Leftoids are warming up to Trump’s idea of Build The Wall to keep out undesirables… but only for their own neighborhoods, so far. Reality stalks the dark streets of Venice, Los Angeles like a meth addict!
LA’s Battle for Venice Beach: Homeless Surge Puts Hollywood’s Progressive Ideals to the Test
by Scott Johnson and Peter Kiefer, 11 January 2019
Venice, aka Venice Beach because of its marina, is east of Malibu and south of Santa Monica. (Per Google Earth, Malibu still exists post-inferno.)
With swelling transient encampments abutting seven-figure homes, the beachside enclave has emerged as a flashpoint for the inequality shaping Los Angeles — and a real-world test case for the liberal ideology of the area’s showbiz residents.
Let’s keep score of Liberal Ideology versus Reality! 0:0
After the first attack, Randy Osborn figured it was just his turn. Tire slashings in his east Venice Beach neighborhood had become commonplace.
Crime just happens, yo. 1:0
But when his vintage Land Rover was hit a sixth time in the course of a few months, Osborn, who runs a small virtual reality company and has lived in Venice for seven years, began to worry he was being singled out.
“It may have been random, but it sure felt targeted and concentrated,” says Osborn, who now protects his tires each night with a jury-rigged plywood-and-chain contraption that has so far deterred the assailants. Every time he takes his family out of town, he worries about his house being robbed. “It’s not a very fun way to live,” he says. A lot of residents within Osborn’s 15-block area just east of Lincoln Boulevard — where actor Viggo Mortensen owns a home and director Jon Favreau is opening a production office — have similar stories. And though they can’t say for sure, Osborn and others suspect the crime is tied to several homeless encampments that have sprung up nearby in the past 15 months.
1:1. I remember liberals buying “The Club”, metal bars that locked onto your steering wheel to prevent theft. I remember some would-be carjacker getting kneecapped by one. I remember The Club quietly disappearing after Leftoids saw how a five-pound pronged steel bar could be used as a weapon. Ladies and Gentlemen, world-famous Ronco presents: The Woody!
Los Angeles is grappling with a homeless epidemic. “It’s the worst human catastrophe in America,” says Andy Bales, a pastor who runs the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row. Faced with a growing crisis, city leaders last year budgeted more than $100 million for affordable housing, addiction treatment, job placement and mental health services.
You get more of what you subsidize. 2:1
And yet, as L.A.’s real estate prices soar, so does the city’s homeless population. And nowhere have the twin forces of inaccessible housing and inequality created a more explosive mix than in Venice Beach, a hotbed of entertainment executives and talent where the median home price is $1.9 million. Many of these residents are now grappling with a quality-of-life issue that defies their own liberal ideals.
They SAY they want equality but what they DO is $2M private estates. 2:2
Sleepless in Seattle and Community producer Gary Foster, who moved to the area two years ago from Westwood and works with the homeless advocacy group The People Concern, says he was surprised by the number of residents who expressed exasperation with — if not outright disdain for — the transient population.
He lied to defend the Narrative. 3:2.
“They tend to be liberal, they want to do good in the world, but they’re balancing their beliefs with how that might impact the value of their real estate,” says Foster, who began his activism after producing The Soloist, about a journalist who discovers a musical savant living on Skid Row.
Find any prodigies amongst the homeless lately, Foster? 3:3. First quarter’s done and it could be anybody’s game!
“There are actually [residents] advocating driving the homeless out of Venice — shipping them off somewhere, which is such a proto-fascist move,” says television writer Evan Dunsky, a 27-year resident of the area. “And then what? Do we have to build a wall around Venice?”
He’s more worried about the consumers than the producers. 4:3.
On Venice Boulevard in front of Vice Media’s offices, a chain-link fence was erected to prohibit tents from going up. Residents around Penmar Golf Course have started a GoFundMe page and have hit their goal of raising $80,000 to fill a pedestrian pathway with native plants and landscaping — a project being called the Frederick Avenue Pass-Through but whose real objective is to deter the large encampment that has ballooned there.
