VSA Files “Friend of the Court” Brief With SCOTUS!
By Nick Antonicello
The Venice Stakeholder’s Association led by its President Mark Ryavac has filed an amicus brief in support of the city of Grants Pass’ petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to review and overturn both the Johnson and Martin decisions, which currently prohibit municipalities in the Ninth District, including California, from enforcing ordinances banning camping on public property.
The brief is attached or and be found here: Search – Supreme Court of the United States
The principal points made in the brief are the following:
The Ninth Circuit set an “infeasible standard” for the number of shelter beds that must be available before a municipality may enforce its ban on “lying, sitting or sleeping” on public property. The court also failed to adequately distinguish between an individual who is voluntarily homeless versus those who have no housing options and require public assistance. In addition, The court failed to understand that the encampments that resulted from Martin v. Boise are in many instances an actual barrier to the placement of housing, or to anticipate the negative impact of allowing camping on all types of public property and parcels that would have on neighborhoods like Venice Beach.
Ryavac, a longtime neighborhood activist, former government policy analyst and a 2017 candidate for the LA City Council, has been in many regards the only voice from a legal standpoint in protecting Venetians from the current homeless crisis here in the neighborhood and the city of Los Angeles.
The VSA President has maintained his consistent opposition to the controversial Venice Bridge Housing fiasco located on Main Street, while LA Councilmember Traci Park (CD-11) flip-flopped, and now supports the failed and flawed location that many believe was the initiative that has turned Venice into a “containment zone” for the homeless here in Dogtown.
It is estimated that over 500 unhoused individuals live within the boundaries of Venice, the largest homeless population in CD-11 and the second largest in all of Los Angeles after Skid Row.
It was Park’s predecessor, former councilmember Mike Bonin who in concert with former LA Mayor Eric Garcetti came to Venice to shore up support for the controversial proposal that was met with overwhelming opposition with some 500 people in attendance to oppose the presentation three years ago at a hostile meeting of residents at the Westminster elementary school.
It was that meeting that spelled the political demise of Bonin here in Venice and created a void for new leadership that allowed for Park’s candidacy to challenge the two-term incumbent. Park narrowly defeated fellow Venice attorney Erin Darling by a slim, 52-48% margin running on the promise to address the issue of homeless encampments last November.
Nick Antonicello is a thirty-year resident of Venice who covers the issue of encampments and homelessness here in Venice. Have an encampment in your neighborhood that needs to be addressed? Contact Antonicello via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org