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Venice 311 Commotion

Reactions were heated to Simone Wilson's story on the ongoing controversy surrounding the Venice 311 website and the smear campaign against its founder, Alex Thompson, by her former mentor "Boston" Dawna Chaet ("Clamor Over Venice 311," Aug. 26). Thompson has received criticism and praise from Venice locals, but the criticism has started to pile up thanks to Chaet alleging that Thompson is an ex-con embezzler (which turned out to be true) and questioning her relationship with the LAPD.

The story stirred up some emotions:

Elinor L. writes: "So Captain Peters says LAPD isn't affiliated with Venice 311, but [paparazzo] Tony Vera suddenly has all these privileges and [LAPD Officer] Peggy Thusing shows up at this woman's house? And the LAPD doesn't care that a convicted felon has a police scanner and is showing up to crime scenes? Huh?"

Commenter Lisa adds: "It will be a real loss to Venice if Peggy Thusing gets embroiled in a scandal caused by this entrepreneurial interloper. But it sure seems like there is more to tell when the police captain has to make a distinction out of 'official' relationships. Before the police count on Thompson's 311 franchise, I hope they will remember that even a broken clock is right twice a day."

Mrsb writes: "It would be a real shame if Venice 311 gets mistaken for a real Neighborhood Watch program. This is just pure vigilantism. Neighborhood Watch is neighbors getting to know each other and looking out for their community and each other. In our Neighborhood Watch program, while we do report incidents to the police, we are more about learning how to keep our community a secure and safe place by taking precautions as a neighborhood. We don't have to go listening to radio dispatches and chase after suspects.

"Venice 311 seems less about community and more about chasing after what they consider undesirables in Venice. I thought the police of Venice were far more concerned with neighborhood safety than accompanying these self-appointed vigilantes on patrol."

A guest commenter writes: "I saw Alex 20 minutes ago painting over graffiti on Speedway. What do the rest of you have to say for yourselves? She's hot, she gets the job done while a group of gripers bitch and moan. Who could blame her for not wanting to deal with all the haters in this town. All I know is Venice 311 is addictive and real. Posers step up or shut up!"

Madeleine Gallay writes: "How terrible is it to have innuendo and criticism for doing good things in a community? This is hardly a question of gentrification versus funky. Bad things happen in Venice and the city of L.A. spends little time cleaning it up. Is there an implication that Alex is 'interfering' by removing trash and abandoned mattresses, cleaning up tagging and responding to Venice residents who often check in with her before trying the police?

"Please note that because of her work, we have an extensive police presence, albeit in cute shorts, with a hands-off attitude during the crazy weekends, which absolutely discourages the gang shootings during Drum Circle.

"She does good and that must be noted."

LAPDWatcher says, "You have to hand it to the freakshow that is Venice that even their cops are of marginal morals! I am disgusted that they support a convicted ex-con artist: 'Both LAPD's Peters and Thusing say that even if she did embezzle $65,000, it wouldn't affect Venice 311.' I can't think of anyplace else in Los Angeles that the cops would be so dismissive of their professional relationship with an ex-con."

Lastly, Disappointed writes: "I have lived on the Marina Peninsula for almost 20 years and saw Dawna in action for the majority of them. There really is no difference between what Dawna did and what people say this Alex person does. Dawna talked to all the cops, went to all the meetings, had a scanner, rode a bike and called in on criminals.

"So Alex does the same thing and she is condemned. Why, because she's pretty? Because she may or may not be this person portrayed in the article? We shouldn't forget that Dawna had a lot of enemies, too. I am not sure of her past and could really care less. It is sad that this is what our community has been reduced to.

"We are losing the battle to keep this area a somewhat nice place to live because people are wasting time on jealous, vindictive squabbles instead of working together to solve problems. Frankly, Dawna, Alex, the author of this article, and the rest of them, including half of those morons at Yo! Venice!, can go to hell. I have conceded that this immature back-and-forth ranting has crushed my community. And today I'm ashamed to say I'm a Venetian."

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