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Ending Police Brutality

Venice Beachead - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 20:33

by Michael Wamback

From Ferguson to Venice, police abuse of power has been a hot topic. We get upset about it, and rightly so. But where does it come from, and what can we do about it?
The history of police abuse of power goes back to the beginning of time. To me, it’s a fanatical fundamental manifestation of the ideal of good intent. Most Police don’t necessarily abuse their power for pleasure or because they are “bad people”. Rather many are “good people” who have convinced themselves that the ends of protecting their community justifies the means of abusing citizens. This is a philosophical and moral weakness that is a part of who many of us are. America, at the end of the day, is an egocentric society. And intolerant leadership like Donald Trump exhibits can only make it worse.

Other human emotions enter into the equation as well. Police, at the end of the day, are human beings not robots. As such, they are subject to the same emotional weaknesses that we all share. The only difference is that when most of us are experiencing the powerful emotions of fear or anger, we thankfully are not holding a baton or gun. In confrontational situations, adrenalin magnifies these emotions substantially.
And, of course, there is concern about the effects of drug abuse, particularly steroids.
So, to me, the first step in solving the problem of police brutality is recognizing these truths, and attacking them with leadership.

First, it comes down to making sure your are screening your candidates to weed out those who are weak. Having gone through military training, the purpose of it was to identify individuals who were likely to break under the pressure of battle. Better to have them fail the training before you handed them a loaded gun. It was all about how you would react under intense pressure – keeping your cool.

Any perspective candidate for law enforcement should go through a rigorous process of examination to make sure only those with the very best composure and self-discipline get to wear a badge.

Following this, there has to be leadership at the top. Police chiefs have to make it clear that abuse of power won’t be tolerated. Unfortunately, this seems to be where our current system is breaking down.

What we tend to witness when an officer violates his training is police circling the wagons. This not only protects officers who commit abuse, but it also sends a message that the brass agrees with their tactics. Furthermore, when police protect their own for the same acts they prosecute civilians for, it’s understandable that it sows the seeds of scorn and mistrust. None of us like double standards.

Added to this is peer pressure, where cops are expected to always have each others backs, no matter what. This can create an environment where those who tend to abuse power feel protected and even endorsed. That puts all of us at risk.

All of these conditions demand leadership.

The police brass must make it clear, in no uncertain terms, that abuse of power will not be tolerated. They must create an atmosphere where officers who witness their fellow cops abusing their power feel compelled to speak up, rather than defend them. The good men and women of a healthy police department should feel proud of their uniform, and have nothing but contempt for their colleagues who would disgrace it by abusing their powers.

The Democratic candidates have spoken about the need to demilitarize the police, and I agree. When I was a kid, I remember the Vancouver Canucks (hockey team) wearing horrible yellow uniforms with a big V. At the time, the team was near the bottom of the league. During intermission, the host asked Don Cherry (the colorful ex-coach of the Bruins) why they were playing so bad? “What do you expect, you dress them like clowns and they play like clowns.”

I believe this holds true for police. You dress them like an invading army and they start to act like an invading army. So a good step would be to rethink uniforms to emphasis non-aggression rather than intimidation.

Police training also needs to be rethought. Emphasis must be placed on deescalation rather than the deployment of weapons, even if that means taking a lot of time and patience to wait someone out.

Cops need help too.

To be sure, police work is stressful, and all police need emotional support. They spend years dealing with violence and the kinds of things none of us should ever have to witness. The stress from this adds up over time. In some cases, it may make an officer more callous in their attitude toward society. In extreme cases, an officer may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress.

Police should undergo regular mandatory screening for mental health, including regular counseling sessions. It’s not weakness to receive support, and it will allow departments to have a better chance to detect officers who are in need of help before they pull a trigger out of anger or frustration. Making counseling mandatory would take away some of the stigma of “being weak.” by asking for help. Early identification of mental issues with treatment might save a career of an officer, not to mention a citizen’s life, rather than having both end tragically.

These are all cultural shifts that can easily be implemented within departments, and which I believe would make a difference.

Of course, mandatory drug screening can eliminate the risk of steroids. It concerns me that Police Unions have chosen to fight this initiative when departments have considered it. Makes me wonder how big the steroid problem is in law enforcement? Clearly, with such strenuous objections to random drug testing, many police officers must have something to hide. After all, this is the presumption they make on a daily basis about individuals who refuse to answer questions or give consent to search.

But even then, things will go wrong. Then what happens?

