By Jim Smith
As expected, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works rejected all 102 appeals of the proposed Venice permit parking plan at a downtown L.A. hearing, Nov. 17. Appeals of the city’s action must be received by Dec. 22 by the California Coastal Commission. The city’s plan would charge for street parking by requiring the purchase of overnight parking permits. LAPD and parking enforcement officers presumably would prowl the streets of Venice between 2 and 6 am seeking out lawbreakers who were attempting to park without a permit.
The Public Works Commission gave each Venetian who had made the hour-long trip (during morning rush hour) two minutes to state his or her case. Among those expressing their opposition were Alice Goldstein, Steve Clare, Karl Abrams, Rev. Tom Ziegert, Nancy Williamson, Sheila Bernard, Susan Millman, Eden Andes, Peggy Lee Kennedy, Linda Lucks, Jim Smith, Fabiola Wright, Ross Wilson, Mark Lipman, Mark Knudson, Robert Israel, and others. Speaking in favor of permit parking were Stuart Oscars, DeDe Audet, Mark Ryavec, Carol Bolander, Bill Rosendahl and others.
Councilmember Rosendahl spoke out strongly in favor of permit parking and urged the Commission to deny the appeals. He said people in Venice deserve the right to have permit parking as do other areas not within the coastal zone. “Residents of Venice are asking for the same equal treatment,” he argued. The Commissioners seemed much impressed by Rosendahl’s statement, much more so than they seemed to be while sitting through the statements of the other speakers. Rosendahl happens to be the chair of the city council’s public works committee, which oversees that department and its commissioners.
The Board rejected the appeals in such a cavalier manner that it seemed to this reporter that they had not even read the appeals. The Bureau of Engineering staff had done more work in laying the basis for the rejection. In its written refutation, the staff repeated several misrepresentations of the facts, claiming that “there is an existing problem with inadequate on-street parking for residents due, in part, to abandoned and commercial vehicles and other long timer parking abuses (!). It may come as a shock to Venetians to learn that their community is plagued by abandoned vehicles.
The staff report also essentially ignored the outpouring of opposition to permit parking in Venice. Instead, the report notes that the Venice Neighborhood Council supported permit parking. However, the board of that body has never called a public forum on the issue, nor has it held a referendum.
No Permits for OFW Residents
In the area nearest the beach, the city apparently wants to convince the Coastal Commission that there are adequate parking lot alternatives to make up for the loss of street parking. The permit parking plan would set aside two small lots – at Windward and Pacific and at Rose and Pacific – for overnight parking. However, under the plan, residents living west of Speedway would not be eligible to buy parking permits. Since this strip along Ocean Front Walk is probably the most densely populated part of Venice, the small lots would be inundated with cars owned by these residents. Hundreds more of the west of Speedway residents would likely be without any parking options within blocks of their apartments. The staff report wrongly states “There are on-street parking spaces between Speedway and Ocean Front Walk.” Also ineligible for parking permits would be residents who have outstanding parking tickets, probably a sizable number of people in Venice where parking tickets are nearly unavoidable.
An anti-homeless faction in Venice sees the permit parking as a way to drive RV owners from the community, a loophole in the overnight parking plan may allow them to remain. Each resident (living in a house or an apartment) would be entitled to buy two visitors permits for $10 each. The permits, which are valid for four months, could be given to RV residents. Only 75 renters or homeowners would be needed to supply the entire 150 RV mobile residents with parking permits.
At the end of the hearing, the five commissioners, none of whom live in Venice, voted unanimously to deny the appeals of 102 Venetians, based in part on the urging of a city councilmember who lives in a part of Mar Vista which has free street parking and where no permits are required.
To find out how you can help stop the city’s parking permit plan at the Coastal Commission, contact the Venice Town Council at 310-365-0985 or attend the next meeting at 7 pm Friday, Dec. 12 at the United Methodist Church Auditorium. Appeals must be made on an official form for the South Coast District (that’s us) available at http://www.coastal.ca.gov/cdp/CDP-AppealForm-sc.pdf.