Corrects March 6th letter writer on RV parking, St. Joseph Center

To the Editor:

The March 6th letter in The Argonaut concerning RV (recreational vehicle) parking and the St. Joseph Center, “Raises issues about RV parking and St. Joseph Center location” contains several pieces of serious misinformation.

First, the RV pilot program referred to applies only to “oversize” vehicles that are more than 22 feet long and seven feet high. This pilot program has been instituted not only in Brentwood but in San Pedro, and it applies to any oversize vehicles, not just RVs that are being used as living quarters by the homeless.

Second, the St. Joseph Center Working Group has not been disbanded. It has been working steadily for almost a year to develop a set of procedures to mitigate potential problems between the homeless service center on Lincoln Boulevard and neighboring residents.

These procedures include such issues as security, parking, hours of operation and litter, among others.

Third, the homeless service center on Lincoln Boulevard does not serve free food, nor do clients indefinitely receive services without registering or receiving counseling.

Dennis Hathaway, Chairman, Venice Neighborhood Council Vehicular Living Task Force Member, St. Joseph Center Working Group

Who out there has walked a mile in my shoes?

To the Editor:

It often bothers me reading The Argonaut that the voice being given a chance to speak so often is very one-sided. It is the voice of the one who owns the house and the land, who thinks they own the sidewalk, the street and the air.

So often I hear that we shouldn’t begrudge someone for having more. So why must others be begrudged for having less?ÝWhat little they do have is being systematically stripped away from them with every new law.

For rich and poor alike, you may not steal bread or sleep under bridges, yet only the poor would find themselves in the situation where they had to. Who out there has walked a mile in my shoes?

You see, I am recently homeless. Not by desire, but by circumstance. If anyone really thinks that someone would want to be homeless — would choose to live on the streets — they should have their head examined.

Often I hear that it is a question of laziness, of not wanting to work and how others work so hard for what they have. But without the opportunities given through circumstance, birth and connections, many of these owners would have found themselves on the other side of the coin.

Just today I met a man, who lost his home in Hurricane Katrina. There are many of these victims that live on the streets of Los Angeles (just as there are thousands of victims of this war economy living on the streets) and it is our responsibility to provide for their welfare — just as it is to provide for the rich in Malibu who receive instant assistance after a fire in their backyard.

Why must someone who is homeless be looked upon merely as an eyesore and less than human?

So, you can imagine the surprise I had this morning, reading that there was finally a Town Hall meeting recently in Venice, to look for ways to help the homeless. It is a good start and much needed, though from the article it seems to have lacked much substance in ideas and solutions. It truly baffles me how all these seemingly educated people completely lack the capacity (or is it the will power?) to address this issue.

The root cause of homelessness is the lack of meaningful employment — people building something positive for themselves and this planet, instead of merely feeding the war machine and corporate interests.

There is so much work needed in this and every other city around this country, yet nothing gets done. Buildings are left vacant for years while corporations use them as taxÝwrite-offs, when they could be used as homes — not shelters — and work spaces.

Rich people cry about not giving handouts, when they have so much handed to them. “Why should the poor be allowed to live at the beach?” they ask. But I want to know why the rich are allowed to buy everything at the beach.

With a handful of buildings and some minimal funding, not only could homelessness be erased, but all these people — these living, breathing people — could begin leading healthy, productive lives and start contributing in a positive way back to the community.

So why don’t you think about that while you’re sipping on your latte.

Homeless in Venice

Editor’s note: Name withheld because letter writer could not be reached for confirmation.

Objects to overnight RVs in neighborhood around Lincoln and Venice Boulevards

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the February 28th article in The Argonaut on the overnight street parking issues. I live near Lincoln and Venice Boulevards, where we also have a huge problem with recreational vehicles (RVs) and vans parking on our residential streets for long stretches of time.

We have had a little parade of three large beat-up RVs and one run-down camper for weeks now. They discharge their waste into the street, create a visual blight in our neighborhood and occupy parking space that belongs to the residents. We also have an ever-changing array of dilapidated camper-vans for various lengths of time.

While Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl assures us that we “should not feel left out in relation to Brentwood” which has its new pilot program, there is a real urgency to this issue that seems to be overlooked. He says he doesn’t want to “criminalize” the overnight parkers, but in fact, they are breaking the law by living in their vehicles on the street.

There are also a host of unsavory behaviors that we have seen associated with some of these vehicles (including drug usage, dealing and prostitution), that additionally impact our neighborhood. There are two schools within two blocks of this area, and these non-resident “residents” pose a potential threat to the children.

We don’t know who is living in these campers, where they came from or what they are doing here.

The fact that we need California Coastal Commission approval to create “parking districts” strikes me as somewhat absurd as well. Developers have no problem building giant 30-story condo projects within spitting distance of the Marina but we will undoubtedly need to have untold hearings, meetings, applications, statements, task forces, etc., simply to reclaim our own neighborhood.

Beyond overnight parking restrictions, we would like to see “resident only” permit parking after 6 p.m., as they have in many neighborhoods that are adjacent to commercial corridors. Why isn’t that being discussed as a possible solution?

My neighbors and I intend to make sure that one of Rosendahl’s four applications to the coastal commission for an overnight parking district will be for our streets.

Ed Colman, Venice