• The destruction of Venice Beach

    From Sean Dennis@1:18/200 to All on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 12:49:58
    Hello, All!

    As a native Californian, it pains me to see my home state go down the crapper like it has. This is an excellent opinion piece, IMNSHO, about what's going on.

    From: https://www.amgreatness.com/2019/01/27/the-destruction-of-venice-beach-epitomiz es-californias-idiocracy

    (That's one long wrapped URL.)

    The Destruction of Venice Beach Epitomizes California's Idiocracy

    By Edward Ring | 2019-01-27T20:57:58+00:00 January 27th, 2019

    Venice Beach, California, used to be one of California's great places. A
    Bohemian gem, nestled against the sand between big Los Angeles and the
    vast Pacific Ocean. Rents used to be a little lower in Venice compared to
    other coastal neighborhoods. The locals mingled with surfers, artists,
    street performers, and tourists. People from suburbs further inland
    migrated to Venice's beaches on sunny weekends year-round. Venice was
    affordable, inviting, inclusive. That was then.

    Today, Venice Beach is off limits to families who used to spend their
    Saturdays on the sand. It's too dangerous. On the sand, beached seaweed
    now mingles with syringes, feces, broken glass, and other trash, and the
    ocean has become the biggest outdoor toilet in the city. More than 1,000
    vagrants now consider Venice Beach their permanent home. At the same time
    as real estate values exploded all along the California coast, the
    homeless population soared. In Venice, where the median price of a home is
    $2.1 million, makeshift shelters line the streets and alleys, as the
    affluent and the indigent fitfully coexist.

    What has happened in Venice is representative of what's happened to
    California. If progressives take back the White House in 2020, it will be
    America's fate.

    Laws Raise Costs
    California's cost-of-living is driving out all but the very rich and the
    very poor, a problem that is entirely the result of policies enacted by
    California's progressive elite. They reduce to two factors, both
    considered beyond debate in the one-party state. First, to supposedly
    prevent catastrophic climate change, along with other environmental
    concerns, California's restrictive laws such as the California
    Environmental Quality Act, the Global Warming Solutions Act, and
    Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act make it expensive and
    time consuming to construct new homes. These laws also decrease the
    availability of entitled land, which further increases costs to

    At the same time, California has become a magnet for the welfare cases of
    America and the expatriates of the world. According to a 2018 report
    (presenting 2015 data, the most recent available) issued by the U.S.
    Department of Health and Human Services, of the 4.2 million recipients in
    America of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental
    Security Income, an amazing 43 percent of them live in California. That's
    more than 1.8 million people. According to the liberal Public Policy
    Institute of California, as of 2016, California was also home to 2.6
    million undocumented immigrants. Could California's promise of health
    coverage for undocumented immigrants, or sanctuary state laws, have
    anything to do with this?

    When you enact policies to restrict supply (to save the planet) and
    increase demand (invite the world to move in), which is exactly what
    California has done, housing will become unaffordable. Supply oriented
    solutions are relatively simple. Stop protecting all open space,
    everywhere, from development. Invest in public-private partnerships to
    increase the capacity of energy, water, and transportation infrastructure,
    instead of rationing water, "going solar," and "getting people out of
    their cars." Reform public employee retirement benefits instead of
    incessantly raising taxes and fees to feed the pension funds. It's that

    Unfortunately, in California, nothing is simple. In 2006, the notoriously
    liberal Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Jones v. City of Los
    Angeles ruled that law enforcement and city officials can no longer
    enforce the ban on sleeping on sidewalks anywhere within the Los Angeles
    city limits until a sufficient amount of permanent supportive housing
    could be built.

    And what is "permanent supportive housing" for the more than 50,000
    homeless people in Los Angeles? In 2016, 76 percent of Los Angeles voters
    approved the $1.2 billion Measure HHH to "help finance the construction of
    10,000 units of affordable permanent-supportive housing over the next 10

    The passage of Measure HHH raises many questions. Most immediately, why
    hasn't much of the money been spent? As reported by NPR's Los Angeles
    affiliate in June, "so far only three of 29 planned projects have funds to
    begin construction." Worse, the costs have skyrocketed. According to the
    NPR report:

    When voters passed the bond measure, they were told new permanent
    supportive housing would cost about $140,000 a unit. But average per
    unit costs are now more than triple that. The PATH Ventures project in
    East Hollywood has an estimated per-unit cost of $440,000. Even with
    real estate prices soaring, that's as much as a single-family home in
    many places in Southern California. Other HHH projects cost more than
    $500,000 a unit.

    Demand Outpaces Supply
    Spending a half-million dollars to build one basic rental unit to get a
    homeless family out of the rain sounds like something a bloated new
    bureaucracy might achieve, and even in high-priced California there's no
    other way to explain this level of waste. What about the private sector?

    A new privately funded development company, Flyaway Homes, has debuted in
    Los Angeles with the mission of rapidly providing housing for the
    homeless. Using retrofitted shipping containers, the companies modular
    approach to apartment building construction is purported to streamline the
    approval process and cut costs. But the two projects they've got underway
    are not cheap.

