July 23, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

City Council Delays Vote on Encampment Ban

Controversial proposal delayed until November 24

By Sam Catanzaro

Los Angeles lawmakers have delayed voting on a bill that would allow the removal of homeless encampments anywhere in the city if officials first offer shelter to unhoused individuals. 

After four hours of debate on Wednesday, Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez opted to continue the vote on the controversial proposal until November 24. 

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, “it was clear the council planned to refer the proposal to a committee” but Martinez “said the issue was too important to be shunted to a committee,” and needed to be discussed in public. 

The ordinance would also allow City of Los Angeles officials to remove homeless encampments at freeway underpasses, near homeless shelters and in areas that restrict ADA access if unhoused individuals were first offered shelter 

The “legislation…will replace out-of-date laws, clarify how we can keep our streets and sidewalks clean, increase ADA access and bring us more in line with US Judge David O. Carter’s direction in the LA Alliance v. City/County of LA case,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, one of the motion’s co-authors. 

The ordinance was drafted by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer after it was requested recently by several members of City Council including Blumenfield. 

Among those who are opposed to the ordinance include Councilmember Mike Bonin who represents Venice and much of the Westside. 

“It is reasonable to prohibit sleeping and lying on our sidewalks — IF genuine alternatives are truly available and accessible. But they are not. Without those housing alternatives, the ban on sleeping presented by the City Attorney would only serve to push encampments deeper into residential neighborhoods,” Bonin said. “That’s why I support commandeering underutilized hotels and motels for immediate use as homeless housing. This is an emergency situation and it requires emergency action, and using the hotels and motels will provide fast options for getting people off the streets and into housing.” 

A counter-proposal that did not pass by Bonin and Councilmember David Ryu called for what Bonin calls a “more aggressive approaches to providing housing, shelter and services”. 

At the center of the debate is a 2018 federal court ruling in the case Martin v. City of Boise which bars cities from punishing individuals from sleeping on public property unless they provide sufficient and accessible indoor housing.

“As long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property,” reads the ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which includes both Idaho and California. 

In the decision, which ruled a City of Boise law penalizing homelessness unconstitutional, citing the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment, the court did give cities leeway to prohibit sleeping in public in certain situations. 

“Even where shelter is unavailable, an ordinance prohibiting sitting, lying, or sleeping outside at particular times or in particular locations might well be constitutionally permissible,” the decision reads.

According to Blumenfield, there is now a “plethora of beds locally” and therefore the city’s laws should be updated. 

“Since the ‘Boise decision’ from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the City of Los Angeles hasn’t been able to enforce laws against camping on sidewalks because shelters for the unhoused population were not available. Now that we are creating a plethora of beds locally, it’s time to bring our laws in line with the Boise decision and also draft regulations for sensitive areas like freeway underpasses and transit corridors,” Blumenfield said. “I’ve been speaking with community stakeholders about creating new ‘cabin communities’ and building Bridge Housing. I am often asked what will be done to make sure that unhoused people won’t set up camp around these sites. Part of this motion will ban living outside of the new interim housing sites. The goal is to house people, not have to enforce these laws.” 

Related Posts

63-Year-Old Man Killed in Westchester Tent Fire

July 22, 2021

July 22, 2021

LAFD investigating Wednesday night incident  By Sam Catanzaro A 63-year-old man died in a tent following a fire in Westchester...

Bonin’s Encampment to Home Moves 131 Homeless Into Housing: YO! Venice Show – July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Bonin’s Encampment to Home Moves 131 Homeless Into Housing * LAFD...

Unidentified Skeletal Remains Found in Ballona Wetlands Amid Search for Missing Person

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Authorities make discovery amid search for Kolby Story this past Friday  By Sam Catanzarto Unidentified skeletal remains were found Friday...

Beach Closures Lifted After Sunday Discharge of 17 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage From Hyperion Plant

July 15, 2021

July 15, 2021

17 million gallons of raw sewage discharged from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant Sunday Night By Sam Catanzaro Beach closures have...

Petition for Recall of Councilmember Bonin Approved for Circulation

July 13, 2021

July 13, 2021

Signature gathering phase now set to begin after Tuesday approval by City Clerk  By Sam Catanzaro The Los Angeles City...

Deadline Extended For Unhoused To Move Belongings Off Boardwalk: YO! Venice Show – July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Deadline Extended For Unhoused To Move Belongings Off Boardwalk * Pedestrian...

Hyperion Spill Discharges 17 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage Into Santa Monica Bay

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Sunday night spillage occurs 1-mile offshore from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant By Sam Catanzaro 17 million gallons of raw sewage...

IPO Cosmetics Launches The World’s First 4Step Facial Kit

July 10, 2021

July 10, 2021

It’s Perfect On Introduces a New, Convenient, Portable and Eco-Friendly Skincare Option By Staff Writer What if you could get...

Marina Drive-In Movie Summer Series Underway

July 9, 2021

July 9, 2021

Gather with your family and friends to watch movies by the sea in Marina del Rey. Marina Drive-In Movie Nights,...

Bill Chait Restaurant Planned for Abbot Kinney

July 8, 2021

July 8, 2021

By Toi Creel Bill Chait, the head of Tartine Bakery, is planning a restaurant for Abbot Kinney Boulevard.  Recently, well-admired...

Venice Car-to-Car Shooting Leaves 18-Year-Old Dead

July 6, 2021

July 6, 2021

LAPD investigating Monday incident By Sam Catanzaro Police are searching for a driver wanted in connection to a car-to-car shooting...

Fugitive Offender Arrested for Series of Sex Crimes Around Venice Canals

July 6, 2021

July 6, 2021

46-year-old El Monte man arrested on suspicion of assault with intent to commit rape By Sam Catanzaro Police have arrested...

Marina del Rey Man Sentenced to Over 4 Years in Prison for $3.3 Million Ponzi

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

An accountant was sentenced today to 51 months in federal prison for running a four-year, $3.3 million Ponzi scheme that...