Submitted by Carol Bodlander a Venice Resident concerned about the Potential Health Crisis in our neighborhood.
Human waste on our streets! We residents smell it and see it but the Health Department sees Nothing!
June 21, 2007
To: Gail Morrison, Public Health Dept.
FGKrisiloff, County Supervisor’s Office
Re: Potential Health Hazard
Dear Ms. Morrison,
Thank you for your response to my last communication regarding the potential health hazard clients of the newly relocated Saint Joseph's Center are visiting on my residential community. I am sorry to hear that the inspector your office sent here on June 14th was unable to find RVs or human waste. I will send you confirmation that the RVs are indeed here throughout our community under seperate cover.
As I said to you in my last email, I will send you some images that were present before the time of your inspector's last visit and have increased after her visit.
I would also like to add that a neighbor of mine whom I encountered this morning also spoke of the human bodily waste occurring around here. He spoke of walking down Rose Ave. near the corner of Rose and Lincoln Blvd. and seeing a woman just drop her pants and urinate in front of him on the sidewalk. He was surprised that there was no effort to seek shelter or wait until no one was present. Another proof of the frequency of this occurrence is the odor that people are experiencing unpleasantly. It surprises me that your inspectors did not notice the odor at least.
Imagine your child walking to or from school. Imagine your child has a ball he or she is bouncing and this is what the ball and then your child’s hand touches. Imaging your child tripping and falling on such a sidewalk , as children do, but instead of a cut or scrape, they are infected with something much worse.
The children of my community are being put in this hazardous situation. Just count the number of schools in our area!
Can the city and county, can the Public Health Department officials just turn their heads to this hazard…because the children threatened are not their own children?
As a woman, maybe even as a mother, can you allow this condition to exist for other women’s children?
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 1:05 PM
To: Krisiloff, Flora Gil
Subject: Potential Health Crisis Concern
Dear Ms. Krisiloff,
Barbara Gibson asked me to write you about concerns over health issues that we have in our community at the present time. St. Joseph's Homeless Service Center has moved to 404 Lincoln Blvd. Though this new facility is in a commercially zoned building, it stands on the corner of a single family residential street (Flower Ave.) comprised of the very elderly, new families with young children as well as single women. The streets which border Flower Avenue to the south are of the same residential composition.
The Center, which states it is operating as counseling and referral, is actually offering showers, food vouchers, mail pick-up, laundry and used clothing to its clientele, 70% of whom it has been stated are "mentally ill". On any given day that the Center is open, it is easy to see at least 15 or more people "hanging out" behind the Center and you can see many others arriving as they traverse Lincoln Blvd. Along the neighboring streets, there are many recreational vehicles which are used as housing by low income population who also us St. Joseph's Center facilities.
At an ad hoc meeting on Homelessness in March 2007 at the Pacific Division Police Station, representatives from St. Joseph's Center acknowledged that they were aware many of the residents of the recreational vehicles simply dumped their untreated waste in the storm drains.
The untreated human waste from the RVs not only contaminates our water system, but it is flowing into our ocean. I will send you a flyer as attachment which shows you photographs which prove that the homeless population is also using the streets and sidewalks of Venice as toilet. We have many such forms of documentation. Some of our photos also show school children walking to school past the homeless and through their waste.
This is a public health disaster in the making! We know that Skid Row Staph infections are likely, tuberculosis is on the rise and the personnel of Heal the Bay speak of other infections. My personal doctor said that what has been brought to our community is a potential plague such as the one which wiped out 25% of the population of Europe in the Middle Ages. The society is worried about second-hand smoke and yet our elected officials ignore the real and deadly dangers which come from bringing a disease bearing population into residential areas such as ours.
St.Joseph's Center provides bathroom use to the population they have brought here to receive their services, only during their hours of operation. It might help if they kept the bathroom facility available to their clientele 24/7, but if, as they state 70% are mentally ill, one could not count on them to walk the distance it might take to use a proper facility. This fact illustrates how inappropriate it is for St. Joseph's Center to operate such a facility in a residential community.
Both the City and County of Los Angeles have contributed considerable money to make St. Joseph's Center operable. Now, please take responsibility for your actions and provide the necessary interventions which members of this community are entitled to and have the right to expect from their elected officials. If you cannot protect the community and the environment in general from these health threats, then intelligent planning would suggest that the Center and other part-time facilities like it should be moved away from a general population which will be destroyed by it.
Flower Ave. Resident
----- Original Message -----
From: Krisiloff, Flora Gil
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 6:16 PM
Subject: RE: Potential Health Crisis Concern
Thank you for the email. I have discussed the situation with Supervisor Yaroslavsky's Health Deputy, Carol Kim. She has contacted our Department of Public Health staff who are following through by visiting and assessing the area. Additionally, staff will be contacting you for further information. I've left you a phone message with the same information. Please call me if you have any questions.
Flora Gil Krisiloff
Westside Senior Field Deputy for
County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky
phone: 213/ 974-3333
fax: 213/ 625-7360
From: "Gail Morrison" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 8:52 AM
Subject: Re: Potential Health Crisis Concern
Good Morning Ms. Bodlander,
Let me find out the status. I am in a meeting this morning, so I will get back with you this afternoon. Thank you for your patience.
As per our phone conversation of June 6th, you reported to me that an inspector had come to Venice regarding my concerns about the RVs dumping human waste in the area. You reported to me that the inspector had not found any RVs in the area or any evidence of human waste on Lincoln Blvd. I did tell you more precisely exactly where the inspector could find the RVs and where in the area the homeless were eliminating. You said you would send the inspector out again.
The purpose of this letter to you is to learn the status of the inspector's findings. Has he been sent? Has he found things to be as I reported?
I mentioned to other residents in the area that your Health Dept. inspector had not seen any problem in the area. Several of them offered to make an appointment with him and show him around the area if he is willing to schedule his time to this end.
I also refer you now to a blog for our community: livinginvenice.org. Please look at the entry for today. There are photographs and reports from several community members whom I don't know, but who are equally concerned as I am.
Thanks to you and to Flora Krisiloff for your speedy response to my May 31st letter. I hope you will be able to share the Health Dept. findings on this deplorable state with officials who can do something to correct this problem before there is a terrible epidemic.
From: "Gail Morrison"
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 5:13 PM
Subject: Re: Potential Health Crisis Concern
This is to notify you that departmental staff conducted a survey of the area and did not observe human waste discharged on the streets or parking lot of the Ross store. Staff did observe some RVs parked on 4th Street at Lincoln Blvd. and one RV parked on Flower Ct. across from St. Joseph's. The streets (Lincoln from Rose to California, and Rose from Lincoln to 4th) were free from any accumulation of trash, debris, or human waste.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Gail Morrison, REHS
Acting EHS IV
Housing Inspection Bureau
5050 Commerce Drive
Baldwin Park, CA 91706
(626) 813-4828 Fax