Jerry Brown has taken some good first steps, the biggest of which is to make it clear that it is lawful to videotape police, provided that you are in a public space and not interfering with them. Mandatory body cameras are also effective (abuse complaints drop considerably when they are employed). And officers should face sever discipline whenever they turn off a camera and force is used. It’s the best way to protect citizens from police abuse, as well as police officers themselves from false allegations.

His second bill removes the option of a Grand Jury inquisition in police misconduct cases. This is important for creating transparency. Any aura of secrecy can only heighten mistrust of police, and ensuring open public trials is a good step.

Unlike California, some States have opted to go in the opposite direction. They have passed laws to make it a felony to video police performing their duties. This is unwise, unfortunate and can only result in more tragedy.

There is also a history of officers with disciplinary problems being fired from one department and hired the next town over. This can easily be corrected by a federal licensing requirement. An officer who is dismissed for abuse of force would necessarily lose their federal license, and not be eligible to be hired in a similar capacity by any other department in the nation.

There are legitimate concerns about police policing themselves, It’s a classic example of conflict of interest. The same holds true for Mayors and District Attorneys. They have to work with their police departments, so many Mayors and DA’s feel a lot of pressure to not take a position contrary to police.

Police Commissions also offer little relief. These are commissions established from members of the public to oversee police activities. History has proven that they lose effectiveness over time. By working closely with police in an ongoing basis, they develop relationships with the officers and intend to lose objectivity to the point of being ineffective in administering justice.

The best way to investigate police misconduct is with a State or Federal special prosecutor. Operating under the Department of Justice, they should have no other interaction with police other than the investigation and prosecution of police misconduct. Every use of force complaint should be reviewed by them, and they should automatically take over any investigation where police use deadly force. By having no other relationship to the departments, they will be able to maintain greater objectivity. They need to be trained to understand the importance of their mission, both ethically and morally. Being removed from local civil politics, they wouldn’t face the same pressure that police chiefs and mayors do.

No system will ever be perfect, and things will tragically go wrong from time to time. But I believe there are some basic common sense steps that can make a big difference.
In the end, our society needs its police. Law of the jungle, in the times I have experienced it, leads inevitably to anarchy and misery. It would be great if, as a society, we were evolved enough that we could self-police, but we are not there yet. So sensible laws and professional law enforcement is necessary and desirable to maintain civil peace. We owe it to our officers to make sure that they have systems in place that will not place them at odds with society. Solving the problem of police abuse of force requires intelligent systems, quality leadership, understanding, humility and compassion on the part of police, as well as ourselves. Otherwise, we are setting our police up to fail, which is unfair to them, and tragic for us.

Resentment and animosity of citizens toward police, combined with an attitude of police who see themselves as above the law while enforcing it will only further drive a wedge between both. More of us will suffer as a consequence. It doesn’t have to be this way. Ending police brutality starts with not seeing each-other as the enemy, acknowledging the problem and working together to find meaningful solutions.


My World: Race in America

Venice Beachead - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 20:18

By Ronald K. Mc Kinley

I recently had a conversation, discussion, with someone I held in some regard. What we discussed is not important. We did not agree. This someone said to me “In your world,” when we did not concur. I could not respond. It was strange. We were not alone; others were listening, and watching our exchange. I could have debated the point more, but chose not to. It did not feel right. Why? This person is white I am not. The air left the room.

My world is filled with moments like this; my schooling continues after six decades in my world.

I am part of, not separated from this. Have I helped maintain this separate reality? It always felt out worldly to me. Was this based on my race? As a person of color, this is always in the background.

The machinations of racism are subtle. Some people practice and are not aware. It is a manmade disease; we all know the symptoms. No one wants to talk about it really, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Only one percent, during slavery, owned slaves, does this sound familiar.

When I got out of high school, 1968, it was still illegal to marry outside your race, in most of America.

Now in twenty-first century America, we have a racist, seeking the GOP nomination for president. Only America could have produced a Donald Trump. The new nigger is the Muslim; oops, the new thug.

Merriam-Webster’s 1933 definition of racism “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and those racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” This manifests itself covertly and overtly.
America has morphed into this, I hate anything not American, thing, or has it? Some people born here are still not considered citizens.

Native-Americans, I used this title to make a point. Indian is worst. Who is America named after? The only good Indian is a dead Indian; lest we forget. Now everyone can sell Dream Catchers.

I grew up in American apartheid, Jim Crow Louisiana. I can still see the white’s only water fountain, in my mind’s eye. When I was younger, I did not see movies until the white theaters stop showing them. My mother did not allow me to go to segregated theaters. At the time I did not understand. I was angered by this. I just wanted to see a movie. It was one of the few times I remember my mother really getting angry with me. “You pay your money and sit where you want or you stay home.” I stayed home.

