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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Bonin Changes Mind and LAPD to Enforce 63.44 at Venice Beach

By Gale Holland
In an abrupt turnaround, Los Angeles police will resume enforcing a ban on homeless people pitching tents and lean-tos on the beach and grass areas around the Venice boardwalkIn an abrupt turnaround, Los Angeles police will resume enforcing a ban on homeless people pitching tents and lean-tos on the beach and grass areas around the Venice boardwalk.

On Wednesday, LAPD Chief Michael Moore emailed Venice homeowner and activist Mark Ryavec that he and Westside City Councilman Mike Bonin had decided police would not enforce an anti-camping law in Venice in light of concerns from health officials that displacing homeless people could spread the novel coronavirus.

But the next day, Moore said in a follow up email to Ryavec that Bonin had decided to leave the decision to the LAPD. Department officials chose to reverse course, saying officers will begin cracking down on camps on the sand immediately and those on grass areas after the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has had a chance to find spots in shelters for people.

Ryavec, who heads Venice Stakeholders Assn., said the homeless people violated safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control by moving in over the last few weeks as the virus continued to spread.


Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-08-21/lapd-resumes-clearing-tents-from-venice-beach (Normally, the story would not be repeated but because it is so important and such a short story, it is repeated with the link.)

https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/video/4676139-lapd-cracking-down-on-homeless-population-setting-up-tents-at-beaches/

Law Governing Hours of Operation of City Parks is LAMC 63.44

Los Angeles Municipal Code 63.44 is the master for Parks.  Here are the rules for hours of operation.  The laws are printed here because people are questioning the validity of people living in Westminster Senior Center Park.  So unless someone says otherwise,  here are the rules:

63.44.14  Hours of Operation

(a) No person shall enter, remain, stay or loiter in any park between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following day. On any public park or recreational facility subject to this section, the supervising employee at such site may extend the 10:30 p.m. closing time for up to one and one-half hours to accommodate any departmentally approved event, except for Griffith Park, for which the supervising employee at such site may extend the 10:30 p.m. closing time for up to only one hour to accommodate any departmentally approved event. (Amended by Ord. No. 180,461, Eff. 2/8/09.)

(b) No person shall enter, remain, stay or loiter in any park which consists of an ocean area, beach, or pier between the hours of 12:00 midnight’ and 5:00 o’clock a.m. of the following day; except that no person shall remain, stay or loiter on Royal Palms Beach between the hours of 8:00 o’clock p.m. and 5:00 o’clock a.m. of the following day. On any park which consists of an ocean area, beach, or pier subject to this Section, the supervising employee at such site may extend the 12:00 midnight closing time, or in the case of Royal Palms Beach the 8:00 o’clock p.m. closing time, to accommodate special events such as grunion runs and other events approved by the Department of Recreation and Parks or the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches, as applicable.

Betz Talks of Westminster Park, Asks City to Control Park

Note: As stated in the Encampment Update last week, Westminster Senior Center Park has grown in number of tenters. Update didn’t know one could sleep in a park. Thought this was against the law.  So many laws have been twisted and bent, one has trouble knowing the laws and the ones being enforced. One person last week reported increased crime activity in the area. Now John Betz, who lives adjacent to the park , has written Morgan Bostic, Venice Deputy, asking the council office to do something about it.  People are getting tired of laws being bent and of the lawlessness of the homeless as reported recently in the LA Times survey.

The law affecting parks hours of operation is LAMC 63.44, and if Westminster is governed by this law,  the park should be closed at 10:30 pm.


(Photo by John Betz.)

By John Betz

I am John Betz.  I live at 1006 Pacific Avenue in Venice, 1/2 block from the Westminster Park.  I have been watching a permanent encampment grow in the Westminster Park along Pacific Avenue over the past several months.  These pictures were taken at 7 am this morning.  They show tents, mattresses, appliances, trash, broken furniture, bicycle parts, and God knows what else strewn throughout the park. These people have generators running and other evidence that this is not “day use” of the park – it is a permanent encampment, which is not legal, not even for the unhoused under our current interpretation of the law.

The current law as I understand it:
It is not legal for anyone to erect tents in the park overnight (sunset to sunrise).Tents, even those on public property, must be taken down from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and there must be at least 36 inches of clearance on sidewalks.

The illegal behavior in the Park:
The behaviors that have been going on in the Westminster Park are not legal.  The tents you see in this picture are there all day and all night, every day and every night.  I know – I check at all hours.  I have checked at midnight.  I have checked at 3 a.m.  Many remain in the park day and night, 24/7.  Those that are on the sidewalk remain up all day and on many days block the entire sidewalk to pedestrian traffic.  Many I have spoken with are afraid to even walk by or enter the park, particularly women and children.

I and my neighbors have placed many calls to LAPD over the past months but little has changed. I see police cars drive by the park multiple times a day and do nothing, despite our calls.  As it stands today, most feel our park is not safe to play in or walk through.  None in our community is able to use it (except for the handful of illegal squatters who are monopolizing this resource).

