Zip Line Debacle – Can Venice Get Anything Right?

I stop in the park office regularly to see what is new and to check up on new events or changes to what is going on in the park. The zip line installation has been a known quantity for almost a year since it was approved last Summer, and was not installed because it was too late in the season. With the 90 day trial run on the zip line, it of course made the most sense to push it to this Summer to maximize its placement for the busy Summer season.

I have been to a nauseating amount of community meetings where little gets done, and people argue emotionally about everything – but it seemed like after all the meetings, all the proposals, all the drawings, all the negotiating and all hurdles in getting approval … actually getting the zip line done should have been the easy part. No such luck.

As of June 1st when I checked the schedule everything seemed on track to begin zip line construction on June 17th, with completion on June 28th so we could enjoy the new addition to the park for one of the busiest holidays of the season- July 4th.  Those dates came and went with nothing… and then on June 27th just before Bill Rosendahl was to leave office… we had a “groundbreaking ceremony” with a lot of back-patting. Yes, a lot of back-patting one day before the project was supposed to be DONE. Then the State Inspector showed up to inspect and approve the project the following Monday… and when he got here there was nothing to inspect. He had no idea the project hadn’t even started.

In any business I have ever worked in, this would be unacceptable. For a project that was supposed to supplement things we desperately need in the park like extra trash pick up and sanitation cleaning – we are once again left holding the bag. Is it so hard to be on time and on schedule? This was approved a YEAR ago! How much more time and planning is needed? I haven’t even heard of some grandiose excuse of why it is behind schedule, nobody seems to know. When I went to the boardwalk on July 4th I was impressed to see the crews working away diligently on a National holiday to get the thing done. I thought that being behind schedule and having missed the big holiday they were going to bust ass and get it done…. and now – little to no movement.

Today when I went to the park office, I was told there was an inspection coming up that was needed before the zip line could be operational. That makes sense… but right now it still looks woefully behind schedule… and the whole area around it looks a bit treacherous. I also saw the flyers below which at this point just seem humorous…as even the dates on what looks like a City of LA/Flightlinez flyer about the attraction are long past. Any parent has already planned their childs summer activities – and the classes and events around the zip line now seem to have a projected start date somewhere in the week of July 22nd. One full month behind schedule.

The reason I settle in with whenever I walk the boardwalk and see what our neighborhood looks like is that nobody gives a shit. People love to go to meetings and complain. People love to offer personally agendized, emotional arguments and opinions that aren’t practical, reasonable or actionable. And at the end of the day we just wind up to our ankles in the same situation. I get that the City has no money ( except the money they magically find when something gets really bad press ) – but what do we do? HOW can it be that the zip line is so far behind schedule – impacting the very purpose that it is supposed to exist in the first place?

We lose here. We lose the entertainment this was supposed to provide in the Summer. We lose the revenue we were supposed to receive from the project being open during the busy holiday events. We lose by not caring enough about something to MAKE SURE that it went according to plans. I was told another inspection was to be done July 15th. That is in 4 days… and aside from the towers being up – it doesn’t look close to being done.

But, this is Venice, right? No accountability. No repercussions. No change. But hey – we’ll slap some “art” on it and claim success of some sort. THAT is a solution Venice seems to apply to lots of things.

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