By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
There’s a new loophole allowing large developments without a single parking space — if the developer can prove that there’s a way for the inhabitants to get around without a car, such as a bus line within three blocks. But even before this Orwellian “100 percent parking reduction ordinance” reared its head, Villaraigosa’s appointees on the various planning boards had been allowing huge numbers of “variances” — fancy development without the necessary parking.
As a result, the demand for new parking facilities in the almost entirely built-out Westside area is at an all-time high, but there’s no obvious place to put all the cars.
Although Abbot Kinney is clearly going upscale, it was no surprise to Venice residents when Rosendahl — who lives in Mar Vista — proposed in the fall of 2007 two parking lots for homeless people who would live in campers. His tin-ear scheme, similar to a clunker proposed by former Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg to erect neighborhood outhouses the homeless living on the back streets of Silver Lake, so infuriated Venice residents that a recall was threatened.
After that, Rosendahl needed a feel-good issue to woo the area back, and he jumped on the chance to promise more parking. At the ceremonial groundbreaking this month, Rosendahl rhapsodized about how the new parking meters to be erected — Ed Ruscha’s shack will be torn down in about four months — could be operated by a cell phone or credit card. Without irony, he promised that L.A.’s newest asphalt parking lot would be “state of the art.”
At the same event, Rosendahl gave a history of the tussle over the land that opponents of the paving-over found somewhat sanitized, but which was repeated as truth by The New York Times. Rosendahl, not mentioning how the small bit of land was set aside for parking usage in order to stop affordable housing.
His speech was a somewhat schizophrenic, with the councilman dropping Ed Ruscha’s name as frequently as a hip-hop artist stealing samples. “We don’t want to see you leave,” Rosendahl said of Ruscha. However, he seemed to dismiss decades of work by Ruscha, Dill and other Venice artists who have lured art buyers, visitors and money to Venice, acting as the catalyst for the current revitalization. To Rosendahl, it was about shopping: “People come from all over the world to come to Abbot Kinney,” he said.
The groundbreaking show played well to Abbot Kinney business leaders and those opposed to new homeless programs, as well as a smattering of longtime Venice community activists. Then the suits went to their shovels, appropriately painted gold, which awaited them in a pile of sand shaped as though it had been exhumed from a grave.
Smiles flashed and cameras clicked. Rosendahl had his self-described “get things done” moment. Property owners had a fat strip of asphalt parking, which assures that no affordable housing project will rise. Merchants could smile over the new meters. And no one mentioned that the ceremonial dirt that the men were shoveling had been trucked in from Griffith Park, a neat fact discovered by KNX reporter Michael Linder.
As it turns out, in its future, Venice’s dirt won’t even have its own identity.
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