Q and A on VENICE CITYHOOD
Q. Hasn't Venice always been part of the city of Los Angeles.
A. No, Venice was an independent city for 20 years until residents voted on Oct. 1, 1925, by 3130 to 2215, to be annexed by Los Angeles. A movement for secession started almost immediately.
Q. Why hasn't secession from Los Angeles been successful in the past?
A. Until a couple of years ago, there was no law requiring an election referendum on secession. It was up to the L.A. city council to permit Venice to leave. They never did that. In 1930, a bill almost passed the legislature that would have provided for an election within Venice on restoring cityhood.
Q. How would the city of Venice raise revenue?
A. Property tax is a important source of revenue for all cities. With property values soaring in Venice, it could be the the major source of income. Permits and licenses for all sorts of things from building permits, business licenses, movie shoots, bring in lots of money. Cities get a share of sales tax income as well. With businesses lining Lincoln, Washington, Abbot Kinney, the Boardwalk and other streets this is no small sum. Revenue from tourist-related functions, such as city-owned parking lots, should be a big source of income. A study will have to be conducted to determine how much money Venice would take in and how much it would spend.
Q. If Venice has so many sources of income, how come we have streets full of pot holes and untrimmed palm trees?
A. Good question. We suspect that L.A. takes more money out of Venice than it returns. This is the subject for another study.
Q. Is cityhood just popular with white, middle-class people, like those in the Valley, who don't want to be connected with the inner city?
A. Well, it's not true in the Valley which has become quite diverse, and it certainly isn't true in Venice. In Venice, approximately 40 percent of the population are people of color, and 72 percent are renters. We have our Yuppies, but they are in the minority.
Q. How could little Venice provide the city services such as police, fire, schools, trash, etc.?
A. There are currently 80 cities in Los Angeles County. With an approximate population of 38,000, Venice would be larger than 42 of them! When it was a city, Venice provided for all city services. It built Venice High School, which would return along with other schools to the reestablished city. Today, Venice would have the option to provide the service, or contract with the city - or county - of Los Angeles for services. For instance, Venice could create a community-based police force, which could be supplemented by the L.A. County Sheriffs. Or it could contract fully with the Sheriffs, or even the LAPD. The same goes for other services, such as schools. The point is that it would be a decision of the people of Venice to decide what to do.
Q. How do we know the big developers wouldn't just buy off the Venice city council like they have most of the L.A. city council?
A. That's always a possibility, but in Venice it would be easier to compete against big money in an election campaign since we could go door-to-door throughout Venice to explain the issues. You can't do that in Los Angeles. It's too big.
Q. How long would it take to achieve cityhood?
A. We are probably too late to qualify for the November ballot along with the Valley, Hollywood and the Harbor. Our next opportunity for a city-wide vote will be in 2004.