The house on Rose Avenue where Ty Bray was killed. Credit: Kris Dahlin

Voting Rights Is Our Priority

In 2021, we have seen far too many attacks on our right to vote. I’m sure many of us heard about the law in Georgia that made it illegal to give voters water while they’re waiting in line to vote. Well, for every voter suppression law we did hear about, there are 20 more we didn’t. So far this year, 17 states enacted 28 new laws that make it more difficult for eligible Americans to cast their ballots, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

The only answer to this crisis is a response from the federal government. We need lawmakers in Congress to pass legislation that will create national standards to safeguard our right to vote as soon as possible.

There are already two bills in the mix that, if passed, would go a long way to securing our freedom to vote. The first is the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the second is the For the People Act. Congress has everything it needs to pass sweeping voting rights protection with these pieces of legislation. I am asking them not to squander it or let the filibuster get in the way.
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels
Los Angeles

Voting Rights
In 2006, 192 Republicans voted to renew the Voting Rights Act. Now, we can’t get a single Republican senator to come out and unequivocally support protecting the freedom to vote for the American people. That tells you everything you need to know about the state of bipartisanship in Washington.

It’s time for Senators Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and other lawmakers who want to protect the filibuster on bipartisan grounds to wake up. We are up against the clock to pass voting rights and secure access to the ballot box ahead of the midterms. Without abolishing the filibuster, our chances of passing voting rights legislation like the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act are incredibly slim.

Please, Democratic lawmakers, put the hard earned rights of the American people ahead of your commitment to working with the bad faith GOP.
Sherrie Berlin
Playa del Rey

Homeless-City Services Need Investigation

Regarding the many letters on why and how the homeless have invaded the Venice/Mar Vista Area and how to fix it, here are a few more perspectives:

The city is not helping the homeless situation but profiting off the problem. Just keeping their “so called” services going. From the city council, the mayor, board of supervisors, VCHC, the developers!

It’s all is about keeping their jobs and the money flowing – these “nonprofits” groups have no accountability to the residents!

Let’s see the payroll from these “outreach” groups, let’s review the cost of the new VCHC building, a “must” on Rose Avenue, that skirted the law and changed the rules? Let’s review what all these “nonprofits” actually do and the numbers on getting people into housing.

Obviously, they never did much at the Venice Boardwalk.

Why must our families no longer be able to enjoy our public areas? The homeless have taken over the parks, sidewalks, beaches and alleyways. It is no longer safe nor healthy.

Time to do some deep diving into why the homeless have increased tenfold and why the city keeps profiting off their situation.

We can only hope the city changes the law back to making it illegal to sleep on the streets, parks, beaches, in your car or in front of businesses.

Stop the handouts that aren’t working. Investigate the “nonprofits “ and hold them accountable. Perhaps many “homeless “ will not flock to the golden state of freebies and stay in their own states.
Ken Schwarz

Re: Response to the Homeless Last Week

Thank you very much for publishing my letter on July 1, 2021, but the “corrections” to it by both Jack Schwartz and Angus MacDonald misrepresented my letter.

Mr. Schwartz claimed that he “did not promote building private housing for the homeless,” while in his original letter he wrote “So, if you want to help, support housing groups like Venice Community Housing Corp, who are actually building these projects to house people.”

He also repeated that it is “unconstitutional to decree mandatory destination housing for the homeless,” although he has yet to cite the Article, Section and Clause in the Constitution (or the amendment) that this violates. I didn’t realize that our Founding Fathers had a significant homeless crisis to deal with back then, or for that matter polluted, public, modern cities and waterways. If one is going to reference the Constitution, then it is important to be specific.

National Parks, public schools, NASA, Medicare, Social Security, and the EPA, to name just a few, are not in the Constitution either, so does that make them unconstitutional? The Constitution, as demonstrated by the aforementioned and the 27 amendments, is a living document, which must keep up with our ever-changing world.

He also stated that “Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia were prime examples of ‘majority rule’, as is modern-day China,” but all three of these examples were or are authoritarian regimes that did not and do not represent the majority, which is determined by free and fair elections. It is irresponsible to compare our republic with an authoritarian country — our government is elected, it controls no private businesses, has no wealth, only brings in 16% of the GDP in revenue, which it spends right back into the economy, and it only owns 28% of the land, most of which consists of National Parks, military bases and our borders.

We are nowhere close to becoming an authoritarian socialist or communist country. If anything, we are a feudalist one, which our forefathers rebelled against, when you research the extreme wealth inequality and who owns what in this country, and which I believe is the direct and indirect contributor of the homeless crisis; 80% of the population owns less than 15% of the wealth and lives on 3% of the land, which is not economically sustainable.

Mr. MacDonald wrote: “William Hicks, Our Town cities must be constructed on federal land, not prime real estate,” which would imply to anyone who read or reads this, who may not have read my previous letter, that I support homeless cities being constructed on prime real estate, which I do not. What I did write was: “I disagree with…his NIMBY comment, since nobody is entitled to live in a prime real estate area, plus we have public transit.”
Thank you for allowing me to clarify.
William R. Hicks
Marina del Rey