An Investment in Our Future

Re: “No Middle Ground on Venice Median Project,” News, Aug. 3

As a longtime Venice resident, I completely support Venice Community Housing’s plan for the Venice Median project. Low- and middle-income residents have been forced out of our community, and this is a positive step to help preserve the demographic of our neighborhood. This project is only one small step, yet it’s an important one that takes advantage of city-owned property and helps reenergize the disappearing
art community that’s been such an influence on the character
of Venice.

Robert Hughes



A Cell Block by the Sea

Re: “Let’s Build Cultural Capital,” Opinion, Aug. 17

I found it ironic that The Argonaut had a front page article about bucking the McMansion trend and then a sincere but naïve article defending the Venice Median Project (better known as “The Monster in the Median” project).

Does anyone really believe that “it promises a small oasis of comfort,” as the writer declares? Please publish the plans for this enormous, multi-story prison block that would stretch wall-to-wall across the entire open space that currently exists along Venice between Dell and Pacific avenues.

And imagine the additional weekend traffic cramming into the already jammed Venice/Pacific area, the daily traffic backup on Pacific getting even worse. How is it possible that this could ever get through the maze of building regulations that L.A. has created to protect against such monstrosities, particularly within the coastal area? We can only guess.

A handful of homeless people (probably not from Venice) will hit the jackpot with taxpayer subsidized housing in very expensive apartments, developers will get rich and sanctimonious politicians will congratulate themselves. Venice residents will suffer the sad outcome for years to come. Welcome to yet another “aBonination.”

Mark Standring



Too Big for the Beach

Re: “No Middle Ground on Venice Median Project,” News, Aug. 3

No other beach town rimming my beloved Santa Monica Bay — not Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan Beach, Malibu, or even Santa Monica — would ever put a project of this scale one block from the beach. They cherish their beach communities. And so do we, but we were never asked if this was a reasonable use of a city property, or represents a coherent vision for the future of Venice.

It just somehow got mandated by L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin and others, behind closed doors, that one block from the beach was where hundreds of homeless people had to live for no good reason other than that the city owns the land. Well, I’m sorry, but that isn’t a good enough reason to take away the last bit of open space on the gateway to Venice Beach via Venice Boulevard.

Hopefully the California Coastal Commission will see it our way. If not, the young families and property owners whose future is vested in the future of Venice need to weigh in and stop this massive monstrosity being promoted by ambitious politicians and opportunistic developers with the right connections to
City Hall.

Charles Rosin



Stop Legislating Our Commutes

Is it possible that the government of Los Angeles and specifically L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin just might be totally wrong — and the people they pretend to represent absolutely right — when it comes to the misguided notion that bicycles should have equal access to our city streets?

Taking away needed traffic lanes in the name of increased bicycle use is a myth much more about politics and ambition than responsible traffic policy.

As it pertains specifically to the traffic lane reductions on Venice Boulevard, all that’s been created is animosity toward people trying to get to work in a reasonable amount of time, who are somehow “the bad guys” in the never-ending attempt to legislate how people decide to commute.

If city officials were serious about getting people out of their cars, they would appropriate the funding necessary to expedite construction of light rail connecting Culver City to LAX and use both Venice and Lincoln boulevards as points of mass commuter access. To suggest the absurdity of people transferring to bicycles as a primary mode to travel to their place of employment is insanity, especially for those not physically up to pedaling to work.

As an avid bicyclist, I feel the changes to Venice Boulevard make my rides more dangerous because drivers cannot see me at stop signs and intersections along Venice Boulevard. That needs to change.

As a member of the Parking & Transportation Committee for the Venice Neighborhood Council, I saw nearly 100 people turn out at our recent meeting—the overwhelming number of them opposing these ridiculous changes. The only ones in support were not-for-profit bicycling advocates, city staffers and bureaucrats, along with non-Venice residents pretending to speak for those phantom supporters of this ill-conceived and poorly planned proposal.

Safely nestled in a new, five and half year term of office, Councilman Bonin is now immune to the scrutiny he avoided during his listless and lifeless reelection campaign. Had this road diet been part of that campaign, we might have another individual representing the frustrated and exhausted voters of Council District 11.

This is just another example why Los Angeles is one of the most tone-deaf and mismanaged cities in America, and the primary reason why many Venice residents are seriously considering cityhood as a legitimate option for responsible change.

Nick Antonicello



The author is chair of a Venice Neighborhood Council ad-hoc committee exploring the benefits of independent cityhood.


Drive Out Hate With Love

An open letter to residents of Santa Monica by the city’s mayor and mayor pro-tem.

We share the nation’s heartache following the events in Charlottesville. It’s painful to see blatant hate played out in such a menacing way. We stand in solidarity with Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer in his courageous battle against the forces of white supremacy and ethnic and religious bigotry. We share our condolences with the family of Heather Heyer and those injured. We mourn the death of the two Virginia State Troopers who died doing their duty, protecting the rights and safety of all.

There is always room in cities like Charlottesville and Santa Monica for dissent, no matter how uncomfortable or outside the mainstream. But we saw in Charlottesville forces bent on more than expressing their opinions. We join Mayor Signer and mayors across the country in condemning intimidation, violence and terrorism. Similar incidents of intolerance and intimidation have recently happened in our own community. We will always respect the rights of free speech, but we will not tolerate coercion or violence.

We speak for our colleagues on the City Council, our City staff and the vast majority in our community to reaffirm that Santa Monica fervently supports the equitable treatment of all people — regardless of race, cultural background, age, citizenship, gender or sexual orientation.

We also understand that honoring our differences is vital to ensuring city services are responsive and effective. The City of Santa Monica is part of a network of public agencies called the Government Alliance on Race & Equity working to address racial equity and its implications for public policy and service delivery. We look forward to sharing more of this work, including how everyone in our community can get involved.

America has gone through dark periods in the past and we will navigate through this one. The key lies in practicing our nation’s values of liberty, tolerance and inclusion. In this, we stand united with Charlottesville and every other American community—to defend the American way of life, protecting every American from violent terrorism, whatever its origin.

We take inspiration from the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

As Americans, as Santa Monicans, we stand together against violence, terrorism and the intolerance that spawns them. We call upon all who love our nation and our community to respond to this crisis in the spirit of Dr. King — and drive out hate with love.

Santa Monica Mayor
Ted Winterer

Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis