Palisades News, June 25, 2021

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June 25 – July 22, 2021 Volume 23, Issue 49

Recall Papers Served to Councilmember Mike Bonin Bonin serve recall papers last week, over 27,000 signatures must be obtained from constituents By SaM CaTaNZaro

“Our streets have become de facto campgrounds,” reads recall papers served to Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin this week. Bonin, who represents Council District 11 encompassing much of the Westside including Pacific Palisades, was served the recall notice on Tuesday. “Councilmember Mike Bonin has consistently made promises to his constituency and failed to follow through on these promises since he took office,” reads the recall’s Statement of Reasons. “In summary Councilmember Mike Bonin does not engage with the district and did not improve our quality of life or clean up our neighborhoods. Our streets have become de facto campgrounds, sanitation policies are failing, crime is rising, and Mike Bonin remains unresponsive.” In a statement, Bonin called the recall waste of tax dollars. In addition, the councilmember claimed that the campaign is backed by right-wing forces.

“A recall election, held right before regularly scheduled city elections, would

be a waste of millions of dollars of taxpayer money — dollars that could be better

invested in addressing our homelessness

Bonin Recall, see page 4

Wash Bin Service Helping to Clean Up the Westside and Beyond WASH BINS specializing in cleaning trash bins By Toi Creel

A Pacific Palisades local’s business specializes in cleaning an underlook area: trash bins.

“They’re filthy, disgusting and they smell, so getting your trash bins cleaned is an excellent idea,” said Kevin Miller, owner of WASH BINS trash bin cleaning service. Through WashBins.com, residents across Southern California can get their trash receptacles cleaned, but it’s not just a typical spray down, says Miller. Our trucks disinfect, sanitize and deodorize the bins inside and out. “The cleaning trucks are state of the art, custom built for this reason. We have a 500

gallon tank of clean water and a 300 gallon tank to capture the dirty water. When the bins go in the back of the truck, 190 degrees come out of the cleaning heads. It’s like a dishwasher on steroids,” Miller said. The trucks also steam the inside of the bins followed by a power washing on the outside. “We’re getting underneath the handles, the lids, the wheels. Where all the filth exists. It’s an automated truck,” Miller said. “It’s so cool to watch. The bins go in the back dirty and

they come out looking and smelling great.” The business of washing trash bins isn’t a new concept. The company launched in June, 2019 with their first truck, but the service of cleaning trash cans has been around for more than 30 years overseas. “In the states, [the business has picked up] the last ten [years] or so. It’s really picked up in the last five years.”

Bins, see page 2

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Bins, see page 2 WASH BINS now has a fleet of trucks and serves 60 cities all over Southern California, including everywhere on the Westside. “Each of the cities has their own distinct situations. For example, in Santa Monica not all the bins are in homes, they’re in the alleys. When they’re in the alley versus in the garage, they’re unattended to most of the day and night,” Miller said. Miller says these places are more likely to have high activity with strangers coming in and out, which during a pandemic makes cleaning more important than ever. He also said there’s a high demand for the service. “Going into and coming out of a pandemic there hasn’t been a more heightened time when the words disinfecting, sanitizing and deodorizing has been on the top of everyone’s mind. I think the pandemic has brought all of that on,” Miller said. WASH BINS offers monthly, quarterly or one time cleanings. Customers can book an appointment via the website or by calling 833-WASHBINS. “We are a professional service that comes to people’s houses and maintains their trash bins. “People hire Terminx to come to their house and take care of the spiders and the ants. People hire WASH BINS to come to their house to disinfect, sanitize, and deodorize their trash bins,” Miller said. For more information, visit washbins.com

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June 25 – July 22, 2021


June 25 – July 22, 2021

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June 25 – July 22, 2021

Investigation Underway After Unoccupied Boat Washes Ashore Near Malibu Pier

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Panga boat washes ashore Monday morning By CHaD WiNTHroP

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An investigation is underway after an unoccupied panga boat was found near the Malibu Pier Monday. According to the Los Angeles County Fire

Bonin Recall, see page 1

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crisis,” Bonin, who has announced a run for a third and final term in 2022, wrote in said. “This recall has been championed by the same right wing forces that are trying to erode our democratic process and take down progressive officials across the state.” In addition to the recall election for California Governor Gavin Newsom, last week recall papers were served to Los Angeles City Councilmember Nithya Raman, who represents neighborhoods including Silver Lake and Hollywood. A recall effort is also underway against LA County District Attorney George Gascón. Under City of Los Angeles recall rules, once the recall paperwork is verified, campaigns have 120 days to collect signatures from 15 percent of registered voters in the district, which in District 11 is at least 27,387 signatures. If sufficient signatures are obtained and verified, a presentation to recall will be made to the City Council at some point in December.

