Celebrating the Creative Community of Venice.
I reported a couple of weeks ago that as late as two months ago, Mike Bonin aide Debbie Dyner Harris had refused to tell Becky Dennison of Venice Community Housing the names of the three members of the Board of Directors of the Venice Beach Property Owners Association. Dyner Harris even sent an email to shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine asking for permission to share the names, which Devine evidently didn’t give, because Dyner Harris didn’t give up the names. Well, I’ve been asking CD11 for the names as well, and after a long three weeks, for whatever reason, Debbie Dyner Harris emailed me this morning and told me that the Board of Directors presently consists of Steve Heumann, Carl Lambert, and Mark Sokol.
Steve Heumann was not a surprise, as his name appears as agent for service of process on the POA’s registration with the State.1 But the other two are of great interest indeed. I recently wrote about how Carl Lambert’s campaign contributions to Mike Bonin and Eric Garcetti probably violated City campaign finance laws, but that argument wouldn’t fly if he weren’t on the Board. Since he is, I’ll be reporting him to the City Ethics Commission in the next few days.
But Mark Sokol’s case is even more fascinating. Recall that the POA has been meeting with the City about the BID at least since September 2014. Well, take a look at all of Sokol’s contributions since then. They add up to $10,750. The output of the City’s database lists each contribution separately, but here are the totals:Mark Sokol’s Campaign Contributions Since September 2014 Recipient Total contributions Paul Krekorian $350 Mike Bonin $700 Felipe Fuentes $700 Marqueece Harris-Dawson $700 Jose Huizar $700 Nury Martinez $700 David E. Ryu $700 Curren Price $1,200 Gilbert Cedillo $1,400 Paul Koretz $1,400 Ron Galperin $2,200
It is shocking. I’m not going to reiterate the reasons that this is almost certainly illegal, but they’re worth reading. Later tonight I will publish a letter that I’ll be sending to the nine remaining Councilmembers2 who took Sokol’s money asking them to recuse themselves from the upcoming vote on the Venice Beach BID ordinance version 2.0.3 And all the money to Galperin? Well, the Controller is meant to audit BIDs, and they have done in the past. They mostly refuse to these days,4 but how’s Sokol supposed to know that? Or maybe it’s something else nefarious.
In any case, I’ve noted before that the City Charter, at Section 470 gives the purpose of Municipal Campaign Finance laws:
The purpose of this section is to encourage a broader participation in the political process and to avoid corruption or the appearance of corruption in city decision making, and protect the integrity of the City’s procurement and contract processes by placing limits on the amount any person may contribute or otherwise cause to be available to candidates for election to the offices of Mayor, City Attorney, Controller and City Council and promote accountability to the public by requiring disclosure of campaign activities and imposing other campaign restrictions.
Carl Lambert’s contributions to Mike Bonin and Eric Garcetti were bad enough with respect to corruption or the appearance of corruption, but Mark Sokol’s more than $10,000 spent just since the BID formation process began is unconscionable. Stay tuned
2014 VBBID Emails Reveal, Among Other Things, That Bonin Staffer Debbie Dyner Harris Was On Venice Beach BID Steering Committee Since 2014 Despite Consistent Denials of City Involvement In Formation Process
Did you know there are currently over one hundred and twenty (120) alcohol licenses in operation in the 3.1 square mile Venice area? Which translates to forty (40) ABC liquor licenses per square mile. The average number of ABC liquor licenses in LA County is four (4) per square mile. Therefore, Venice has ten (10) times the alcohol concentration than the LA County average!Folks, if you can, please fill out the protest form in this post (also attached to this message), to stop yet another liquor license in Venice. At this point it is important that we submit as many official Protest Forms to the ABC – THIS MUST BE ON AN OFFICIAL ABC FORM attached here: https://www.abc.ca.gov/FORMS/ABC510A.pdf Download and fill out with name, address and sign. If you run out of space, you can attach extra pages. Some pertinent stats are in the original post below. If you can personalize your protest that is good too. ie I walk/ride my bike past there, take my children to the beach/school that way, entitled to peace and quiet in my home, 13 feet from residents etc. We will be taking this downtown Thursday, so all signed forms to be in my hand by THIS WEDNESDAY September 21. You can leave them in the secure mailbox at 332 Vernon Ave, Venice. Please do this esp if you live within 500 feet and even if you live beyond that – anywhere in Venice! This will set a terrible precedent for anyone jamming a bar 13 feet from your home! We did that two years ago, and they withdrew their application. However they have re-applied for a Type 47 license which is FULL ALCOHOL – spirits, wine & beer ON-SITE, with beer & wine OFF-SITE. So, we are faced with alcohol being served 13 feet from residences all hours of the day and night, as well as takeout beer and wine sales.
