By Nick Antonicello
The recent COVID-19 outbreak at the Venice Bridge Housing facility was preventable, avoidable and only occurred because of the insistence of poor public policy decisions by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Mike Bonin.
Warned repeatedly by those opposing the construction and opening of an untested homeless “trial balloon” in the middle of a residential corridor has now exploded and back-fired in the face of Mr. Bonin and his departing mayoral ally, Eric Garcetti!
And despite the near universal opposition by the Venice community, the wishes of their constituents were arrogantly ignored and unacknowledged as Councilman Bonin rolled his eyes and described locals as “NIMBY” at a community meeting some two years ago that offered nothing more than the usual lip service to protect a pet project that yielded no results of moving the chronically homeless from the streets to permanent housing.
Now under a CDC lock-down, when does Mr. Bonin raise the white flag and admit defeat of a proposal so flawed, it never should have happened in the first place!
For the only real benefactors of this homeless boondoggle has been “not-for-profit” bureaucrats and the vendors of this cottage industry of the un-housed in the untold millions of dollars to say nothing of the billions squandered through the likes of the notorious HHH funding that is now for the most part depleted, squandered and broke!
To add insult to injury, you have bureaucratic, out-of-town voices from Venice Community Housing describing residents as “segregationists” when such nasty rhetoric has no basis in reality and does nothing to bring consensus around the issue of homelessness in our community.
For just who are these descendants of George Wallace, Strom Thurmond or Bull Conner?
If you can’t name them, then cease and desist with this dangerous and broken rhetoric!
Practically speaking, when thousands roam the streets of Venice with many of them mentally challenged, unstable and drug or alcohol addicted, how would a 154-bed facility even offer a dent in this ongoing crisis?
For it doesn’t and never will.
More to the point, too many Venetians during this pandemic warned of “cluster” outbreaks; yours truly included within these dangerous encampments that again fell upon deaf ears.
Now the largest nest of homelessness is now ravaged by a public policy decision so ridiculous and incompetent that one wonders how either Garcetti or Bonin can remain serious players in a problem they personally created.
For as Garcetti has watched his political star diminish from presidential timber, to cabinet consideration to being jettisoned off to India and Bonin now facing yet a second recall initiative, can these two finally admit they were wrong, and the community of Venice was right to oppose this delusional and failed project?
But now instead stupidity is rearing its ugly head at Washington Boulevard where the recently purchased Ramada Inn will be replicated into another bridge housing disaster, nestled among responsible homeowners and tenants with school-age children who will now be a witness to crime, drug usage and the pending advent of the destruction of a neighborhood already challenged by SPY in the name of progress!
For the only people that support this madness and the takeover of this destination resort lodging facility are people who live nowhere near this potential carnage of crime and chaos in the name of solving the homeless nightmare.
For who are the real NIMBY’s?
Some homeless proponents even compare the muscling out of a motel to the transfer of a liquor license, but when did the legal consumption of wine and beer become a threat to children and create new crime opportunities for those who are transient and do not obey or comply with the normal remedies of life?
For the bridge housing remedy is a proven failure and this COVID-19 lock down is just another reason why it needs to be closed permanently, rather than another flawed homeless precedent by downtown insiders who at the end of the day, must hate Venice.
The writer is a member of the Oceanfront Walk Committee, Parking and Outreach Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council. He can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or via e-mail at email@example.com