Our Superior Court Trial Begins!

Feb 5, 2024

We had our first day in court with Judge Fruin last week. While it’s clear we have a judge who is hell bent on supporting the “affordable housing” element of the project whether or not the project abides by the law, our legal team did a superb job of presenting our case.

The Coalition invested in “demonstratives” to tell our story of this complicated project on one of the most complex sites to build on in our environmentally sensitive Venice Coastal Zone. We are using this format in the courtroom to present facts and make our case in the most impactful way to a judge who admittedly has had a difficult time keeping up with the details and complexities of the case.

Here’s an example of a demonstrative showing that the City’s own design review group described the project as a “large barge come ashore”. This picture is used here for a fun comparison:

Our trial will continue on Friday, February 9th and the last scheduled trial date with Judge Fruin will be on Friday, March 8th- this is the big one, our CEQA exemption cause of action for lack of environmental review.

We’re still playing a game of wait and see to find out which CEQA exemption law actually applies now that the opposition has brought up new Assembly Bill 785. We have submitted a supplemental brief to the court and are waiting for the opposition’s response.

It again remains abundantly clear that we are disadvantaged with this judge who is determined to focus on the “affordable housing” narrative rather than the law. Still, we have substantial legal issues that will be presented and preserved for appeal.

It is essential to continue funding the lawsuit to keep this project from destroying our coast and endangering the safety of our residents and visitors (thank you Mike Bonin).

Simultaneously we are in the midst of preparation for our DDA case (2.64 acres of land wrongly gifted to developers for $1/year for 99 years) with Judge Chalfant. We remain optimistic on this cause of action, with depositions for discovery happening this week. We also continue to make our case with the Coastal Commission.

We know it’s a lot but we can’t let up now! We must raise money to keep this all going!

Please forward, share, speak to neighbors who may still not know this is happening in our community and haven’t yet donated to the lawsuit, and ask everyone to sign up for email updates on our website!

With Appreciation,
The Team at Safe Coastal Development