I love America, America does not love me. In all relationships I’ve been in this usually means I’m out the door. But America and I seem to have this love, hate thing going on. I don’t think I’m alone.

In the end all lives do matter. But of course first you have to give me back my humanity. Include not exclude me.


THE FAKERY: Gjusta Continuance, Venice Arts Crawl, Vandalism, and more

Venice Beachead - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 18:40

Gjusta Continuance, Venice Arts Crawl, Vandalism, and more
By Roxanne Brown – Member Concerned Neighbors of 320 Sunset

GJUSTA CONTINUANCE
Concerned Neighbors of 320 Sunset (CNS) appealed the City’s approval of Fran Camaj’s request for “change of use” from Gjusta as “bakery/take out” (which it has never been) at 320 Sunset to restaurant with full alcohol. The City approved this despite objections from residents within 500 feet, despite the fact that Gjusta’s owner, Camaj, has a Certificate of Occupancy for bakery/take out and built a restaurant with counter/bar and patio.
January 20, 2016 was the date for this Appeal Hearing in front of the West LA Area Planning Commission. CNS requested a continuance in order to be given the legally required amount of time to review Gjusta’s revised MND (Mitigated Negative Declaration). It is being circulated until February 8th, and is available for public comment.
The new Appeal date is now March 2, 2016. Mark your calendar now:

MARCH 2, 2016 – WEDNESDAY – 4:30 P.M.
WEST LA PLANNING COMMISSION
HENRY MEDINA WEST LA PARKING ENFORCEMENT FACILITY
11214 EXPOSITION BLVD. 2nd FLOOR – ROLL CALL ROOM
LOS ANGELES, CA 90062

Ben Reznik, the attorney representing Gjusta, asserts that Fran Camaj’s Gjelina, GTA, 1305 Abbott Kinney (Black Beast), and Gjusta have a stellar record and that Camaj is an upstanding member of the community.

VENICE ART CRAWL
The Venice Art Crawl (VAC) received emails from members of several Venice neighborhood groups protesting VAC’s using Gjusta as venue for the January 2016 Venice Art Crawl. Gjusta is a restaurant operating without proper permit and in violation of numerous building and safety codes.

The City is not enforcing permits and codes, so Venice citizens need to do what they can. One thing they can do as tax paying, voting citizens is not give their business to what many Venetians call “property gangsters” – property owners who do what they will regardless of laws.

The Venice Art Crawl moved its January Venice Art Crawl from Gjusta to James Beach.

STOP PROPERTY GANGSTERS
You may say, “I don’t want to get involved in politics. I like the food, I like the architecture.” But, when you patronize places that operate without the right permit and without regard to building and safety codes, you are perpetuating the problem. You are part of the problem.

Meaning, when someone builds a McMansion next door, you may find yourself in Kathryn Conway’s situation. She wrote a letter to the editor of the Argonaut in their December 18, 2014 issue.

Conway wrote, “In my case, no public notice was posted and our side yard setback was reduced. (After my refusal to give a side yard variance, the builder just took it!) LADBS [Los Angeles Building and Safety] was made aware of each of these violations, and all of it was ignored.”

When you, your friends, your family get evicted and aren’t told of your rights or given relocation monies due, it may be because “property gangsters” don’t feel they need to follow laws. CNS was recently at a hearing where evidence was presented that the landlord appeared to have changed documents to make it look as though there had been no affordable housing on premises. West LA Area Planning commissioners asked, “Isn’t this fraud?” CNS is not aware of any penalties or consequences in that case.

Some air B&B investors are grabbing up available rentals and offering/paying even more money than asking rent to landlords. These investors are overbidding on properties (apartments and homes) for sale, because they plan to also rent them as Air B&Bs. These investors then manage several apartments and/or homes spread throughout Venice as Air B&B rentals. Many people can’t afford to rent or to buy in Venice, because “property gangsters” aren’t following the rules.

To quote Sarah Palin – and who thought the Beachhead would quote Sarah Palin – “Well, look, we are mad, and we’ve been had.”

MONEY AND LAWYERS WIN
It appears that Mayor Eric Garcetti, his administration, and his City Council, including our Councilman Mike Bonin, continue to support special interests.
The City uses citizens’ tax monies to fight against residents, while favoring special interests. Citizens use their own monies to sue the City. The City then defends itself, often outsourcing and using developers’ lawyers to fight citizens. Those lawyers are paid with citizens’ tax monies.

The City of Los Angeles fights its own constituents with lawyers and money. Citizens need to use the same means to fight back. CNS has launched a go fund me campaign to do just that. Please consider making a small $5 contribution now. You can make a donation in your name or anonymously. Spread the word.

https://www.gofundme.com/helpsavevenice
Venetians are rising up. Feel the Bern.

