VENICE- We at the Coalition for Safe Coastal Development, the folks who have brought a compelling law suit against the city and the project’s developers after six years of being ignored and vilified, believe it is time for The City Council to begin an intervention to terminate the massively controversial Pacific-Dell Project on The Venice Median, and let whoever is elected to represent CD11 conduct a transparent and collaborative community-based process without excluding those constituents who might disagree with our future representative’s points of view.
Councilman Bonin’s reliance on dismissive, confrontational rhetoric created adversarial relationships with voters throughout the district –including us. It needs to stop. It needs to stop and it needs to change.
That’s why we were so encouraged in early April that five of the six top candidates who participated in a Candidate Forum sponsored by The Westside Current announced that they would kill the project, if elected, and start over with fresh, feasible ideas while re-allocating money earmarked for Mike’s Monster for other shovel-ready projects. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say that night.
"I’m absolutely opposed to the Venice Median Project. My wife and I have been annual supporters of Venice Community Housing and the Venice Community Housing Corporation. I think they do a lot of good work. It’s a bad idea. You don’t have to get any further than looking at the price tag. The arithmetic just doesn’t add up, it’s not a good project."
"I will squash this on day one. Not only did the VNC vote it down, over 1,000 community members have objected to this, It violates the Venice Local Plan, it violates CEQA, it violates the Coastal Act, it’s a waste of money, it’s wrong for the community, it’s a no go, it’s done."
Allison Holdorff Polhill:
"I’m absolutely against the Monster on the Median project, I think it’s a travesty. I think it’s a great example of the corruption in our City because of spot zoning. I think it’s unacceptable that this happened, and with the price tag now of 1.1 million dollars per unit, you can take up a wing at the Ritz Carlton and load it with people. Cuckoo bananas. "
So re-reading those statements got me thinking about the impact if Traci Park, Mike Newhouse, Alison Holdorff Polhill, James Murez, Matt Smith, and Greg Good banded together with a singular message that would go something like this?
Councilmembers, while nothing would please us more than to be selected to gather with you in City Hall next year to take an oath of office; if voters elect someone else, we would want that person to have the authority to represent the will of their constituents – especially as it pertains to The Venice Median, and ask you to pull the item off the agenda until after a new Council is formed in 2023.
To raise support for our position, I contacted each of the CD11 candidate to see if they support the Council tabling the matter. Here are their responses in the order I received them:
Jim Murez – as President of The Venice Neighborhood Council, plans to use the power of his office to call into the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee meeting being held on Tuesday, May, 17th at 2:00 to give them the vote the VNC took on the matter, and ask for the postponement.
Mike Newhouse – supports the postponement.
“Not Only do I support immediately tabling the Venice median Project, until our new Councilperson is elected, but based on the changed legal requirements under the recent LA Alliance Settlement, on Day #1 of my term, I will move that the City Council send the project back to PLUM for reconsideration based on the Settlement’s modifications to current shelter and housing requirements.”
Traci Park – supports the postponement
The Venice Median development is extremely controversial in the Venice community. Over 1000 people have expressed serious concerns and objections. As this project will forever change the look and character of the historic Venice canal community, I urge the Council to defer any action until after the new Mayor and CD11 Councilmember take office in January 2023 in order to bring new vision, collaboration, and leadership to resolution of the outstanding issues.
Allison Holdroff Polhill – supports the postponement
I support postponing to allow for public input and to abide by all procedural steps in an open and transparent process.”
Matt Smith –supports the postponement
“Once elected, I would use all legal options to prevent developments like this from being constructed anywhere in CD11. Large scale subsidized housing doesn’t fit in our communities. It’s been tried and has been an abject failure. I would send this back to the Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUM) for reconsideration. I will also use the power of this office to advocate for FEMA style shelters and whatever else is REQUIRED by law.
Greg Good – supports the postponement
"It would be wise and appropriate to take a step back and reevaluate the project’s scope, aesthetic, and impacts on the community and the environment. This specific project has inspired significant controversy and many in the community feel their concerns have been ignored. I believe permanent supportive housing is a crucial part of the equation to getting people off the streets with the services they need, but I believe a pause to allow CD11's next City Council member to engage in this particular project makes sense."
Soni Llyod – reached out to his campaign’s Facebook page twice in two days (since I could not find his cell phone number). I did not hear back.
Erin Darling – I reached out via email twice in two days (since I could not find his cell phone.) I did not hear back.