The following letters are in response to “Mike Bonin’s Big Idea: Acres of Prime Venice Real Estate Slated for Affordable Housing,” our Jan. 28 cover story:
Build a Venice Homeless Dignity Camp
The Venice Metro bus yard should be turned into the Venice Homeless Dignity Camp. Complete with 20 private showers, dozens of washers and dryers, a full kitchen and dining room, rehab classes and triple bunk beds — like we provide for them at $64,000 per person, per year, at L.A. County Jail.
Who are you kidding with your low-income housing that would house maybe 75 lucky housing lottery winners at a taxpayer cost of hundreds of millions dollars? We have more than 44,000 homeless human beings in Los Angeles. Let’s show some compassionate leadership, because the problem is only going to get worse, as it has for decades now.
We could have the cleanest, most dignified homeless in America at a relatively small cost, and reduced crime would occur because there would be less resentment.
The Venice Homeless Dignity Camp would show the country that we will no longer tolerate this shameful spiritual neglect of the homeless dying in our face on our public streets. We should be leading the way in homeless dignity because, after all, this techie invasion of Venice has made us one of the richest communities in America.
No more talk. Show the love.
‘A Big, Positive Step’
I applaud Mike’s visionary plan. Finally, a big, positive step toward maintaining, even increasing Venice’s diverse population — what’s left of it. Go MB!
Squandering a Valuable Resource
Mike Bonin’s proposed low-income housing development at the Metro bus yard in Venice lacks vision and would be an immense waste of resources on so many levels.
Venice is screaming with potential to capitalize on its world-famous brand and superb beachfront location. Why would anyone in their right mind want to build low-income housing on such a rare, unique, valuable and irreplaceable location?
I’m a huge proponent for low-income housing, but it needs to be done intelligently. The bus yard is an asset that has the potential to generate a significant amount of money that could be better used to build low-income housing in a more appropriate location (i.e. not on prime beachfront land). Far more people could be housed by taking this approach, which would help the city achieve its goal of providing housing to the people that need it.
Venice has long suffered the moniker “Slum by the Sea,” and while much improvement has been made, I feel Bonin’s proposal is a step backwards. I’ve lost count of the number of tourists I’ve spoken to who have expressed great disappointment in Venice Beach — people who were willing to stimulate the local economy but instead left as quickly as they could.
So what to do with the yard? Let’s look at something that is going to create value, lift and enhance Venice’s image, attract money, and be appealing to locals and visitors alike. I hope Bonin will reevaluate his plans and bring forward a new proposal that will do something special for Venice — a must-see landmark worth visiting and remembering.
Marina del Rey
‘Wastelands into Wonders’
Bravo for Bonin for pushing to reclaim the Metro site at Sunset and Main — now a “bleak fenced-off lot” of fuel storage tanks, a diesel filling station and cracked cement — for affordable housing in over a third of the proposed units.
And bravo for believing that housing for those in the $30,000 annual income range should be built in diverse areas of Los Angeles — not crammed into communities in South or East L.A., but spread out so the beach is not the exclusive domain of the privileged but a beauty for all to potentially behold, for all to hear the crashing of the morning waves and smell the salty air.
Each day I drive by that yard on my way to Venice High School, where I sometimes teach about the gentrification of Venice, and I think, “We need to reclaim that lost space.” And so I’m glad to read that Bonin, as well as Mayor Eric Garcetti and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, are thinking big to turn wastelands into wonders.
Housing Plan’s Opportunity Cost
Councilman Bonin’s idea for so-called affordable housing may be affordable for the low-income tenants lucky enough to snag one of the units, should they be developed, but can Los Angeles afford it?
Can Metro really afford to forgo the $50 million dollars that a sale to a private interest would yield?
Can it afford to forgo the millions of dollars in annual property taxes that private development would produce?
I think not. The city does have a role in providing housing for those who can’t afford to put a roof over their heads, but I see no obligation to locate that housing an easy walk from the beach in one of the most expensive sections of town.
Taking prime beach-area real estate for subsidized housing is in effect taking money from us taxpayers, because still more of the budget load will fall on our backs in the future.
Quality of Life Still a Concern
So Councilman Bonin is hard at work to expand affordable housing in Venice. I guess that
is why he and his office has ignored all of my emails over the last couple of years complaining about the quality of life in Venice for homeowners and renters. I just hope that all of the homeless people he
helps are registered voters. I know the homeowners and renters are, and they aren’t too happy with him.
Light at the End of the Public Policy Tunnel
Is homelessness a Los Angeles issue or a Venice problem? For that is the issue that faces both Venice as a neighborhood and Los Angeles as a major American city and county.
It’s obvious Venice shoulders a large portion of the homelessness burden, but is not Los Angeles city and county responsible for the ultimate solution? While this question is discussed as somewhat philosophical in nature, I see it as pragmatic in terms of providing answers to this problem that has plagued Venice for far too long.
A city and county the size of Los Angeles has the economic clout to address the issue, and it’s become obvious that real political capital is being expended and real solutions are being put forward to deal with this crisis in housing and sustainability of a viable working class community and culture.
I applaud Los Angeles for taking that first bold step in searching for real progress in attacking this issue. If we don’t, Los Angeles will become another Detroit —a failed municipality with no future.
Turning Venice’s Metro bus yard into a starting point for affordable housing is a serious proposal that demands consideration and public support.
But Venice should not shoulder the burden alone. Creating a city- and county-wide policy that addresses this human scourge is necessary for eventual and permanent success.
The application of eminent domain seizure as a public good to find and construct affordable housing units across Los Angeles is another option worth considering. Partnering with developers and creating economic incentives to construct affordable housing can no longer hobble along as election time rhetoric. It must be a serious city strategy that ends this homeless epidemic by the end of this decade!
Spreading the responsibility of affordable housing is necessary, the same way implementing a parallel jobs strategy that creates the kind of work that pays the rent and the rest of the bills is equally imperative as this new policy boldness has finally replaced business as usual.
For affordable housing, jobs and a legitimate transportation initiative that truly connects Los Angeles from the Valley to the Westside and eventually LAX is yet another spoke in the wheel of economic success for Angelinos everywhere.
I am energized that finally a serious housing strategy that connects all the working parts of economic prosperity for the diminishing working and middle class has come to fruition.
While the devil is always in the details, this critical first step is always the hardest and this possibility of actually tackling and ending the homeless epidemic as we know it is creating a flicker of light at the end of the public policy tunnel.
FROM THE WEB
Re: “Canals Home Sells for $2K per Square Foot,” news, Feb. 4
It’s important to note that this home was not sold for “lot value.” The two-story home is very charming and very well-appointed, having been recently restored. It’s certainly enjoyable for the long term by anyone who can appreciate the value of living in a small home. Bungalows that are selling for significantly less are likely much smaller and decrepit enough that they will be razed or renovated with major additions to ultimately yield a far larger $4 million to $5 million home. The point is that this home is probably the most “affordable” livable home in the canals — and a very nice one at that.
Re: “Joe’s and Roosterfish Call it Quits,” news, Feb. 4
So sad to see Joe’s and Roosterfish leave our beautiful Venice. I have been a resident for 31 years and have seen the change. Whether Abbot Kinney will either survive as is (and become Rodeo Drive) or become Melrose (which lost everything), we’ll see. Let’s remain creative, artistic and funky, and stick together to create a better Venice.
Venice is dead. Long live Venice!
David W. Kay