The debate over how to curb/contain the homeless population in Venice has been tearing the community apart for years.
Homeless advocates argue that the street people have owned Venice far longer than the arty millionaires. But some residents aren't down to pay skyrocketing rents while RVs dump human excrement on their sidewalks. In short -- it's the Gentry vs. the Funky in L.A.'s hippest beach town!
As of this morning, it appears all is fair in this neighborhood war:
Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association (aka, the don't-poop-on-my-sidewalk association), has published a list he calls the "Westside Guide to Safe Camping Locations for the Homeless."
Ryavec advises the homeless people camped out along 3rd Avenue between Rose and Sunset to relocate to the addresses listed, because the 3rd Avenue residents and property owners...
"... find this encampment, with its related crime, assaults on police officers and residents (one as recent as this past Saturday evening), public drug sales and use, public inebriation, public urination and defecation, and threat to public health, to be intolerable. We will continue to press the City of Los Angeles for the removal of this encampment, including bringing a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles for maintaining a public nuisance if necessary."
Here's the list of alternative hosts:
- Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
- Councilman Bill Rosendahl
- Deputy Mayor Larry Frank
- Carol Sobel
- Nicolas Goldberg
- Los Angeles Times
- Linda Lucks
- David Ewing
- Steve Clare
- Karen Wolfe
- Debra Leshever
The guide comes complete with Google Maps screenshots, in case the 3rd Avenue bums get lost on their way to the promised land.
"In light of your vigorous support for the rights of the homeless to sleep on public pedestrian easements over private property, which is what sidewalks and parkways legally are, we are contacting you to ask if you have any objection to our including a photograph and address of your residence in camping guide," Ryavec wrote in a letter to everyone on the list.
Although the sarcasm is so thick we can hardly cut through it -- almost like Venice's own special brand of snark tongues! -- we believe the Venice "stakeholders" are making a statement about how homeless advocates should be able to walk the walk, per se, by letting their precious bums sleep on their own damn doorsteps.
Because what all the politicians and activists on the list have in common is their unwillingness to sweep the homeless out of Venice cold-turkey. Villariagosa and Rosendahl aren't advocates, exactly, but they certainly have taken their time addressing the problem.
Below, the stretch of 3rd in question.
View Larger Map
We've contacted a few people on the camping guide for their thoughts -- check back for updates. In the meantime, happy trails! Or not!
Update: Linda Lucks, a Venice Neighborhood Councilwoman on the list, calls the Venice Stakeholders Association a "one-man show" run by Ryavec.
Lucks says she is taking this "personal threat" very seriously, and will be filing a report with the LAPD. (Last time Lucks' address was published by a commenter on Yo! Venice, a popular neighborhood forum and news site, she was bombarded with hate mail. And by hate mail, we mean someone put poop in her mailbox. Seriously.)
As for the homeless on 3rd:
"It's not OK that they're putting furniture out there," says Lucks. "But it's not OK to criminalize people who have no place to go."
Around mid-February, the LAPD began kicking homeless people off the Venice Beach Boardwalk. (Hilariously, police called it "outreach.") Lucks asks: "What else were they supposed to do but move east?"
As you can see above, the stretch of 3rd between Rose and Sunset is almost all big warehouse buildings. So Ryavec doesn't seem to be protecting the interests of homeowners so much as businesses.
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"Ryavec deals with inciting people," says Lucks. "He has resorted to doing what the animal crazies do."
She adds that she's not so much worried about homeless people having her address -- more just Ryavek's posse, who she calls the "angry mob."
How very, very Venice.