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Fight Over What To Do With Venice Homeless Gets Personal, Testy

VENICE (CBS) — The fight over what to do with the homeless people who camp out on 3rd Avenue between Rose and Sunset Avenues went on line this week and got very personal.

The president of the Venice Stakeholder's Association, Mark Ryavec, wrote a letter containing a dozen names, addresses and pictures of houses where he told the homeless they would be welcome to camp out.

He mailed the letter to the people mentioned -- including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- and also posted it on the association's website.

Venice resident Karen Wolfe thinks Ryavec went "too far." Her name is in the letter.

Debra Leshever, another Venice resident and homeless advocate whose name appears in the letter agrees with Wolfe. "I don't know what the ramifications might be. I already got a scary visitor already today ... he had a hoodie pulled down over his face. And he asked me very pointed questions. Harsh questions."

Ryavec simply says the people he named support the homeless encampment -- would they be so supportive if it was in their neighborhood. "I thought it would be fair to ask them if they would want 30-40 people on their doorstep. Or their parkway. Or their sidewalk."

He also plans on offering any of the homeless people currently staying on 3rd Avenue, $20 a day to move in front of the addresses on the list.

Wolfe plans on filing a complaint with police.

She told Ed Lawrence, reporting for KCAL9 and CBS2, "It's not the homeless people I'm afraid of. They have been a part of our community for years. Longer than I have. But what I'm fearful about is the people who agree with Mark Ryavec."

Leshever thinks there has to be a better solution than Ryavec's letter. "I don't have the solution right now but I know there has to be a better one than taking all their things from them, or kicking them in the head to wake them up."

Ryavec says he will wait a week before he plows ahead with his plan. "There is something really wrong with this way this society operates...that we allow people to be in this condition."

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