Department, the boat was discovered around 8:45 a.m. on Monday in the area north of the Malibu Pier on 23200 block of Pacific Coast Highway. Authorities are looking for any potential occupants of the boat. In addition, authorities are investigating an unconfirmed report that a body may have been discovered in the area. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the panga boat is commonly used in drug and human smuggling along Southern California’s coast. Council would then have 14 days to call for an election. If Council does not act within those 14 days, LA County election officials would call for an election. Bonin has faced backlash in recent months since introducing a motion to explore the possibility of bringing more temporary homeless shelters to a range of public spaces on the Westside, including Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades. The motion, which recently passed City Council initiating a feasibility study, has been met with opposition from many residents and stakeholders in the district. A change.org petition against the proposal has collected over 31,000 signatures. This is not the first time Bonin–who was first elected in 2013 and reelected in 2017– has faced a recall effort. In 2017 critics of his “road diets” (eliminating traffic lanes as part of an effort to reduce pedestrian and cycling injuries) launched an unsuccessful campaign to remove Bonin from office after the program led to increased traffic and congestion in many residential streets.


June 25 – July 22, 2021

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Wine Bar Coming to Pacific Palisades Enoteca 5 coming this summer to next to Cinque Terre WEST

Suzanne Goin Covering Brentwood’s Tavern into Second A.O.C. Restaurant Second location of famed LA restaurant coming this may

By Kerry SlaTer

The Pacific Palisades is getting a wine bar this summer from a local couple and owners of an Italian restaurant. Opening in Summer 2021, Enoteca 5 will be a wine bar in Pacific Palisades owned and operated by the couple who own Cinque Terre WEST, 970 Monument St. Suite 110. “Chef Gianbattista ‘Gianba’ and wife Marlo Vinzoni have created a cozy, inviting and yet modern space with exposed brick walls, concrete floors, white subway tiles and hand painted murals by Italian artist Rosie Tos,” reads an announcement on the opening. Located next door to Cinque Terre WEST, Enoteca 5 will be set back from the street and surrounded by “lush foliage that makes it feel like a secret hideaway.” At 500 square feet, the space will feature a bar with seating for 8, a handful of small tables indoors and outdoors, alongside a selection of over 100 varieties of Italian and Californian wine. Alongside the wine will be an array of charcuterie options. The bar’s meat slicer will cut thin slices of prosciutto, Lardo di Colonnata, Finocchiona, Salame Rustico and Jamón Ibérico, which are displayed on gorgeous charcuterie boards with Italian, French and Spanish cheeses such as Tomme de Savoie Fermier, Fontina Valdostana,

June 25 – July 22, 2021

By Kerry SlaTer

Photo: Cinque Terre WEST (Facebook) Bottles of wine from Cinque Terre WEST in Pacific Palisades.

Cana de Cabra, Sottocenere al Tartufo, Idiazabaland Malvarosa. In addition, other food items will include pizzette, olive ascolane(deep fried stuffed olives) and fritto misto inspired by fritto misto served in Bonassola along the Italian Riviera where Chef Gianba grew up. Gianba, who has previously cooked at Fig & Olive, Soho House and The Beverly Hilton before opening Cinque Terre WEST, has lived in the Pacific Palisades with his wife Vinzoni and two children for the past 16 years.

