DJs and dance parties south of the Venice pier. Credit: Kris Dahlin

Santa Monica Libraries in Peril
“The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.”
– Albert Einstein

On June 22, the city leaders could decide to drastically cut funding the public libraries in Santa Monica. The role of public libraries has evolved from just simply checking out books to being a vital community resource. They are public spaces where people of all ages and races get together to have their lives enriched by the workshops, lectures, computer learning classes, even real dogs to help shy children learn to read, and so much more.

After the isolation we endured during the pandemic, we need a place to go that’s free of charge. A place to recharge our spirits and our minds.

It is hard to fathom that shuttering our libraries because of funding issues is even considered. Money spent on costly consultants, boondoggle projects and overpaid city employees could be trimmed to keep our libraries open.

For more information contact:
Lou Steiner

Homeless Common Sense Remedies
Re: Moving Homeless Encampments (May 27, 2021)
It is good to know there are community leaders with just good old common sense as exemplified by the short-term remedy to the present crisis of 66,436 homeless persons in Los Angeles County as proposed by Mr. Clark Brown in his letter to the editor.

The legality mentioned in that letter refers to the federal court decision in April 2019 in the case of Martin vs. City of Boise. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled if a city doesn’t have enough shelter beds available for the homeless, enforcing a camping ban on public property violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction is from Arizona to Alaska and includes California.

Obviously moving thousands of homeless to vacant city lots (and why not vacant city buildings) as proposed by Mr. Brown will not happen overnight. During this transitional period, our public officials need to provide wash basins, trash bins and portable toilets in and around existing street encampments as needed.

I believe the latter is just common sense to deter urinating in the alleys, don’t you?
Dan Wunsch
Marina del Rey

Mike Bonin
There is a fundamental flaw regarding the current crisis at the Venice Boardwalk, and that is LA Councilman Mike Bonin and Mike Bonin alone that is the primary reason for the explosion of encampments and rising crime at the beach! For it is his proposals, policies and initiatives that have decimated this tourist destination that once attracted millions!

Talk to any LAPD officer in the Pacific Division off the record and they will tell you it is Bonin who has placed handcuffs on law enforcement to do their job! For it is Bonin’s outward hatred of law enforcement and opposition to the LA Sheriff’s Department from weighing in and assisting an exhausted and weary community tired of inaction and years of broken promises and outright lies!

The lack of cooperation, support, and now the defunding of the LAPD by the likes of Bonin have created the circus-like atmosphere that has driven retailers out of business and the sense that right is now wrong and wrong is now right.

Councilman Bonin clearly lacks the temperament to lead, and his disdain and outright contempt for Venice locals is never addressed in these reports as to why Venice has gone from an international tourist destination to a drug-infested, crime-ridden encampment of transients he promotes, protects and serves!

His Machiavellian approach to governance does not and will not work because the community does not believe him nor support him as a Venice Neighborhood Council community survey taken in 2019 showed he had a 75 unfavorable rating with residents today!

Venice now has close to 3,000 homeless individuals on the streets and the number is rising, not declining thanks to Mr. Bonin. His inability to solve the homeless question and build community consensus is obvious and disturbing.

With an annual salary of $285,673.48, not including free health benefits and a lifetime pension upon retirement, this makes him the highest paid council member in the United States, and more than every state governor and member of the U.S. Congress!

Now under the threat of a second recall in four years, he has lost any mandate to implement policies the district supports, and to expect him at this juncture to listen or lead is foolhardy and naïve at best.

Having lived in Venice for 28 years and just steps from the boardwalk, the issue is no longer homelessness and crime – the issue is Mr. Bonin himself.
In too long, out of touch, and it’s time for him to go!
Nick Antonicello