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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

For those who own rental properties …

As one government employee once said and this is not verbatim “One should never let the opportunities of a good crisis go to waste … .” Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Mike Bonin have both declared that this is the opportunity to pick up rental properties … and from legislation they have created. What countries does this remind you of from history?

Telephone number for Councilman Mike Bonin is 213-444-3508, not number listed.

LA City Council Says Tents Can Stay Up; Venice Never Enforced Tents Down; Cleanup on 3rd Ave Questionable

This debris has been moved around since 12 March on 3rd Ave. This photo was taken 16 March. Tuesday, 17 March was still there.

Los Angeles City Council voted to allow tents to stay up from 6 am to 9 pm. Tents in Venice have not complied with rule for years.

What is important is that the trash, the hazardous waste, and 56.11 (bulky item) be enforced.

Third Ave was the only street that had planned cleaning once a week and disinfected once a month with the exception of Ocean Front Walk. The SEC zone established for Venice was to have started 9 March. Nothing happened.

After or before the Bridge Home opened everything stopped. The following was what was promised.

All within a certain area.

Toilets have arrived for 7 am to 7 pm daily with an attendant. Showers came Tuesday and were to be there from 9 am to 1 pm.
This clean team bagged all the trash from the trash cans and left the bagged trash on the sidewalk. The Venice BID supposedly would pick it up. Venice BID comes twice a day. Once at 9 am and in the afternoon. The team that bagged the trash and left it on the sidewalk did not pick up hazardous waste.

LA Times article regarding tents down. Remember that tents are allowed up during the rain.

LAWA Answers City and LA Times About Using Northside Runway Land for Homeless

In a memo addressed to all the LA City Council members, Legislative Representative Glenda Silva Pantoja for the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) said the land Jim Murez, Venice activist, spoke of for the LA Times article could not be used for homeless purposes as proposed because the land is prohibited by the FAA to be used for residential use. It is considered a noise buffer between LAX and the community.

The LA Times had an article about Jim Murez, Venice activist and member of the Venice Neighborhood Council, and his proposal to use the 340 acres next to the LAX north runway for homeless … a large bridge home so to speak. The Venice Update had an article of this nature in August 2016. The late Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Councilman Mike Bonin have both tried to use this land for the homeless.

Jim Murez in the Venice Update article did recognize that the LAX land in question was restricted but offered the land at Lincoln and Manchester Blvd, which is used as a park and the council office for the westside area.

The question arises: Are there other lands owned by the City that could provide a large area for temporarily housing the homeless and moving them into permanent housing. It would seem that this would be a City solution for sanitation and public livability and safety.   During the war, this country did not hesitate to move Japanese-Americans to areas away from the City.  Dr Kenneth Wright, who is again running for US congress, recommended using closed army bases, federal land. The resources used for individual encampments throughout the City seems to be financially not feasible and results are not forthcoming.   The endangerment to the public health and safety is an ever increasing concern.

The following is the memo addressed to all the City Council members and explains in detail why the City cannot use the land to provide for the homeless.

Governor Newsom Signs Bills to Exempt “Homeless” Projects from CEQA

By Eva Greene

Governor Gavin Newsom signs bills to exempt “homeless” type projects from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

CEQA was passed in 1970 to protect neighborhoods from the environmental impacts of proposed projects; CEQA has also been said to be the means to delay and kill a project.

Councilman Bonin Wednesday (2 October) put forth a motion asking for a report on the impacts created by AB 1197, SB 450 and SB 744 and directing the Chief Legislative Analyst and City Attorney to report on any ordinance revisions or citywide process changes necessary to comply with the authority granted to them by the new laws.

These are the CEQA exempt bills signed by the Governor:

AB 1197 (Santiago) – This bill provides a CEQA exemption for supportive housing and shelters in the City of Los Angeles. This bill can be applied immediately upon the governor’s signature.
“An act to add and repeal Section 21080.27 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.”

SB 744 (Caballero) – This bill provides a CEQA exemption for supportive housing and No Place Like Home projects. This is the Prop 2 funding for the severely mentally ill which the VCHC is using for funding their PSH. This bill would provide that a policy to approve as a use by right a development with a limit higher than 50 units, as described above, is not a project for purposes of CEQA.

