April 16, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

City Council Set to Vote on Vote on Encampment Ban

Los Angeles City Council to continue controversial item November 24

By Sam Catanzaro

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

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The “legislation…will replace out-of-date laws, clarify how we can keep our streets and sidewalks clean, increase ADA access and bring us more in line with US Judge David O. Carter’s direction in the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. 

On October 28, City Council debated the bill for hours before Council President Nury Martinez opted continue the vote on the controversial proposal on November 24. 

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

Edify TV: Venice Handball Courts Encampment Cleared

April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

Sanitation crews Thursday cleared a homeless encampment at the Venice Beach handball courts. Learn more in this video made possible...

Del Rey Dry Cleaner Goes up in Flames

April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

LAFD put out first-floor fire this week By Chad Winthrop Over 90 firefighters put out a fire that broke at...

Edify TV: LAFD Announces Likely Cause of Ballona Wetlands Fire

April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

The LAFD has revealed the cause of a March fire that destroyed five acres of the Ballona Wetlands. Learn more...

Pizza Pop-up Coming to Venice Next Week

April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

Lupa Cotta coming to Venice’s Chez Tex next Friday By Kerry Slater A “nomadic pizza business” is popping up in...

Restaurant Spotlight: Piccolo Bringing Fine Italian Dining to Santa Monica and Venice

April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

Latest restaurant from Chef Antonio Mure with two locations on Westside  By Timothy Michael An esteemed chef with deep ties...

Food Review: Griddle Cake Perfection Arrives on the Westside

April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

Breakfast by Salt’s Cure lands on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica By Kerry Slater A new Westside breakfast spot serves...

Earth Day Beach Cleanup at Santa Monica Beach

April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism organizing April 22 event  On Earth Day next week join a “micro-cleanup” to help beautify...

Westside Cafe Helping Save Monarch Butterflies

April 13, 2021

April 13, 2021

This Westside cafe is doing its part to keep its namesake insect, the monarch butterfly, safe. Learn more in this...

Virtual Venice Art Crawl This Week

April 13, 2021

April 13, 2021

Singers, poets, painters, photographers, performance artists and gallery owners are all scheduled to participate in the virtual Venice Art Crawl...

Junior Lifeguards Returning to Venice Beach This Summer

April 13, 2021

April 13, 2021

County-run program returns to LA County beaches July and August  By Sam Catanzaro A few weeks are left for prospective...

Beached Dolphin Near Venice: YO! Venice Show – April, 12, 2021

April 12, 2021

April 12, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Beached Dolphin Near Venice Beach * Fareless rides coming to LA...

SWAT Tear Gas Trailer in Seven-Hour Venice Standoff

April 12, 2021

April 12, 2021

Standoff between police and barricaded suspect over the weekend at First Baptist Church By Sam Catanzaro  An over seven-hour standoff...

Dual Building Development Rises Near Venice High School

April 11, 2021

April 11, 2021

Two-building development underway on Venice Boulevard By Chad Winthrop Work is well underway on a two-building, mixed use development near...

Edify TV: A Look at a Proposed Westside Homeless Shelter Locations

April 11, 2021

April 11, 2021

Take a look at a collection of Westside properties that a LA lawmaker is proposing bringing homeless shelters to in this...

Westside Business Spotlight: The Bike Shop California

April 9, 2021

April 9, 2021

Today on the Westside Business Spotlight we visit The Bike Shop California, your neighborhood spot for all things bike-related.