James Beard Award-winning chef Suzanne Goin is converting Tavern in Brentwood into a second location of A.O.C. As announced in a Facebook post, Goin and restaurant partner Caroline Styne will open the second A.O.C. at their former Tavern location on San Vicente Boulevard, which closed permanently in 2020. “Big thanks to everyone for the outpouring of love and support for our upcoming second location in #Brentwood,” reads the post. “We’re excited to open the new space soon (it’s GORGEOUS!!).” The restaurant will center around on small plates, similar to what is offered at the A.O.C. on West Third Street. Initially the restaurant will offer dinner only but has plans to expand to breakfast and lunch service in the future. After opening critically acclaimed Lucques in 1998, the duo of 3 time James Beard Award winning chef Goin and James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Restaurateur of the Year 2018 Styne embarked on A.O.C., a pioneering wine bar that first paired an indulgent list of wine by the glass

Photo: Facebook Clams, sherry, sliced garlic and toast from A.O.C.

with a menu of market-driven small plates. The duo ventured to the Westside in 2009 when they opened their largest restaurant, Tavern, in Brentwood. In December 2013, Goin and Styne launched The Larder Baking Company, a new wholesale operation for bread and bakery goods. Other local ventures from the duo include The Larder at Maple Drive and The Hungry Cat.


June 25 – July 22, 2021

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June 25 – July 22, 2021

Sugar Ray Leonard Selling Pacific Palisades Mega Mansion for $46.5 million If sold at its current print price, it would be the second largest sale in the Pacific Palisades By Toi Creel

Boxing star Sugar Ray Leonard is known for his victories in the ring and now he’s looking to take home a win in the housing market. The boxer recently listed his Grand Villa home in the Pacific Palisades Riviera neighborhood for $46.5 million according to the Los Angeles Times. This would be one of the costliest coastal sales if it is executed. A record breaking $48.67 sale was made earlier this year by media mogul Shane Smith. He sold a Mediterranean style Pacific

Palisades mansion. Sugar Ray Leonard’s home sits on 1.6 acres of land containing several green trees and plants. It has ten bathrooms, 7 bedrooms and amenities such as a solarium, movie room, a two-story family room, dining room, updated gourmet kitchen and solarium framed by stone columns. Not to be outdone but the interior, the home also features grand outdoor elements such as fully landscaped grounds, a guesthouse, tennis court, oval swimming pool and putting green. The 16,700-square-foot home was built by Richard Landry, a famous architect whose work includes homes owned by stars such as Michael Jackson and Sylvester Stallone. The architecture is Italian-based and can be noticed in details such as arched doorways, custom works of art, high beams. The listing is being executed by Drew Fenton of Hilton & Hyland and Tomer Fridman with Compass.

Photo: Realtor.com

Pacific Palisades Mansion Drops $2.6 Million in Price By Toi Creel

A Pacific Palisades mansion boasting a hair salon and and wine bar is on the market for $2.6 million less than the original price tag. A traditional, yet contemporary mansion located at 15050 Altata Dr has been recently listed at a new price of $19,900,000. Though steep, this price tag is discounted at over two million less than its original listing. The 13,600 square foot home has seven bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and includes a variety of amenities, such as a: full-size gym, pool and spa, hair salon, maids area, and basketball court. The home has details such as crown moldings, high ceilings and classic hardwood floors throughout the space. According to realtor.com, the mansion has a chef’s kitchen with a marble island and updated appliances. The master suite also includes “vaulted ceilings, fireplace, dual walk-in closets, sitting area, private balcony and a fully appointed master bathroom. There’s also a master suite that includes “vaulted ceilings, fireplace, dual walk-in closets, sitting area, and a private balcony.”

Photo: Realtor.com

Future homeowners would also be able to entertain in the background with a large

and open BBQ area, outdoor kitchen, heated sitting areas, putting green,

basketball court and large grassy area.


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June 25 – July 22, 2021

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Making cents of it all—a local practice’s approach to personalized financial planning in a pandemic Financial advisors deliver personalized financial advice to help you achieve your goals, today and tomorrow. But what happens when traditional in-person meetings of today—reviewing budgets, savings, goals, and investments with the advisor sitting across from you— are no longer possible? A global pandemic could leave you feeling stranded just as life and the markets become more uncertain. For West Los Angeles-based Orchard Financial Group, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services LLC, our team was already prioritizing bringing the most personal aspects of financial planning and goal setting to the virtual space when March 2020 began. Then the world shifted, and the ability to work remotely took on an entirely new level of importance. Anthony Perez, Private Wealth Advisor, and Phil Decallejon, Financial Advisor with Orchard Financial Group, decided early on in March 2020 that a seamless and immediate shift to a virtual environment was needed; both to protect staff and help ensure clients knew—regardless of the changing world around them - that their financial advisors’ commitment to helping them achieve their goals would remain consistent. A new promise emerged: continue to provide and enhance the level of personalized service

