Venice Business Improvement District


A toast to bureaucratic fusterclucks – Sometimes they can save the day: Great news – Because the City shut off public comment, they gotta START THE WHOLE PROCESS OVER! Hot damn! Via the LA City Clerk: “The Ordinance of Establishment was adopted in Council last week. However, in light of concerns relative to the public hearing and to ensure all speakers are heard, we plan to repeal this ordinance and start the process over. This will mean a new Ordinance of Intention and a public hearing approximately 45 days from when the new ballots and packages are mailed. I do not have an actual date at this time.”

Who is the Business Development District?

The lack of information about exactly what it will do is disturbing. Is this obfuscation or lack of plans, or both? The bylaws of the BID are not available to the public. Its plans are given in vague outlines of what might be done. Yet the sales story of its proponents is that it will provide revenue to clean up the neighborhood. Here we diverge into those who interpret this as coded language for an attack on the houseless, and those who quote highly charged anecdotes about assaults, excrement, and addicts. There was the employee of a restaurant which serves drinks, who complained about drunks on OFW. A friend believes that the BID will be able to fund the cleanup and maintainance of the bathroom facilities and public art.

Bonin hopes we will see good in it. Yet there are no assurances that anything good for the houseless, or anybody, will happen with this. The security patrols are just supposed to help people move on, but experience show that they usually end up rousting out homeless people.  That runs right up against the nomads, who are choosing to live outside. Getting them into permanent housing may never succeed. The problem is much larger than Venice, but it is larger in Venice due to it being the 2nd largest tourist attraction in LA. There is a constant influx of tourists some of whom have no place to go back to. All across LA affordable housing is gentrified and more poor residents are turned into houseless. Then there’s the constant influx of runaways. Runaways can shun help, because if they are caught, they may be sent back an abuser parent.

I lived here in the 70’s, when you could walk out on Venice Beach and there was hardly anyone there on weekdays, even in the summer. What happened? Tourism. Yeah we are cool, and we have more beautiful sunsets, but stay away. Locals only or Love-In?

I listen to the video of the community input, weighing the speeches, and the public drama of the meeting. Shout-outs and attempted talk-overs from the audience and the irritated chairman to threaten to end the two-minute-per-speaker public input part of the agenda. Property owners testified in support of BID because they are concerned about crime. My favorite part is where Dennis Hathaway pointed out that the bylaws of the corporation receiving the tax revenue were secret, and so they were voting for a black box. The BID law is a state law, and so the city can claim it is not responsible, but it wants to be a good partner. In what exactly? The bid will paid for by the businesses in the district, and that includes the rental business properties, which are typically burdened with the extra taxes on the property, and who already have experience rental increases which have forced many of our favorite businesses to move out.

The interests of the business community is often in direct conflict with the interests of the residents and home owners. Common business practices such as evicting rent controlled tenants, converting to airbnb hotels and homes, and driving commercial rents up 100% in 5 years, these are the actions of the commercial real estate owners who want the BID, because their high rent commercial tenants say their customers complain that Venice Beach is dirty.

Is it good year for the Chamber Of Commerce?

The Venice Chamber Of Commerce is looking forward to a very good year, especially since their former president Carl Lambert resigned due to having been sued by the City for illegally evicting rent controlled tenants and converting to a hotel. I believe that the VCC is also proud of their takeover of the Venice Neighborhood Council. Too bad the resolution against converting the Westminster Senior Center into homeless storage was completely ignored by the city, and this first attempt at a BID has gone down in flames. Now the next version of the Venice Place Hotel proposal, opposed by the previous council, is being put back on the table.