Saturday, June 12, 2010



June 10, 2010, Venice, Calif. The Venice Action Alliance today lauded the decisive 6-3 vote by the California Coastal Commission to reject the City of Los Angeles' second attempt to impose overnight permit parking districts on Venice. The group, part of a broad coalition of Venetians supporting solutions instead of restrictions, called it a triumph of wisdom and good policy.

"The Coastal Commission once again recognized and carried out its mandate to protect coastal access against attempts to make the beach less available to the general public," said Chris Plourde of Venice Action.

“The problems created by homelessness in Venice are real," added Plourde, "and we look forward to working with all Venetians to put a real solution that addresses the needs of all--a Safe Parking program--into place.”

The decisive vote followed a 4-1/2 hour hearing at the Commission's meeting held at the Marina del Rey Hotel in Marina del Rey, the same site where overnight permits were rejected the first time almost exactly one year ago. As many as 99 people signed up to testify, more than three-quarters of them in opposition to the permit scheme. Presentations by the City of Los Angeles, the Venice Stakeholders Association and the Venice Action Alliance set the stage for the long public session.

"No one with an open mind could have sat through that array of technically cogent and sometimes moving testimony against permit parking and come away thinking it was a good idea," said David Ewing of Venice Action. “We completely support the need to deal with bad and criminal behavior amongst vehicular dwellers and the general population and will keep working with the City and others in the community to find effective ways to do so. Permit parking isn't one of them."

"The arguments for permits came across like pleas for using parking restrictions to fight crime," said Karen Wolfe of Venice Action, "while those against permits sounded like a community trying to defend its diversity and a tradition of embracing the public.”

The issue was back before the Commission thanks to a lawsuit by Venice Stakeholders Association, which is now expected to go back to court as a result of the Commission's decision to reject permit parking. That lawsuit is currently backed by the City of Los Angeles and the Pacific Legal Foundation, the latter a notorious antagonist to the Coastal Commission having filed or participated in many lawsuits attempting to constrain the Commission's authority to protect the California coast.

Venice Action will continue to work with Councilmember Bill Rosendahl's office, and invites the Venice Stakeholders Association to join them, to expedite the creation of a "safe parking" program intended to get vehicle dwellers off residential streets in the community and begin moving them toward services and housing opportunities.

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