Local crime is up.  According to my informal observations crime in our neighborhood has increased.  I have had two occasions in the past few weeks when someone jumped my nine foot fence and rifled through and stole our personal property.  On one of these occasions, a bicycle was stolen.  A couple of days ago when my wife was trying to leave our house some drug-crazed squatter from the park was standing outside our garage door and fence literally growling at her and refused to move. She could not back her car out of the garage and was concerned for her safety and the safety of our son.  And the number of threatening confrontations I have had during my daily life around our house with drugged out street psychos has also increased during the past months.  This is not satisfactory on any level.  But it is the same pattern we see over and over.  Whenever an encampment is allowed to fester in our neighborhood, these ancillary crime and safety problems come with it.

When it comes to the homeless problem in our community, we try to take an understanding and compassionate approach to the associated problems, both those that the CIty is faced with and those that our community is faced with.  But, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that what is going on in the park is a blatant violation of the law that goes beyond the pale of reasonableness.  This true despite Boise, despite Jones Act, despite all of it.  This is not a case of the police not being able to do anything – this is a case of the police (and the City) CHOOSING to do nothing.  You have the tools, please use them.  This is particularly important when one considers that this is all going on within a block of an elementary school.

I have been watching this train wreck for several months and taken what I consider mild and appropriate action to try to get some corrective assistance from the City and from LAPD.  But as is usually the case in Los Angeles, we residents always have to escalate our complaint to get anything accomplished.  Consider this email my first step in the escalation continuum.

Why is this happening? Why is this happening here and not there?

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(Photo courtesy of Charley Swan.)
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(Photo courtesy of Charley Swan.)
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(Photo courtesy of Steve Sanders.)bulky

It is our beach, not theirs? They are breaking the law? I can’t take my kids to the beach. I am afraid of stepping on needles, poop, etc. This is illegal. Where is the enforcement?

“I do not see how someone has the ‘right’ to break all societal rules, do drugs in the street or beach, urinate and defecate in the street, shout and argue and fight at all hours of the night, strip bikes and break into cars (because it’s under $1000 it’s a “victimless crime”), store their belongings & build structures wherever the hell they please, etc,” stated one anonymous resident. “LA City council has stripped the police of all their power, and it’s has become absolute chaos out there. The tweekers will actually tell you that they ‘own the street’ and that sounds more like a choice to me than a bad set of circumstances.”

Mark Ryavec went further at a recent meeting and asked the police why Venice has encampments and not Will Rogers Beach.

The head of the LAPD Beach Detail, Lieutenant Michael Soliman, had reached out to those who had written to the Captain James Roberts and offered to meet with anyone who was available later that morning on the Boardwalk. In an impromptu gathering at Rose and the Boardwalk, about 15 residents responded and the Lieutenant and his partner spent about 45 minutes explaining the situation the Beach Detail faces along the beach. It was in that context that the Lieutenant challenged me to check if Will Rogers Beach was still free of tents and campers.

So, I drove the entire length of Will Rogers Beach along its parking lot. There were no tents nor encampments.

Then I stopped into the County Lifeguard Station and had a conversation with Lifeguard Specialist Scott Deboer, and later with Captain Robert Torres. Mr. Deboer informed me that indeed there had been a problem with campers and tents where West Channel Road intersects with the beach. He told me that it was cleared up with the establishment of protocol with the County Lifeguards, LAPD and Pacific Palisades Homeless Task Force.

Whenever a lifeguard sees a tent or an encampment, they introduce themselves, advice the campers that there is no camping, take a photograph, and tell the camper the photograph will be sent to the LAPD. The Homeless Task Force is contacted and given a chance to offer counseling and services to the person(s).

If they are still there the next day, this is communicated to LAPD Officer Rusty Redican who will show up and ride out to the encampment on an LAPD All Terrain Vehicle that is stored at the lifeguard station. Officer Redican will advise the camper that they must leave and if they do not they are eventually forcibly removed along with their belongings.

There was no question in the minds of Mr. Deboer and Captain Torres that neither camping nor tents are allowed on Will Rogers Beach and that the LAPD can and will enforce against their presence.

My contention was and is: if the LAPD, working alongside the County Lifeguards, can keep Will Rogers Beach completely clear of tents and encampments, they can do it here, too.

The questions remain: Why is this happening? Why is this happening here and not there?

Appeal of Local Coastal Development Permit Denied — No Beach Access Midnight to 5 am

The Board of Public Works denied the appeals of the local Coastal Development Permit for the LA Beach Access project Friday morning (19 January).  This means that CDP 17-07 will be issued by the City Engineer and then will be sent to the State Coastal Commission office in Long Beach.

So there will be no beach access from the east side of the Venice Ocean Front Walk boardwalk to the mean high tide of the ocean from midnight to 5 am.