Why Garcetti Did Not Veto Potentially Discriminating Laws

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The two ordinances that some believe discriminate against Los Angeles homeless population are to become law after remaining unsigned yesterday by Mayor Garcetti. Both ordinances were enrolled as law today and will be effective July 18.

Protesters Outside Garcetti's 3
Members of Occupy Venice, Venice Street Love, LA CAN , and the Downtown Women’s Action Coalition protest outside the Mayor’s Residence yesterday

Mayor Eric Garcetti said  he would have vetoed
changes to the municipal code that make it easier to issue criminal citations,
dismantle homeless encampments and confiscate personal belongs left in public
areas if City Council members had not promised to make amendments to the
ordinances.

Garcetti told City News Service the council will be exploring changes in provisions that create criminal penalties and allow an easier and faster process for taking people’s personal property, including prescriptions and important documents.

The City Council, “who I work very well with,” struck a gentleman’s
agreement with him and “assured me these amendments would be added,” Garcetti said. “If they were saying, `We are not going to add them,’ I would have vetoed it,” he said. “But they are adding them. They say it’s going to be done in August.”

Garcetti said he has instructed city departments, including the Los
Angeles Police Department, to hold off on enforcing the changes, which took effect even though the mayor didn’t sign them. Only after the amendments are adopted, “and people’s personal property, prescriptions, criminal penalties, all that stuff is changed, then we’ll go with the new protocol,” he said.Garcetti was due back from his Oregon vacation yesterday. However, this did not stop Civil rights protesters spending days camped outside the Mayor’s residence, demanding he veto revisions to the city’s municipal codes. The belief being the codes will make it easier for LAPD to seize and destroy homeless people’s belongings.

Writing in a letter to the City Council, Garcetti said supported the plan to “consider amendments that would enable smarter enforcement, ensure more compassionate treatment of homeless Angelenos and strengthen the city’s ability to withstand legal challenge.”

While the word “homeless” does not appear anywhere in the wording of the two laws which state, “No Person shall Store Personal Property” it  does list the many public places homeless people commonly store belongings. This list of public spaces includes parks, beach parks, streets, and alleyways, and in effect, will also make it illegal to attach, even a bicycle to any city-owned bike rack, or even ban parking a car on any street in the City of Los Angeles.
The loophole however, being that for items to be seized police must first issue a warning note.  After this they must wait a day and if the items have not been removed, or if they are still in the general area of where they had been left previously, they can be seized, and the owner fined.
“These changes impact anyone resting their bag on the ground at a bus stop or someone with a small cart of goods to sell, but, primarily,

Protesters Outside Garcetti's 1
Eleu Navarro, master gardener from The Learning Garden at Venice High School, supported the protest camping out overnight

they will cause unhoused individuals to be targeted by law enforcement simply because they do not have a home of their own to store their property,” said Cynthia Ruffin of the Downtown Women’s Action Coalition.

Garcetti had said last week he would not sign the ordinance, which did not need his signature to become law, and he had committed to  blocking enforcement until the City Council eliminates the misdemeanor penalty for violations and removes medicines

Protesters Outside Garcetti's 2
Noah and Jared, two Venice Homeless men who say the new laws will discriminate against them

and documents from the list of items that can be seized.

However, Ruffin said that this is not acceptable “We have no
guarantees they won’t be enforced or that they will ever be amended.”

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