By Carol Fondiller
I’m not going to defend or attack those who live in their vehicles because this is irrelevant to the parking. From what I’ve observed in the forty something years I’ve lived in Venice, there have been people living in many variations of homes from tepees (yes!! really!) to tree houses (honest to Goddess) to converted garages – still around – check it out – your quaint cute studio at $1800 a month + uts only blocks 2 bch started out as a garage that due to the magick of Venetian soil, and miasmic air, morphed from a granny unit to your very hip ground level loft, no parking.
Or, maybe you’re the proud owner of recently (or not) renovated craftsman cottage or sleek modern contemporary living space with garage that can be converted to a den or studio, plans available, street parking.
Or, maybe you might be living in one of the apartment buildings and that line Pacific Avenue (called the Venice Chinese Wall by long time locals.) These erections were built by speculators and contractors who funded speculators and contractors and who fudged on the truth about how many units they were really putting in, so they didn’t have to allow space for parking.
The California Coastal Commission requires a certain number of parking spaces per unit, a certain number of parking spaces per commercial restaurants, etc.
I know that this comes as a complete surprise to many readers of the Beachhead, but sometimes city departments, misread or (I’m sure) misunder-estimated the parking.
As a result of the corruption and or stupidity and short-sightedness of City officials and agencies, parking was as they say, put out on the streets.
Venice was built when the Los Angeles area had one of the best mass transit systems in the country (take a gawk at some of the old low budget late 30s early 40s pictures that were shot on location). Trolleys, red cars and buses were the mainstay of travel to work and shopping. When I moved to Venice, parking was a problem, and in the late fifties the average person had one car per household – now, it’s more and in those apartments supposedly built for one person – well, those apartments are now usually shared by more than one person. These people usually have at least one car per person, as do the homeowners.
I have never been against turning a garage into a living unit if that unit is used to house low-moderate income folks. I’ve always thought that it’s more important to house people than cars.
Some of the people who live in vehicles are deeply unpleasant and intrusive. And, because they live right next to other people their habits can be annoying and threatening.
But these people, and I’m talking about a sliver of the vehicle dwelling residents, are not nearly the threat to Venice’s vivacity and diversity as the sociopaths who use the parking problem as an excuse to rid the Community of “undesirables” i.e. low – no income people, by any means necessary. I’ve had the experience of being threatened by some of the vehicle dwellers when I’ve politely asked them to turn down their music, their generators, or please keep their dogs from lunging at me as I go up to my apt. building. I’ve also been threatened by homeowners who have disagreed with me regarding my right to live in Venice or fight for my right to live in this Community because I’m low-income, and I am a second class citizen anyway, because I am a renter. Renters after all, do not pay property taxes, and never pay their fair share, and landlords never charge them rent, and what are low income people doing living by the beach anyway?
But I’m writing about overnight parking permits. What overnight parking will do is charge people for a license to hunt for a parking space. A parking space is not guaranteed if a fee is paid one just has permission to hunt for a space – just like a permit to hunt bear or ducks. Maybe it could turn into a sport: Mr. SUV nabbed three parking spaces in ten days.
But the sociopaths who proposed this ordinance are combining two problems – one is homelessness, and the other parking. Their objective is to turn Venice into a gated community, just like the proposed gated community that was defeated by Venetians. Remember Rose and Main Street?
The owner of a newly opened diner called the Flake Café complained about the live-in vehicles that lined Rose Avenue. The owner claimed these vehicle dwellers were bad for her business.
Now obviously the name Flake was meant to attract semi-affluent people who fancied themselves as hip withit Bohos who lived in the nearby art bunkers.
But they don’t know or want anything to do with the real flakes. By the way, people who patronized the Flake Café were sitting on chairs and tables set out on the narrow sidewalk of Rose Avenue. Does she have a revocable permit from the City that allows tables and chairs on that narrow sidewalk? Suppose some crazed meth head skater zoomed into an innocent affluhip who was bicycling on the sidewalk to avoid the SUV’s barreling down Rose Avenue to the Rose Avenue parking lot? Perhaps City officials might spend their time and discretionary funds to figure out ways to improve mass transit, making it more attractive, safe and reliable.
The officials might also look into the in-lieu parking fees fund that developers pay into instead of putting in their required parking spaces, and whether those funds are used to seek out and create more parking spaces in the Venice area. Already existing laws regarding street parking should be enforced to clear out the vehicles on the streets that are parked there by businesses and residents because they have no parking.
And lest we forget, many parking spaces are taken up by beach visitors who are entitled to beach access. They pay taxes towards the maintenance of the Beach. Don’t let the sociopaths fool you with their shell game. Protest at Marina del Rey Hotel, near Burton Chase Park, M.D.R., June 11.