This is contrary to the applicant stating at our WLA Area Planning Commission Appeal Hearing in March of this year, that he would NOT be selling beer and wine to go!
As you know, this owner has been operating Gjusta out of compliance for over 2 years now with ZERO consideration for the surrounding neighbors. Adding ALCOHOL to the mix is a dangerous move in our residential neighborhood, 13 feet from homes.
This will set a terrible precedent for all future potential developments in Venice. We managed to block the sale of alcohol with our last round of protests and we must do it again – NOW – as this is our last chance!
Time is of the essence. All completed protest forms must be in my hand by next Wednesday, September 21, 2016. NOW IS THE MOST CRUCIAL TIME TO SPEAK UP FOR OUR FAMILIES’ QUALITY OF LIFE AND FOR OUR COMMUNITY’S SAFETY.
It is imperative that we PROTEST this immediately. You can download and print the Protest form attached to this message, then add your comments.
Please REMEMBER to CLEARLY print your name and sign with your address and date. Fill out the section “on the grounds that” and attach extra pages if necessary. THEN, deposit in secure mailbox at – 332 Vernon Ave, Venice, CA 90291 – by Wednesday 21 September, 2016. Thank you!
You do not have to be in immediate proximity of the location, anyone can oppose.
I believe it will make a powerful statement if the ABC can receive a big batch of protests from both the immediate and greater community at one time, showing our solidarity. This is how we stopped it last time, and managed to prevent a full alcohol bar going in at Gjusta, 320 Sunset for two years already – LET’S KEEP IT GOING!
If you are within 500 feet, you should have received a protest form in the mail. If you didn’t, please write on your form that you did not receive notice, as well as your protest points. You can attach more pages to your protest if you do not have enough room. Please explain exactly how having alcohol at this location will affect you. The ABC need to read specifics, not just generalizations.
Below I have listed some important fast facts you could use re: ABC liquor licenses in Venice. Please also PERSONALIZE your protest letter as much as possible. State if you are within 100 feet, 500 feet, a block, two blocks etc. If you ride your bike, walk your children past there etc. You are entitled to peaceful enjoyment in your home and safety of passage on your street and in your neighborhood.
– The ABC Regulation 61.4 states than an alcohol license “should not be issued within 100 ft of residences”, yet here we have residences within 13 feet.
– An area that is high crime and high concentration of ABC licenses is considered to be UNDUE CONCENTRATION. Therefore, 320 Sunset is located in an area considered UNDUE CONCENTRATION. By right, ABC should not issue a license in an area of Undue Concentration. - Elevated rates of Alcohol-related crimes associated with Undue Concentration in high crime areas tend to be: disturbing the peace, public intoxication, assault and battery, prostitution, loitering, graffiti and vandalism.
– There are currently in excess of one hundred and twenty (120) alcohol licenses in operation in the 3.1 square mile Venice area, which translates to forty (40) ABC liquor licenses per square mile. The average number of ABC liquor licenses in LA County is four (4) per square mile. Therefore, Venice has ten (10) times the alcohol concentration than the LA County average.
– Census Tract 2733, where 320 Sunset is located, already has a total of sixteen (16) ON-SITE sale and three (3) OFF-SITE sale liquor licenses. The allowable limit per ABC rules is actually three (3) on-site sale and the allowable limit for off-site sales is two (2). Therefore, in Census Tract 2733 there are already over 5-times the allowable limit of on site sales, and off site has been exceeded also.
