Friday, May 14, 2010

Menlo Property: Homeless

Photo: Diane. Edwardson, November 5, 2009. Menlo Property at the southernmost driveway of the River Glen Apartments. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

At Tuesday's PLUM hearing, neighbors who spoke against the appeal filed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, complained about the homeless problems on the Menlo Property. Yet those same neighbors don't seem to understand that Sam Menlo never took action to remove homeless from his property until the LAPD and the City Attorney persuaded him to do something about it.

For years, a large homeless encampment (not the one pictured above) festered behind and in full view of the Menlo & Century Quality Management owned River Glen Apartments on Riverside Drive. In 2004, LAPD Senior Lead Officer Al Polehonki had to haul away 6 tons of encampment material, including a meth lab.

The calls do something about the encampment came from the community, not Menlo, nor his on-site manager. Menlo has a history of neglect of not just his Silver Lake property, but of many of his apartments, nursing homes and board & care facilities.

Photo: August 13, 2009. Behind the River Glen Apts on Glendale Blvd, near Riverside Drive. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The fence designed to keep bad people out of Menlo's River Glen Apartments kept the LAPD out. It took quite some time to even determine who owned the land. A neighborhood activist and realtor had to check property records to determine the lot lines.

No one could believe the apartment management would allow this to occur directly next to the building, let alone on their own property. Again, the City Attorney had to threaten Menlo with criminal negligence to dismantle the homeless encampment. Menlo often pleads ignorance of his management staff's deeds.

Photo: August 13, 2009. The LAPD cleared out 6 tons of encampment and a meth lab from this site behind the Menlo owned River Glen Apartments in 2004. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The large encampment was protected by the barbed wire topped chain link fence. Of course, you could just go around the fence by walking up the hill, or through the gap near the apartments on Glendale Blvd, or approaching from the southern end of the buildings.

Tenants don't use the open space because there is no way to reach the lot without climbing up and over retaining walls from the River Glen Apartments. Unlike the Red Car Property, south of Fletcher, neighbors don't routinely use the Menlo Property as a trail, so the homeless were protected by neighbors' respect for fences and Menlo's disrespect of the community.

Guess those neighbors supporting anything Menlo wants to build, didn't live here in 2004, or even the 1990s.