Author: vinceechavaria

Community remains steadfast on keeping historic post office mural accessible under new ownership

For several decades a mural depicting the early history of Venice with the image of community founder Abbot Kinney at the center graced the foyer of a Works Project Administration-era post office. Now that the former federal building has sold to a private owner, community members are working to ensure that the public’s ability to continue viewing the historic artwork is not threatened. Created by renowned artist Edward Biberman, “The Story of Venice” mural was commissioned by the Section of Fine Arts of the United States and installed inside the post office in August 1941. Along with the preservation of the building’s historic characteristics, the protection of the Biberman art piece has been the central focus of residents since the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to relocate the postal retail operations to a carrier annex across the street. They argue that the mural has been a part of the community for more than 70 years and the public should not be inhibited from seeing it despite the sale of the building. “All historic post offices, including the ones done during the WPA period, as ours was, all share a single intent… promoting public appreciation and access to art and architecture equivalent to access that (the public) gets to mail,” said Jed Pauker, member of the Venice Neighborhood Council and the Coalition to Save the Venice Post Office. “These post...

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Santa Monica: Planned anti-Jewish protest canceled after show of support by hotel

The local chapter of a national pro-Israel group called off a protest of the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica in the wake of a declaration by the hotel owner supporting Jewish organizations and denouncing anti-Semitism. The protest was planned for Aug. 26 by the western region of the Zionist Organization of America following a Superior Court jury verdict finding that Shangri-La and its owner, Tehmina Adaya, discriminated against a Jewish group that held an event at the hotel in 2010. Supporters of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, who were attending a charity event, charged in the complaint that they were ordered to remove banners and literature and leave the pool area after Adaya learned that the group is Jewish. The complaint alleged that Adaya, a Muslim, used profanities and derogatory language when she instructed staff to remove the Jewish visitors and their items from the pool. Some of the event attendees were also refused re-entry to the event, the complaint said. The jury decided Aug. 15 that Adaya and the hotel had violated the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits businesses from discriminating based on age, sex, race or religion, when she ordered the eviction of the Jewish group members and the disbanding of their event. Jurors additionally found that the defendants inflicted emotional distress and were liable for negligence, said James Turken, the plaintiffs’ attorney....

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Santa Monica explores memorial for fallen war veterans of the city

Santa Monica has not been without locations for remembrance of military members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. A row of monuments at Palisades Park was erected to pay tribute to victims and service members of each of the branches of U.S. Armed Forces, and some who gave their lives in defense of the country have gravestones at Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery. And veterans killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are honored each Sunday with a sea of crosses and other religious symbols in a memorial known as Arlington West on the sand north of the Santa Monica Pier. But city officials are now considering an effort to specifically memorialize those who have called Santa Monica home and lost their lives during a wartime conflict. City Councilman Bob Holbrook has proposed to have some form of recognition established in the city for Santa Monica service men and women who were casualties of the five major wars that occurred since the city was incorporated in 1886. A City Hall intern assigned to the project has thus far identified 97 names of Santa Monicans that fit that description. The City Council voted unanimously Aug. 14 to direct staff to explore ways to create such a memorial or plaque, potential costs and possible locations where loved ones and visitors could pay their respects. Holbrook explained that the idea for the monument...

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Plan for park along Ballona Creek bike path advances

A 1.2-acre stretch of land along Ballona Creek is planned for a use that has been on the wish list of many residents in Del Rey: park space. Residents have consistently stated that Del Rey lacks a sufficient number of parks for the community, particularly youth sports groups. A primary green space in the community has been Glen Alla Park, which has basketball and tennis courts, a universally accessible playground, and is the home of Del Rey’s new farmers market. But another park area years in the making is now moving forward. The proposed Milton Street Park project would create a new linear park, approximately 45 feet wide and 1,000 feet long, on an undeveloped parcel south of Milton Street, between Mascagni Street and Westlawn Avenue. The property is owned by the Baldwin Hills Regional Conservation Authority. The $3 million project would construct a pedestrian pathway, overlook areas to the nearby Ballona Creek, a 10-by-50-foot shade structure, new access gateway, entry stairs and an Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible ramp. Other features will include fencing, native landscaping and irrigation, seating, retaining walls and interpretive panels on the local environment. The Baldwin Hills authority is partnering on the plan with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, which is dedicated to the preservation and management of local open space and parks, watershed lands, trails, and wildlife habitat. As part of the project,...

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L.A. City Council prohibits medical pot dispensary operations

Hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries operating throughout Los Angeles will be ordered closed under a new ordinance approved by the City Council. The council voted unanimously July 24 to pass the law that will ban medical pot dispensaries in the city but will allow qualified patients and their primary caregivers in groups of three or less to grow the plant for medicinal purposes. The council additionally requested city staff to explore a separate ordinance that would enable a number of dispensaries and collectives, which opened prior to a moratorium in 2007, to remain in operation. Opponents to what some...

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