Headline:  “Venice Residents Hire Law Firm on Retainer”

That hasn’t happened yet! — but it won’t be long before Venice residents really do hire a fully engaged law firm just to represent all their neighborhood concerns and interests.

Sick and tired of endless meeting hours, organizing and talking, talking, talking with city officials in one city department or another and the California Coastal Commission, residents are organizing. When all that talk falls on the deaf ears of the ‘deciders’ and legitimate questions and problems blown off, the noisy annoying resident rabble will rise up — and they are doing that now.

Serious misdeeds are ignored and rules regularly broken. Our ‘deciders’ quickly and efficiently serve constituents with ‘juice.’ In case you don’t know what ‘juice’ is… it’s those big landowners, developers, ‘Silicon Beach’ powerful techies and ‘hot’ restaurateurs who have lots of power, real influence, spend plenty of money paying for consultants and who put lots of dollars in politician’s coffers. Voila! Parking requirements get changed secretly, bar operators get permits to take over public parking spaces for their private moneymaking use and building and safety rules get massaged with private ‘adjustments.’ Public property deed restrictions are ignored and bogus building permits issued. Might makes right in Venice now. There are so many pissed off people around here and so many real problems, they don’t know which war to join.

Residents have engaged the services of law firms to force enforcement of the rules. Groups not yet in full combat are consulting with lawyers now. Residents want development decisions based on the rules and that’s not happening now in Venice. Lobbyists, consultants of one stripe or another are running the show. Residents don’t have those kinds of warriors on their side. Banding together and hiring lawyers to even up the playing field is mandatory in Venice now.

Don’t think for a minute that residents want to spend their own dollars, put in endless frustrating hours of personal time exhausting themselves because they love a good fight. Everyone of the ‘hot’ issues here in Venice are all about resident’s unmet expectation that the rules on the books are for everyone and the rule of law is important to the ‘deciders.’

There are a half dozen neighborhood associations already formed to level the playing field. It is war.

Lax enforcement allowed a massive amount of our housing stock to be taken over by the Airbnb’s of the new economy, restauranteurs have pages of unenforced citations on the books. Zoning Administrator conditions are ignored. Citations mean nothing. Secret deals at Building and Safety and Planning are a daily occurrence. Right now there is a taking of a Deed restricted public recreation property for a homeless use. Residents’ complaints and suggested alternatives are ignored. It’s not hard to understand why this neighborhood group hired a lawyer to fight the city and protect their neighborhood from predictable future problems. Residents now believe that only a lawyer will get their voices heard.

Residents ‘manning the barricades’ are not a bunch of crazies. They are from every neighborhood. Each of the recently formed Neighborhood Associations have their own crisis to manage. They want to assure their efforts yield real results so there is a coalescing of neighborhood groups which never occurred before. Maybe now, the ‘little people’ will finally get some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Residents just want the rules enforced. They want an end to the rules-avoiding secret deals made for the powerful. They are not asking for anything more.