July 6th, 2008


Gypsy Problem

Know how I spend a lot of time driving around, shaking my fist at gypsies?

Well, it turns out I'm not the only one, not by a long-shot!

I absolutely don't buy that restricting overnight parking is going to deny people access to grunion runs, late night fishing on the pier, or walking on the boardwalk. All of those things are easily accessible via pay lots, and various on-street parking that's not right next to the beach. For non-locals who want to enjoy those things at night, the access will be there. Particularly at the pier or the breakwater, there are large lots right next to the beach, and metered spaces. The problem is that there are people who live on the streets in vehicles. They're not there for grunion runs, they're there to live rent-free. You can find these RV's for sale on the side of the road, sometimes for less than a grand or two - so, for instance, for less than a month's rent, I could buy an RV and live in it for free, thereafter.

Some of them, I am sure, are the kind of people who are traditionally homeless - broke, out of work, afflicted, addicted; all around unfortunate. I have much sympathy for those folks, and support the many, many programs in Venice and Santa Monica that provide help for the homeless. But the RV gypsies aren't all, or even mostly, that variety of folk. And they've got what amounts to a permanent address (and take up permanent parking spots!) but without hygienic facilities. Public urination and defecation are something of an issue.

Parking is a precious resource in Venice. I support programs that aid the homeless, I just don't support anything which makes parking more dificult here, or the streets less safe at night. There's a fine line to be walked - spooky drifters are a part of the fabric here, and seriously, kind of a cool part, in there grungy, derelict way. But at the same time.... goddamn gypsies!
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