While Cautiously Optimistic, Conditions at Flower Have Vastly Improved With Bonin & Garcetti Out and Park and Bass In!
By Nick Antonicello
I interviewed local property owner Daniel Saparzadeh last fall at the peak of the homeless chaos that had held Flower Avenue hostage as residents were at wit’s end as dozens of tents and structures made passage on Lincoln or Flower virtually impossible. A native of Iran, Saparzadeh heads Hypericum Companies of Los Angeles and has since worked hard helping the clean-up of that corner with the planting of trees and the installation of fencing that prevented encampments after the initial cleanup by city officials.
Things were going fine until as reported here that new encampments had returned after the fencing was removed causing concern with residents as they have launched a petition drive seeking assistance from the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) as well as CD-11 Councilwoman Traci Park to deter any further backslide to the old conditions that plagued Flower for years.
VNC Community Officer Clark Brown has worked closely with the neighborhood in securing the initial clean-up and like many others fear a potential “back slide” of new squatters and transients on this newly rehabilitated street.
I thought it would be a good idea to speak with Mr. Saparzadeh again in wake of the clean-up and his take on the current conditions and the overall future of Flower Avenue.
Here is my follow-up interview and his frank and blunt assessment of where things on Flower stand as of August 9th:
- What is your assessment of the conditions at Flower currently?
I think despite everyone’s constant nagging, the current situation on Flower Street is okay. There is one lady that has been camping on the sidewalk and we have tried to remove her without success . Although we do not wish to have any encampments on the street, having only one is a manageable situation and we are doing our best to get her out.
- Do you fear a “backslide” of encampments returning, and how will that affect your tenant from opening his doors?
I hope not. Our tenant is very close to getting his final permits, but again he has to deal with the bureaucratic nightmare that he has been enduring for the past three years!
- What is the timeline to open this space on Lincoln and will the city be responsible for power-washing and the general maintenance of the sidewalks in front on Lincoln?
Once he is open, he is going to keep the street and sidewalk clean and maintained and the Police would have to remove anyone that may be blocking access to his business.
- Is it true the city wants to remove or did remove the trees that were planted?
For the past 4 years, Flower looked like a skid row with people camping on the parkway, sidewalk and even one lane on the street. No city inspectors showed up to hand a ticket to any one for breaking every law on the City’s Ordinance Code. But when we spent over $5,000.00 planting trees on the parkway, they showed up the next day and he got his tape measure and decided that the trees planted a few inches off from the official guideline. What (expletive) planet was this guy dropped off from? This is exactly what is wrong with this corrupt city. If it generates revenue, the city’s very good at finding infractions so they can fill up the coffers and hand out pensions to each other!
- Do you support keeping the fencing on Flower?
I did and I spent over $5,000.00 and once the contract was over, the fence company picked up the fence without discussing the matter with me. . Although, this is not a long term solution as you can not find enough fences to cover every parkway and every side walk. A few neighbors want every bell and whistle as long as someone else is paying for it and if they don’t get it right away, they lose their marbles and scapegoat the only person that is doing something about it.
Yo! Venice will continue to monitor the Flower Avenue conditions and we’re hopeful a successful launch of that new business is forthcoming. It’s been a long and frustrating struggle to get things back on track, but light seems to be shining at the end of this bureaucratic tunnel.
Nick Antonicello is a thirty-year Venetian and covers the issue of homelessness and street encampments in the neighborhood. Have a tip or a take on all things Venice? Contact him via e-mail at email@example.com