Sunday, August 12, 2012
KTLA News Story on VSA call for enforcement of laws against camping equipment and storing personal possessions on the Boardwalk and in the Venice Beach Recreation Area:
From the LA Times:
Venice group threatens lawsuit over camping along boardwalk
A nonprofit group in Venice sent Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa a letter this week demanding that city leaders remove encampments along the Venice Boardwalk, saying the city is treating different parts of the city differently when it comes to illegal camping.
In a letter that also went to Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the Venice Stakeholders Assn. said “Skid Row”-type conditions had developed along the boardwalk, with tents, sleeping bags, bedrolls and other personal possessions lining the walkway. That situation, the group says, is a far cry from the “pristine” conditions on the City Hall south lawn, which received new landscaping and anti-camping signs in the wake of the Occupy L.A. encampment.
“L.A.’s politicians spent over a million dollars to restore their City Hall Park and are enforcing every conceivable law to keep it attractive,” said Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Assn., in a statement. “But along Venice Boardwalk, the Department of Recreation and Parks and the LAPD allow campers to violate a slew of city laws against using camping equipment and storing personal property on park land and City rights-of-way.”
Ryavec said his group has retained an attorney and will sue if the city fails to act. The City Hall park reopened last month, but only after the council added new provisions to its ban on camping in city parks.
“Clearly our lawyer believes there’s a public nuisance suit here. Cities bring them against private property owners all the time, only in this case it’s the municipality with the public nuisance.”
A spokesman for Villaraigosa said he believed the mayor had not seen the letter. Rosendahl, whose district includes Venice, had no comment. His chief of staff, Mike Bonin, said the letter had been forwarded to the city's lawyers.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
VSA Documents Blatant Unequal Enforcement of
City of Los Angeles’ Park Ordinances
Public Nuisance and “Skid Row” Conditions Result in the Venice Beach Recreation Area
(Venice, CA/8-8-12) The Venice Stakeholders Association today released a letter to City officials which documents that the City of Los Angeles is blatantly engaged in unequal enforcement of city park ordinances, which has resulted in “Skid Row” conditions along the once popular Venice Boardwalk.
The letter, prepared by attorney John Henning for the VSA, shows the pristine condition of City Hall Park, once the site of a large “Occupy LA” encampment, and LAPD Headquarters park, and compares them to the Venice Beach Recreation Area where there is frequent use of banned camping equipment and trash dumps along the Boardwalk.
“LA’s politicians spent over a million dollars to restore their City Hall Park and are enforcing every park law to keep it attractive,” VSA president Mark Ryavec said, “but along Venice Boardwalk, the Department of Recreation and Parks and the LAPD allow campers to violate a slew of city laws against storing personal property on park land and the use of banned camping equipment.”
The result is that squatters have taken over the park from residents and visitors, many of whom do not feel safe using the park, the neighborhood leader said.
For example, Henning notes in the letter: “…occupying a sleeping bag or bedroll within a City park for any purpose is forbidden by City ordinance. Specifically, the phrase “for any purpose” is unequivocal and strips the ordinance of any requirement that a violator have the specific intent to use the sleeping bag or bedroll for lodging or living accommodation as opposed to recreation.”
“Yet Rec. and Parks staff and the LAPD allow the wide use of sleeping bags in the park on a daily basis,” Ryavec said.
“These conditions are alarming to residents and clearly having a negative affect on visitors, who frequently complain about being harassed on the Boardwalk and fearful of bringing small children to the beach in this part of Venice,” Ryavec explained.
The Henning letter notes that a lawsuit could be brought under the California Civil Code to abate the public nuisance the City is now allowing at Venice Beach.