Photo booth stills

Venice Papparazzi - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 21:56

Animated Gifs

Venice Papparazzi - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 13:54

VenicePaparazzi updated gallery 'Animated Gifs'

Discussion Forum Committee Meeting Agenda

Venice Neighborhood Council Events - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 17:08

AGENDA

160209VNCDiscussionForumMeetingAgenda

 

Links to:

Discussion Generator

Discussion Generator Supplement

 

Discussion Topic

 

The Paradoxical Impact of Zoning on the

Venice Neighborhood Council Vision Goals 

 

It seems that our efforts to create more ‘creativity, diversity, & collaboration’ are gradually but inexorably producing a socially & physically sterile community which seems unable to consider possible constructive changes to the current ‘status quo’.  

At this meeting, we will focus on identifying Paradoxes based

on the informaion provided in the above Discussion Generators

as supplemented with our personal insights and experiences.

Peace Walker Takes to the Heart of the Road in Upcoming Longest Walk #5

Venice Beachead - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 09:23

By Logan Mote

My name is Logan Mote. I am also known as Eartheart Walker, a 30 year old activist and artist, living in Venice Beach, CA. A Peace walker is someone who takes a gentle journey of prayer and example. My walking is first of all a prayer for peace. My free spirit has led me on five pilgrimages over the past three years. I begin my sixth peace walk on February 13, 2016 with the American Indian Movement.

I have a personal motivation to participate in this Walk. In 2000, at the age of 15, I left Texas to find my mentally ill mother. I found her in downtown Los Angeles, homeless and on drugs. I decided to move to California to care for her. I helped my mother overcome her addiction to crack cocaine. Life was good for a few years, however in Feb of 2013, my mother relapsed and died from a drug overdose. Valentine’s Day I buried her my best friend, my mother.

I am participating in this walk to share, to heal and be a light to others that have lost their loved ones to addiction. The Longest walk #5 is a prayer for peace on earth and in our hearts.

My first solo walk, I walked a 144 miles from Venice Beach, CA to Gaviota Beach, CA. This walk was in honor of my mother.

My second and third pilgrimage was with a non-profit organization called Nevada Desert Experience. This 70 mile pilgrimage started in downtown Las Vegas and ended at the Nevada Nuclear Testing Site. We walked in the footsteps of a long legacy of peace walkers and spiritual leaders to draw attention to nuclear dangers that continue to threaten our planet.

My fourth pilgrimage was a 50 mile walk along the Pacific Coast Highway, “A Walk for the Water”.

The fifth and most recent peace walk was in the state of Washington, with Veterans for Peace. I traveled 100 miles. I ended the walk at the state capitol with “Twenty-Two-Many” organization. We organized a rally that raised the public’s awareness to the 22 men and women in the military committing suicide everyday.

The February 13th walk with the American Indian Movement will conduct the “Longest Walk #5”, War on Drugs. A 3,600 mile journey across the American heartland, passing through 15 states and ending in Washington D.C. on July 15, 2016. The purpose of this walk is to bring healing to people from the effects of drug addictions, violence, suicide, and self-harm and harm to our mother earth.

I believe the path to healing trauma is finding safety and support. Accepting what has happened, and reconnecting with the community. Spiritually and community values are critical elements to recovery.

This is a big undertaking. A national event that will connect thousands of people, and deliver hopeful solutions to the world.

My overall “Walk-For-Peace” goal is to walk 100 “Peace Miles” in all 50 states in support of the creation of the Department of Peace here in the United States. This would be a cabinet-level department of the executive branch of the U.S government.
For more information or to support this pilgrimage visit Gofundme.com/Eartheartwalker.
Sincerely,
Walk-For-Peace
Logan aka Eartheart Walker


Passings: Carter Riley Irwin, June 21, 1997 – January 9, 2016

Venice Beachead - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 08:31

by Krista Schwimmer – Photos by Krista Schwimmer and Jake Sarfaty

On Sunday, January 17th, over one hundred family members, friends, and neighbors gathered at the Venice Pier for a paddle out to celebrate Carter Riley Irwin, and show support for his mother, Mikal Sky, both well-known and well-loved local Venetians. Carter tragically took his own life the previous weekend. He was 18.

Many of Carter’s friends first assembled at the skate park, some wearing t-shirts made for the occasion, with Carter’s image and the words ‘Forever Loved’. Dan St. Pierre, a close family friend who helped organize the memorial, passed out pens and notepads for people to write down memories and thoughts, to later release those notes to the ocean. The group skated and biked to the pier to join together with family and neighbors for the paddle-out.

