Venice Family Clinic


~ November is Diabetes Awareness Month ~

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes.  In partnership with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, this year’s focus is on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes.  This is because over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart.  The good news is that the steps you take to manage your diabetes can also help lower your chances of having heart disease or a stroke:

  • Stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
  • Manage your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
  • Develop or maintain healthy lifestyle habits – be more physically active and learn ways to manage stress.
  • Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Here are your Health Education Dept. November Updates
    • Health & Wellness Class Calendar – November 2019
    • Teaching Kitchen Cooking Demo Calendar – November 2019
    • November is National Diabetes Awareness Month


Is Your NeighborHood Polluted ?

The California Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) publishes pollution level maps occurring  in California Cities and Towns, below is one of their maps of Santa Monica-you may notice only one Disadvantaged community exists (which is also highly polluted) and its in the Pico Neighborhood where City Planning Staff intend changing the Zoning Restrictions (restrictions that protect the neighborhood from developer pressures) those changes will allow extreme Speed Gentrification to occur rapidly. Zoning Changes on Pico Blvd will sweep out into the Residential Neighborhood and change it forever, displacement of low income renters is just one of those changes.


In the Next 2 Months City Planning staff will take these zoning changes to City council to be passed by 7 City council members, the Planning Commission has already passed those changes and will be recommending them to the City Council. The planning commission (which is fully infiltrated by the Political Party Santa Monica forward), Below you can see planning commissioners with SMF and City Council members whom elected them to the Planning Commission,  all together standing beneath a no on love poster. Let your voice be heard on the Pico WellBeing Project Zoning changes. FYI: Santa Monica Forward is also a PAC-Political Action Committee that financially pays City Councilors Election costs every 2 years, so they pay Councilors, Councilors elect them into Planning Commission Seats, planning commissioners break the neighborhoods up for developers and round and round it goes.



Stop Pro-gentrification Zoning Policies in Santa Monica

What was intended by Pico Neighborhood leaders to be used as a zoning tool to protect the character and scale of our neighborhood has been weaponized against renters and small businesses to do the exact opposite and result in pushing out many of our favorite small businesses on Pico Blvd. and long term renters and their families out of their homes.
City Planners and the City’s Pico Well being staff are moving forward with zoning recommendations that will allow for large scale restaurants, bars and nightclubs that have been demonstrated to usher rapid gentrification in other neighborhoods.
This is clearly a City-run Pro-GENTRIFICATION project under the guise and illusion of a rigged “public process” with the intent to push out what they consider to be “undesirable businesses and residents” from the Pico Neighborhood. Yet, the City Planners are unwavering in their recommendations and they are using their fake process while propping up a few “self-serving Pico Neighborhood residents” that participated in their workshops and now support the pro-gentrification agenda while at the same time dismissing any critical voice against the City’s zoning recommendations on Pico Blvd.
We Need Your Help to Send a Message to the Santa Monica Planning Commission and the Santa Monica City Council that we are against zoning uses that will promote gentrification and threaten the racial, ethnic and economic diversity of the Pico Neighborhood. Please Sign Our Petition!

City expands benefits for evicted tenants

Renters facing no-fault evictions will receive up to 50 percent more money from their landlords to relocate.

At its Jan. 8 meeting, City Council increased the amount landlords must pay their tenants if they evict them under the Ellis Act or if the landlord or a family member moves into the unit. The increase is the first since 2011. It also raised the per diem evicted tenants get to temporarily stay in hotels while they find new housing from $165 to $292 per day.

The amount evicted tenants are entitled to depends on how many bedrooms their unit had and whether they are older than 62 or disabled. A typical studio tenant previously received $9,950 and will now receive $15,020, while a one bedroom tenant got $15,300 and will now get $20,705. Landlords had to pay tenants who rented units with two or more bedrooms $20,750 and will now pay $28,810.

Elderly and disabled tenants will receive about $1,000 to $2,000 more at each step.

Across the board, the permanent relocation benefits now incorporate the two months rent landlords often ask for from a new tenant, a security deposit, the costs of disconnecting and reconnecting utilities, packing and moving, storage for three months and packing supplies.

Rent Control Board chair Anastasia Foster said the benefits tenants have received since 2011 increased each year with inflation but did not adequately cover all the costs associated with moving.

‘The new amounts reflect actual costs and what we’ve been hearing from tenants for years that (the benefits) have been insufficient to cover the costs of a sudden, expected move,” she said. “This will hopefully go a long way to alleviating some of that pain.”

Foster said the new amounts don’t take a few important costs into account, however.

“Packing up an apartment you’ve lived in for ten years with two kids and a dog can’t be done in a weekend, and you can’t get everything set up in a new place in a weekend either,” she said. “People inevitably have to take time off from work and that lack of compensation is unaccounted for.”