SB 450 – This bill would, until January 1, 2025, exempt from CEQA projects related to the conversion of a structure with a certificate of occupancy as a motel, hotel, residential hotel, or hostel to supportive or transitional housing, as defined, that meet certain conditions. Because the lead agency would be required to determine the applicability of this exemption, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Link to homeless bills signed by gov. 9 26 19

Building Off Historic Investment & Action to Help Cities and Counties Tackle Homelessness, Governor Newsom Signs Series of Bills Addressing Homelessness 

500-Foot Homeless Restriction Would Remove Homeless from Beach and Portions of 3rd, 4th

This is the map for Venice as shown in the LA Times article.

LA Times mapped the areas that would be affected by the proposed 500-foot radius restricting homeless from schools and parks. The motion, modifying LAMC 41.18(d), has been proposed by the Chair of the Homeless and Poverty committee Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and Councilwoman Nury Martinez.

Next step is to present it to the City Council for a vote.   Both civil rights attorney Carol Sobel and Councilman Mike Bonin are against it.  It was passed unanimously in City’s Homeless and Poverty committee with two absences, one of whom was Bonin.

Mark Ryavec of Venice Stakeholders Association made the statement that the proposal did not address the residential areas.

According to the map, a large portion of Venice would be restricted.  The complete Venice Beach area would be off limits.  Looks like 3rd and 4th would be be off limits to a great extent.  The Ocean Front and 3rd Ave are two dense areas for the homeless.  The LA Times estimates that about 25 percent of the City’s sidewalks would be effected.

The design of the proposal is to work around the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision.  The court said they never indicated that people could not be restricted from certain areas.

LA Times article.

The electronic LA Times article has many more maps and statistics.


Mayor Proposes Ordinance to Protect Brush Areas from Encampments

(26 August 2019) Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed an ordinance that would allow police to remove trespassers in areas where there is a risk of a fire by orally telling them to leave. Currently authorities have to have signs posted every 500 feet. Ordinance is to go before the Public Safety committee.

Locally, the area between the 91 Freeway was set fire a few years ago by homeless encampments.

LA Times article.

City Wants to Restrict Where Homeless Can Be, Such As Not Within 500 Feet of School

(23 August 2019) In order to bring some semblance of order to the homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles, a revision has been proposed to the municipal code to limit the areas where homeless can sleep.

Mitch O’Farrell, chair of the Homeless and Poverty committee of the Los Angeles  City Council, and  council woman Nury Martinez co-chaired a motion that would amend 41.18 and restrict where homeless can sleep on the streets of Los Angeles. When it will be presented to the City Council is not known.

Note:  This Update story  summarizes and gives Venice peculiar  situations.  There are two LA Times articles in the paper today that all should read.  Article: City revisits limits to sidewalk sleeping. The second article: It’s not cruel to ban homeless ehcampments.

The City of LA is faced with both keeping the streets clean and safe and housing the homeless.  Los Angeles has been exposed to several diseases as a result of encampments.

Councilman Mike Bonin was absent as was Rodriguez; otherwise, the motion to have the City Attorney  amend Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) Section 41.18 to conform to the 9th Circuit decision in the Martin v. Boise case passed unanimously.  It will be made as a motion before the City Council. The ordinance as proposed restricts homeless from certain areas, such as within within 500 feet of a park, school, or day care center plus more.  See report below.

It has been determined that the Martin Vs. Boise, Idaho case did not address where the homeless should or should not be able to sleep or whether they can financially afford a motel or apartment.   In the latter,  police are not equipped to determine such.

Sobel says will not pass court

Attorney Carol Sobel, the attorney who was the attorney for the Jones Settlement in Los Angeles, said the proposed ordinance would not make it past the Ninth Circuit.  The Jones Settlement would still be in effect allowing people to sleep during 9 pm to 6 am.

Ryavec says they did not address homeless in residential areas

Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, stated that “sleeping in close proximity to residences” was not addressed.  Examples of such were 7th Ave., Penmar Park, Thai Restaurant alley, Staples,  Harrison and the infamous 4th Ave that one day had planters and the next day they did not because of obstructing the sidewalk, yet the following day it was totally impassable because of a pile of “stuff.”

The Martin vs. Boise decision will possibly be heard by the US Supreme Court.  The decision as to whether it will be even considered should come the latter part of this month.