As Brian Zarate, Josh Klassman, Jeff Gallegos, and Dan Schechter prepared to fight the heavy swell, the community shared their stories and impressions of Carter. Julie Faherty, who had known Carter since birth, spoke of having watched him grow up, and being the love of his life. Jake Sarfaty recalled Carter’s playfulness, when as a boy, Carter wrapped himself in toilet paper and charged out of the bathroom posing as a sumo wrestler. Many of Carter’s teachers talked about his interest in art and photography, his interest in and sensitivity to the people in his life, and the maturity he exhibited from a young age. Paul Steinvurzel shared a story about teaching Carter to drive, after which Carter insisted on taking him out to dinner to thank him, and would not take no for an answer.

The last person to speak was Jake, one of Carter’s friends. Overcome with emotion, Jake described how he had been looking forward to attending Santa Monica College with Carter in the coming semester. Whenever he sees an empty seat on the bus to SMC, he will know that Carter is there in spirit.

Once the surfers were in position by the end of the pier, Zarate and Klassman held canisters above their heads and released Carter’s ashes, and those of his grandmother, Cheree Mascarenas, who passed away in 2013. As the ashes were scattered, the mourners on the pier threw rose petals into the Pacific. Afterwards, the community moved to the Terrace Cafe to share more memories over food and drink.

Tragedy can bring us together, pull us apart, or simply numb us out. The outpouring of love and support in the wake of Carter’s passing shows that the community is seeking to come together. In his remarks at the beginning of the memorial, Dan St. Pierre reminded us to take the time to really find out what is going on with each other, as well as to love one another. The depth of grief and dismay expressed by those who knew Carter at every stage of his life is a measure of how much he was loved. The love he inspired is also a reflection on Mikal Sky, who bore and raised him.

Throughout the ceremony on the pier, a single, white egret stood on the rail, just east of the crowd. Birds are messengers from the gods in many cultures; some birds are thought to carry a soul to the afterlife. In Eastern and Egyptian lore, the snowy egret is connected to the sun, a symbol of healing and resurrection. A herald connected to the sun is especially apt for Carter’s memorial, as he was born on the summer solstice. For the Greeks the egret is a messenger from Aphrodite, goddess of love. As each of us who knew Carter in life wrestles with his death, may the symbol of the egret, the symbol of love, healing, and resurrection, be a light to guide us through our journeys. And may we always remember that we are also part of a larger community that navigates the winds of our lives when we fly together.

Dan St. Pierre organized a Go Fund Me campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/hwyng69k) to raise money for the memorial and related expenses. To date, over $17,000 has been donated.

Lauren Mentzel has organized a fundraiser to help Mikal Sky, Carter’s mother, who is a freelance make-up artist. To support this fundraiser, please go to: http://www.youcaring.com/mikal-sky-502084.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255, http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Hotline: 877-727-4747, http://www.didihirsch.org


Mobilize to Stop the TPP While There’s Still Time

Venice Beachead - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 19:04

by Anthony Castillo

On February 3rd and 4th of this new year begins a nation wide mobilization to stop the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and associated deals. The mobilization will be held in over 20 cities nation wide including LA. The actions begin on the 3rd here in LA and Washington DC and on the 4th in other US cities. I wrote about the TPP in the Beachhead regarding the fight to stop Congress from passing Fast Track authority that would tie the hands of Congress to debate or amend the TPP, and then only be able to pass the TPP with a simple up or down vote. We just narrowly lost that battle so now we must stop the TPP head on. Why is this so important?

If you care about climate change, food safety, net neutrality, earning a living wage, work place safety, protecting the environment, American sovereignty or the ability of any government anywhere to protect itself from trans-national corporations, and a lot more, you must join the fight to stop the TPP. Don’t believe me? Here are some thoughts about the TPP that I hope will convince you that the sky may indeed be falling if we lose this battle. Ralph Nader says, “The TPP is the most brazen corporate power grab in American history.” A study by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University concluded that the TPP will lead to more inequality, job losses and lower wages for workers, especially here in the US. Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz writing in the Gardian stated, “In 2016 we should hope for the TPP’s defeat and the beginning of a new era of trade agreements that don’t reward the powerful and punish the week.” On the Buycott the TPP’s statement of purpose reads the following:
If they become law, international treaties like the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade-in-Services Agreement (TISA) will fundamentally alter the global economy and global governance in a way that further empowers transnational corporations while decreasing the power of nation-states and people.

These treaties will create a permanent path that makes corporate profit more important than the needs of people and protection of the planet.

