Posted April 13, 2016 by The Argonaut in Columns
Economics 101 vs. Bonin’s Panic Attack

Re: “Bonin: It’s Time to Take Action on Homelessness,” News, April 7

As a professional, I feel compelled to clarify several of the points raised by your reporter in your recent coverage of Mr. Bonin’s presentation of the homeless situation in Venice.

Councilman Bonin is overwhelmed at the plight of the homeless in Venice; although the communities of Santa Monica and Marina del Rey apparently don’t share his worries.

Why is that? Is there a moral hazard here at play? Not at all!
In fact, there is no fact evidence supporting his sense of emergency.

Recent reportage from the LA Times points the other way. A recent Times analysis found “1,000 rent-controlled apartments were taken off the market last year” to make way for McMansions, condos and new rentals. Evictions from such units have doubled during the same time. In March, the size of the U.S. labor force rose by nearly 400,000, as many working-age people who were previously on the sidelines jumped back into the job hunt.

Nevertheless, Bonin proposes to use Westminster Senior Center for the storage of goods and for services for the homeless, disregarding the fact that there is an elementary school adjacent, day care and nursery schools across the way, a major shopping street (Abbott Kinney Boulevard) a block away, hotels, restaurants, lodging houses and hotels on the other side of Westminster Avenue, and tourist traffic that utilizes the school parking lots on weekends. Dog park users are continually harassed by vagrants who use the park for various activities of their shadow economy, including an active drug culture.

Venice is going through an economic expansion, while marginal residents are having to move on. It is economics 101. Bonin’s plan would kill the booming prosperity of the neighborhood.

Furthermore, Mr. Bonin stated to some applause that Chrysalis has agreed to manage the storage facility, but it neither has experience or management ability to do so.

Mr. Bonin fails to understand that Venice would become a skid row and a dumping ground for the homeless. Rents in Venice are much higher than adjacent areas, and Mr. Bonin’s proposal, if enacted, is certain to discourage investors in the future. Neither is storage at the senior center an approved use under Venice Specific Plan: Section 2083 of the Coastal Act requires the local authorities to “protect special communities and neighborhoods that, because of their characteristics, are popular visitor destination points for recreational uses.” The change in use could require amendments to the Specific Plan, the Coastal Act and approval from the Coastal Commission.

W. Firschein, AIA, Venice



    Venice is already a dumping ground and turning into an upscale skid road. We are not going to solve this problem as long as we are an sanctuary city. I helped mamy years feeding the homeless. Bringing in medical RV’s for their needs. But is is out of control. Has been for a long time. And our City Council didn’t do a thing about it. Now we have a crisis, and it is not fair for the citizens of this great city to pay for what other States and Cities doing to us

    We have lost and will keep loosing units do to demands put on landlords, like retrofiffing, rent control, relocation fees which greedy lawyers and tenants have made it a business. LAHD department needs reform. If a unit now becomes empty, it will stay empty because the land is more valuable. It takes one tenant to report a landlord, and they put that buildong in REAP. Then the city puts a lean on the landlord and the city ends up with a building selling to the highest bidder. The LAHD has millions to help out owners to renovate small imperfections. But this department has created smaller agencies to keep themselves employed.
    Most apartment owners have reached an age of being fed up, their children do not want to manage and end up selling. Insurance policies, taxes are higher where there is demand. They don’t want the headache. Or sell and buy OUT of the city, where there is no rent control. WHICH IS THEIR RIGHT.
    New investors do not want to buy RENT CONTROLL buildings.
    Unless they have big bucks to deal with modifications. New young tenants want new amenities, laundry facilities, parking, garbage disposals, new bathrooms, air conditioning and high end kitchens in the buildings, which older buildings lack. They don’care about cottage look. They want access to walking amenities. They want NEW. The cause of fires in old wirering in old buildigs.
    In Boyle Heights and East LA, new apartments go for one bedroom 1,300.
    It is not only Bonin that will kill prosperity in Venice, as City Council because they want to retire with a good pension and are protecting their salaries. Venice is unique, and world known.
    You have more educated individuals living here than ever. We have more diversity, than ever. And those that complain is because they themselves did not plan ahead.
    But people will leave because it is becoming not safe at this moment.

    Michelle Zweig

    Reply to W. Firschein’s letter to the Argonaut, April 13., “economics 101 vs. Boinn’s Panic attack”, (it’s Time to Take Action on Homelessness”).

    As a longtime resident of the Venice area, I am replying to Mr. Firschein’s letter. As all of us know who live in this area, the homeless problem has been increasing exponentially over the last several years. If you live in the area and visit Venice, Santa Monica etc., it is quite obvious that we have a serious problem with homelessness. As we all know, the City of Los Angeles hasn’t been able to do anything to alleviate this issue. Now Mike Bonin, our councilman, has presented a three-pronged approach to handle some of the issues in our community. They are not perfect but they are a potential solution.

    His request to have Chrysalis manage the storage facility is an excellent idea, as Chrysalis has been managing a storage facility in the downtown Los Angeles area since 2008. This facility has received national recognition as a best-in class resource for the homeless in that community, and is one part of the complex set of solutions we need here in Venice.

    Michelle Zweig
    local resident

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