4 Photo by Nick Smith Pictured Tom O'Neill

Demo1

Demo2

Demo3


New Bike Racks on OFW

June 1, 2015

What Venetians had to say about the new bike racks:

“Who makes these awful decisions?”

“So depressing, like a final blow to Venice, so Santa Monica Promenade/Disneyland, barf.”

“So ugly – in an artist community.”

“How much did this cost?”

“Car drove down OFW day after all new bike racks and bollards were installed.”

“In a real emergency, help won’t be able to get through – unless they knock over the bike racks.”
new bike racks

Above: New bike racks installed on OFW to prevent cars from entering. If a car hit one of those bike racks even slightly, it would knock it over.

Photo: Greta Cobar

bike rack5Bike racks that look like tombstones installed on walk streets. When in use, they block access, especially for a person with a disability, which is an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) violation.

Photo: Greta Cobar

bollards2

More useless, new yellow bollards installed off OFW. WHY?

Photo: Greta Cobar


Only Black Cops Go to Jail

May 1, 2015

By Greta Cobar

Once again the LAPD came to Venice to cause problems, this time killing 29 year old Brendon Glenn, who was unarmed. The incident occurred on May 5, around 11:30pm, on Windward, in front of the Townhouse.
The LAPD has not released the video of the incident, and therefore the details of the altercation are sketchy. One witness reported that he got shot as he was trying to reach into his pocket to get his ID, which the cops were asking him for. Another witness said that the first bullet fired ricocheted, hitting the officer’s knee and prompting him to fire again, this time with a fatal shot.
The fact is that Glenn, also known as Dizzle, was shot twice. Apparently Glenn got into an argument with the bouncer at the Townhouse. Somebody called the cops, and officers Clifford Proctor and Jonathan Kawahara arrived and talked to Glenn, after which they let him go and they walked back to their vehicles. According to the cops, Glenn got into a scuffle with somebody else, and they went back to intervene. That intervention led to Glenn ending up dead.
In an unlikely fashion, less than 24 hours after the incident, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck stated that “Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that, and I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances at this point.”
Beck is referring to the video of the killing, which he had viewed, but has not released to the public. The very next statement that Beck made during that same Wednesday press conference was that the officer who shot Glenn is Black. Beck went on to say that race is irrelevant.
Cops murdering unarmed Black men and getting away with it is, sadly, not news. The chief of police stating that the killing was unwarranted is news. What else is different in this case, compared to all the others? The officer is Black.
The first killing by a Black cop becomes the first reprimand of a cop. Beck is doing nothing but saving his ass and continuing his inconsistent disciplinary actions that play favoritism to his buddies. What Beck is about to do is use the officer who killed Glenn as a scape-goat for his corrupt and unjust police department.
I know, we’ve been eager to see a cop go to jail. But remember that the prison-industrial complex is a horrific money-making scheme that solves nothing. If we are going to use the death of Glenn to make sure that something like it won’t happen again, we need to go way beyond putting another person behind bars.
As the Chief of Venice told me the other day, if we had Venice cityhood, we would have our own police force. And our own Venice police force would not have guns. The only way to stop what has become a routine of unwarranted police murders is to disarm the cops.
Glenn could have easily been Tasered, if he was indeed a threat.
Glenn’s murder brought grief and anger to Venice. The community came together with a memorial in front of the Townhouse, several vigils, a rally and a Town Hall meeting.
The auditorium at Westminster Elementary school has probably never been as packed as it was on May 7, during the Town Hall meeting. The Venice community poured in, alongside the dozens of cops and dozens of mass-media reporters with big, fancy cameras and trucks.
The LAPD tried to appease the public, but made no effort to answer questions or address concerns. Residents waited in a long line to speak on the microphone. As soon as one person was done talking, the next one was prompted to get started, without the cops answering the first person’s questions. When pressed by the public to give a response, we got nothing but usual protocol, such as “the investigation is ongoing.”
Overall the meeting illustrated our residents’ need to be heard. Everyone had something to say, even if it had nothing to do with the killing of Glenn. This is a symptom of Venice residents feeling ignored by the downtown higher-ups.
In true outspoken Venice style, the crowd loudly called the cops murderers and booed when Bonin continued with his BS. There were loud screams asking for the release of the video, which the LAPD is holding on to under the pretense of trying not to interfere with witness statements.
Homelessness was an issue that came up over and over again, as people felt that it was a factor in the killing. Mental health and alcoholism were also mentioned.

What was said at the meeting:

“Do you live in Venice? Where the hell did you come from?”

“Show the video!”

“You are a crook – like the rest of them!”

“We’re not homeless, Venice is our home.”

“It’s not about homelessness, it’s about civil terrorism.”

“We can’t help but influence the world, and we gotta do it the right way.”

“I was two weeks old when the LAPD shot my dad in the back.”

“The video is the witness.”

“You killed the witness!”

“It doesn’t happen to White people, it happens to Black people.”

“There have been 621 police crimes in Los Angeles since 2000. We are the leader in the nation.”

“Re-train yourselves. Whatever you are doing is not right.”

“Don’t throw the hazmat at the homeless.”

“Systematic targeting of Black and Brown people.”

“We are going to see more of this until we stand up and say we don’t accept this kind of murder.”

“Don’t look down on the homeless, you could be one of them.”

“Why are all the officers here carrying guns?”

“Talk first. Taser later. Shoot none.”

“Open the bathrooms!”

“Make the video public.”

