To the editor: The Los Angeles Times’ coverage of the Oct. 17 town hall in Venice put on by Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilman Mike Bonin to discuss a Bridge Home project for homeless people left out an important part of the story.
There were a lot of Venice residents in the room and outside who were supportive of the proposal as an urgently needed step in getting homeless people off the street. True, the opponents were louder, better organized, better funded (as evidenced by their specially printed T-shirts and banners) and more willing to shout and interrupt.
But a large number of us applauded as Garcetti and Bonin made their points. Another group held a silent vigil in support of the project outside. I know from conversations I had at the event that many people in attendance were undecided and came to learn more about the project.
The noisy opponents of the project might be better at attracting attention, but I suspect that supporters and the undecided make up the majority.
Chris Tilly, Venice
To the editor: In a place as vast and varied as Los Angeles, politicians make major choices about neighborhoods they have little knowledge of.
The first question to ask is this: Are the homeless people in Venice looking for a shelter? You can arm yourself with a camera and a microphone and ask them. After living here for 20 years, I feel that a shelter is not what they’re looking for.
The proposed site, close to the beach, is a massive one probably worth millions of dollars. With the sale of this site, the city could use the money to build a permanent homeless housing facility that includes hundreds of units — just not in a pricey neighborhood.
Michele Castagnetti, Venice
To the editor: “Furious” residents in Venice and other places need to be asked what their alternative plan is. Would they prefer the status quo with trash, human waste and tents on the sidewalks outside their residences and businesses, or would they prefer housing for homeless people?
The people who oppose the proposed shelter in Venice seem to want housing in some district other than theirs. Then what? Round up Venice’s homeless residents and bus them to another part of Los Angeles?
Alexa Smith Maxwell, Los Angeles