They will drive a global race to the bottom in wages and worker rights, food safety, internet freedom, access to health care, protection of the environment and more.
Treaties such as TPP, TTIP and TISA exemplify the fundamental struggle of our era – people power versus corporate power.

The TPP was said to be President Obama’s number one legislative priority of 2016. Yet he only gave it a passing mention near the end of his last State of the Union address. Was that due to him feeling some heat from the streets, or the Bernie Sanders campaign, or the rank and file of his own political party? Or was he just trying to keep the TPP on the low down, the same way it was negotiated in secret? Either way all of us locally and globally must work to stop any more of these so called “free trade deals” from becoming law. All you have to do is objectively look at the record of the past deals like NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO. All have been disasters for the environment, workers rights and the ability of governments to protect their citizens from corporate greed and exploitation. Remember dolphin safe tuna? Because of the World Trade Origination (WTO) there is no such thing any more. A large fishing company filed suit in the WTO saying dolphin safe tuna cut into its profits. And they won! Think about that the next time you open a can of tuna that also caught and killed Flipper at the same time.
To get involved visit http://www.flushthetpp.org/ for all the tools and information you will need. The Flush the TPP web site is full of articles and facts that will educate you on just how important it is we stop this pending corporate coup from taking over the world once and for all. They can also be found on Face Book if you’re one of those who do that thing. I hope to see all of you out on the streets starting February 3rd and continuing until the TPP is finally flushed.


Building the Bridges of Community

Venice Beachead - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 18:22
To paraphrase, Walt Whitman once said that whether made of mud huts or skyscrapers, the greatest city in the world is the one where the greatest minds reside. It is the people, the community that we build and bring together which gives a place its value.

As poets, we have a very important role to play in this, for it is through poetry which we strive for that greatness in ourselves – the best possible version of who we can be. Poetry lifts our imaginations and unites us on both higher and deeper levels of understanding.

The importance of poetry cannot be over-estimated in our lives. It’s on the wings of poetry which empires have risen and crumbled. It’s from poetry, our longest standing form of communication, dating back to the very inception of mankind, that our greatest and most influential ideas have sprung forth and taken root.

It can rightfully be said that poetry is the voice of our very existence. For poetry is the common link between all peoples and nations. It dissolves borders and connects us all together.

So, as poets, we have a special opportunity to connect the greatest minds in our communities together and build the relationships and bridges between all our communities around the world … through poetry … so that as one humanity, we can rise to our best and fullest potential.

On January 19th, the Venice Neighborhood Council took the first step towards realizing that goal of reaching our greatest potential by launching the Community Bridges Initiative Task Force, to be headed up by Venice poet, Mark Lipman, who will be coordinating with the rest of our Venice community to build bridges with communities across the country and around the world to Venice – through poetry and the arts, making those cultural connections which strengthen relationships and brings people together.

The Task Force will look to create groups of Poet Ambassadors from Venice to travel to other cities to represent our community, while also bringing groups of poets from other communities here to Venice for a series of cultural exchanges. In the longer term, the Task Force will also work to build support and the infrastructure for a Venice International Poetry Festival, to host major events throughout our Venice community to welcome poets and artists from around the world.

The first meeting of the Community Bridges Initiative will take place on Monday, February 8th, 7pm at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd. Venice, CA 90291. All are welcome to attend and participate.


Community Calendar February 2016

Venice Beachead - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 17:57

Thursday, February 4
9:00-11:00 PM – Electric Comedy at the Electric Lodge, $5

Friday, February 5
8:00 PM – Mason’s Noise Parlour – Mason Summit curates an evening of Los Angeles’ most talented young writers and musicians. singer-songwriter Lexie Rose, poet Luna Garcia, Regular Admission.

Saturday, February 6
12:00 p.m. Miss Jessica and the The Gumbo Brothers to host the 15th Annual Venice Beach Mardi Gras Parade on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. at the North City Parking lot (Rose Ave and The Venice Boardwalk)
2:00 – 6:00 PM – 6th annual Poetry Of Venice Photography 2-4pm: panel discussion 4-6pm: Opening in the Mike Kelley Gallery. Gerry Fialka hosts a panel discussion of award-winning Venice photographers Free, donations appreciated.
12:00 – 6:00 PM – Reception for “BONES” – solo exhibition by Ralph Ziman at Cave Gallery 1108 Abbot Kinney
5:00PM (changed from 4pm) – In Discussion With Robert Scheer: Orwell And The State Of The Nation. Regular admission.
8:00 PM – Poetry In Motion: La Lit Chicks Since 1988, Eve Brandstein presents writers from the literary and Hollywood communities. LA Lit Chicks features Vicki Abelson, Wendy Hammers, Susan Hayden, Beth Lapides, Maggie Rowe, Elena Secota, and more. Special admission. Advance general admission tickets available at Eventbrite. Beyond Baroque

