May 17, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Civil Rights Attorney Carol Sobel to Speak at Venice Neighborhood Council Homeless Meeting

Attorney Carol Sobel will present this Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom for VNC Homeless Committee 

By Sam Catanzaro 

Prominent civil rights attorney Carol Sobel will join the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Homeless Committee Tuesday for a presentation on sidewalk living in Venice, among other legal matters. 

Sobel, a Santa Monica resident, is known for suing the City of Los Angeles on behalf of homeless individuals. In addition, recently she represented people arrested by the police amid the George Floyd protests last May. According to the VNC, Sobel will join the Homeless Committee for a presentation on the LA Alliance lawsuit and sidewalk encampments in the Venice-area.

Last week in the Alliance Case–known formally as Alliance for Human Rights v. City of Los Angeles, et al.– federal Judge David O. Carter ordered that the City of Los Angeles offer housing to Skid Row residents within 90 days for unaccompanied women and children, within 120 days for families and within 180 days for the general population. People living on Skid Row may decline these offers, under Carter’s order. 

“Los Angeles has lost its parks, beaches, schools, sidewalks and highway systems due to the inaction of city and county officials who have left our homeless citizens with no other place to turn,” Carter wrote. “No harm more grave or irreparable than the loss of life, and with each passing day, five homeless persons die in Skid Row.”

After Carter’s April 21 ruling, Both the city and county filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and asked Carter to pause the ruling pending a 9th Circuit decision on their appeal. The city is arguing to the Court of Appeals that the plaintiffs in the case, L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, cannot alleged injuries to homeless individuals on Skid Row, since they are third parties. On Sunday April 25, Carter rejected the city’s request for a pause. 

The VNC meeting will take place at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Click the link HERE to join the webinar. The Ad Hoc Homelessness Committee is one of 17 VNC committees and meets usually on the last Tuesday of every month. The mission of the Committee is to “to analyze and address the various sides of homelessness and its effects on the Venice community. Using experience, understanding, data and inclusive resolutions, the committee will work closely with service providers, local government, enforcement agencies and most importantly Venice stakeholders, to help propose solutions that will address everyone’s needs,” according to its mission statement. Visit https://www.venicenc.org/committees/viewCommittee/homeless-committee for more information. 

Sobel spent 20 years working for the ACLU Foundation of Southern California before starting her own law practice in 1997. She has served as the lead attorney on several cases representing the homeless against the City of Los Angeles. 

“In these cases, ‘quality of life’ ordinances criminalizing conduct such as sleeping in a vehicle or leaving property unattended were found to be unconstitutional, protecting the rights of the homeless population. For example, she litigated the landmark 2006 case Jones vs. City of Los Angeles, in which the Ninth Circuit ruled that it was illegal to arrest people sleeping on the street when there were no available shelter beds,” reads a write up on Sobel from an 2020 event she spoke at for the Yale Club of Los Angeles. 

More recently, Sobel was co-council in Mitchell vs. City of Los Angeles, which overturned a 2016 ordinance limiting homeless’ belongings to what could fit in a 60 gallon bag.

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