Says Playa Vista is a ësensible and responsible community partnerí

To the Editor:

Regarding the March 31st meeting of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), I left wondering what the point of the meeting was, what was accomplished and what new was brought to the table. Nothing.

Playa Vista invites scrutiny, as do all developers in the area, and MVCC has applied disproportion-ate criticism to what has shown itself to be a sensible and responsible community partner while other developers randomly throw up high-density housing with no infrastructure improvement (for example) Glencoe Avenue between Washington and Maxella).

The March 31st meeting antics by MVCC and its supporters showed that itís time to let Playa Vista complete its planned community and share it with us all. Itís time for MVCC to clean up its act and reorder its priorities to actually serve the community it purports to.

Nancy Swaim, Marina del Rey

Suggests that Marina del Rey renters may be able to negotiate lower rents or postpone increases

To the Editor:

In these difficult financial times many Marina del Rey apartment dwellers have persuaded their apartment managers not to raise their rents. Others have even succeeded in lowering their rents. This is a matter of grave importance in Marina del Rey because just before the financial crisis hit, a series of new building complexes has taken rent levels to new heights.

Strollers around the Marina see signs saying ìmove-in specialsî and balloons leading potential renters to rental offices ó a rare sight in the Marina.

The bottom line is that renters should be aware that management is often willing to negotiate when leases come up for renewal.

Boaters are also affected by rent increases and dockmasters around the Marina may be willing to freeze rents or even negotiate lower rents when asked nicely to do so.

D.G. Franklin, Marina del Rey

Wants to know who will take responsibility for ëhomeless epidemicí in Venice Beach

To the Editor:

Regarding the March 26th story in The Argonaut, ìSt. Joseph Center seeks to identify most vulnerable:î

Who will take ownership and responsibility for the homeless epidemic that is rampant here in Venice Beach? According to an interim report compiled by an Ad Hoc Committee on Homelessness and Vehicular Occupation dated March 17th for the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC), the number of homeless living in Venice is increasing and that 962 individuals described as homeless were domiciled in the 90291 zip code during a random night count. This ratio of homeless to housed residents is 1 to 32, the highest in all of Los Angeles County.

While the VNC is seeking the services and input of the St. Joseph Center, they already have identified over 600 individuals as chronically homeless in the same report. The goal seems to be to create a service registry much like the ìStreet to Homeî project that vastly decreased street homelessness in New Yorkís Times Square over a decade ago.

While replicating other strategies that have worked is noble, the situation in Venice is different in that most of the homeless are scattered about the beach and boardwalk areas. The number of public facilities is far more numerous and the area of impact far larger than even Times Square.

At the end of the day, this initative seeks to enroll and serve 40 chronically homeless individuals. That number represents just four percent of the average homeless population within the 90291 zip code as identified by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority in 2007.

What is to be done with the other 96 percent who will remain on the street?

While this plan hopes to use best practices as well as case management and ìharm reductionî strategies, what the report fails to acknowledge is that the primary reason homelessness all but vanished within Times Square as well as Bryant Park was due to the widely successful redevelopment of both tourist destinations.

Where is the redevelopment strategy for the Venice Boardwalk? It does not exist.

The way to eliminate chronic homelessness in Venice is to develop a public/private partnership focused on the redevelopment of the boardwalk, the largest source of homelessness within the area.

The VNC is to be congratulated for taking ownership of a very difficult situation and building some consensus to move in the right direction. But where is the assistance of our elected officials? Where is Mr. Rosendahlís input and suggestions to deal with the other 96 percent of the areaís homeless who are not being addressed in a meaningful way?

But most importantly, where is the plan for the economic redevelopment of the Venice Boardwalk? Where is the cityís plan to partner or invest in Venice Beach?

Are they waiting for every federal stimulus dollar to be spent before a plan for Venice is even considered?

It is not the job of the VNC to fix such a pressing problem as the homeless. These are passionate volunteers who care about the neighborhoods and the community as a whole. Where is the cityís elected leadership?

In the end, Venice has no one to blame but themselves for this vacuum of failed public policy to address the most serious issues in Venice which is sustainable redevelopment of the boardwalk and a plan to migrate the homeless to permanent housing.

Nick Antonicello, Venice Beach