Sunday, February 7
5:00 PM – Open Reading – Hosted by Steve Goldman. Sign-ups begin at 4:45 PM. Five-minute limit. Suggested donation $5. Beyond Baroque
7pm – 7 Dudley Cinema – Sneak preview of new activist documentary with special guests for discussion Free at Beyond Baroque

Monday, February 8
6pm Documental Henry Schipper Films – Co-executive producer Henry Schipper will be present for discussion and screening. 6pm=classic comedy films. 7pm=Sammy Davis Jr (42minues, 2015) 8pm= Dick Gregory (42m, 2014) at unurban 3301 pico blvd free –

Wednesday, February 10
7pm: SUZY WILLIAMS jazz-blues at Dannys 23 windward

Thursday, February 11
9:00-11:00 PM – Electric Comedy at the Electric Lodge, $5

Friday, February 12
8:00 PM – Deborah Bogen & Maurya Simon read poems from their books. Regular Admission. Beyond Baroque
8:00-9:30 PM – Iphigenia: Book of Change. Hybrid performance filmstories of comtemporary women who have survived captivity. Electric Lodge, $15/$20.. Runs 8:00 PM Saturday and 3PM Sunday too.

Saturday, February 13
4-6pm MESS – Food activist Erica Wohldmann interview at unurban
4:00 PM – Bob Branaman & Raphael Cohen-Bacry: The Merical Of Art. Two painters combine their work and their vision of the transcendence of art. Free to all. Beyond Baroque
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM – El Niño Town Hall at Oakwood Recreation Center
8:00 PM – The History Of Black Poetry In Los Angeles — We celebrate the great Black poets of Los Angeles. Co-curated by Pam Ward. Regular Admission. Beyond Baroque
8:00 PM – Party like it’s 1969 to celebrate Michael Novick’s 69th birthday his second half-century of anti-racist action. Support “Turning The Tide” and its free distribution to 1700+ prisoners. Dance to the sound track of the 60s. $10 donation to benefit TTT. Peace Center, 3916 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City CA 90230

Sunday, February 14
LA Marathon – Traffic May Suck.
2:00 PM – Soap Box Poets Open Reading – Sign ups begin at 1:45 PM. There is a five-minute limit. Hosted by Jessica Wilson. Suggested donation $5. Beyond Baroque
3:00 PM – Come out and show your Love for Bernie Sanders with Poetry and Open Mic. Mark Lipman Hosting, at 212 Pier Cafe.

Monday, February 15
7:00 PM – Peace and Coexistence’ to be Interfaith Theme of Activist Support Circle Free Open Public Forum at UnUrban Coffee House in Santa Monica

Tuesday, February 16
7:00 PM – Venice Neighborhood Council Meeting, at Westminster Elementary School.

Wednesday, February 17
7-10pm: Mom- Media Discussion at beyond baroque

Thursday, February 18
5:00 – 8:00 PM – Ayotzinapa: A Roar of Silence | 43 Missing Students from Mexico at SPARC (see Page 7)
7:30 PM – Poetry In The Loft Offsite At The Hotel Erwin. Join us at our favorite boutique hotel for a night of poetry. This month: Love Is A Dog From Hell Featuring Brenda Petrakos, Sean Hill, Daniel Mcginn, And Steve Ramirez. Curated and hosted by Dave Mcintire.
Suggested donation $5-$10.
9:00-11:00 PM – Electric Comedy at the Electric Lodge, $5

Friday, February 19
8:00 PM – Voices From The Margins: American History X Screening Co-producer Jon Hess talks about the themes of the film American History X and takes your questions. Q&A follows the screening. Regular Admission. Beyond Baroque

Saturday, February 20
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Mini Master Class With Pam Ward – Creativity And Chaos: Write Like You’re Gonna Die! $35 members, $50 non-members, $20 Audit – Beyond Baroque
5:00 PM – Voices From The Margins: Panel On The Prison System – Inmates who found their lives changed by language and survived incarceration and recidivism describe their experiences, joined by poets and writers who brought them the word behind bars. With Rafael Alvarado, Ramiro Rodriguez, and Steve Goldman. Regular Admission. Beyond Baroque

Sunday, February 21
5:00 PM – Voices In The Well: Love Is In The Air Please join us as we explore love in all its dimensions through storytelling, poetry, comedy & music. Hosted by Eric Vollmer. Regular Admission.