BWAAAAHAAAHAAAA!! Trump’s enemies built a wall to keep the beggars out! Grand slam home run for Team Reality!! 4:7!
Venice is now home to the largest concentration of homeless anywhere on L.A.’s Westside, with nearly 1,000 non-domiciled people. During the past 18 months, several encampments have swelled in more residential areas where homes can easily sell for eight figures and up. Tents, many of them equipped with mini refrigerators, cupboards, televisions and heaters, vie with pedestrian traffic.
Residents who live near the encampments say mail regularly goes missing. Break-ins have jumped. Hypodermic needles and human waste are appearing on sidewalks and at local playgrounds. Residents have complained to police about harassment and even physical assaults. “This is more of a criminal problem than a homeless problem,” says Carly, who lives next to the so-called Frederick camp adjacent to the Penmar Golf Course and who declined to give her last name out of safety concerns.
There’s no correlation between homelessness and petty crime? 5:7.
“There are crime problems in Venice,” concedes Mike Bonin, whose Council District 11 includes Venice Beach. Bonin has come under intense criticism for his handling of the homeless crisis by Venice residents displeased with his support of a measure to introduce a massive, $5 million transitional housing project in their city.
The residents demand safety, not subsidies! 5:8.
At the same time, Bonin says, “I can’t accept the idea that there is an inextricable link between crime and homelessness. It is wrong, it is not backed up by the data, and it leads to bad policy.”
It’s there, the data back it up and it leads to happy, clean neighborhoods. 8:8. Tied again at halftime!
Disagreements over the potential causes of the crimes have begun to factionalize Venice’s neighborhoods. “It was six months of terror, absolute terror,” says radiologist Maria Altavilla, who lives in east Venice. She says that the period of increased health and safety concerns coincided with the expansion of the homeless encampments the past year. She recently arrived home with her two children to find a woman shooting up in her yard. Lately, her husband has expressed a desire to move because of his frustration with the encampments.
Several residents shared an unconfirmed theory — suggested to them by a local patrolman — that certain assailants were using the social media app NextDoor to monitor which residents are most vocal about their opposition to encampments and then targeting those individuals for retribution.
Only in America would the homeless coordinate over social media. 8:10.
Hmm, that sounds exactly like Antifa’s modus operandi.
As the problem worsens, homeowners are banding together to try to reclaim patches of sidewalk in an effort to deter future encampments. At the corner of Millwood Avenue and Lincoln, bulky wood planters now hog much of the sidewalk. Those planters emerged mysteriously two months ago outside a Staples office supply store that was once a popular resting spot for a handful of tent dwellers. The same pattern can be seen on another block, further south on Palms Boulevard, where similar metallic planters have recently appeared.
“Honestly, I think we are a step and half away from vigilantism,” says a talent manager who has lived in the area for two decades. “I feel like this is heading toward a Guardian Angels type situation that you saw in 1970s New York. Someone is going to go out there with a lead pipe and give someone a serious beatdown. It’s awful to say, but I don’t see what prevents that from happening.”
8:12 and if it ever happens, victory by a knockout. Or three!
Life in Venice Beach has always come with its own distinct form of urban grittiness. Unlike its bougie neighbors to the north in Pacific Palisades and Malibu, Venice has embraced its counterculture past. It’s the land of head shops and street art that celebrates icons like Jim Morrison, Dennis Hopper and Jerry Garcia. And, to a degree, that grittiness added to the area’s allure, helping turn Venice into one of L.A.’s most desirable neighborhoods. Venice now counts as residents actress Emilia Clarke, screenwriter Mark Boal and Participant Media’s David Linde, among many others in the industry.
Some girls have shredded jeans. Emilia Clarke has a shredded home! Her acting work on “Game of Thrones” is about to pay dividends in real life. 9:12.
The area also has become “Silicon Beach,” home to tech giants Snapchat and Google.
