Sunday, April 5, 2015

VSA Opposes SB 608, the So-called "Right to Rest" Bill

The VSA has submitted the letter below to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee opposing SB 608.

Venice Stakeholders Association

                                                                                                            April 6, 2015                                                            
Senator Jim Beall
Chair, Senate Transportation and Housing Committee
Members, Senate Transportation and Housing Committee
State Capitol, Sacramento, CA  95814

Re:  Opposition to Senate Bill 608 (Senator Carol Liu)

Dear Senator Beall, dear Members of the Committee:

I am writing on behalf of our organization to urge you to reject Senate Bill 608, the so-called “Right to Rest” bill.

The Venice Stakeholders Association is composed of residents in Venice, California, dedicated to improving neighborhood safety in our beach community.

We led the effort to remove over 250 RVs and campers from our community that previously occupied the curbs in front of our residences on a full-time basis, with all the problems attendant to the use of residential streets as an urban campground.

We recently sued the City and County of Los Angeles for maintaining a dangerous public nuisance along the Venice Beach Recreation Area, which resulted from the City and County’s failure to enforce the Beach Curfew and the ban on camping in City parks.  We also have lobbied for the reinstatement of enforcement of the City’s ordinance banning lying, sitting, sleeping on public rights-of-way.

Our opposition to SB 608 is driven by the irrefutable evidence that within transient populations are individuals who are mentally ill, criminally prone, drug addled and tragically, on occasion, violent and/or lethal.

Due to the ill-advised Jones settlement and its limit on the Los Angeles Police Department’s ability to enforce the “No lying, sitting, sleeping” ordinance in Los Angeles between the hours of 9 PM and 6 AM, we have seen a dramatic increase in the transient population living on our streets and alleys in close proximity to residences.  This has been accompanied by a serious increase in crime, assaults and home invasions, with horrifying results.

As documented in the on-line exhibits, the six block area around my residence has experienced five home invasions since last April by transients living on public property in Venice

The Venice Stakeholders Association is dedicated to civic improvement.  The VSA supports slow growth, protection of the limits of the Venice Specific Plan, neighborhood safety, better traffic circulation, increased parking for residents,
neighborhood beautification projects, historic preservation, habitat restoration and protection of coastal waters.

VSA Opposition to SB 608….page 2

In one incident a homeless man dove through a glass door of a duplex at 4:30 a.m., made his way to the upstairs bathroom and tore two bolted sinks off the wall, spattering the room with blood. The tenants – a young mother and her children – escaped down a back staircase and called 911. Police later told the mother that the intruder’s Hulk-like strength suggested he was high on PCP.  Before the break-in neighbors had called LAPD to complain about a man shouting hysterically on their street, but since he’d done nothing more than that, the police did not even send a patrol car to investigate.

In another widely publicized home invasion last September, a deranged homeless man broke down the door of a home just before 9 a.m., and chased a half-dressed woman out her bedroom window and onto her roof. Again, LAPD missed a chance to prevent this. Just 30 minutes earlier, the intruder was in police handcuffs being questioned about yelling in public and attempting to climb the fence of an adjoining property. Yet the police, having been effectively neutered by homeless advocates and the courts, let him go because they had not caught him in the act of committing a crime.

Allowing transients greater rights to live right next to residences will only result in more harm to more residents, such as the rape and murder of the pregnant Ms. Eun Kang four blocks from my house by the mentally ill drifter Boneetio Washington, the assault on Robert Di Massa by a transient living on a walk street because Di Massa’s service dog had urinated nearby, or the recent incident in which a transient living on the streets in Venice bit off the fingertip of Clabe Hartley, the owner of a restaurant on Washington Boulevard.

SB 608 offers no increase in welfare benefits, no housing, no counseling, no transportation, no treatment and no more ease in committing mentally ill homeless to custody, so it does nothing to address the fundamental problems of the homeless, while assuring future harm to residents everywhere in the state.

Please reject this misguided proposal.  Thank you for your consideration.  

Sincerely yours,
Mark Ryavec
Mark Ryavec, President


2.      venice-home-invasion-sheds-light-on-public-safety-concerns/