Viewpoint: Hey, LA Times Editorial Board: Latest Column on Venice Attacks–Too Soon and Out of Touch

Councilmember Traci Park addressed the violence and lack of public safety after two women were attacked in Venice.

(Editor’s note: This article appeared on April 24 in the Westside Current and is reprinted with permission.)

By: JAMIE PAIGE, Editor Westside Current

On April 15, an emotional Councilwoman Traci Park delivered a speech at a press conference following the arrest of a man accused of violently attacking two women on the Venice Canals. Her remarks passionately underscored the safety concerns of the community she was elected to represent.

“This time, two innocent women minding their own business just walking through the canals,” Park stated. “It could have been any one of us—your neighbor, your colleague, your friend, your sister, your wife. It is time that we get serious about public safety in Los Angeles.”

However, the L.A. Times zeroed in on a different aspect of Park’s speech. They crafted a narrative that sidelined Park’s concerns of public safety while bolstering their own ideology. Their headline, “Editorial: Don’t believe the nonsense. The criminal justice system worked properly in Venice assaults,” suggested a successful intervention in Venice.

The Times reported that “Los Angeles police responded quickly, working with members of the Venice community to identify the suspect.” Yet, had they fact-checked, they would have discovered that one assault wasn’t reported until much later than when it occurred.

Many of us, including myself, were aware of the first assault when the police packed up and left a bloody crime scene behind. It wasn’t until after a second assault, which the victim delayed reporting almost a day later, that we saw a significant escalation of police presence in the canals. But that’s not the main point.

The L.A. Times Editorial Board’s response misses the broader systemic problems suggested by these incidents and fails to capture the sustained distress within the community.

This time, the editorial board struck a nerve at a time when the community is already on edge. The daily crime logs, businesses adding security guards, and reports of seniors being violently attacked—along with kids being assaulted in random acts of violence, homes broken into, and vehicles vandalized—paint a distressing picture. Furthermore, women in our neighborhoods are voicing concerns about their safety—a cry for help that seems to go unheard by those at the helm of the L.A. Times’ editorial content.

And for that matter, the few examples the Times gave of systems that “did work”—we, on the Westside, have numerous instances of the “social experiment not working.”

Take, for instance, the tragic case of Brianna Kupfer, who was fatally stabbed inside a North La Brea Avenue furniture store in January 2022. As the trial of Shawn Laval Smith nears, the legal system’s efficacy is under scrutiny. Kupfer suffered 46 sharp force wounds, resulting in death by exsanguination, according to autopsy reports. Smith’s extensive history of at least 15 arrests underscores significant gaps in managing repeat offenders.

Furthermore, Fernanda Sandoval, whose father, Army veteran Mario Morales-Moreno, was killed in a suspected gang-related shooting in Long Beach, expressed her frustrations during a recent press conference.

Standing alongside Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, Sandoval emphasized, “Having them [the suspects] in custody means nothing if they do not receive the sentencing that they deserve. Under our current policies, dangerous individuals are being released and reoffending. We are here today to be a voice for the voiceless and to call for change from our current politicians.”

And if the system were truly effective, why would the coalition—Californians for Safer Communities Coalition—need to gather 900,000 voter signatures to qualify the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act, aimed at reversing a proposition in California intended to make the state’s criminal justice system more equitable?

It isn’t until the 14th paragraph—a section of the page that many of us, who study your reading habits, know have checked out—that the Times acknowledges the point of Park’s speech: people in Los Angeles live in fear, and they are tired of it.

They are. And the disappointment with the L.A. Times stems not just from a perceived disconnect but also from their dismissive attitude towards a councilwoman who boldly advocates for her constituents during a period of heightened tension and genuine fear. Criticizing her at such a crucial time disregards the voice of a beleaguered community longing for recognition and action.

While the editorial board may not have a formal responsibility to be informed and empathetic to the experiences of all Angelenos, dismissing legitimate concerns as mere political posturing does a disservice to the role of journalism.

As Venice, the Westside, and much of Los Angels grapples with these pressing issues, the path forward requires conversations that bridges understanding and fosters genuine dialogue, rather than deepening divides. The future of our community depends on it.


(Paige Wrote: A Necessary Stand for Community Voices

It is rare for an editor to take a direct stance on the coverage of other publications. However, our publication was founded on the principle of giving voice to those often overlooked or misrepresented by mainstream media. This commitment to community-focused journalism is why I felt compelled to address the recent editorial by the L.A. Times.)

This entry was posted in News, Viewpoint. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *