The following is the unedited response to the YoVenice reader questions from VNC Candidate for President James Hubbord:
I respond to these questions fully aware that the VNC is an advisory council with possibly the power to influence but not as an official policy or law making body.
1. As you know, the forums at YoVenice.com have actively and vigorously been promoting a weekly write in campaign to city officials focused on unsafe living conditions in Venice Beach for the last six weeks. What have you, as an individual, done in the last six weeks to actively and vigorously promote the removal of criminal transients from Venice Beach?
I visit the beach and observe and sometimes discuss with LAPD and media and the council office my observations
2. Do you think transient and homeless citizens should have the same rights as Venice taxpayers, renters, and property owners in regard to voting in local VNC elections?
I make a distinction between transients and the homeless in that the homeless in my view became homeless largely through no fault of their own. Transients, on the other hand, are those folks who will not take responsibility for their own lives, sometimes prey on others and have broken human spiritual and social contracts and will not contribute to the human family. However, these are simply labels and not one size fits all. All people have rights sometimes aborted by their behavior or unwillingness to conform to basic human decency. Venice Beach has always, as currently configured, and will always attract all types–those who like to visit the circus atmosphere and others who think it’s a great place to survive as a bum.
3. Have you ever worked in any capacity as or for a “developer”, or act in any capacity or as an advisor to a “development” firm or entity? Did this “developer” or “development group(s)” do business or try to do business in Venice Beach?
4. Have you ever worked in any capacity as or for a “homeless rights” advocacy group or act in any capacity for or as an advisor for one? Has this group(s) actively supported the rights for people to live in their vehicles in Venice Beach?
Yes, in Washington, DC and not anything tied directly to Venice except to organize a national march on Washington for housing rights.
5. Do you agree that all existing laws should be actively and vigorously enforced to make Venice Beach a less attractive destination point for transients?
6. Are you for or against overnight parking districts and if so under what conditions?
Yes I am for restrictions yet to be determined but much like Santa Monica and Mid Wilshire area in LA. and for RV’s perhaps something like restrictions implemented in santa Barbara.
7. Are you for or against more homeless shelters in Venice?
I am for at least one sizeable homeless shelter in Venice and others to be spread throughout greater LA. that offer both transitional housing and services that enable people permanent shelter and jobs. There really are not any homeless shelters in Venice other than one very small one called Bible Tabernacle. Yes I do believe there should be a well run homeless shelter in Venice is in an existing or new facility and others scattered throughout LA and that effort has been visited already but was halted due to other LA communities successfully resisting that idea. Santa Monica has some as do many other communities throughout the U.S. with rules clients have to adhere to and services to get people into homes and jobs if they are willing. According to noted homeless advocate Mary Ellen Hombs, one of the founders of Community for Creative Non Violence (CCNV) in Washington, D.C., and the country’s largest shelter for the homeless at the time, reported in her 1990 book Contemporary World Issues:American Homelessness ,”there was no mention of the subject of homelessness in newspapers, magazines, or journal articles publications in 1975. In 1986, forty eight such articles appeared and by 1988 more than 40 research studies on the homeless appeared.” In 1982 I encountered both Hombs and another nationally famous homeless advocate and founder of CCNV, Mitch Snyder, while covering a story about the homeless in Lafayette Park across from the White House. I worked closely with Snyder and Hombs for several years and helped them organize a national march on Washington called Housing Now. Homelessness was not a known concept until the late 1970’s to early 1980’s. Prior to homelessness as a concept, American’s viewed those living on the streets as vagabounds, bums or transients who showed up on skidrows throughout America and who could often find cheap rooms along skidrow corridors. Those single room occupancy(SRO) hotels were demolished driving those single individuals to the streets and soon joined by others, including families wholost their jobs and homes.by the mid 1980’s. The early struggles by adovcates I worked with was to insure the new homeless phenomena would not become institionalized. That did not happen as jobs and housing goals were not achieved and institiutiuons like St. Joseph’s in Venice and many others around the country abound.
8. Are you for or against more affordable housing in Venice?
I am for affordable housing in Venice
9. Are you for or against more Police Patrols in Venice Beach?
yes and for more than a decade and as an active member on the Boardwalk task force for many years.
10. What is your general assessment of quality of life at present in Venice Beach?
I’m tankful for my life in Venice. as compared to Afghanistan, Detroit, MI or much of Africa great. Compared to Santa Barbara, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, not so good.
11. Please list (in order) the top ten issues that you think need to be addressed / changed in Venice Beach, in order of priority. What will you actively pursue if elected and what time schedule do you think is appropriate to reach these goals.
Based on my neighbors and other Venetians views parking and crime at the top and fence heights, development and dog poop running in the middle to lower levels. Reaching goals in a specific time frame is impossible for these issues especially in the current economic environment.