“Whom are you protecting and serving?”

“How many police officers were ever prosecuted?”

“Someone has to be killed for you to sit down and talk to us.”

“White people are getting away with probation or nothing at all, while Black and Browns go to jail.”

“Don’t blame just the shooter, blame everyone in this organization – there is a sickness in your organization.”

“Silence is all we get when someone doesn’t get killed.”

“The police is an army of occupation.”

“Those guys will kill you is what I would tell my kids about you.”

“Murderers!”

“You’re stealing all the money!”

“I want justice!”

“What happened May 5?”

“We need to do more to help the homeless.”

“Police officers are terrified by Black Men.”

BrendonGlenn

 Above: LAPD document identifying the two officers who responded to the call – one of them killed Brendon Glenn

gU6wjVmgWpiEKe8XOru8SCFkzBM-AaapyZSydxE5J8Y

Above and below: scene of the crime78xyFWxxLmIyT3PrJE-hCsFVpVuo7DHdKn8osmKEQ_8

la-me-fatal-ois-in-venice-pictures-20150506-005

 Above: LAPD officer who shot and killed Brendon Glenn

18514_735745359875655_1735687400147841046_n

10956634_10204283133061216_212495576517329966_n

Greta4

11203598_10204286942315123_1272194241661390264_o

photo by Ray Rae

Police are Cowards

 Above: Venice graffiti walls, April 11 – covered up by city workers within 24 hours


Venice Beach: The People’s Beach

March 1, 2015

By Peggy Lee Kennedy

Why did the City of Los Angeles close the people’s beach from midnight to five in the morning? I have heard it all: the gangs, the homeless, drugs, prostitution, et cetera, et cetera. The truth is that Ordinance 164209, amending LAMC 63.44 in 1988, does not say why the City of Los Angeles closed access to the beach in Venice from midnight to five in the morning. And, according to California State law, a municipality or a personal land owner cannot deny access to our coastal waters. Sure, there are exceptions like a giant tidal wave, a terrible tsunami, or maybe a nuclear disaster.
In case you haven’t been paying attention or you are new to Venice, there is a process to restricting access to the beaches in the State of California dictated by the California Coastal Act. You first must obtain a Coastal Development Permit (CDP), and recent court findings have upheld this. Even if there is a nuisance, the applicant first must prove a valid reason to restrict access to the coastal waters and go through the CDP process. This involves the public, by the way. Creating a beach curfew that has a maximum restriction to coastal access is simply a violation of the Coastal Act, which requires maximum access.
The City never ever obtained approval to close the beach in any way. Over and again the City has said that it does not need a CDP. I guess some might want you to believe that there is a nuisance so great that the City of Los Angeles can-over ride State law. Wrong. There is a provision in the Coastal Act regarding nuisances, but you can’t use it to negate the CDP requirement. I do think those remaining spent fuel rods at San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant are very concerning. And Diablo Canyon is scary. But let’s get real: this is about homeless people being on the beach next to properties with skyrocketing values into the millions of dollars.
I am so sick and tired of the City feeding us Orwellian crap about how they are taking steps to end homelessness when the budget is simply telling another, more honest story.  The City’s 2014-2015 budget dedicates 43.4 percent of the general fund to the Police Department. That is approximately 1.3 billion dollars. B I L L I O N. Guess how much went to the Housing Department? That would be ZERO.
There are a few things I learned from my life as an accountant. One is that if it’s not in the budget, don’t expect to spend money on it. After reviewing the numbers and following the money (OK it’s a simple pie chart found online), the truth is the City of Los Angeles really does believe we can police our way out of homelessness.
On the same shameless beat, the city goes on allowing the big box million dollar “home” developments in the Venice Coastal Zone on top of a demolished community character and lost forever affordable housing. There is a pretty profit for the few and foreseeable increased property taxes for the City. This is what the city has been protecting now for years.
Los Angeles is one of the least affordable places to live in the country and the recent “Poverty and Inequality Report 2014” by Stanford University reveals that the official poverty rate has increased dramatically. Fear mongering is in lock step with this. Be afraid; be very afraid when you hear: “We need more police.” If you or your friends are saying this, please check for zombie bites on your bodies. Los Angeles City has the third largest police force in the country and it is increasingly becoming more militarized, dwarfed only by a more militarized NYPD. But I do digress. And the percentage of New York City’s budget allocated to its police department is substantially less than the City of Los Angeles.
There are some monies from the County that the city of L.A. uses for homeless issues. I understand that Venice’s allocation is being spent on the over-the-top hazmat cleanings on the Ocean Front Walk (and elsewhere) so you are safe from even a chair on the OFW. And the City has been focusing on confiscating homeless belongings, including hard to carry around tarps and tents, because they may be violating the disability act by blocking a sidewalk. We wouldn’t want the disabled homeless people doing that, especially since there is an overwhelming amount of this country’s disabled population living homeless. Venice is no exception.
One L.A. City expenditure executed on homeless people, which goes completely unreported, is the unimaginable amount of tickets being issued for minor infractions. They are handed out like candy by the LAPD – possibly to reflect some kind of increase in “nuisance” crime on our beach.
Please, stop and meditate on what the real solutions to homelessness are.  It is not excessive ticketing by a police department being allocated over 43 percent of the City’s budget and it certainly is not closing public access to the entire Los Angeles City coast line.
Venice is the people’s beach. Let’s take it back.Peggy Kennedy

Peggy Kennedy CityBudgetByDept


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 73 other followers