• I Say No to Permit Parking – Cristina Rojas
• Anti, anti-OPD – Ty Allison


I Say No to Permit Parking

Dear Beachhead,

On purpose, at almost Midnight, I am listening to Scott Joplin’s Rags…”Solace”…

On purpose, because it is what I used to listen to during long nights typing as a translator

( being a piano and accordion player, and absolutely hating the old noisy typewriters, I fantasized…).

That was back in the heady days of the late 70’s, when I lived in the Chicago Mexican American neighborhood of Pilsen.

Now I live between our Venice, and, as tonight, in the Swiss mountain valleys of my childhood.

Snug as a bug in a rug in the studio I rent on the ground floor of a Swiss peasant home, facing the snowy fields for their cows in Summer, at the foot of pristine mountains crowned with grey rocks out of which I watched the yellow almost full moon rise into the dark clouds late last night…

So, what does any of this have to do with the Permit Parking debate in our Venice?

It has to do with why I have the point of view that I do.

And, as I see it, “Pilsen and Venice are Culturally, Politically, and Humanly, Soul Neighborhoods”.

In Venice I rent, as was the case in Pilsen. I have no assigned parking…no Permit Parking!

Most of the time, I walk about 4 blocks home, across the beautiful canals, often finding some happy surfer parking right in front of my house, or at other times, some beachgoers, or late at night, who knows who…

Now, as I consider the possibility of buying a place in Venice, I started to think that this was not such a cool arrangement…I mean, what is this BS? I would be paying taxes and yet have no assigned parking?

And then there is the really uncool aspect of the late night vandals I have written about in these pages a while back. Hummmm….maybe this Permit Parking starts to make sense….

And then, the experience and example of Pilsen hit me full force !!!

While I lived in Pilsen, we started hearing of nearby neighborhoods “suddenly” having a wave of drugs and firearms raids, and watched news reports of homes burning down and residents shivering outside…followed by urban renewal, and the creation of lovely new safe neighborhoods to replace the ever so old and dangerous ones.

At the time we called it “Urban Removal”: where did all those original residents have to go?…

I moved from Pilsen, for reasons out of my control, much to my regret, as I really liked living there, and then heard that the “Urban Renewal/Removal” scenario was beginning in Pilsen.

I went back on purpose this last Spring, back to see the house we lived in on Leavitt, a half a block from the El which made the entire house shake every time an El passed !!! and it was all still there as when we lived there ! Holes in the sidewalk, potholes in the street, and all !

You see, Pilsen stood up !

Because Pilsen is not just holed side walks and pot holed streets.

Pilsen is a vibrant self respecting Mexican American community, with a notable Mexican American Cultural Center, and many related and independent cultural artistic centers blooming !If one moves into Pilsen, you take it as it is, and that is why you move there !

If you want to change it, then maybe you should move elsewhere !

I feel that the same goes for our Venice.

Yes, there are multi-million dollar houses, and the Beach.

However, there are many miles of Beach along the Coastline of California, but only one Venice !

Like Pilsen, Venice has a rich History Culturally and Politically, a vibrant Cultural and Political Present. But also like Pilsen, it is not in its essence, a rich people’s community.

Beach Front and Marina del Rey not withstanding.

While Pilsen is a basically stable community, Venice has ever been an ultimate haven for social outcasts, be they outcasts politically, socially, intellectually, artistically, financially…THAT has been Venice’s Mother Lode.

The people who can afford to come into Venice and want to change it, can afford to go elsewhere, and not change a thing!

It will not even cost them more in the long run!

Because, by the time they would change/upgrade Venice, the tax basis and all the services would skyrocket, and they would suddenly wonder: what happened? as they found themselves paying as in any more expensive neighborhood, having destroyed “the charm” which attracted them to Venice.

“The charm”…the Mother Lode….blown away like Autumn Leaves…

At this time, it is only talk and plans of Permit Parking, but on the heels of the Oakwood “drug”raids last year !

It is yet another step in changing that very Character and Spirit of Venice that people all over the world come to experience…. 

Just like similar drug and weapons raids and fires were the prelude to Urban Renewal/Urban Removal in some Chicago neighborhoods whose longtime residents were blown away like Autumn leaves…

Pilsen was/is unique, and, as a community, it stood up ! 

Pilsen not only survived quietly, (the streets have not changed since I lived there in 1978, potholes and all !) it thrives Culturally and Humanly !

My Swiss Alps sense of neatness and order leaned heavily towards Permit Parking and keeping Venice clean and safe.

I would still like Venice to be clean and safe, but not at the expense of its Character and Soul !

So, I say no to Permit Parking.

–Cristina Rojas


Anti, anti-OPD

Dear Beachhead,

I live on a street that has an OPD. I’m certain that all the neighbors for our number of blocks that got this in the last couple of years are wildly in favor of them, frankly it has been a godsend. Prior to having our OPD, we had numerous serious problems with people living in vehicles on our street.

Since we have the OPD, there have been none. Yet the Venice Beachhead only seems to represent the voice of those in Venice who are opposed to OPD’s.

Would you give voice in the Beachhead to those of us who not only are in favor of the ODP’s but in favor of a democratic process for neighborhoods such as ours to be able to go through a legal process given to all legal residents in Los Angeles to achieve this?

Sincerely, Ty Allison

Beachhead responds: Au contraire, Ty Allison. Last month the Beachhead published Casey Bowen’s views which were decidedly in favor of permit parking. Problem is, most proponents have not been interested in a debate, whether in print or in public.

Categories: Letters