MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SAY HOUSING WILL INFLUENCE THEIR VOTE …

Candidate positions on housing will be important considerations to nearly seven of 10 Americans in the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, according to a new national survey on housing by Move, Inc. This is especially true for Millennials, the next generation of home buyers and the segment expected to play as important a role in the 2012 elections as they did in 2008.

According to the survey, 81.7 percent of Americans consider housing to be a critical piece of the national economic recovery, while  73.1 percent believe conditions for buying a home a year from now will be the same or worse than today. Just under a quarter of Americans expect home-buying conditions will be better.

One in three Americans today think helping homeowners avoid foreclosure should be the next president’s priority in the first 100 days in office. Keeping interest rates low ranked second and making more affordable mortgage credit available placed third.

However, views are mixed when it comes to increasing or decreasing the role of government in housing.  The survey found one in three Americans said the role of government in housing should remain the same as it is today, while one in five said it should be increased.  Forty-two percent said government’s role in housing should be reduced, especially Americans ages 35 to 64 (56.7%). Just over two-thirds (67.4%) of Millennials said the president and Congress should reduce or keep the role of government in housing the same.

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Resolving Venice’s OPD Issue

The issue of overnight parking districts (OPD’s) continues to be top of mind for many Venice residents.

For two years the Venice Neighborhood Council and (more recently) the Venice Stakeholder Association have appealed to the City of Los Angeles to allow overnight permitted parking for residents in defined areas.

The reason being that transients living in their vehicles create a multitude of problems … not the least of which is taking up parking spaces badly needed by residents. Dumping of sewage and garbage, crime, heavy drinking, and late night disturbances are well documented. Finally the city issued permits for five areas. Then the City sought Coastal Commission approval for some areas near the beach. (That may have been unnecessary.) A few weeks ago the issue of permitted parking came before the Coastal Commission, they ruled that the Venice parking issue was a social issue and not a Coastal Commission decision and denied the approval of the Coastal permits.

The fundamental issue now seems to be … Does the Coastal Commission have the legal right to determine where people can and cannot park?

That is the issue that Mark Ryavec, leader of the Venice Stakeholders Association seeks to resolve. The Venice Stakeholders Association is suing the City of LA seeking a declaration from the court that the city does not need Coastal Commission approval to restrict parking.

Go to http://venicestakeholdersassociation.org for more information.

Cities along the coast from Santa Barbara to Hermosa Beach have moved forward with restrictive ordinances without Coastal Commission approval.

This writers opinion is that the City of Los Angeles (City Council) has ignored the Venice parking problem far too long. This is nothing new. Venice does have some parking restrictions (72 hours); but because of limited funding these restrictions are not being enforced. The City does own lots within Venice that could be used for transient parking. The city could develop proposals to fund parking areas for transients with water and restroom facilities similar to Dockwiler Beach. The City could do what other cities along the coast have done for years … provide accommodations for transients and charge a fee for long term parking. The City is remiss in addressing the parking issue. Looking at incorporated communities along the coast, Venice seems to be a stepchild. The City of Los Angeles needs to come to the table, not just on this issue, but many others as well.

What is your opinion ?

Venice’s OPD’s Need to Be Resolved Now … The Marina Growth Impacts May Be Next

The more I read about the overnight parking district issue, the more frustrated I get (see prior article). All our neighbors from San Diego, to Manhattan Beach to Santa Monica and Malibu have developed plans to handle transient overnight parking and still allow homeowners and renters to park with permits close to their homes. The California Coastal Commission was OK with this. They are OK with the massive development plans for the Marina as well. That’s another issue that will have a huge impact on Venice. While the Marina is a separate issue the CCC is totally inconsistent in their decision making. It is OK to have OPD’s in neighboring communities, but not in Venice. It is NOT OK to to overdevelop in the coastal zone, but it is OK if it is in the Marina.

As one commissioner said … the Venice Community has “social problems.” Give me a break. Venice is dealing with social issues including homelessness; and we have plenty of public parking options for transients. Bill Rosendahl advanced a parking option for those in need, approved by the city. The VNC crafted a viable plan for the OPD’s.

The major issue is to maintain and improve the quality of life in Venice for all stakeholders.

Another consideration is the fact that Venice is one of the top tourist attractions in So Cal. Let’s not forget about the fact that visitors are also looking for a quality experience. We love living in Venice. The VNC, the City of Los Angeles and the CCC need to go back to the table and resolve the OPD issue now !!!

Businesses Use Social Networking to Communicate with Customers … Can It Work for Venice ???

We just returned from an interesting seminar conducted by Tom Ferry on how to use social networking as a marketing tool. I was surprised to see over 400 people attending. Having been in the print publishing business for 35 years, I am fascinated with media and how to use media to grow businesses. Print media will soon become the next dinosaur unless they embrace the internet. Some print based publications are wrestling with how best to accomplish this. So far they have not developed profitable models. The internet has trumped the print industry. Now “social networking” is in vogue. A powerful internet tool for businesses to grow their customer base, conduct research, retain users and market products. Did you know that Facebook alone has 280 million users … that’s equivalent to the population of the seventh largest country in the world. We have a good start on internet marketing … http://www.venicebeachliving.com is on the top of Google if you are searching for properties in Venice. Response is excellent … now the next steps.

Below is an excerpt from USA Today, June 26:

“Comcast’s deft use of Twitter underscores what is becoming a staple in modern-day customer service. Increasingly, corporate giants such as Comcast, PepsiCo, JetBlue Airways, Whole Foods Market and others are beefing up direct communications with customers through social-media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

“The popular (social networking) communications technology has helped companies quickly and inexpensively respond to customer complaints, answer questions and tailor products and services. It has supplemented current customer services, easing the load on call centers and expensive mailers that most consumers abhor. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and online software services such as LiveOps, Salesforce.com and RightNow Technologies are all are being used to improve customer service, retain users and gain a competitive advantage.”

“If you’re trying to hide from your customers, don’t use Twitter,” says Demian Sellfors, CEO of Media Temple, a Web-hosting service. We want to know what our customers think, both good and bad. That’s a good thing.

If you are a Venice retailer, realtor, a restaurant, an artist, unemployed, a charity or have a service business you may be missing out on one of the best marketing tools available, and it is all free. No printing costs and no advertising expense. Yes, it does take time to learn the ropes, but it could be an important ingredient to the growth of your business.

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