offered to clients during the pandemic and beyond. The latter part of this shift involved two key features —first, ensuring that clients can check-in with their financial plan, investments, and the advice team remotely from anywhere, at any time. With nearly 60% of meetings already being conducted online pre-pandemic, virtual meeting capabilities were offered to all clients and personal videoconferencing sessions were introduced to help those new to digital platforms navigate with ease. Coupled with Ameriprise Financial’s ongoing commitment to mobility applications, clients can access accounts, performance, and check progress on their financial goals from any mobile device, at any time. The second key aspect for delivering their service promise, Orchard Financial Group used the first few months of the pandemic to increase communication with clients—not mass communications—but rather through personal calls, e-mails and video meetings to check-in on their clients’ health, personal and financial. Decallejon and Perez credit these personal contacts for easing concerns of clients due to the uncertainty that the volatile markets and shifting economy heightened. Seeking to stand out from colleagues in the industry, Decallejon and Perez were

determined to be proactive with their contact efforts, reaching out when they felt their research, tools, and experience could be beneficial to clients in times of increased stress. These personal contacts have become a mainstay for Decallejon, Perez, and the rest of the Orchard Financial Group team one year later. Ultimately, they know these interactions have helped deepen their client relationships: serving as a reminder to their clients that their advisory team is not only there for their financial needs but also truly committed to helping them reaching their goals, today and tomorrow, and enjoying as much of life as they can along the way. Now, both Decallejon and Perez have committed to expanding this personal approach to financial planning through giving back in their local communities. By launching a monthly series of articles, Phil and Anthony are striving to expand access to relevant financial planning material and market research to their neighbors. Longstanding residents of West LA, both Decallejon and Perez are passionate about the area and their neighbors. Stay tuned to hear more from them in the coming months. If your financial advisory team has not contacted you within the last few months, think about contacting Anthony Perez and

Phil Decallejon—their practice is committed to a more meaningful approach to financial planning. Investment products are not federally or FDIC-insured, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by any financial institution, and involve investment risks including possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value. Ameriprise Financial cannot guarantee future financial results. Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2021 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. Sponsored content

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June 25 – July 22, 2021

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Applications Open to Fill Pacific Palisades Community Council Seats Submitted by the PPCC

Pacific Palisades Community Council is pleased to announce the opportunity for residents of PPCC Areas Three & Eight in Pacific Palisades to apply to become the 2nd Alternate Representative for these Areas on the PPCC Board of Directors The 2nd Alternate Area Three position has become vacant because the former 1st Alternate Representative, Danielle Samulon, has moved from the Area and Nancy Niles, the former 2nd Alternate, has now become the 1st Alternate per PPCC Bylaws. The Area Eight 2nd Alternate position has been vacant since October 2020. Persons interested in one of the 2nd Alternate positions must apply by submitting a Statement (details below); candidates for the positions will then be screened and nominated by the Three Chairs Committee and elected by the Board. The persons elected as the Area Three and Area Eight 2nd Alternates will serve the same term as the primary Area Representatives

(term ending on September 30, 2022). Alternate representatives are encouraged to attend meetings and to participate in the discussion of issues, but the 2nd Alternate does not vote unless the Primary and 1st Alternate representatives are absent. Applicants for the 2nd Alternate Area Three & Eight Representative positions must live within the specified boundaries of PPCC Areas Three & Eight, respectively, in Pacific Palisades. Area Three includes the upper and lower Marquez and Bel Air Bay Club areas; Area Eight includes the Riviera and Polo Fields/Paul Revere areas. To see the specified Pacific Palisades area boundaries, visit www.pacpalicc.org (Area Maps tab) All interested persons must submit a Statement of any length which shall include the number of years residing in Pacific Palisades, the number of years as a resident of Area Three or Eight (as applicable), the number of years at the applicant’s current principal residence and that address. The Statement must include the applicant’s position on issues he or she believes are of

importance to the community, and may also

by 9am on Monday, July 5, 2021. Email

any skills

applicant would bring to PPCC.

include a few biographical facts including Applications for the Areas Three & Eight

