Letters to the Editor: An affordable housing project in Venice will help L.A. decide what kind of city it wants to be

A homeless encampment in Venice among trees and plants
Los Angeles sanitation workers clear out a homeless encampment in Venice in June. A project to offer housing units in Venice to homeless and low-income individuals has been stalled.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: While I knew the Venice Dell Community housing project was not moving forward apace, I didn’t know the city attorney’s office was responsible for the delay. By now the whole world knows that Los Angeles is in desperate need of more affordable housing. The government standing in the way of projects like this one — which will bring 140 affordable housing units to unhoused and low-income people in Venice — causes harm to the people who need housing and to the Westside community that has been waiting for government leaders to do their job and provide it.

Helen Sklar, Los Angeles



To the editor: I was surprised and disappointed that The Times printed such a one-sided perspective on the ill-conceived plan for building an overly large housing structure in a flood zone and tsunami escape route. To say that the plans for the site are a mess is giving it and its designers more credibility than they deserve.

From the outset, the plans for the site were dumped on local citizens with no care toward the history of Venice or access to Los Angeles’ greatest asset and perhaps biggest tourist draw, Venice beach and boardwalk. In an already overcrowded situation, with bumper-to-bumper traffic, Angelenos have a difficult time trying to escape the heat and take their families to the relief of the ocean. These builders, with their hands in L.A. citizens’ wallets, are taking this prime parking and beach access area.

There are many other aspects of why this current plan is unacceptable including environmental ones, but on the grounds of safety and beach access alone the current plan should be scrapped. Mayor Karen Bass and Councilmember Traci Park are to be commended for holding up a bad plan.

David Blocker, Venice


To the editor: Thank you for your editorial supporting the Venice Dell Community low-income housing development. I am a Venice homeowner living a six-minute walk from the site and I could not agree more. As a professor of urban planning at UCLA, I’m constantly discussing with my students how growing gentrification and economic segregation is feeding polarization and division. It saps urban vitality and creativity that comes from all kinds of folks mixing.

By moving ahead with Venice Dell Community, L.A. can lead on confronting the crisis of homelessness, provide desperately needed affordable housing and offset the pernicious effects of economic and social segregation.


Chris Tilly, Venice


To the editor: The Times claims that the mayor’s office, and aligned officials, are sabotaging plans to provide housing for the homeless and low-income individuals in the Venice beach area. Rather, perhaps it is that officials now see that it is a mistake to let the project to proceed.

The plans call for giving more than 2.5 acres of exorbitantly valuable city land to housing individuals who could be accommodated at another location at far lower cost. Yes, the city needs to help house the homeless and encourage affordable rentals, but the spending of millions to provide them with accommodations within a short walk of the beach is insulting to taxpayers. Certainly the city can find a way for that land to be developed in a manner that would generate enough income to provide even more housing in an area with lower land costs.

Michael Ernstoff, Los Angeles

To the editor: Your point of castigating further delay in a Venice housing project for the homeless is right. But putting the blame on Mayor Karen Bass is misguided. Even from your argument, it is City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto who is at fault since her office’s actions are blocking the executive branch.

This is the power of the city attorney’s office — it sways decisions.

Just look at the track record you pointed out for Bass on homeless housing so far. The blame here is squarely on Feldstein Soto.

Kevin FitzMaurice, Los Angeles