Civil Rights

Greta Says

By Greta Cobar
Not long ago, only about six years, quite a few Venice long-term residents lived in vehicles. They were groovy – both the vehicles and the residents.
The Venice vehicularly-housed citizens cared deeply about our beautiful resort by the sea, participated in community events and local politics, and lent a hand when one was needed to set things in order.
Then Alex Thompson, a convicted felon with several past aliases (, made false allegations of sewage dumping in Venice, and started a campaign to rid the town of its vehicularly-housed residents.
At the same time Mark Ryavek started his own campaign with the same mission, only his tactic was restricted permit parking.
Police harassment of the vehicularly-housed Venice residents ensued and continued as a result of Alex Thompson nagging her LAPD buddies and Mark Ryavek lobbying the downtown politicians.
In no time dozens, hundreds of groovy and trustworthy long-term Venice residents had to move and take their movable homes with them, outside of Venice. For even though the rules are the same in and out of Venice, they are definitely not enforced the same.
This mass exodus created a gap in our population that was filled in no time with what we have now: heavy drug and/or alcohol addicted youths that don’t take any pride in themselves or their new, temporary place of residence. They’re unkept and they trash our beautiful resort by the sea. Their only concern is getting the next high, for which they’re ready to lie, steal, cheat – or whatever it takes.
Not only are they a nuisance to all of us living here, but they also ruin the image of the house-less population. Before our vehicularly-housed residents were evicted through the actions of Alex Thompson and Mark Ryavek, this nuisance-causing truly transient population was not prevalent in Venice.
This is an example of what happens when two members of a community achieve some type of minimal power through unscrupulous, illegal maneuvering.
It is worth noting that what motivated me to become politically involved in Venice and to join the Beachhead Collective was this campaign to evict the vehicularly-housed Venice residents, many of who were my friends.
Living in a vehicle is better than being on the sidewalk for all involved, including the housed population. It is also more “green” and it leaves less of a footprint. It is also beneficial for all of us to have one less soul slaving for The Man. Yep, Alex Thompson and Mark Ryavek don’t hold jobs either.
Cut the shit