How about SOME short-term rentals? – Suzy Williams
Trees of Venice – Blanca Villabos
Evans Haas – Arlene Matteson
A Matter of Class – Brad Kay
Dear Beachhead:

Re: “Venice Fights Back – NO Short Term Rentals” How about SOME short-term rentals?

I readily agree that management companies like Globe Homes and Condos that buy up buildings only to push existing renters out on their ears, and disappear peoples’ future affordable housing, so they can create illegal hotels, are very bad.
But there is another side to this short-term rental stuff, and it has brightened my life. I am a maid for my friends who often have to leave town on work (or vacation) and they can really use the bucks to help pay for the rising cost of living – and it isn’t getting cheaper here! And my rent (eighteen years in Venice and counting) is getting higher and higher and I need about three hundred more dollars a month to live than I did ten years ago.
So, through Airbnb, online, my friends have the opportunity to get to know the character of prospective short-term tenants. And the renters get to read reviews of the place that’s being offered. My buds pay me well, I love communing with their stuff, and, as the maid who comes around, I’m quite impressed with the humanity I sometimes get to meet through Airbnb. There is a universal giddy gratitude, and almost always, they leave the place pretty damn neat. I met an Aussie family with an autistic sweetheart of a kid; a pair of charming Japanese young lovers; some hippy kids still raving about Burning Man.
There is something so different about staying in a home that reflects the vibes of the community, like my pals’ places do. It’s a whole lot better than staying in a cookie-cutter hotel room.
AND I can afford to still live here in my beautiful Venice!

Suzy Williams
Dear Beachhead,

For more than 30 years now I have walked children to Walgrove Elementary school. I noticed that yet another Venice home is scheduled to be destroyed and another McMansion (block) will be built!!!
What is truly upsetting me is that on this property there are many old, beautiful trees which have been homes to many birds and animals for many years. This is a treasure that should be kept for as long as possible. Many children  who walk to school enjoy looking into this property that they have called “the jungle”. I myself am envious of what the last owner (Whitey) had maintained for so many years.
As we all know Venice is changing very fast and new buildings and homes are being built. But we can’t keep allowing the trees to be cut down. We are in a drought as it is. If we continue having the trees cut we will never have enough rain. We need to remember trees give us life and they are a big quality of what gives Venice its charm.
I feel that as a community we need to fight to keep what was once Venice.

– Blanca Villabos
Dear Beachhead,

You truly are the greatest!
I heard today that an article on Evans Haas was in April’s issue. While I have not seen a hard copy of it, I reviewed it online, and my heart smiled.
On behalf of Evans’ friends, family and The Venice Square, I want thank you for writing and including the wonderful article on Evans, it means a lot to us.
Venice is so small yet so large, with Venice Square a tiny warm and tight knit section of its own.
We appreciate and love THE VENICE BEACHHEAD.
Also, thank you and the VENICE BEACHHEAD staff for highlighting the real issues of Venice, especially real estate purchases, mass overkill construction by individuals and corporations, that are not from here and have the finances to take over and change Venice (don’t get me started!)

Arlene D.Matteson
A Matter of Class
By Brad Kay

I want to thank Teresa Carney White for her well-composed letter in the last edition. It has given me the courage to do another column for the Beachhead. Never have I been called a “sexist” or anything remotely as juicy in print before, and it gave me great pride to be considered worthy of such an epithet. But much as I would like to accept the honor, I can’t really claim it. I could never live with the contradiction. My feminist street creed is too good. I honestly think that a woman has the inalienable right to smoke, cuss, vote, choose, get equal pay, be taken seriously and be called an asshole same as a man. Heartfelt though Ms. White’s letter is, its ire is misdirected.
To recap, I wrote in Beachhead No. 401, of the people attending the TEDx Conference held here in February, that “The men dressed in T-shirts, jeans, cutoffs, sandals; the women all were in baggy clothes, again, jeans; not a dress or decent pair of gams to be seen; no makeup.” Ms. White objected, writing, “The women at TED events, like the men, are there to learn and inspire and build community. Surely he knows they can accomplish that with or without makeup on?” And: “Gams? Sexist and gross! And: “Please inform Mr. Kay that if he would like to see a decent pair of gams and some makeup at a TED event … he can wear a dress and put on some makeup himself!”
Ms. White, though eloquent and even funny, has missed my point. I merely was emphasizing what to me looked like a severe shortage of CLASS demonstrated by the TEDx patrons (in colorful language to be sure. I thought the quaint phrase “decent pair of gams” evoked Raymond Chandler).
By “class,” I mean in this case the quality hovering about a person who naturally dresses up for an event which is costly, anticipated, exclusive, rarified and high-minded. Ms. White said learning and inspiring need no special dress code. That depends: Casual is okay if one is in a lecture or a class at school. But it is not okay (or so I thought) for an elevated event like TED.
One would never dream of attending the Oscars, or the Nobel Prizes, or the Opera or an audience with Queen Elizabeth – ALL of which this TED event was likened to by people I encountered beforehand – without minding to every detail of one’s appearance. I might even, actually, have gone in jeans and a T-shirt, if it wasn’t for absolutely everyone I met, in hushed or excited tones, emphasizing what a BIG DEAL this TED thing was. Hence my astonishment when the big day came, and I looked around, and discovered I was the only person in a suit and tie.
Now, Suzy Williams, who also was there, and is my devil’s advocate in everything from personal hygiene to religion, said that in all fairness, the TEDx patrons weren’t ALL that slovenly. Yes, some were dressed in T-shirts and jeans, but others had on expensive long-sleeved shirts, and designer jeans. A few of the women actually did show some style. “It’s the dress code of this generation,” summed up Suzy. “Well, it’s a LOUSY dress code,” I grumbled. We have gone back and forth over this, and I now concede that MAYBE I was a trifle harsh on those poor TEDx-ers.
So, okay, it’s a generational thing. I am showing my age. After all, I was born in 1869, and we did things differently way back in the Olden Days. But still! I would ask, then, of this current generation: When IS it appropriate to dress up? Not necessarily formally, but expressing yourself, with care, with artistic flair, originality, humor, character? Is no event worthy of your sartorial attention? Does nothing qualify?
I was at the grand re-opening of the Orpheum Theater downtown about seven years ago. It had been meticulously and lovingly restored and refurbished (a job that took years), down to the last cuspidor and strip of wainscoting. The theatre was gorgeous, and they showed “Gone With the Wind.” But with a few honorable exceptions, most everyone hewed to the generational “dress code”: T-shirts or short sleeves, jeans, sneakers. I was taken aback even then. “These scruffy ruffians don’t DESERVE such a palace,” said I to myself.
My point is: have we gone too far down the “casual” road? Are our standards so completely lax? Do we even HAVE standards? Have we forgotten what “class” is? Are people dogmatically, determinedly, dressing down even when the occasion indicates otherwise? As James Thurber asked, “Why do you have to be a non-conformist, like everybody else?”
N. B. In writing this, I have stumbled onto a rule of thumb as to whether or not an event is worth dressing up for: If you are “going to” the event, go casual. If you are “in attendance,” do your worst.
Getting back to Ms. White’s letter. Honestly, Teresa, I WOULD dress in drag and show my “gams,” if it made for a good example. But I fear it would only drive the ladies in the opposite direction.
For a good look at examples of classy dress (or undress!), all over the world, in every situation, for the past hundred years, get a load of: http://bit.ly/1F1oka8.

Categories: Letters