Don’t Let the Expo Line Punish Venice

Re: “Manifest Destiny,” Cover Story, May 19

While we all slept comfortably in our homes, Santa Monica politicians made plans to create a new bus route leading to the newly built Expo Line Station on Fourth Street. It seems the lack of a parking lot adjoining the train station forced Santa Monica to find some way for commuters to travel to the station from a parking location, so they started a bus route going through the small, old streets of Venice, where commuters can park for free.

The worst part of this decision is the lack of consideration for Venice residents. The hill at the Venice/Santa Monica line at the top of Fourth Street is very steep and the road is very narrow. It’s hard for two cars to pass each other, let alone two city buses. While the buses are breaking downhill, the hydraulic brakes make loud noises. While going uphill they backfire, a loud popping sound. At the bus stop they have
loud speakers announcing the route stops.

There is already so much traffic on Fourth Street that it is hard to get across the street safely or even to get out of your car safely. Many small animals have been killed on this stretch of Fourth Street. Adding more tonnage, such as the heavy weight of a bus loaded with passengers, is just plain unsafe for the people who live here.

More noise, more dust, more potholes that never get fixed, rattling windows and poor air quality all add up to an undesirable situation on this street.

The question to the Santa Monica City Council is this: Why was this bus plan initiated without asking for a community impact report? Why would the Santa Monica City Council want to take out our limited street parking without asking our community?

Lynda Prater, Venice

Still Not Sold on Storage at Westminster

Re: “‘Encouraged and Optimistic,” Letters to the Editor, April 21

Writing as an architect and planner, my description of Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin as uninformed and overwrought in regard to his storage project for the homeless at the former Westminster Senior Center was contested in the following edition by a Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority commissioner who praised Bonin for his leadership efforts.

However, he also appears to be as uninformed and confused about Bonin’s intentions as the rest of us.

Bonin thinks it appropriate that children on their way to school should run a gauntlet of homeless predators, many with mental and drug problems. And that tourists on their way to the beach, hotels or shopping should have to navigate through a sea of panhandlers and threatening crowds of vagrants.

Curiously, Bonin appears confused about his own proposal as it gathers dimension and detail. And, in a statement published in the April 21 edition of the Los Angeles Times appears to disavow and completely contradict both himself and the commissioner by stating that his very proposals would be damaging to the Venice neighborhood: “My experience, particularly over the past two years, is that people are incredibly hungry for solutions to homelessness in Los Angeles,” said Bonin. “They’re clamoring for it. They don’t want encampments in front of their homes and their kids’ schools.”

People are indeed “incredibly hungry for solutions,” as Bonin correctly perceives; the presence of squatters and vagrants in the neighborhood is disturbing. Adding to that burden by providing an attractive nuisance will not solve the problem but exacerbate it.

W. Firschein


Re: “Art in the Spirit of Collaboration,” Arts & Events, May 12

It’s great to see the entire Venice arts community finally working together. Venice Beach is a creative vortex where West Coast innovation has flourished in virtually every creative genre for as long as I can remember. Industrial design, architecture, fine art, music, film, theater, poetry, fashion, food and culture have all been transformed by individuals living and working in Venice Beach.

Google may have re-branded Venice as Silicon Beach, but the local history is set in stone and well-documented. Blockbuster films have been written by homeless artists living on the boardwalk. Let’s all hope those with the greatest political and economic power find creative ways to keep the spirit of Venice alive by making it possible for all types of people to continue living and working in the area. Affluent people can obviously buy their way into any scene they want, but the soul of the scene has a knack for slipping away and popping up elsewhere.

Richard Bilow

Re: “The Fried Chicken Faceoff: Dinah’s vs. Pann’s,” Food & Drink, May 12

Pann’s. First time, 1960. First restaurant I recall with my parents and brothers. A KFC opened on Manchester a few years later. We went — once. Returned to Pann’s.

Paul Mono

Re: “Homeless Strategy Misses the Mark,” Opinion, May 5

I attended Bonin’s town hall on homelessness and was shocked at how little public input was considered. Not one mention was made of the public safety issue, and when he stated that the Westminster Senior Center would be used for homeless storage, the audience erupted in boos.

Bonin clearly couldn’t care less about the opinions of his “housed” constituents.

The exclusive focus of any efforts to combat homelessness in Venice — where the homeless population is, per Mr. Bonin’s own numbers, disproportionately male, addicted and mentally ill — needs to be in getting them off the street and into treatment.

Giving them lots of storage and places to camp out does nothing but exacerbate the problem.

Let’s find an alternative that really addresses the problem, as well as a councilmember who genuinely cares about the residents of Venice!

Angela McGregor