Tenants with children also usually have to pay for childcare during the moving process, Foster added.

While the benefits hike will provide tenants with a stronger safety net, landlords say providing relocation assistance to tenants can be prohibitively expensive.

Property owners successfully sued San Francisco in 2017 after the city ordered landlords evicting tenants under the Ellis Act to pay up them up to $50,000. A judge ruled such a high amount “placed a prohibitive price on a landlord’s right to exit the rental market” in violation of the Ellis Act.

The upper limit on Santa Monica’s permanent relocation benefits is now $30,682 for two bedroom households with an elderly or disabled member.

“If all the landlords in Santa Monica announced they were raising rents” at the same rate that City Council raised relocation benefits, an Apartments Association of Greater Los Angeles representative said at Council’s Jan. 8 meeting, “there would be riots in the streets.”

BoyCot This Public Meeting Bring Your BullHorns and Tell City Staff They Are Misrepresenting the PNA’s Efforts to Preserve the Pico Neighborhood.

Bring your protest signs and BullHorns and tell the City to Stop this sham of  a Project Previously Known as the Pico Neighborhood Zoning Ordinance passed by the City Council, Which Planning Staff constantly rebrand as the Pico wellBeing Project  YOU are invited. The Pico Neighborhood Zoning Ordinance is what we want.


Independent Latino parent group recognized by school district



Latino and Spanish-speaking parents looking for a place to congregate aside from traditional school groups have a new, district-recognized organization to call home: Padres, Estudiantes y Maestros Asociacion (PEMA).

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District formally recognized PEMA as an independent parent group at the Thursday, September 6 board meeting.

PEMA’s mission is to “provide information and resources to Latino parents and families and to empower them to become involved in the education of their children; with the ultimate goal to have a positive outcome on Latino Student achievement at SAMOHI.”

The group returned to the school board agenda after having their formal recognition and adoption delayed last week due to application issues.

Having addressed application challenges with help from the district and legal counsel, the independent group is now official after unanimous approval from the school board.

“SAMOHI Latino PEMA would like to thank every SMMUSD board member for their unanimous approval of our application,” Dr. Berenice Onofre, founder of PEMA said in an emailed statement. “Latino PEMA looks forward to working collaboratively and in partnership with SAMOHI and district administration & staff to have a positive impact towards accomplishing equity in parent engagement at SMMUSD.”

The school board was enthusiastic about the approval, excited for more parent engagement.

Board member Ralph Mechur says he felt PEMA members seemed “dedicated to working with our community,” saying he hopes engagement of Latino families rises and that he hopes PEMA is a “great success.”

Maria Leon-Vasquez echoed Mechur’s sentiments, saying the group is “much-needed” in a time where the district is attempting to create more family engagement.

She questioned the group’s 501c3 designation, which Superintendent Dr. Drati said was due to the group being independent of the district, providing PEMA an option of fundraising if the group wishes to.

When reached for comment, Onofre said the group may do small fundraisers, if necessary.

While the board was warm to the adoption of PEMA, one public speaker was not.

Lupe Ibarra, Chair of the Samohi Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) and President of the District English Learners Advisory Committee (DELAC), said she felt a Latino / Spanish-speaking parent group would create division within the district and it’s Latino community.

“We have the PTSA, it’s the parent support group for all of us,” Ibarra said. “I feel like we’re separating ourselves and self-segregating. Parents need a Spanish group that they can get an education from, they don’t need a group that needs to raise funds … I don’t feel it’s needed. I feel like we’re going backwards instead of forward.”

Ibarra further added that she felt PEMA would “feed anger”, saying there are “so many things already” for parents. She said parents have asked her why PEMA formed, answering that she doesn’t know why, but that everyone should get along– at PTSA meetings.

Oscar de la Torre pressed Ibarra on her accusations of potential division.

“You’re President of DELAC, correct? Most of the members in that organization, are they Spanish-speaking? Majority of them? Is that self-segregation? Do you feel that type of organization is a problem? Do you feel the African American parent support group is also a problem?” De la Torre asked.

“No, no, no,” Ibarra said. “I feel we already have a big group with all — the PTSA. Just make it one [group] and come to the meetings. We have a lot of education workshops, all that there. Why separate ourselves? We have a PTA already for everyone. I feel we should all be one family.”

De la Torre noted there are roughly 900 Latino students in the district, “which means there must be around 1800 parents,” and a 15% drop-out rate among Latinos, making more engagement and groups necessary. He compared PEMA and the PTSA as Santa Monica and Malibu school districts, realizing they can do better work separately while working for the same goals.