Furthermore, given that Type 47 liquor licenses allow off-site sales as well as on-site consumption, in Census Tract 2733 there are six (6) Type 47 liquor licenses. This means the total OFF-SITE sales outlets could be as many as nine (9) locations, in this tract, allowing off-site sale of beer and wine – more than four (4) times the allowable limit for off-site sales.
– 320 Sunset is in LAPD Crime Reporting District 1413. There were 401 Part 1 crimes and Part 2 arrests reported in 2014. The City-wide average is 163, and the High-Crime Reporting District average is 196 for the same period. Therefore, the crime reporting District in which 320 Sunset is located has more than twice the amount of crime of the Los Angeles’ high crime reporting district average.
– In the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health report “Reducing Alcohol- Related Harms in Los Angeles County” it is reported as follows:
In Los Angeles County the average number of alcohol outlets is 16 per 10,000 people. In Venice, the average number of alcohol outlets is 30 per 10,000 people. At almost DOUBLE the average, Venice falls in the High Density category.
The findings of the report further displays the association between Alcohol Outlet Density and Alcohol-Related Harms. Having a high density of either ON-SITE or OFF-SITE outlets was associated with significantly higher rates of alcohol related harms as follows:
– Alcohol-involved Motor Vehicle Crashes are 3 times more likely
– Alcohol-Related Deaths are 5 times more likely
– Violent Crimes are 9 to 10 times more likely to occur
– According to Compstat West Traffic Division there was an 800% increase in alcohol related DUI traffic collisions in the Pacific area, in 2015 from the year prior.
– The operator regularly serves alcohol at another location out of compliance with his ABC license and his CUB, in an upstairs dwelling used as a party location — 501 Milwood/1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice. He has been cited by City of LA several times over violations of his CUB at this other location for 8 years, and has not come into compliance.
– At 320 Sunset location, the applicant has been operating this restaurant business without valid City of LA permits for over 2 years. He has been cited several times by City of LA Dept of Building and Safety, though refuses to come into compliance. Under California State Law, the ABC may not issue a liquor license if it violates an existing valid local zoning ordinance. In locales that have enacted CUP’s, such as City of LA, State liquor licenses may only be issued AFTER all zoning permits are in order. This applicant’s CUP, CDP and ENV are all still in various stages of appeal at both the City and Coastal Commission level, so issuance of an ABC license at this stage is not allowed.
Also, if you have other neighbors in your complex please encourage them to write up a protest too. One protest letter from each individual would be good, rather than just one per household. The more we can get into the ABC, the more impactful our protest will be!
You are invited to attend a public hearing to consider the remodeling of a duplex.
You are invited to attend a public hearing to consider the demolition of a detached garage and the construction of a 794 square foot kitchen addition to an existing one-story restaurant for a total floor area of 3,309 sf, with a maximum building height of 13’-6”.
This would include a Conditional Use to permit the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption in the restaurant with interior seats of 96 seats; and hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
VenicePaparazzi updated gallery '10th Annual Gala at Jonathan's Club. Sept. 10, 2015'
You are invited to a Public Hearing to consider the construction of a new 80-room hotel complex with restaurants and offices and a spa to replace existing restaurants, offices, a retail nursery and a private school. The approval would include conditional use permits for the on-site and off-site sale of a full line of alcoholic beverages in the hotel restaurants and lounges, guest rooms, and a market.
The site currently contains 12,560 square feet of existing developments comprised of three restaurants, totaling 7,444 square feet, a 1,572 square-foot private school, 3,544 square feet of office space (of which 1,345 square feet will be retained), 2,963 square feet of existing outdoor landscaped area used as a retail nursery (the Sculpture Garden), and a 60-space surface parking lot. The project proposes the demolition of one 2,442 square-foot restaurant, the existing private school, 2,200 square feet of office space, and the surface parking lot.
1. Pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 12.24-W,1, a Conditional Use Permit authorizing: (a) the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcohol beverages for on-site consumption in conjunction with a proposed hotel restaurant having 113 indoor seats and 47 outdoor seats, operating between the hours of 7:00 A.M. to 1:00 A.M., (b) the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcohol beverages for on-site and off-site consumption in conjunction with a market within the hotel, operating between the hours of 7 A.M to 1:00 A.M., (c) a full line of alcohol beverages provided in individual hotel room’s liquor cabinets, (d) the sale of a full line of alcohol beverages by hotel guest room services, (e) and the on-site consumption of alcohol in the hotel lobby, outdoor courtyard, hotel lounge areas, and hotel business center;
2. Pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 12.24-W,24, a Conditional Use to permit an Apartment Hotel located within 500 feet of a Residential Zone;
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
ZA 2012-3354(CUB)(CU)(CDP)(SPR)(SPP)(MEL) Page 2
3. Pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 12.20.2, a Coastal Development Permit authorizing the construction, use, and maintenance of a 63,964 square-foot mixed-use development (70,310 square feet of new and existing development) consisting of: the maintenance of two existing restaurants, the demolition of a 2,442 square-foot restaurant and the construction of a 4,200 square-foot hotel restaurant having 1,896 square-feet of Service Floor Area, the construction of a new Apartment Hotel with four residential units and 80 guest rooms, 2,534 square feet of ground floor retail space comprised of a market with 500 square feet of Service Floor Area and a 1,735 square-foot spa, and 3,371 square feet of office space. The project will construct three (3) new three-story mixed-use buildings, a maximum of 30 feet in height, and one (1) new two-story building, approximately 25 feet in height; all new structures are connected by pedestrian bridges. The project provides a total of 167 parking spaces, at grade and within two subterranean levels and will provide two on-street loading areas on Broadway, limiting the use of the two spaces for loading during the hours of 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Monday through Friday and 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Thousands of neighbors and families came out to Oakwood Park to see this extraordinary play last month. The neighborhood was buzzing with anticipation after seeing the large and very technical stage they had set up while we were not at at the Oakwood Barbeque. I swear as I am a king of threadbare productions, The Cornerstone Theater Company provided beautiful sets and props and sound. The production looked gorgeous. Bravo to the writers and stage and graphic designers for you have told an excellent tale of Oakwood. In their fine logo above we find quotes from the works of muralists Emily Winters, Frederico Vigil, Edward Bieberman, Francisco Letelier, and Rip Cronk, from their treasured Venice Murals.
The story was written to utilize a large community cast, and this brings authenticity to the stories. Childhood, parenthood, possibly being the last older generation black family to sell out and move away, questions raised. Nostalgia is fine but times have changed and many of the things that kept you here are gone. In the end the audience got to vote on whether the mythical Zelda, a fictional and composite character drawn from Venice stories, and whose life was the connecting string of the story, should sell her house to pay for her daughter’s education.
I loved hating the grand comedic villain from Har De Har Har Realty as she lies about her love for the community, as she plans to destroy it.
“The Cornerstone Theater Company makes new plays with and about communities. For 30 years, Cornerstone Theater Company has brought together an ensemble of professional artists of the highest caliber with people who may not think of themselves as artists, to produce works of excellence based on the stories, characteristics, and concerns of a given community.” – CTC Press Release.
I sat with Emily Winters at the performance, a few yards behind Ira Koslow, VNC President. After the show Emily asked Ira if he thought the play represented the business community fairly. He said, as if it is what he should say, and what Emily expects him to say, that it did not present the whole picture. There are some more photos on page 5.
You are invited to attend a Public Hearing to consider an appeal of the of the entire decision of the Advisory Agency’s approval of Parcel Map No. AA-2016-0315-PMLA-SL for a maximum of three (3) small lots and the construction, use, and maintenance of three (3) small lot homes. The subdivision of one lot into three (3) small lots for the construction, use, and maintenance of three (3) small lot homes that each contain two covered parking spaces. The subdivision project is located on an 8,804 square-foot lot in the [Q]RD3-1XL Zone. The project includes an Advisory Agency Adjustment, pursuant to LAMC 17.53-J, to permit an increase in density of not more than 20 percent.
The City’s recommendation is to deny the appeal.
The attached LA Times OpEd – contributed by two individuals who clearly understand the history of US land use and its zoning underpinnings – challenges both the mayor’s Hoover Style Development & the protectionists’ Neighborhood Integrity Initiative strategies for dealing with the current LA Housing Crisis. It has implications for the VNC’s LUP and Homeless Committees among others.
The authors of the attached propose the following alternative integrated strategy: