• We Can, We Have, We Will! – Steve Freedman
• Buying Lincoln Place? – Barbara Eisenberg
• Buying Lincoln Place? – Sheila Bernard
• City Controller Sues City Attorney – Laura Chick
• Homeless Committee – carolyn rios
• Westminster Elementary Is Growing (plants) – Nora Dvosin 
• Keeping up the struggle – Chino



We Can, We Have, We Will!

Dear Beachhead,

Thanks for the article last month, “Can We Keep Venice Livable? Yes We Can! And Yes We Have!”

Much has changed in Venice in the last 40 years, but fortunately much remains familiar. Venice has experienced a great deal of development—as much as any Westside community. Many old homes, apartments and businesses have been replaced by newer, denser, and more contemporary development. Much of Venice’s industrial property has been rezoned and redeveloped as dense, multi-family apartments and condominiums.

But the Venice community retains the eclectic character that has been so popular for generations. As the article suggests, this is because Venice residents have actively and successfully opposed the largest and most egregious development proposals. Though there is great pressure to redevelop our beach community, whenever a truly outrageous proposal is made by a developer so concerned with his own profit that he is blind or indifferent to our quality of life, Venetians have stepped up to protect our community.

The article mentioned most of the major development proposals turned back by residents but overlooked perhaps the most outrageous. In the early 1980’s, Birtcher Development, an Orange County-based developer, proposed building a two-million square foot regional shopping center known as Admiralty Place on the west side of Lincoln at the end of the Marina Freeway on the Oxford Triangle site now occupied by Ralphs, the Marina Pointe Apartments and the three condominium towers known as The Regatta, The Azzurra, and the Cove. It would have been a huge multi-story shopping center that would have generated far more traffic than the existing buildings. Opposition to that proposal was led by Oxford Triangle residents.

Although much of old Venice has been replaced by new and larger construction, if it were not for the efforts of many committed Venice residents, quality of life in our beach community would undoubtedly be much worse. Next time we hear about a proposal that is truly out of scale with our Venice Beach community, remember—to keep Venice livable, Just Say No. 

Yes We Can!

Steve Freedman


Buying Lincoln Place?

Dear Mr. Editor,

Since the December issue of the Beachhead is running a story with completely false information, it most definitely needs to be retracted at the soonest opportunity.

Your so-called “confirmed” information that the tenants are in negotiations to buy the property is so false that it is overwhelming.

It is irresponsible to put into print such blatant lies which during these times of court cases and other issues can put our few tenants, and those on appeal, into great jeopardy, if it falls into the hands of the AIMCO attorneys who are just looking for any tiny reason of nonsense to take into court against us.

Please, cease and desist, immediately from printing such blatant lies in the future. You have no idea the ramifications such garbage can cause in a court of law for us.

Barbara Eisenberg


Contrary to what your sources have said, there is no negotiation between the tenants and AIMCO relative to purchase of LP by buyers lined up by the tenants.

There are talks between the lawyers for the tenants and the lawyers to AIMCO, but these talks are strictly confined to issues being litigated and a purchase is not on the table.

Sheila Bernard

From the Collective: The Beachhead stands by its article.


City Controller Sues City Attorney

Dear Beachhead,

There has been discussion in the press about a “fight” between the City Attorney and myself. I’m writing to personally update you regarding this issue. 

 In fact, the disagreement is over the City Controller’s charter-mandated responsibilities to conduct performance audits. Section 261 (k) of the City Charter clearly says that the Controller shall “conduct performance audits of all departments and may conduct performance audits of City programs.“ 

Despite this language, the City Attorney has formally interpreted the charter to prohibit the Controller from conducting performance audits of programs if they are housed in elected officials’ offices. 

The City Attorney has sued me to prevent my proceeding with an audit of his Workers’ Compensation program. The only appropriate resolution is to now turn to the Los Angeles Superior Courts. 

 I have exhausted all other options, including trying to have this matter placed before the voters on the March ballot, which the Council refused to do. 

 The City Council has asked me to “stand down” in my attempt to have the Charter clarified and refused to give me paid legal counsel for my defense against the City Attorney’s lawsuit. This is a fight over transparency and accountability and your right to know how your government is spending your taxpayer dollars. I will not back down or step aside. I will pursue this fight so the people of Los Angeles can have clarification once and for all on this important issue. 

Laura Chick


Homeless Committee

It’s too bad that the Beachhead still resorts to the yellow journalism and outright lies that Mark Lipman wrote last month in “Neighborhood Council’s Homeless RV Committee Holds Secret Meetings.”

He accused us of “forming a sub-committee specifically tasked with looking for ways to evict poorer residents from our community.”

The committee in fact was formed to “identify sites where …RV’s could take night shelter…..and to review city ordinances and propose language …that would allow this pilot program” We are looking at private and public lots in Venice and CD 11 for legal RV overnight parking that would have minimal impact on residences.

Mark Lipman was at the meeting when this sub-committee was formed. Please tell me how this is “evicting poorer residents”

If you want to accuse the Overnight Parking Permits of this, that is possible fair game. I am totally against OPDs for many reasons, one of which is that the RV dwellers will be harassed more than ever. I joined the Homelessness/RV Committee to find legal lots and streets for these people once the OPDs are in place, as I fear that OPDs are inevitable.

I presume you will print the Mark Ryavac letter regarding the Brown act. No violations were committed.

We are looking for sites in Venice and CD11. Some of us on the committee are also trying to get selected commercial/industrial streets approved for RV overnight dwelling. This is hardly “evicting” poorer residents.

Beachhead, remind your writers about due diligence.

Shame on Mark, he knows my position. I have been quite public about it. Am I guilty by association?

thanks, carolyn rios

Response from Mark Lipman: On this issue, I would respond that my key sources for the article in question are highly credible and trusted.

As the reader admits in her letter, saying that the Overnight Parking Districting is “fair game” (but not this sub-committee), when saying that it was formed to look for ways to evict poorer residents from our community, may I point out that the majority of this new sub-committee (3 out of 4) are the very same people who have been working so hard to make sure that OPDs are created in Venice. The very same people. A simple fact.

It is therefore absolutely fair to say that this new sub-committee is merely an extension of the OPD agenda, which is the eviction from Venice of anyone living in a vehicle, which by common knowledge we can fairly say represent an economically disadvantaged (poor) segment of the community.

Might I also point out that the Venice Neighborhood Council does not even have the right to look outside of our Venice boundaries. Venice is Venice, not CD11, not Los Angeles, or anywhere else. You’re out of your jurisdiction.

If you still feel that my descriptive was unjust, may I remind you of the November 6 committee meeting, when Steve Clare presented the 38 recommendations that came out of the Homelessness Task Force he chaired. When he made his presentation, merely a few questions were asked, then it was “Thank you very much, next.” 

To date there has not been any substantive debate on these recommendations. Why not?

Steve Clare was immediately followed by Officer Richardson from the LAPD, who presented his recommendation of moving RVs to Dockweiler Beach, which is 10 miles away from Venice. 

Immediately following this presentation, the LAPD recommendation was grafted onto the mission statement for this new sub-committee.

Is what’s happening in this committee suspect? Absolutely it is.

As far as being guilty by association, I don’t know, did you show up for the meetings?

True enough, I do know Carolyn Rios’ positions and highly respect the work she has done in this community. That said, as a journalist, it is my responsibility to report the simple facts of who serves in which capacity, as a basic matter of record keeping. There can be no fault found in that. 

Nor can there be in pointing out when a legal line is, or is about to be, crossed. As a journalist that is my duty to the community – it keeps the politicians honest.

 Too bad other news outlets are not as diligent in this public service as the Beachhead is. If they were, this country would never have gone to war.

Happy New Year.

Mark Lipman



Westminster Elementary Is Growing (plants)

Dear Beachhead,

Westminster Elementary is slowly but surely converting its sea of asphalt schoolyard into a state-of-the-art learning laboratory, organic garden and joint-use community center.

The first phase has been the school’s organic garden/outdoor classroom. Our garden is fully integrated into in-class science, language and math curricula. First through fifth graders plant, tend, harvest, cook and joyously eat what they grow. They participate in a “seed to table” experience that enriches their understanding of ecology, biology, nutrition and love of the natural world. Our garden is the school’s oasis.

The garden is a collaborative effort of Master Gardeners Nora Dvosin and Nancy Giffin, principal Karen Brown, students, teachers, PTA parents, and a steady stream of community supporters and volunteers… like Jim Murez of the Venice Farmer’s Market who has contributed labor and a yearly stipend, as well as the Los Angeles Conservation Corps who recently removed 3,600 sq.ft. of asphalt to enlarge our garden to 6,000 sq.ft. We won an Office of Community Beautification grant to fund this expansion. Finally we can plant the fruit trees, vines, shrubs, strawberry and raspberry beds, vegetable and flower beds, potato, corn and pumpkins fields that we’ve been planning for.

But our garden is just the first step in a much larger vision. Our Master Plan, drawn by Venice architect Lewin Wertheimer, rethinks the entire campus. We have a school greening project coming up on January 31, during which we’ll plant 30 trees, vines and shrubs and flowers on the campus.

With help from architect Scott McGillivray, we are re-imagining the Kindergarten playground, expanding it, greening it and opening it up to the community on weekends. To accomplish this we’re applying for Joint Use Funding from LAUSD and counting on our local community merchants and Neighborhood Council to support our project.

The eventual goal is to refurbish the entire playground with new athletic equipment, a rubberized running track, an urban forest of native California trees, a reading garden, murals, and a Native American herb garden. These ideas spring forth from the students, the teachers, the volunteers and the community at large. 

We’re hoping to become a healthy, beautiful, environmentally sustainable heart-center for the community.

Nora Dvosin 

Westminster Garden Project Manager



Keeping up the struggle

Dear Beachhead,

I salute all of you people who have been in the struggle all these years. As a former resident, activist and the former chairman of B.A.L.A., a Chicano militant organization created in Venice in 1968, for the sole purpose of fighting for the people’s rights.

I surely remember my ol’ friend Steve Clare, and fondly remember Marge Buckley, Rick Davidson, John Haag and many others. By the way my name is Rafael Melgoza, aka “Chino.” Thank you for carrying on the message, the struggle.

Chino, venice

Categories: Letters