The Task Force Would Recommend the to Use Vacant Parcels for Interim Homeless Shelter
By Nick Antonicello
Retired attorney and longtime advocate of removing encampments from the streets of Venice, Community Officer Clark Brown was able to secure nearly 130 signatures to place his petition before the board to establish a citizen task force to recommend the City of Los Angeles use vacant parcels at LAX for interim shelter for the homeless as well as RV and vehicle dwellers.
Brown’s motion noted that there has been a 45% increase in homelessness on the Westside of Los Angeles and that there are 523 homeless individuals here in Venice.
Brown’s motion noted that Councilwoman Park “has repeatedly admitted in public forums that there are no available beds, rooms or space in CD-11 for the homeless and that the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) reported to the City Administrative Officer that there are many city owned vacant lots at LAX.”
Brown cited locations for vehicle parking as well.
Brown accused Park of “taking no steps to cause LAWA and LA to establish safe camping and parking facilities at these public parcels.
In addition, Brown claimed that Park had established a Citizen Task Force “to facilitate the development of recreation facilities in the LAX Northside Project, but failed to establish a similar task force to facilitate the development of facilities for the homeless on vacant LAX parcels.”
The motion called upon the freshman legislator to establish a Citizen Task Force with representatives from Venice, Del Rey and Westchester to study the establishing of interim shelter, safe camping and safe parking facilities upon these publicly owned properties.
Brown’s motion was made and seconded, but there was apparently an amendment that was to be put forth by Deborah Keaton which was discussed and eventually withdrawn by the maker. Some suggested such an amendment would revise the original motion and that would violate the spirit and intent of the entire petition. The VNC’s BY-LAWS and Standing Rules do not address such amendments and while the revision was withdrawn, the amendment was in order.
Brown also explained he spoke directly with Park and that she told him a committee was formulated of Westchester residents regarding the LAX parcels. Park did not dispute Brown’s description or his version of the conversation. Board members on both sides argued that since LAX was not within the boundaries of the VNC, the entire motion was not appropriate. Brown shot back noting OFW while in Venice, is for everyone, just like LAX.
Before the debate on the motion occurred, Park addressed the board and strongly proclaimed that the motion on the agenda “does not speak for me or CD-11,” And that regarding the Venice Dell initiative she would not comment based on litigation concerns.
Local architect Robert Thibodeau spoke in favor of the Brown motion and asked where is the plan to decrease the homeless on the streets of Venice?
The question to the entire room went unanswered, and several board members thanked Brown for all of his efforts, but would not support his plan despite the signatures he gathered.
After a spirited debate the petition was rejected and the motion failed.
In other comments by Park, she thanked the LAPD for there efforts at the beach this summer stepping up patrols and the increased police presence. She also noted she would be supporting a beach cleanup this weekend and while she had mentioned in her previous appearance with the board the possibility of new information on the Olympics, offered no updates on the status of the 2028 Summer Games or the prospects of any events here at the beach at this time. The formal council report to the board followed by Ashley Lozada, the Venice field deputy for Park who mentioned there would be “listening sessions” by the council office regarding the Venice Community Plan between October 2nd through October 13th.
There was also conversation about eliminating the dog park at Oakwood, since there has been a tremendous amount of discussion with “off-leash” dogs at that location. Lozada also mentioned that four different groups have brought forth assets and proposals for the eventual reopening of Centennial Park, just east of the Library on Venice Boulevard.
The locale is currently fenced and under remediation.
In the election to fill the final board vacancy, Christopher Lee was selected to fill the unexpired term of Erica Moore who is now the VNC’s Outreach Officer. Lee was selected over three other candidates, Alpkan Cakici, Chris Cikowski, and Emma Voigt.
Board member Bradbury congratulated all four applicants and urged they stay active and join a standing or ad hoc committee of the VNC.
In other news, President Brian Averill announced that board member Alley Bean would be the new Chair of the VNC’s Committee on Homelessness replacing the outgoing Frank Murphy.