Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl gave an update on local issues to members of the Venice Chamber of Commerce that included new initiatives to clean up the 3rd Avenue homeless enclave on a weekly basis and provide safety helmets at the Venice Beach skatepark.
About 40 members of the Venice chamber and their guests listened to Rosendahl's status report on Venice during a luncheon Wednesday held at the upstairs banquet room at Danny's Deli.
The councilman said a weekly cleanup will take place on 3rd Avenue between Rose and Sunset avenues, which has become a gathering place for the homeless. A Bureau of Sanitation crew earlier this month cleaned up the street near Gold's Gym, Digital Domain and newcomer Google in an action decried by advocates for the homeless. Many homeless people said their personal belongings, including food, clothes and money, were thrown away without notice and they later were allowed to retrieve their trashed belongings.
Rosendahl said the homeless would be notified before the weekly cleanups occur.
He also said police would be more vigilant about enforcing laws against public drinking, drug use and public defecation and urination on the block-long stretch of 3rd Avenue.
"That's the direction we're going," Rosendahl said. "We want to do it with dignity. The truth of the matter is that it's a public street for public use and it isn't one's space for private use."
Rosendahl also told the audience that the recently approved amendment to the Ocean Front Walk ordinance was the city's third attempt to regulate the boardwalk.
"This one, we've got our fingers crossed," Rosendahl said. "We're calling it a park, which it is. You can't be sleeping in there from midnight until 5 in the morning. We've seen a dramatic improvement on Ocean Front Walk and more improvement on vending issues."
The boardwalk has seen less commercialization on its westside and the ordinance also provided a means to deal with the homeless on the boardwalk, Rosendahl said.
Rosendahl also said he's looking for a nearby facility to provide transitional housing for about 30 people until they can find permanent housing.
The councilman also said the oversized vehicle signs that have been put up in some Venice neighborhoods have dramatically reduced the number of vehicle dwellers in Venice, which at one point had 250 campers parked overnight on neighborhood streets. He also reported that 30 people who had been living in their vehicles have been moved into housing by the nonprofit group People Assisting The Homeless, which has a contract with the city through 2012 to help vehicle dwellers find housing.
In other developments, Rosendahl during a question-and-answer session said he's been worried about children not wearing helmets at the Venice Beach skatepark, which is one of three skateparks in his district.
The Venice Beach park has deeper bowls and is more of a safety issue, Rosendahl said. He said his office has released $25,000 for skatepark operators to install a helmet rack for youths using the skatepark.
Rosendahl also said he was in favor of parking solutions for Abbot Kinney Boulevard that could include a structure capable of holding 150 cars in the current 50-car lot behind Hal's Bar and Grill. He also said that Westminster Avenue Elementary School's parking lot also may be used to relieve parking congestion.
He also noted the transformation of Rose Avenue, which includes the Whole Foods Market and the new housing and shopping complex at the old Pioneer Bakery site in the 500 block of Rose Avenue.
"Venice is on the rise and it continues to be an eclectic, historic, inspirational spot for the whole world," Rosendahl said. "We have more people who walk that beach than any other beach on the planet."