2nd Alternate positions must be received

Statements to: info@pacpalicc.org.that the Please

direct

info@pacpalicc.org.

any

questions

to

Column: Mad as Hell and Not Going to Take It Anymore By Jeff Hall

Last month I wrote an article that appeared in the Palisades News (and PalisadesNews.com) entitled, “A 22-Point Plan to Deal with LA’s Homelessness Situation.” If you didn’t catch it, here’s a link: https://brentwoodnewsla.com/a-22-pointplan-to-deal-with-las-homelessness-situation/ It’s a long article that will take you five or ten minutes to read. Here are the highlights: 1) We need to build, on a massive scale, tiny homes, tent villages and other very inexpensive structures on the outskirts of town and start moving LA’s homeless population into them, starting voluntarily. 2) At these shelters we will provide all the services (food, showers, mental health, medical, dental, job training, etc.) needed to get these folks back on their feet. 3) Three key reasons to do this on the outskirts of town: a) the land is much cheaper; b) we want to make it difficult for homeless individuals to have access to drugs and booze (too readily available in our urban areas); and c) a little peace and quiet will contribute to these individuals’ recovery, with the opportunity for mutually supportive community-building. 4) Give those in these temporary shelters job

training – and jobs to do. That’s how we’ll truly reintegrate them into society. People need a purpose; work provides purpose. Shelters in LA’s urban areas should be reserved for those in good shape, with jobs (or ready to enter the workforce). 5) We want to make these villages so positive and attractive that homeless individuals will want to voluntarily check themselves in. Over time, once the first wave is housed, those who don’t check themselves in will be offered housing, and if they don’t take it, a police officer, accompanied by a social worker, will involuntarily check these individuals in. 6) For those homeless who are so psychologically damaged they will likely never be able to reintegrate, we need to keep them in a place separate from everyday citizens and keep them as happy and comfortable as possible – indefinitely. This is a “tough love” approach, to be sure. But I think our current approach actually represents the cruelest policy of all. Many homeless will die as they wait for their $650K condo to get built. And they might never get that turn, because at $650K a pop, there just won’t be that many condos to go around. Since the 22-point plan got published, I have heard an earful. I’ve received about 100 emails

and I understand the article is being shared widely on NextDoor. I estimate 98% of the emails I have received are highly favorable. Some very smart individuals who have experience working with the homeless – law, mental health, housing construction, government administration, real estate, finance – have offered many excellent ideas that will surely make the initial plan better; instead of a 22-point plan, we might need to make this a 32-point or 42-point plan. Then again, one individual, a retired educator, wants to take all this and boil it all down into a 10-point plan – much simpler, she said. While most who contacted me were very favorable toward what I proposed, one writer in particular, in multiple emails, said every aspect of the plan was perfectly repugnant, along the lines of Nazi concentration camps. Another critic said just about everything I proposed has been proposed by someone else already and that there are other groups out there trying to accomplish similar things. I surely don’t consider myself an expert in homelessness. I wasn’t aware of all these other plans and groups. And I do understand that much of what I’m proposing is distasteful. I also know what I can see on the streets with my own eyes, and it appears to me very little of whatever is being done is actually working. Things keep

getting worse, year after year. We all know that. So, in the last issue, I just bashed out what I thought were common-sense, cost-effective ideas that could actually work. This isn’t the first time I’ve made a “let’s end homelessness” proposal like this. This recent article was longer, but people definitely read it, I can tell. This article is long, too. The response to these proposals is always very favorable. As one person put it one time, “This is all great, but it will never happen. It just makes too much common sense.” It’s easy to be a keyboard warrior, to be sure. Actually solving the problem of homelessness is going to be very hard. I think it can be done, but a problem this huge is going to require a huge solution. The problem isn’t a shortage of ideas – not at all. As you will see in this article, many ideas have been sent my way in recent weeks. Hang in there for the rest of this article; I predict you will be impressed with what some of your fellow citizens have to say. What’s missing, I think, is an overarching vision and will power. If we aren’t willing to take difficult measures, the problem of homelessness will never go away. Let me tell you what I’ve been hearing.

