July 20, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Column: An Open Letter To LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva – Help Us Cleanup Centennial Park Now!

Dear Sheriff Villanueva:

The residents of Venice need your help once again.

This time, we need your help to take back Centennial Park from the criminal transient population that now holds this public space hostage and has caused a huge decline in visitation to the Free Public Library that shares this space with the park due east on the median.

By any reasonable standard, the inmates once again have taken over the asylum as hundreds of tents, structures, stationary RV’s and alike now populate this park and public space for illegal activity such as open drug use, prostitution, fighting, open alcohol consumption and drug distribution for all to see and witness each and every day!

Stolen bikes and bike parts litter the sidewalks as none of the RV’s park bother to move so that the streets and sidewalks are cleaned or maintained, and the stench of human urine and feces is a public health crisis and concern!

Most, if not all of these individuals are not residents of this neighborhood and have no connection to Venice.

For the truth is most are out-of-state transients, many with criminal records and a great majority having drug and alcohol addictions that require care and in some cases hospitalization; to receive the urgent assistance they deserve.

For the residents of this area along North and South Venice Boulevard have received no satisfaction from anyone, especially the office of lame-duck Councilman Mike Bonin who is more than content to enable these third-world conditions in a residential neighborhood till his term and tenure finally expire come January of 2023.

It is obvious Mr. Bonin has “checked out” since dropping out for reelection, but still receiving a hefty six-figure income as an elected official while holding the dubious distinction as the highest paid council member in the United States today, earning more than Vice-president Kamala Harris, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Governor Gavin Newsom!

For there is universal dissatisfaction in which these conditions are accepted at the expense of homeowners and tenants alike, who are exhausted by the lack of action or results in a situation that virtually anywhere else in America are prohibited except the City of Los Angeles, are tolerated and ignored.

For you are the one, the only elected official that understood the crisis at Venice Beach last summer and took the necessary action to calmly and thoughtfully remove the despicable conditions that existed at the boardwalk.

It was done with humanity and care, and the same exact conditions at Centennial Park must be addressed sooner than later and we can’t wait for help that obviously is not on the way from this crop of city officials.

So once again we appeal to you, and your sense of right and wrong to help facilitate improving living conditions that should never exist in a place like Los Angeles or a country like America.

Tough problems take an individual not afraid to lead from the head of the line and to understand that rampant homelessness on our streets has a direct correlation to the spike in crime here in Venice and rest of Los Angeles and we have an elected leadership in individuals like Mayor Eric Garcetti (another lame duck with one foot already out the door) and Councilman Bonin who have in my opinion handcuffed LAPD from taking the necessary public safety protocols that would end this scourge in the heart of Venice.

So I ask you, can you help?

Can you come to Centennial Park with your team and assess this situation so that those who need the help get it and those of us no longer required to see public spaces turned into virtual ghettos and slums while those of us who just want to be able to use this space in the manner in which it was originally conceived, and that parents, students and children can visit their library free of intimidation from those who have no business here in Venice occupying and destroying our park and making a visit to the library unsafe, and in some regards, impossible.

Come to Centennial Park and see for yourself the conditions that have no place on the streets of Los Angeles.

Sincerely,

Nick Antonicello
Venice, California

The author is a longtime Venetian and member of the Oceanfront Walk Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council and can be reached via e-mail at: nantoni@mindspring.com

in Opinion
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