Says parking restrictions only move RV-dwellers

to other neighborhoods

To the Editor:

I would like to address the issue of RV [recreational vehicle] overnight parking and the lack of vision in Los Angeles planning.

I was not able to attend the meeting held regarding the overnight parking districts being proposed, but I have been following the story in the papers. I am constantly reminded of the inability of the government and communities to see beyond their own issues.

Maybe this Band-Aid approach is easier right now, but in the long run the problem still exists. Why do we have so many RVs and homeless south of Santa Monica in the past few years? Much of it is a direct result of Santa Monica strengthening its laws and not allowing as many homeless to congregate there as they previously did.

And now what is the city doing with these overnight parking districts? They are not addressing the problem and trying to find a solution for the people who are living in their cars/ vans/RVs which will help everyone. Instead, they are putting a Band-Aid on the streets which are currently being used for overnight parking. What do they think will happen to the RVs if they cannot park on those streets?

The RVs will move over a block or two to the surrounding areas which do not have parking districts. Then the same scenario will play out in those neighbor-hoods. It will take years of organizing before a plan is made in the areas adjacent to the new zones which have taken on the problem.

Eventually the problem will shift to an area where the neighbors are not able to organize and they will be left with the problem. Shifting a problem from one neighborhood to another does not solve it. We need to take a global approach to this issue.

Sandy Forbis, Mar Vista

Tells story of family-owned Venice Manor

To the Editor:

I want to thank The Argonaut for Vince Echavaria’s June 19th article about Venice Manor apartments. It was well-written and fair.

I’d like to help fill in a missing piece in the article. The missing piece is the story of my family, the Martins. We have owned the property called Venice Manor since 1972 — since I was a teenager.

We’re a fairly ordinary family. My folks came from the Midwest after WWII, hopeful that they could lay down roots here and really become a part of the Southern California community. Although they had to work hard all their lives, I’ve always thought of them as a success story.

As long as I can remember, my parents, George and Evelyn, owned and maintained apartments in the Los Angeles area. They were literally “mom and pop” landlords. My parents first had a building near Third and Union, providing housing for working people after WWII. When that building was sold in the early ’70s, my parents had saved enough money to purchase the property on Venice Boulevard.

Compared to their building downtown, the Venice property seemed impossibly huge and sprawling — but my parents took the challenge in stride. They weren’t afraid of hard work or commitment. They taught me and my sister that the “American dream” meant more than buying income property or “flipping” an investment. It meant looking after the needs of others as long as we were physically and financially able.

When my father passed away in 1984, my mother and I took on the responsibility of running the apartments. I discovered it was a big job. It involved a lot more than maintaining the buildings. It involved maintaining relationships with our residents, with local hardware stores, with plumbers and electricians and the guys who did the gardening.

I left my job as a licensed vocational nurse to devote more time to the property as an on-site manager. My mother did the books. We were a good team and enjoyed it. Our maintenance man, Gordon, who has worked on the premises since 1982, was a huge help.

Many years have passed and my mother and I are now no longer physically or financially able to operate the aging buildings. At 80 years of age, my mother is ready to embrace the next phase of her life — a well-earned retirement. I’m facing my own retirement, too. My friends in the Venice community are aware that I have experienced several serious health setbacks that prevent me from most activities and make my day-to-day involvement in the management of our aging buildings almost impossible.

So, like the dozens of residents who have come to our place during the past 36 years and moved on to their own homes or condos, my family and I are now ready to say goodbye to Venice Manor. We will leave knowing that our low-income residents will be looked after and that the property we love will be in good hands.

We’re not too proud to say we need to see a return in the immediate future on the investment my family has made in the property. We have a great deal of pride in our family’s contribution to the Venice community, but our needs are pressing. We know and like our prospective buyer. We’re really impressed by his proposal to rejuvenate the property and take care of the handful of low-income residents in need of apartments.

Happily, we now have a chance to receive a fair price for the property for the first time since rent-stabilization laws went into effect. We want the right to accept his bid and ensure that our family is taken care of.

The words “hope” and “change” are in the air this year. As a family, we Martins have always believed in those ideas. We hope that we’ve provided a place for our residents to realize their own dreams, and find their own ways of giving back to this wonderful community. That’s what Venice is all about.

Now my sister, my Mom and I are facing major life changes. We just want the chance to move forward.

Barbara Martin,, Venice

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