Venice homeless to report potholes to city
A group of homeless people are fanning out Thursday afternoon in Venice to help report potholes to the city of Los Angeles.
Organizers say they are heeding a call from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and hope to dispel some negative feelings toward homeless people in the funky but gentrifying neighborhood.
Villaraigosa is urging residents to report the location of potholes to the city’s 3-1-1 hotline in preparation for a two-day blitz. The Department of Public Works plans to fill about 20,000 potholes the weekend of June 4-5.
“Several people in the homeless community decided that this would be a great way to show that they may be short on resources, but they have a desire to do something positive for the community,” said David Ewing, a longtime Venice resident and homeowner who helped organize Thursday’s event.
He said residents with homes have been invited to join in and get to know their homeless neighbors. Venice property owners have complained for years about homeless people using alleys for bathrooms, partying late into the night and dumping waste into storm drains.
Meanwhile, people who live in vehicles and on the streets say they are being vilified as criminal transients and subject to police sweeps.
“Now they’re not calling us artists or beatniks or hippies, they’re just trying to lump us all together as homeless,” said David Busch, a community organizer who has been without a permanent roof for 16 years. “We just thought that we needed to unite in Venice and start bringing the community closer together to combat some of this polarization.”
-- Alexandra Zavis
Photos: (top) The Venice boardwalk on April 27.
(bottom) Community organizer David Busch in December. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times