Friday, October 14, 2016

The City of Los Angeles Can Stop the Encampments Near Residences, It Just Chooses Not To

I was recently asked the following:

I don’t understand why other cities seem to be able to create legal ways of 

protecting homeowners and LA cannot.   It seems unjust to come home from 

work to someone sleeping, camping or storing their belongings on our doorstep.

Even worse are proposals that would have Venice take on a disproportional

role & resources in addressing the problem than other neighborhoods…for example, why not have a camping/parking facility at the post office or library in Mar Vista? 
Why does it have to ALL be located in Venice?
The answer is that this is all the doing of Mike Bonin, with an assist from City Attorney Mike Feuer.
I've attached below some of the sections from the legal brief prepared by our attorney John Henning establishing that the City Attorney - maybe with some nudging from Mike Bonin - could simply declare the Jones Settlement satisfied and direct the LAPD to go back to 24-hour enforcement of the City's "no sleeping on a sidewalk" ordinance (LAMC 41.18) tomorrow. 
Of course, to avoid a new lawsuit the LAPD would have to offer shelter beds or shared housing in every instance, but Rev. Weller of the LAPD Homeless Task Force told me recently that he always has beds available somewhere in the county.  And we know that most of those living on our sidewalks won't accept housing anyway, they are either service resistant or describe themselves as "travelers."  So, just a documented offer of shelter will allow the LAPD to get these campers off your sidewalk or parkway.

So, what to do?  
Call Mike Bonin's office every day and tell his staff to end the Jones Settlement now and go back to enforcing 41.18.
The number is 213-473-7011.
As to why Bonin is forcing residents to accept three new housing projects for the homeless, including those who are mentally ill and drug addicted, I believe it reflects an all out war to turn the clock back to a time when Venice was a diverse, low income haven amidst all the wealth of the other beach cities on Santa Monica Bay.  The multiple vectors of rampant and increasing homeless encampments, the plan to place dangerous homeless in unsecured facilities next to homes, to change the character of Oxford Triangle with a dense, low income project, and the downzoning of residences across Venice through designation of historic districts and historic structures which allows little to no additions or alternate uses is already sending some residents fleeing and dramatically lowering some property values, in some instances by as much as $500,000 or more.

From Henning's letter:
 First, the primary provision of the Jones Settlement restricting the City from enforcing section 41.18(d) between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. has apparently been discharged and released due to the construction of 1,250 permanent supportive housing units.  Thus, the City is now free to recommence enforcement of section 41.18(d) without further court proceedings.

 Second, the federal appellate court ruling in the Jones case held only that enforcement of section 41.18(d) would be constitutionally prohibited when the person is sleeping on the street or sidewalk “involuntarily,” i.e., when no shelter bed is available.  

 Third, as long as persons violating section 41.18(d) are offered a shelter bed or other housing, enforcement of the ordinance is unlikely to trigger a successful lawsuit against the City.