Mad as Hell, see page 11


June 25 – July 22, 2021

Mad as Hell, from page 10 One person I’m in touch with, Soledad Ursua, a member of the Venice Neighborhood Council, said the reason the politicians push for the big-dollar projects (instead of tiny homes, tent village and other inexpensive shelter) is because there is so much money to be made by those who finance and build the buildings – and provide the consulting services that make these projects even more expensive. Those who benefit from this system, in turn, make campaign contributions to the politicians who approve the projects. Soledad calls this the “homeless-industrial complex.” Campaign finance reform is a critically important part of the solution, she said. So yes, absolutely, campaign finance reform will get added to the plan. Now we’re up to 23 points. A couple from Venice contacted me and told me how they have been successfully providing low-cost rental housing to the homeless for years. They have come up with a business model they say can be scaled up quickly, all across the city, using existing structures. They tried to pitch their plan to the city but got no response, I was told. Are there existing structures out there? One writer said there are actually quite a few city properties that currently go unused. He also said we can all go to Apartments.com and see there are 33,000 apartments available for rent across the LA region. I just looked. That’s what the site shows: 33,000 units are available right now. Why build expensive housing, this writer asked, when we could pay a homeless person’s rent for a fraction of the cost (and move them into housing immediately)? Many writers agreed with my assertion that tiny homes are the way to go – we’d get much more bang for the buck. I’m now in touch with SafeHuts (see SafeHuts.com), which can build prefab tiny homes for $10K per unit (with a big enough order). These huts are made out of fiberglass, will last 15-20 years and can be washed out and reused over and over again. They are fire-proof and each one can be assembled by two workers in two hours. Shelter Palettes (see ShelterPalettes.com) makes tiny homes, made out of wood. These shelters are even less expensive – as low as $4,900 per unit. These pre-fab shelters can be snapped together in 90 minutes and are used by a program run by Hope of Valley. There are now four Hope of the Valley villages throughout the San Fernando Valley; one that just opened has 103 beds. Ken Craft of Hope of the Valley says his team can now assemble a village with 100 beds (some units are singles, some are doubles) and get all the infrastructure (central bathrooms, water, electricity, etc.) built in 90 days. The land was donated, according to Craft, but with infrastructure and utilities, the cost is $12K per bed, “all in.” Hope of the Valley is funded by the city, by the way. A lucky few – maybe 5,000? – will benefit from the expensive, permanent housing units. What do we say to the other 60,000+ homeless in the LA region who didn’t get one because the money ran out? Wouldn’t it be a lot more equitable to get every homeless person into far

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less expensive shelter – and sooner, rather than later? One person who reached out to me said it’s best to keep people from becoming homeless in the first place – but second best thing is to get people off the streets as quickly as possible. The longer people stay on the streets, the longer and harder it is to get them rehabilitated, this individual explained. This is another argument for quickly built, inexpensive shelter. Another reason to stick with low-cost housing is this notion that many homeless will reject housing, no matter how fancy. This is happening in Venice already, I’m told. Many who were given spots in a big new bridge shelter now enjoy what is being called “dual citizenship”: These individuals continue to live out on the streets, in tents, among their friends – but they also have a place to go for a shower and a meal. So this big project didn’t do much to reduce sidewalk encampments, I was told. If anything, things are worse. Another writer said the City of Los Angeles bought up a bunch of land in Palmdale years ago for the purpose of building an airport, but the airport never got built. This writer said the land is paid for – and there is more than enough space to house all of the region’s homeless population. That would certainly make it easier to centralize services, reducing costs. Another writer proposed using decommissioned military bases in the region. Yet another writer told me about 3-D printed tiny homes being built in Austin, Texas. I’ve been contacted by a faith-based group in Oakland that’s about to build a tiny home village in the parking lot of a church. Many churches have seen a decline in attendance over the years, I was told. They don’t need their entire parking lots anymore. I think faith-based groups represent a potential standing army, just waiting for the order to “march.” What if each church, synagogue, temple and mosque adopted a tiny home village and helped provide shelter, food and services? Maybe, by giving these communities of faith a leading role in this humanitarian mission, attendance would start to rise again. High schoolers and college students could pitch in. We’re all in this together. This is our collective community service project. One writer said building most of this shelter outside our urban core makes sense, because the land is cheaper and it’s important to put distance between the homeless and drugs, but if we go this route, this writer said, we need to build transportation into the equation. What a person really needs in order to reintegrate into society, this writer continued, is a job. So if we house the homeless on the outskirts of town, they need to be able to get to the jobs (or we need to bring jobs to them). A mental healthcare professional (an M.D., now retired, who ran a major mental healthcare program for the county) said we’re trying to solve a drug addiction and mental healthcare crisis with housing. He said we, as a society, have no idea how bad the mental healthcare problem really is and that way too little attention is being paid to this piece of the puzzle. I believe him. Two or three writers said it’s time to open up some new form of mental institutions, replacing the ones that closed years ago. Maybe our tiny

home villages will have to do for now. Four or five writers said they thought it was

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think we can figure this out if we set our minds to it. Let’s stick with this subject for a while.

