Thursday, March 8, 2007

Well attended Rally last night .....

Opening statement by Andre de Montesquiou
California Chicken Cafe
March 7, 2007 "Community Rally" at the Boys and Girls Club of Venice.


We are dedicated to stand up for the safety of our families and the quality of life we deserve.

We are concerned, frustrated, and incensed by the political games played by Bill Rosendahl.

We are not fooled by the lies and empty promises told by Rosendahl and the St. Joseph Center.

We are spreading the word inside and outside of our community on the incompetence and the immorality the City of Los Angeles has shown in dealing with the homeless problem.

We are compassionate to those less fortunate and those who need help, but we are not naïve to the realities, ineffectiveness, and the disregard for the community Saint Josephs showed for many, many years at 4th and Rose.


We have come a long way since the first gathering at Carol Bodlander’s house on December 2nd. This is the third large meeting on this subject and there have been numerous smaller meetings during that time. We are indeed a COALITION. We are growing, becoming more organized, and our determination is strengthening. This rally tonight proves this.

The purpose for tonight’s meeting is this:

1. To inform you of what we have done and what we plan on doing

2. To open up the communication in our group by introducing you to the websites and the hired members of our team and some of the very active SONIC members.

3. Organize the phone, e-mail, and fax committees

4. To inform you that your participation is vital to our success. This participation is coming to meetings like this, participating in the committees, showing up to protest rallies, and to help spread the word to your friends and neighbors. Encourage them to check our websites, come to the meetings, and get involved. When you hear of a meeting, call 5 friends and tell them to call 5 friends. The power of large numbers and support for our cause will bring us that much closer to Save Our Neighborhood’s Integrity.

5. The good news is, we are not asking for money tonight. Some very concerned and committed residents and businesses have fronted the initial money for the expenses so far. But should this escalate and a lawsuit is initiated, we will all need to dig deep and contribute to the legal fund to see this through, or the certain alternative will be the devastation of our neighborhood. If we continue to grow and show Rosendahl that we will not back down and that he will not be re-elected, and that we are a force to be taken seriously, we may be able to resolve this situation to our satisfaction without a lawsuit. We need to and we are preparing, should a lawsuit be necessary.

We have hired an impressive group of individuals to assist us. In December we hired an attorney who specializes in representing community groups in their fight against oppressive city initiatives. We also have hired a well connected lobbyist to guide us through the political maze. Kristin Flannery, who will speak tonight, has experience in organizing demonstrations and is helping plan and implement our strategy. Ziggy Kruse will also speak tonight. She has experience first hand in dealing with similar problems in Hollywood and she is assisting in researching numerous topics, setting up the website, and strategy implementation.

Here is an update on a few items:

1. Last Friday I met with Rosendahl’s chief of staff, Mike Bonin and several staff members for over 1 hour. They were polite and they are fully aware of our concerns and they say they want to help. They don’t wish us ill-will and they regret that we are unhappy. However, they obviously don’t regret it enough to do anything about it. I let them know clearly, that the decision of Councilman Rosendahl to support either his friends at Saint Josephs or to support his constituents in the Venice community was made for the benefit of Saint Josephs and his personal agenda and it was done in a purposely devious manner and that the suggestions to mitigate the expected impact on the community were a joke.

2. Our attorney has filed a complaint with the Case Management department, Neighborhoods & Government Services, section, of the LA Department of Building and Safety. They have been out to the site, it is under review, and we may hear something in about 10 days.

3. We have been effective so far in getting the attention of the City, Rosendahl, and Saint Josephs. They are playing a waiting game to see if we will go away and our organization looses its commitment. We need to continue to grow and to prove to them that we are force to recon with on this issue and issues in the future. We need everybody’s help to participate and to spread the word.

4. We need to be very careful in our public perception. We are angry and frustrated by the games, lies, and deceit of Rosendahl and Saint Josephs. We have a right to be. The other side will try to make us look like selfish, uncaring NYMBY’s. This is not the truth but they will spin everything and anything. We have respect for St. Joseph’s and compassion for the homeless. They will try to make this look like we don’t want to help homeless mothers, we don’t care about veterans, that we say tuff luck to people who just got laid off and missed the rent payment, it’s not about this. It’s about a mis-planned and under-funded operation that enables the service resistant, enables drug addicts, enables drug peddlers, enables mentally ill members of our society, and enables criminals to continue on their path of self destruction. These people need help, and we have compassion for them, but the answer is not a shower and mail service at St. Joseph's in a residential community. Our opponents will try to say we are saying no to helping people. What we are saying is stop putting band aids on serious problems and find a real solution and we are tired of being the only major city in the United States without a plan for the homeless. We must conduct ourselves with dignity and respect at all times even in the face of incredulous lies and unwarranted attacks.

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