Board President Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein agreed.

“We’re all committed to closing the achievement gap,” he said. “Experience isn’t all the same for Latino parents and I, too, welcome many groups. I hope people attend PEMA, other groups, and the PTA.”

Tenant Clinic



for Ellis Evictions & Harassment


  • Are you facing eviction because your building was recently Ellised?


  • Are you experiencing harassment by your landlord?

Come and get information on resources that can help you and get your questions answered by representatives from the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office, Santa Monica Rent Control Board, CCSM, SM Housing Division, SM Code Enforcement, Legal Aid and St. Joseph’s


Date: Thursday July 26, 2018

Location: Virginia Ave. Park – Thelma Terry Room

Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm

The PNA will provide food & drinks






Para inquilinos pasando por desalojo & acoso


  • Esta pasando por desalojo por que su edificio fue Ellised?


  • Esta pasando por acoso por parte del dueño de su apartamento?


Estan invitados a recibir información sobre los recursos que existen en Santa Monica para ayudar a inquilinos que estan pasando por desalojo y haga que sus preguntas sean contestadas por representantes de la Oficina del Fiscal de la Ciudad de Santa Mónica, representates de la Junta de Control de Rentas de Santa Mónica, CCSM, Division de Viviendas, SM Code Enforcement, Legal Aid y St. Josephs


Fecha: Jueves 26 de Julio 2018

Local: Virginia Ave. Park – Thelma Terry Room

Tiempo: 6:30pm – 8:30pm

The PNA va dar comida y bebidas

For more information contact Oscar de la Torre at (310) 922-5122 or email Cris McLeod at


City mounts new effort to torpedo voting lawsuit

By Matthew Hall on in News

The City of Santa Monica has filed a new argument to have a lawsuit challenging its voting system thrown out of court.

The city filed a summary judgment motion last week asking the court to rule in its favor and terminate the lawsuit before going to trial.

Plaintiffs (Pico Neighborhood Association, including co-chair Oscar de la Torre and his wife Maria Loya) have accused the city of violating the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) with the use of at-large elections. The suit seeks to force the City to move to a district-based system.

The Act outlaws at-large elections that impair the ability of a protected class to elect candidates or influence an election. According to the suit, racially polarized voting occurred in four instances over the past seventy years: when Tony Vazquez lost in 1994, Josefina Aranda in 2002, Maria Loya in 2004, and Oscar de la Torre in 2016.

A previous attempt by City Hall to have the suit terminated failed last year.

In this case, the city said “the lawsuit fails as a matter of law and undisputed facts, because the at-large election system that plaintiffs challenge under the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”) and the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution has not caused any dilution of Latino/a voting strength in Santa Monica.  On the contrary, Santa Monica’s Latino/a voters can and do exercise their full voting power to elect the City Council candidates they prefer.”

Kevin Shenkman, the Malibu attorney who has brought the case in Santa Monica after winning a slew of others in cities across Southern California, said the City doesn’t understand the law.

“The City’s motion continues to demonstrate its misunderstanding of the California Voting Rights Act, and we expect that it will ultimately be denied, just like the City’s similar motion was denied by the trial court, appellate court and California Supreme Court,” he said.

In a statement, City Hall said the city’s Latino/a voters live throughout the city and cannot be clustered into a single voting district. The city also argues non-white candidates have been successful in seeking citywide office citing de la Torre’s repeated wins as a member of the school board. According to the City, about “though Latino/as account for just over one-eighth of the City’s population, they hold roughly one-fifth of the City’s elective offices.”

Shenkman said the City’s position perpetuates racist arguments.

“It is particularly disturbing that a purportedly progressive city as Santa Monica would parrot the misguided arguments of only the most racist right-wingers against minority voting rights, and even pay an “expert” who has been responsible for perpetuating and defending some of the most notable episodes of state-sponsored racial discrimination in the United States over the past 30 years,” he said.

In addition to arguing that the lawsuit would create an unconstitutional race-based voting district, the City said the suit was filed by attorney’s “who have filed, or threatened to file, similar CVRA lawsuits against a number of other California cities, seeking, as they do here, payment by the cities of their attorneys’ fees.”

Shenkman said the City’s statement is hypocritical given their use of outside attorneys.

“Finally, with respect to the City’s criticism of Plaintiffs for seeking to recover their attorneys’ fees – for work necessitated by the City’s recalcitrance and refusal to abide by the law – we will discount our fees to the same extent that the City’s high-priced lawyers at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (the same firm responsible for giving us George W. Bush – see Bush v. Gore) return the millions of dollars the City has paid to them,” he said.

A hearing on the motion is set for June 14, if the motion fails, the City has said it will proceed to trial.