Now that’s just creepy, how Big Tech spawns neighborhoods of incredible economic inequity in its wake:
Dunsky has witnessed Venice’s transformation from a battleground for gangs to one that boasts several Michelin-starred restaurants. A self-proclaimed progressive, Dunsky says he fears that recent gentrification has altered people’s sympathies. “There is a fever of money in Venice that has nothing to do with its past. Whatever progressive elements were historically here have dwindled, and they’re being replaced by tech money.”
That’s right. Big Tech is not your friend any more than homeless druggies are your undiscovered artists. The score is 9:13 coming into the homestretch!
“It’s worse than it’s ever been,” says Tami Pardee, Venice’s top real estate broker, who moved to the area in 1993. “But sometimes it has to get like this for a real movement to start.”
Viva la Revolucion! 10:13.
Compass’ Mark Kitching says that in the past year, four buyers he worked with opted out of purchasing after unpleasant encounters with homeless residents when touring the area. “The Palisades is looking way more attractive when you are thinking about schools and cleanliness,” he says.
The most common refrain heard when discussing the cause of L.A.’s homeless crisis is soaring housing costs. But there are other forces at play in Venice and throughout the city involving various laws and ballot measures that date back more than a decade. A 2006 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Jones v. City of Los Angeles required that law enforcement and city officials no longer enforce the ban on sleeping on sidewalks anywhere in the city until a sufficient amount of permanent supportive housing could be built.
That was a massive judicial overreach even by the standards of the Ninth Circle. But no civil disobedience! A double header! 12:14.
Further complicating matters were two state ballot measures that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2016 — Propositions 47 and 57 — which decriminalized certain felonies to misdemeanors in an effort to address the state’s overburdened prison system. Officials, including Bonin, admit that those measures have complicated matters for law enforcement, who make arrests only to see the same perpetrators back on the street days later.
Prop 47 passed 60-40. It minimized penalties for drug possession. Prop 57 passed 65-35. It facilitated early parole for nonviolent drug offenses. Still think the Drug War is a bad idea? 14:14.
The people living in the encampments say they have been unfairly maligned, even as they admit there is little policing when they do break the law. … “We get away with a lot,” says Randy “Dee” Collins, 25, who adds his family has long owned property in Venice and that he has chosen a life on the street against their wishes. The Frederick camp, home to about a dozen tents and twice as many people, is littered with nine weeks’ worth of trash. These homeless people say neighbors are openly hostile to them. Collins says he offered one resident money for water but “she didn’t want to participate in anything that would help us.”
One and one. 15:15.
John Maceri, executive director of The People Concern, takes issue with residents who complain about the problem and then go on to criticize every proposed remedy. “The criminal element needs to be dealt with, but statistically, homeless people aren’t committing more crimes than other people, it’s just more visible and they are easier to blame,” he says.
In the context of Big Tech Elites, this could be true. Foul ball!
Things reached a boiling point at a packed town hall meeting in October, when residents got a chance to address the city’s plans to open a 154-bed transitional (“bridge”) housing shelter set to be built on a former Metro bus yard at Sunset and Pacific avenues (the plan was approved by the City Council in December). At the four-hour meeting, Bonin and Mayor Eric Garcetti were targets of angry chants and tirades that effectively centered on whether Venice was being asked to unfairly shoulder the burden for the entire Westside’s homeless population.
Bad photo op for the Garcetti 2020 Presidential campaign. 15:16.
Even the homeless woman at the Frederick camp says the city’s housing plans aren’t a viable long-term solution. “I’m not going to rub my tummy and jump through hoops just to live inside,” she says, “I shouldn’t have to go through that much of an act just to get housing. People should be allowed to live how they want.”
Shiv, baby, shiv! 15:17! The crowd is on its feet! Hear the roar! Reality is ascendant!
Bonin alleges that critics of the city’s efforts are resorting to hyperbolic, inflammatory language in an effort to smear the homeless. “The similarities in the language used when referring to the homeless and how Trump refers to immigrants is startling.”
Bonin denounced his own constituents for having MAGA attitudes! What a game! Happy Friday!