Monday, February 22
2pm- 9pm. celebrate Black History Month with a pop-up exhibit that focuses on the history of our local community in VENICE. Exhibit at Vera Davis Center on Monday February 22nd, & Friday, February 26th, 2pm-5pm
6-9pm Laughtears Salon – Gerry Fialka hosts discussion on philosophies, politics and the arts. Free admission. Fourth Mondays- 212 Pier Coffeehouse

Wednesday, February 24
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm – Live Jazz with Rachel Sorsa Band at Danny’s

Friday, February 26
2pm-5pm – celebrate Black History Month with a pop-up exhibit that focuses on the history of our local community in VENICE. Exhibit at Vera Davis Center

Saturday, February 27
7-10pm Jazz Funk Fest at unurban
8:00 PM – Beyond Baroque Fiction Showcase: Innovative Fiction, Join Julia Shiffrin, Tome Page, John O’kane and Rip Rense for an evening of innovative fiction. Hosted by Richard Modiano. Regular Admission.

Sunday, February 28
2:00 PM The Nebraska Girl Open Reading Our fourth Sunday reading hosted by Wyatt Underwood
6:00 PM – La Poesia Festival – Our monthly bilingual poetry salon, hosted by Antonieta Villamil. Free, donations appreciated. Beyond Baroque
7:00 PM – 7 Dudley Cinema: Residue Steve Degroodt’s (in person) mediation on the presence of Western consumerism confronting the tribes on the island of Papua New Guinea. Free, donations appreciated. Beyond Baroque.
The Academy Awards

Monday, February 29 – Leap Day
6-9pm Laughtears Salon – Gerry Fialka hosts discussion on philosophies, politics and the arts. Free admission. Fourth Mondays 212 Pier Coffeehouse,


Loosening the Purse Strings: Billboard Companies Spent Millions Lobbying L.A. Officials in 2015

Ban Billboard Blight - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 11:18
With the city’s legislative agenda containing such hot-button issues as allowing new digital billboards and granting amnesty to unpermitted and non-compliant signs, it’s little surprise that L.A. billboard companies spent almost $2.3 million last year lobbying council members and other city officials. As in past years, Clear Channel was the big spender. According to City […]

Joint Communications and Elections Committee Meeting

Venice Neighborhood Council Events - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 17:31
Agenda

1) 7:15 pm – Call to order and Roll Call

2) 7:16 pm – Approve agenda

3) 7:17 pm – Approve minutes from last ComCom meeting as presented or amended

4) 7:18 pm – Announcements not related to ComCom business

5) 7: 20 pm -PUBLIC COMMENT


6) 7:25 pm OLD BUSINESS – for discussion and possible action

a) Auto-reply to agenda requests submitted after cutoff time awaiting Board approval (JP)
b) Website updates (PS)


7) 7:30 Discussion only relating to digital media campaign for upcoming elections


8) 8:00 pm ADJOURN

 

DISABILITY POLICY: As covered under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Venice Neighborhood Council does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, the Venice Neighborhood Council will provide reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities. Sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices, or other auxiliary aids and/or services may be provided upon request. To ensure availability of services, please make your request at least 3 business days prior to the meeting you wish to attend by contacting the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment at 213-485-1360 or email NCSupport@lacity.org.


In compliance with Government Code section 54957.5, non-exempt writings that are distributed to a majority or all of the committee members in advance of a meeting may be viewed at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd; Venice Public Library, 501 S. Venice Blvd; at our website at the following link: www.venicenc.org; or at the scheduled meeting. In addition, if you would like a copy of any record related to an item on the agenda, please contact Jed Pauker, chair.communications@venicenc.org.

HUNC Speaker Forum

Venice Neighborhood Council Events - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 22:12
HUNC Speaker Forum    The Hollywood United Neighborhood Council (HUNC) is proud to present the second HUNC Speaker Forum.  This event will feature former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, City Controller Ron Galperin and President of the Board of Public Works Kevin James discussing the budget and infrastructure in a roundtable format.    Wednesday, January 27, 2016  Mears Center Auditorium First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood  1760 N. Gower St. (at Carlos)  Parking in lot on south side of Carlos  Doors Open at 6:30 pm Program 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Food and refreshments will be provided www.MyHUNC.comHUNCOffice@gmail.com    Discussion Topics  ● Budget Expectations of the Community ● Balancing Core Services/Critical City Issues ● Overcoming Structural Deficits and Pension Reform ● Rules about Discretionary Funds ● Infrastructure as an Engine of Growth and Change ● The Revenue Conundrum: Getting Past Taxes    Moderated by Conan Nolan Political reporter for NBC4 Southern California

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