June 27, 2022 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Kids Count Sues City of L.A. Over Conversion of Westminster Senior Center

3:33pm

On October 5th, local organization Venice Kids Count filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles opposing the conversion of the Westminster Senior Center into a storage center for Venice’s homeless population.

“While we understand the City of Los Angeles needs to do something to help the homeless, importing hundreds of homeless to this community, right next to a school where hundreds of children spend every day is a careless choice, especially since there are options that would provide the services without sacrificing the safety of our kids,” said Katrina Glusac, a parent of a Westminster Elementary student and member of Venice Kids Count.

The Westminster Senior Center is located in a public park that borders Westminster Elementary School and is a block away from Ecole Claire Fontaine pre-school. Venice Kids Count has argued that while the homeless population is vulnerable, so are the children attending these schools. Additionally, they are citing a court order issued in 195 by the Supreme Court of California which states that the park is to be used for “public playground and recreation purposes,” which they argue makes the conversion illegal.

The Venice Neighborhood Council Homelessness Committee has proposed an alternate solution to the Westminster Senior Center conversion being championed by City Councilmember Mike Bonin. The VNC’s program would utilize mobile storage and outreach.

“We created and vetted an innovative mobile storage program that brings the storage solution—complete with street outreach teams— directly to the homeless, when and where they need it,” said Heidi Roberts who serves on the VNC’s Homeless Committee.

Bonin proposed the his plan as a response to the large homeless population in Venice, and held town hall meetings, including one last month, to discuss his strategy with the community. Attendees have been a mixture of supportive and in opposition to the proposal. The conversion of the Westminster Senior Center is part of a larger plan proposed by Bonin that includes a reduction in street encampments and an increase in affordable housing.

“In an effort to provide clean sidewalks and safe neighborhoods, the city took steps to authorize the use of the former Westminster Senior Center for this purposea plan that a previous iteration of the Venice Neighborhood Council voted to support. As that happens, we are also exploring a proposal from the new VNC to create a ‘mobile storage’ program, and we continue to look for other viable sites in the area. We are eager to work with community leaders, neighbors, parents, school officials, and people who are homeless to develop proper site-specific ground rules for any program, and to find a better location. While we explore alternatives, we continue to prepare the senior center for potential use for storage so that we can have the ability to enforce ordinances in Venice to clear our sidewalks,” said Bonin in response to criticism raised in opposition to the plan.

Currently, the city plans to move forward with the building conversion. Petitions online have been created both in support of and in opposition to the plan.

EDIT: A quote Councilman Mike Bonin was changed to reflect his statement about and response to current criticisms. 

Tags: in Opinion
Related Posts

Column: Where Will We Shelter the Homeless?

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

By Jeff Hall Federal Judge David O. Carter is a hero, as far as I’m concerned.  He essentially forced the...

Column: LA Election Results Remain Tight, Close & Competitive Come the Fall Runoffs!

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

By Nick Antonicello The results for the June 7th Primary continue to trickle-in with not much change:  In that special...

Column: Centennial Park Update – Cleared, Cleaned & Fenced!

June 16, 2022

June 16, 2022

By Nick Antonicello Centennial Park, long a homeless encampment for months that had spilled out-of-control into a haven for open...

The New Math: How Does Caruso Get to Victory in a One-on-One Race With Karen Bass?

June 15, 2022

June 15, 2022

By Nick Antonicello After a $45 million investment in a race he was expected to win, Republican-turned, independent-turned Democrat Rick...

Column: The Endorsement Race!

June 13, 2022

June 13, 2022

With 40 percent of the CD-11 vote up for grabs and four months to go, Park & Darling will compete...

Column: It’s Caruso/Bass for Mayor, Darling/Park for CD-11, Rest of the Field Is Eliminated as We Brace for a November Runoff!

June 9, 2022

June 9, 2022

Villanueva/Luna locked in a tight battle for LA County sheriff! Hertzberg/Horvath headed for runoff for LA County Supervisor! Pullen-Miles leads...

The Yo! Venice Interview: Kevin McGurk for LA County Judge

June 6, 2022

June 6, 2022

By Nick Antonicello  With so much time in court litigating both criminal and civil cases, the position of public defender...

Population Loss: New Era or Pandemic Glitch?

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist The numbers suggest a major change is underway in California. It would take a Nostradamus to...

Column: Down the Stretch They Come

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

By Nick Antonicello  A “manufactured narrative” in this race to succeed outgoing,  “lame duck” Councilmember Mike Bonin is that certain...

Interview: LAUSD School Member Nick Melvoin. The Teacher That Puts Kids First!

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

By Nick Antonicello If you didn’t know any better, you would think LA school board member Nick Melvoin was twenty-points...

Keeping Kids Safe in Wake of the Tragedy of Uvalde, Texas

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

By Nick Antonicello In wake of the shootings that occurred in Uvalde, Texas I reached out to Allison Holdorff-Polhill, a...

Column: MAYOR ROBERT PULLEN-MILES, THE BEST CHOICE FOR VENICE REPRESENTING IN SACRAMENTO!

June 1, 2022

June 1, 2022

Lawndale Mayor uniquely qualified to succeed Autumn Burke in the California General Assembly By Nick Antonicello  On Tuesday June 7th voters...

Yo! Venice Sits Down With CD-11 Conservative Mat Smith About Homelessness, Rising Crime and the Quality-of-Life Conditions in Venice and Beyond!

June 1, 2022

June 1, 2022

By Nick Antonicello  It was only appropriate that Yo! Venice speak with CD-11 council hopeful Mat Smith over the long...

Column: “True” Democrat?

May 30, 2022

May 30, 2022

By Nick Antonicello Just what is a “true” Democrat?  It’s an interesting question in a non-partisan council contest where attorney...

Column: Productive Public Safety Over Party Politics and Partisan Ways! Why LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva Deserves Another Four Years!

May 26, 2022

May 26, 2022

By Nick Antonicello Is there a Democratic or Republican way to reduce homeless encampments and fight rising crime? Does politics...