The homeless encampment alongside the West Los Angeles VA.

a really bad idea to park the homeless on the beach or in parking lots or public parks close to the beach. Municipalities all across the country, these writers suggested, would give members of their homeless populations a wad of cash and a oneway bus ticket to LA, telling all takers that a spot on a warm sunny beach in LA awaits them – with three meals a day thrown in. If you live under a bridge in Chicago and someone makes you this offer in January, how could you say “no”? Suddenly homeless from across the country would become our homeless. Are these other cities and states going to pay us to absorb their homeless? Somehow, I doubt it. And do we really want the homeless to occupy our beaches when so many of us – and our tourist friends – want to visit our beaches and enjoy themselves while here? Tourism is important to the Los Angeles economy. Lowincome, working people from across the LA region come to our beaches on weekends. We all like to go to the beach now and then. It’s hard to imagine interactions between homeless individuals and beachgoers won’t pose problems. If you doubt this, just ask the residents of Venice Beach. They feel like they are now living in a war zone. It’s not even an out-of-state issue, another wrote. Homeless individuals from all across LA might decide they’d prefer a place at the beach (as opposed to living beneath a freeway in Eagle Rock, Downtown or Pacoima). The homeless population on the Westside could explode as a result, this writer warned. A homeless program leader from the Palisades told me many in the Palisades have spent years working in a very humane way with homeless individuals who wound up on the beaches. The homeless population in the Palisades is way down as a result, she said. Now people in the Palisades fear all this progress is about to be undone, she added. And if we move homeless people to our beaches and parks, what comes next? How long will it take before these people get more permanent shelter elsewhere? Does anyone have real confidence this is a temporary solution? And if these homeless are moved from Venice or elsewhere, what’s to stop other homeless from taking up the newly available spots on the sidewalks? This is all very complicated, to be sure. I do

Photo: Juliet Lemar

Let’s figure this out together. As part of this self-education process, I did three podcasts on the topic of homelessness in recent weeks. If you listen to podcasts, I invite you to go to TheLatestPodcast.com (https://thelatestpodcast.com/): • Podcast No. 52 is with Andy Bales, head of the Union Rescue Mission at Skid Row. It’s painful to listen to this one; the conditions Andy describes are just so perfectly wretched. • Podcast No. 53 is with Ken Craft, CEO of Hope of the Valley (see HopeOfTheValley. org). Hope of the Valley, based out of Pacoima, is now erecting tiny home villages at a cost of just $12K per unit, “all in.” • Podcast No. 54 is with Soledad Ursua, a member of the Venice Neighborhood Council. Soledad goes into some detail about how bad things have become in Venice – she calls it “Skid Row West.” Soledad also discusses the politics of homelessness. “Follow the money,” she said. By now you might be thinking I’ve become like that cranky old newscaster in the 1976 movie, “Network.” If you can remember that far back, newscaster Howard Beale urged his viewers to stick their heads out the window and start yelling, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going take this anymore!” If you’ve never seen the movie, here is the key video clip (definitely worth a watch). And even if you did see the movie, it’s worth watching this eerily prescient segment again: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=MRuS3dxKK9U Anger gets things started, but I think we’re beyond that now. What needs to follow next is a widespread consensus on a logical, workable, practical plan – and a group of committed citizens willing to take this on. Such a plan should be actionable, compassionate, cost-effective – and supported by a clear majority of citizens. This plan should serve as many homeless individuals as possible, not just a lucky few. If you’d like to take part in this commonsense conversation that will focus on solutions, please send me an email: jeffhall@ mirrormediagroupla.com. Let’s finalize this plan by summer’s end and see where we go from there.


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