Sat, Jul

The Time for Action on Venice RV Removal is Now!

THE VENICE CONNECTION - The community meeting at First Lutheran Church last week was civil and respectful, as most Venice residents want our elected officials to succeed.  

But at what point does patience wear out?  

Hundreds turned out Friday evening to receive updates on the status of the collection of RV’s permanently parked just outside this facility that has spilled over to the sidewalk that has interrupted this church and pre-school from properly functioning as parents and residents regurgitated the same horror stories that included open and rampant drug use and distribution, prostitution and other sadly tolerated actions that have this facility and church grounds hostage to an ongoing problem that LA city officials seemingly cannot cure or solve. 


For is it too much to close down an illegal RV encampment in front of a church?  

And while the usual “horse and pony show” of government bureaucrats and other city officials was evident and in attendance, where was the solution or results to remove this eye sore that continues each and every day?  

Councilwoman Traci Park (CD-11) to her credit attended with members of her staff, and has had some success in cleaning up what many regard as the “low-hanging fruit” on the streets of Venice, as the intolerable conditions that existed on Third, Hampton and Flower are finally gone, and for that Venice has reclaimed some of its sidewalks and streets.  But the explosion of RV’s, campers, buses and alike have spread like wildfire throughout the neighborhood as hundreds of these illegal vehicles continue to occupy numerous neighborhoods and arteries as of this writing. 

For some 200-plus people to show-up on a Friday evening in January tells you just how disgusted many residents have become, and the need for action all the more evident.  

While Park hinted at a “secret” plan of sorts in cooperation with LAPD to combat the RV issue, no specifics or timeline was offered to the disappointment of many in attendance who dribbled out of the meeting when it became evident no real news or action was being offered.  

For those in attendance, the optimistic rhetoric is wearing thin.  

Chants of “every day” when it comes to the trials and tribulations of having to co-exist with out-of-state transients and in many cases criminals who have no regard for those who actually reside in Venice, own a home or rent, bay their bills and are responsible citizens who just want to reclaim some semblance of normalcy that has been lost in this battle to correct this out-of-control crisis of the streets.  

For many, those who have purchased a home or property in the millions just want to park without being accosted by vagrants. They want to be able to walk their dog or take there children for a walk in a stroller or bike to the market. 

And those who pay premium rents just want to know their car won’t be vandalized or their bike destroyed or stolen.  

Is that such a heavy lift for city officials?  

And the resident enablers who see nothing wrong with this behavior continue to defend these bad practices as claiming “this is Venice,” a catch-all rhetorical phrase that somehow absolves criminals, transients and others to do as they please no matter what the consequences to our quality-of-life and the notions of just wanting to be left alone?  

For somehow requesting a clean neighborhood, a place where you can feel safe is now referred to as a “NIMBY” mentality, that asking Los Angeles to provide those services is somehow right-wing and unreasonable!  

As I stated several years ago when I supported the recall of former council member Mike Bonin, “right” had somehow become “wrong.”  

For the parameters of responsible and accountable local government were turned on their collective head, and while the election of Councilwoman Traci Park is a marked improvement from a sense of nothing to something, the current conditions of the streets of Venice remain unacceptable with plenty of work to do.  

And while the latest self-reporting schemes of LAHSA, the dysfunctional and failed government bureaucracy charged to count the amount of homeless in LA citywide, how much money and resources can they possibly spend before we see any tangible results? 

For LA is now spending $1.3 billion annually to combat homelessness, or just feed the flames of this cottage industry run amok?  

Mayor Karen Bass saw fit to call for a “state of emergency” upon assuming office when it comes to the issue of homelessness, but why is she embracing LAHSA as part of the solution when it is evident it is at the center of the problem, and at the top of this volcano of inaction and status quo failure?  

It was almost surreal to observe several members of the Mayor Bass team just sit there and offer nothing until they were embarrassed into saying something, anything to the calls of residents seeking help! 

As I sought a seat one of the Mayor’s staff approached me saying they owed me a response to an e-mail I recently sent that went unanswered. I don’t know how she knew who I was, and I said, “yes I didn’t get a response and was not surprised.” To that she asked for my number and I wondered, if you won’t answer an e-mail, why would I waste my time giving you my number?  

For the bureaucratic, business as usual approach doesn’t cut it when it comes to homelessness and the years of inaction here in the community.   

For the Bass Administration continues to pat itself on their collective backs, but things don’t seem to be changing and if nothing else, members of her staff did come out of their downtown bubble to realize residents are demanding results! 

While having LAPD in attendance is encouraging, they needed to hear from residents that things are not improving and that moving these vehicles is the only answer to the RV equation. 

And I’ll say this about Councilwoman Park.  

She is incredibly hard-working, ambitious and engaged.  

But that reservoir of goodwill will flow for only so long.  

For her predecessor was so awful and hostile, that the appearance of improvement is easy when compared to a woefully inept and incompetent elected official.  

And with one year of her four-year term in the books, residents have been supportive and patient.  

But four years goes very quickly and this RV explosion needed a solution yesterday.  

No one is asking Los Angeles to move mountains, but is a clean and safe street in a residential neighborhood too much to ask?  

For how can Venice thrive as a tourist destination if homelessness can be considered normal behavior at the beach?  

The time for a plan is now. 

For if every meeting and interaction with residents is just another, “I feel your pain moment,” residents will look elsewhere for the political courage and leadership they so desperately seek and thought they elected in 2023.  

(Nick Antonicello is a thirty-one year resident of Venice and covers the local homeless and RV encampment crisis. Have a tip or a take all things Venice? Contact him via e-mail at [email protected]).