OUT FROM BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
May 19, 2010, Venice, Calif—The terms of the settlement in the lawsuit brought against the California Coastal Commission regarding its June 2009 rejection of Overnight Parking Districts(OPDs) in Venice soon will be open to public scrutiny at the Los Angeles City Council rather than being discussed solely in closed session.
“Every Venice resident—as well as public beachgoers—who care about keeping Venice a community open to the public while creating legitimate solutions to the problems of the homeless should take the time to find out what this settlement will inflict on all of us,” said Venice Action’s Karen Wolfe, “and then they should let the City Council and Coastal Commission know how they feel.”
Under severe pressure from Venice Action, the community alliance that has rallied opposition to the imposition of permit parking in Venice, City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl today committed to allow the public to know the content of the proposed settlement. “Now we, the people, will be able to see how we are being sold down the river,” said David Ewing of Venice Action. “The plaintiff tried hard to keep it a secret from Venice.”
Under the terms that Venice Action members have obtained, the City’s existing oversized vehicle ordinance, including the installation of signage, will be in place for six months and have to be shown to be unsuccessful in providing residents relief from nuisances currently alleged to be the result of poorly behaved vehicular homeless persons before OPDs could be implemented with no further Coastal Commission review. The criteria to determine whether the oversized vehicle ordinance has failed or succeeded are unknown at this point. Additional parking meters will be installed in key locations where parking is already in scarce supply.
“It’s criminal that the settlement has been concocted as a pathway to OPDs,” said Ewing. “Six months is not enough time to determine the effectiveness of the proposed enforcement program and OPDs are not an appropriate solution to the problem people are complaining about. They’re a ploy to force residents to pay to park in their own neighborhoods and that’s not what most Venetians want. Even the plaintiff admitted he’d prefer a better solution.” Venice residents voted in April 2010 in what amounted to a referendum on the issue. The election, which drew one of the largest voter turnouts in the history of L.A.’s neighborhood council program, was won by a substantial majority of candidates opposing OPDs. Venice Stakeholders leader Mark Ryavec, who filed the lawsuit against the CCC, lost in that election by a large margin.
After lobbying extensively for an open process, Venice Action learned from the Council Office that an agenda item, serving the sole purpose of waiving attorney/client privilege in the matter, will appear Friday, May 21 or Tuesday, May 25 in Council.
Venice Action also learned that Councilmember Rosendahl will try to push the settlement through the City Council in time for the Coastal Commission to vote on it at its June 9-11 meeting in Marina Del Rey, even though the CCC did not plan to include the issue on its June agenda. The timing will allow one week to ten days of public comment on the settlement terms before the full Commission votes at the public meeting.
“We’re happy to see this secret deal dragged into the light, and to enable all the citizens of Venice an opportunity to be heard on this contentious issue,” said Venice Action spokesperson Chris Plourde.
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