Anyone in Charge?

We’ve been on ‘sabbatical.’ Alas, we were drawn out of hibernation by those very pesky flocks of birds now nesting in Venice in massive numbers. You know them — they are everywhere!

Our amazing huge flocks of gorgeous parrots hanging in our palm trees are still here. A new flock has moved into town — they are hatchlings straight out of the Uber world — “Birds” are the spawns of the ‘sharing economy.’

Former Uber execs started the “Birds” and they are, for the moment, the chief flock inflicter with Google Venture’s funded Lime scooters hatching fast. These scooter operations have a very elegant business model: they just do whatever the hell they want. Remember, it’s Wall Street/Silicon Valley money that funds them both. They can’t be bothered concerning themselves with permits or any rules for that matter. Until some city comes down on them they just rock along hatching hundreds and hundreds more of them — seemingly on a daily basis. Cities scramble to manage these invasions. Beverly Hills has just banned them for six months to catch their breath and try to figure how to manage the hundreds of them dumped on their sidewalks. It is clear that the ‘deciders’ in Beverly Hills have spines. Santa Monica jumped in hitting them with a minuscule fine. The Santa Monica invasion seems to be in a permanent hold as the city fathers think.

This story is being repeated many times, in many cities. In Los Angeles it is business as usual. Nothing happens.

Nothing happens is the name of the game played every day by our city council.

Whether it is the long coming, long delayed ordinance, restricting Airbnb’s in an attempt to return some of the thousands of stolen rental units to our rental housing stock, or whether it is Street Enforcement rolling their rock endlessly up a hill like Sisyphus as their citations are regularly ignored — nothing happens.

Operators figure those tiny fines are just the cost of doing their illegal business. Raking in the dough is all they care about. As an example of what we deal with around here, and happening right now, the very popular Butcher’s Daughter continues to take up half the public sidewalk with a bunch of illegal tables they have even formalized with a velvet rope line! Poaching is paying off for the Butcher. Butcher blocks the sidewalk so even a wheelchair has to struggle to pass. They’ve been cited. They don’t care. They have made their stand and those tables will have to be dragged from their ‘cold dead hands’ before they let them go. They simply and shamelessly reflect the money grab on Abbot Kinney. They act like they don’t have a care in the world. Maybe they don’t. We know Street Enforcement has tried to reign them in and get them off the sidewalk — so who is protecting them?

And while we are at it — who is protecting the food trucks that plant themselves on Abbot Kinney ignoring all time restrictions? They rarely get a ticket — one of the trucks was even observed ‘paying off’ an officer with a bagel… yes, we know how crazy-making this stuff is. Parking Enforcement ignores the over height signs or the restricted time signs as some shopper’s car is pounced on and gets a $70 ticket the second their meter flashes from green to red — handed out by that same ‘bagel-taker!’

So, the flocks keep growing, the trucks keep coming, and enforcement efforts either fail or are just non-existent.

None of this would be allowed to happen in Brentwood or the Palisades. Why?

Maybe we should ask Councilperson Bonin why.

Ask Why.