Urgent Update- Venice Median Project

Apr 3, 2023

The legal fight is full on and needs immediate funding:

Over the last few weeks, we’ve gone toe to toe with the City’s lawyers and one of the largest law firms in the country (working for the developers) to successfully stop a discovery order accusing us of deliberately delaying affordable housing. Spoiler alert- in the past nine months Coastal has sent out not one, but two notices of incomplete application to the developers- the delay is not on us. Our legal team has fought back brilliantly, but the developers’ goal of diminishing our funds is real and they will continue to do so.

Our legal strategy continues to work and is the community’s only viable means forward.  What we need is your financial support to follow through with this multi- pronged legal attack to finally take down Mike Bonin’s vanity project.

After years of endless volunteer hours calling out the deceptive ploys of the City and “non-profit” developers determined to push the Venice Median project through, we now have court dates and judicial conferences scheduled, with two different Superior Court judges who are hearing different aspects of the case. Now, our legal actions must be fully funded before we can put this nightmare of a project to bed once and for all.

Many thought Coastal Commission would likely pull the plug on the project by this point, due to Coastal’s very strong appeal and after its staff eviscerated the woefully inadequate Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC) and Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (HCHC) project application filed last July. Others thought our newly elected Councilwoman, Traci Park, could make the project go away once she was sworn into office. Unfortunately, both are misconceptions.

Misconception #1 – Coastal will stop the project:
Every commissioner at Coastal is a political appointee. It would be naive of us to think the Commission’s concerns about sea level rise and the impacts of the City’s exemption from environmental review would be enough for the commissioners to vote against the project. Our fear is they will require a few moderate modifications to justify the issuance of a Coastal permit.

Misconception #2 – Traci Park campaigned against the project and will stop it:
While we’ve been assured we have Traci’s support, the project has already been approved by City Council. Only if the project goes back to City Council as a result of these lawsuits can Traci work to present the facts not previously disclosed to her fellow Councilmembers.

The reality- this has always been a devious land grab for investors:
A new LLC recently formed between VCHC and HCHC gives the original developers just 0.01% ownership. The remaining 99.99% ownership will be handed over to a yet unnamed investment group who will benefit from the much coveted, lucrative low income tax credits.

Imagine-  3 acres at the beach, leased at a dollar a year for 99 years to investors. Through our Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) lawsuit the Coalition alleges City officials wrote reports to City Council recommending the Housing Department be authorized to negotiate and execute the lease even though they lacked the necessary approvals, appraisals, project conditions, and financial analysis required by law to apply for Council approval. We also ask for a taxpayer injunction barring further expenditures of public funds in pursuit of these unlawful actions.

We’re grateful to all who have supported us to this point, and humbly ask if you have the means to make another donation, now is the time to do so.
We need you!

If you know of anyone invested in our beach community who would also like to help, please forward this email. We are always happy to speak privately with anyone wanting more information.

With Appreciation-
The Team at Safe Coastal Development