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The Scourge Of Pinkberry Angers Venice Residents

[Cellphone image taken by Kyle Richardson]

While co-editor Josh spent the weekend straining to eavesdrop on a bunch of suits in Hollywood, we spent a little time with the hippies over on the westside. More specifically, we attended a panel discussion hosted by the Venice Collaborative to discuss the ongoing gentrification of Venice. With rose! And brie! In the new live-work lofts at 1212 Abbott Kinney Blvd with a mural that has spawned some consternation from locals (pictured above). The panel featured DnA host Frances Anderton (who rode her bike to the panel), John Chase, Urban planner for the city of West Hollywood, and Tibby Rothman, the publisher of the Venice Paper, the mukrackers who have singlehandedly waged a war against the encroachment of Pinkberry in their hippy paradise. Moderating the panel was Greg Goldin, architecture critic of LA Magazine.

The discussion focused on managing growth for Venice while retaining its unique character. Is that possible? The panel seemed to think so - Frances warned that the alternative is a stagnant, fossilized city, not unlike that other Venice. The panelists also agree on the need for greater economic diversity amongst its residents. And just about everyone agrees there's a need for greater planning so developers don't run roughshod over Venice. But how? No one seemed to address how difficult it is to come to some kind of consensus, especially in a burg that sees itself as the last refuge of counterculture in Los Angeles.

Also a target of the panelists (or rather, Tibby's) ire, other than Pinkberry: The Ray Hotel. And it's not even a chain hotel.