(Editor’s note: This story by Sandra Clark is reprinted in cooperation with Westside Current. In an earlier CTN story, it was reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District had put up a blue fence, so that elementary children would not be exposed to any illegal activities, but that the van had not been removed.)
The dilapidated RV that had become a seemingly permanent fixture directly outside of Westminster Elementary School was finally towed away Friday morning around 8:15 a.m. Cheers could be heard from onlookers.
“It’s a good day in Venice,” smiled one parent who looked at the empty space on Main Street with amazement.
The RV, which was parked in a bus loading zone in front of the school, was vacated over the last few weeks — which created a window of opportunity for the city to take action.
Traci Park who is running to replace City Councilman Mike Bonin worked behind the scenes to make the removal possible.
On Friday morning, she was onsite, when the RV was towed away from Magnet school loading zone.
“I and others in the community have worked very closely with the city to take advantage of this opportunity to finally get the resources necessary to remove the RV and restore the safety around the school,” Park said during an interview Friday shortly after the RV was towed away. “These are children, young children, who have been subjected to this [crime and blight] for the last couple of years. It’s a shame that it took this long to get it done.”
The RV, which had a painted mural of Bonin on the side as an apparent thank you for allowing him to remain illegally parked next to the school, has been an agonizing headache for parents and neighbors who constantly pleaded with the city for its removal.
“For the first time in more than two years, parents can now drop their children off safely in front of Westminster Elementary School,” Park said. “The RV that has been parked here for the last couple of years terrorizing this school, these children, this neighborhood has finally been removed and we couldn’t be more thrilled for the partnership from the city and DOT for getting this done. We appreciate it.”
“We have all worked hard in this community to get this done. This should never have been allowed in the first place,” said Park, who is running to replace Mike Bonin in Council District 11.
Park said on Friday that if elected, she would establish a 500-foot safe school perimeter around every single school in CD11. “We will never allow something like this to happen again around any other school in this district.”
The RV owner, Ray White, apparently left Venice Beach about three weeks ago.
The principal of Westminster School was on hand Friday but had no comment. However, a school employee or teacher stated: “Finally, parents can park here and walk their children in without being afraid.”
Neighbors also sent letters of gratitude to city workers Friday. One stated, “Please extend our gratitude to LADOT, LASAN, and all of the individuals who helped make this happen after so many long months of disruption and confrontation.”
Another resident said on Friday, “We look forward to enjoying quiet nights and a cleaner, safer street, and we hope you can ensure that the school bus zone remains vehicle-free going forward so that the children at Westminster Elementary can be safely dropped off to attend school.”