VNC Community Officer Clark Brown committed to removing Venice’s largest current street encampment.
By Nick Antonicello
Neighborhood Community Officer Clark Brown is committed to cleaning and clearing the Flower Street encampment no matter what the obstacles, be they political, governmental or otherwise.
A graduate of Stanford University and UCLA Law School, Brown is divorced with one adult son and has been a property owner in the neighborhood since 1976.
A former member of the Venice Town Council, Brown wants to get people off the streets. “There is no right to occupy public space.”
“The Echo Park model works. We need timelines and a process to get people inside now,” noted Brown when he sought a seat on the council in 2021.
In numerous interviews he conducted with area residents, Brown supports removing the encampment and enforcing 41.18 that would prohibit living on the streets of Venice.
In a memo that was authored by Brown and submitted to the VNC for a vote, the board voted to approve it only to be brought back for reconsideration the following meeting and then sent to the Homeless Committee of the VNC where the motion died.
Brown voted against reconsideration.
The Abbot Kinney resident believes the Flower Street encampment has been a source of numerous actions detrimental to the quality-of-life of those residents that has resulted in the following issues as per his interviews with the residents:
Grocery carts stranded in the area of the encampments
Drug use and issues of the solicitation of prostitution
UCLA Dental has petitioned the city to create 500’ foot zone to force a clearance along the sidewalk and entrance to the facility.
Stolen plants and other items owned by residents
Brown’s ultimate goal is to seek alternative sites at LAX and develop housing for these individuals and that 41.18 be enforced.
That LAPD cite those individuals congregated within 1000 feet of the current Bridge Housing and that oversized vehicles be relocated as well.
With $1 billion dollars budgeted by LA City Officials to combat homelessness, Brown believes the monies are available.
While Brown admitted a NIMBY mentality exists in Venice (NIMBY is an acronym for not in my backyard), the reason for that could be the high volume of transients and homeless in Venice in relationship to the rest of CD-11 as well as other neighborhoods fearful they can become victim of a Venice problem simply being transferred to their sidewalks.
Describing Flower Street as roughly a population of 10 structures and twenty people, the proximity to residents has become unsafe.
“The occupying of the sidewalk is a problem as it violates ADA requirements. I have reached out to Bonin’s Office in early October and they are aware of this situation.”
Brown is frustrated by the non-enforcement of 41.18 and decided to investigate further to seek a solution.
The VNC Community Officer believes there are alternatives, but is disappointed in the response and actions of CD-11.
With the encampment festering for over a year, Brown believed the clean-up at Centennial Park and the Free Public Library left hope the same can happen at Flower.
While Brown is unsure if he will seek reelection to the 21-member board, he has made a decision in who he’s supporting for the race to succeed Bonin in CD-11.
“I am supporting Traci Park.”
Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian who covers various issues such as the encampments and how they impact the neighborhood. He currently serves on the Outreach and Oceanfront Walk Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council. Have a tip or take on the race? E-mail Antonicello at email@example.com.
The settlement agreement in LA Alliance v. City of Los Angeles et al Case No. 20-CV-02291 requires the City within 5 years to provide shelter for 60% of its homeless population as measured in the September 2022 Los Angeles Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority Count which estimated that 41,980 people are experiencing homelessness in the City up 1.7% from 2020.
The City’s Anti-Camping Ordinance, LAMC secs. 41.18 et seq empowers the City to remove the encampments because they occupy sidewalks in violation of the ordinance.