    Their 82nd Street Development will cost $4.5 million to house 32 "clients"
    in a 16 two-bedroom, 480 square foot apartments. That's $281,250 per
    two-bedroom apartment. The firm's 820 W. Colden Ave. property will cost
    $3.6 million to house 32 clients in eight four-bedroom apartments. That's
    $450,000 per apartment.

    Is this the best anyone in L.A. can do? Because if it is, it's not going
    to work.

    Let's accept the far fetched notion that $5 billion could be found quickly
    to construct housing for the 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles, and
    this could be finished within a few years. Does anyone think the growth in
    subsidized housing would keep pace with the growth in the population of
    homeless? Why, when California is a sanctuary state, a magnet for welfare
    cases, and has the most forgiving winter weather in America?

    One may take issue with the whole concept of taxpayer subsidized housing,
    but that is almost beside the point. There are more urgent strategic
    questions that aren't being honestly confronted in California. For

    Why is the national average construction cost per new apartment unit
    somewhere between $65,000 and $85,000, yet it costs five to 10 times that
    much in Los Angeles?

    Is it wise to have subsidized housing that is of better quality than the
    apartments that many hard working Californians occupy and pay for without
    benefit of subsidies?

    Why has there been no serious attempt to get useful statistics on the
    homeless population, in order to apply different approaches depending on
    who they are? For example, how many of them are mentally ill, or
    criminals, or substance abusers, or sexual predators, or undocumented
    immigrants, or willfully homeless with other housing options, or hard
    working sane people who have encountered hard times (yes,
    "intersectionality" would exist among these categories)?

    Why not immediately allocate open land to create campsites where the
    homeless can move their tents and belongings, to get them off the streets?

    Why not then study the refugee camps set up around the world, an activity
    where U.S. NGOs have in-depth expertise, and replicate these in areas of
    L.A. County where there is cheaper, available land? These semi-permanent
    structures are far less expensive than solutions currently offered.

    Does inviting millions from impoverished, politically unstable nations
    help those nations, when for every person who makes his way to California,
    thousands remain? And if not, why not directly help the people who are
    staying in those nations, which would be far more cost-effective?

    Wouldn't it make more sense to moderate the inflow of unskilled workers
    across the border into California, in order to eliminate the oversupply of
    cheap labor which depresses wages? Wouldn't that be better than mandating
    a higher minimum wage?

    Doesn't offering welfare and subsidized housing to people capable of work
    make it unlikely they will ever seek work? While striking a balance is a
    compassionate necessity, has that balance perhaps been violated, since
    California is home to 43 percent of America's welfare recipients?

    When will California loosen restrictions on land development and building
    code mandates, in order to bring the cost of new housing construction back
    down towards national averages?

    When will the elected officials in a major California city stand up to the
    litigants who use the Ninth Circuit to impose rulings such as Jones v.
    City of Los Angeles, and take a case to the U.S. Supreme Court? While many
    homeless people have genuine stories of hardship and bad luck, must we be
    forced to cede to all of them our most desirable public spaces?

    No Good Resolution in Sight
    What has happened in Los Angeles is a perfect storm of progressive
    pressure groups and rent-seeking bureaucrats and profiteers, working
    together to amass money, power, and prestige. If they were efficiently
    solving the problem, that would be just fine. But they aren't, and until
    they accept tough answers to tough questions, they never will.

    As Venice Beach continues to reel from the impact of the homeless
    invasion, Los Angeles city officials are fast-tracking the permit process
    to build a homeless shelter on 3.2 acres of vacant city-owned property
    less than 500 feet from the beach. This property, nestled in the heart of
    Venice's upscale residential and retail neighborhoods, if commercially
    developed, would be worth well over $200 million. Shelter capacity? About
    100 people.

    In a less utopian, less corrupt society, that single property could be
    sold, and the proceeds could be used to set up and monitor a tent city
    housing thousands, if not tens of thousands of people. But not in
    California. Under the warm sun, against the indifferent ocean, the
    idiocracy endures.


    --- FleetStreet 1.27.1
    * Origin: Outpost BBS Local Console (1:18/200)
  • From BOB ACKLEY@1:123/140 to SEAN DENNIS on Monday, February 04, 2019 16:04:26
    Hello, All!

    As a native Californian, it pains me to see my home state go down the
    like it has. This is an excellent opinion piece, IMNSHO, about what's

    I didn't realize you were also a former Californian. I was born & raised
    in Oakland - a GREAT place to be FROM. Just a bit over fifty years ago I decided that the US government doesn't PRINT enough money to get me to live
    in California.

    <big snip>

    --- FleetStreet 1.27.1

    Still using OS/2, I see. I do too, at home, but since I have to use the library's public machines to access Fidonet I have to deal with Windows
    --- Platinum Xpress/Win/WINServer v3.0pr5
    * Origin: Fido Since 1991 | QWK by Web | BBS.FIDOSYSOP.ORG (1:123/140)