What is your opinion?

Councilman Mike Bonin would like to know how you feel about the proposed ordinance.  It is suggested that Mitch O’Farrell and Nury Martinez be cc on all correspondence.  Emails are: Mike.Bonin@lacity.org; Mitch.O’Farrell@lacity.org; and Nury.Martinez@lacity.org.

The motion

REQUEST the City Attorney to draft an Ordinance, repealing the current version of LAMC Section 41.18 and replacing it with the language below:

(a) No person shall obstruct the public right of way in a manner that restricts ten feet of clearance from any operational and utilizable entrance, exit, driveway or loading dock.

(b) No person shall obstruct the public right of way in a manner that restricts passage as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

(c) No person shall obstruct the free passage of pedestrians in the public right-of-way by engaging in the following aggressive behavior:

(1) Approaching, following closely or speaking to a person in a manner that is intended to or is likely to cause a reasonable person to:

(i) Fear bodily harm to oneself or another, or damage to or loss of property.

(ii) Otherwise be intimidated into giving money or other thing of value.

(iii) Respond immediately with a violent reaction because of the inherent nature of the reasonably perceived harm.

(2) Intentionally touching or causing physical contact with another person without that person’s consent.

(3) Intentionally blocking or interfering with the safe or free passage of a pedestrian, including unreasonably causing a pedestrian to take evasive action to avoid physical contact.

(d) No person shall sit, lie or sleep in or upon any street, sidewalk, or other public right-of-way as follows:

(1) At any time in a manner that restricts ten feet of clearance from any utilizable and operational entrance, exit, driveway or loading dock.

(2) At any time in a manner that restricts passage as required by ADA

(3) At any time:

(i) Within 500 feet of a park.

(ii) Within 500 feet of a school.

(iii) Within 500 feet of a daycare center.

(iv) In or upon any tunnel, bridge or pedestrian subway that is on a route designated by City Council resolution as a school route.

(v) Within 500 feet of a facility opened after January 1, 2018 to provide housing, shelter, supportive services, safe parking, or storage to homeless persons.

(vi) Bike and other recreational paths.

(vii) Public areas (non-sidewalk) posted with No Trespass signs for safety purposes.

(viii) Public areas posted with closing times for safety and maintenance purposes.

(ix) Crowded public sidewalk areas like those exempted in the Citywide vending ordinance and other large venue-adjacent areas

Supreme Court Grants Extension for City of Boise Homeless Case to be Heard

(14 July 2019) This month the U.S. Supreme Court granted Theodore B. Olson and Theane Evangelis on behalf of the City of Boise an extension to ask the justices to take up the case of Martin vs. City of Boise, according to Sunday LA Times article. The petition to the U.S. Supreme Court is due 29 August with a decision from the court as to whether to hear the appeal expected no sooner than October.

Most are familiar with the Jones Settlement which allowed homeless to sleep on the sidewalks until a certain number of units were built in both downtown Los Angels and other other areas. Earlier this year the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard Martin vs. City of Boise that stated one cannot criminalize homeless if there is no shelter for them. The ruling effected nine states, one of which was California.

The LA Times article gives the history of these decisions and explains what has happened as a result. Los Angeles is caught in the middle of keeping the homeless comfortable and out of court and the city clean and free of disease.

New System for Homeless Camp Cleanups Approved by City Council Members

City Council members have agreed to overhaul the now existent system for cleaning up the encampment sites. The details are not clear at present but the system will change as follows:

1) The Bureau of Sanitation will assign crews to certain sites and keep them assigned to that site so all encampment members can become accustomed to the Sanitation crew members.

2) Sites will be more “scheduled” than occasioned by complaints.

3) Police will be present to protect the Bureau of Sanitation crew members. (This is under further review as prompted by groups such as Services Not Sweeps and LA Community Action Group.

4) More trash bins or cans will be available.

5) Mobile restrooms.

6) Sanitation must stop illegal dumping. Illegal dumping, it is claimed, amounts to 80 percent of the trash picked up. The City initiated a single provider garbage system that is considerably more costly than the previous system and it has been said that businesses are dumping their garbage at homeless sites.

Rick Swinger has reported and photographed many (crates) of food (old, throwaway) items dumped on 3rd Ave site and Ocean Front Walk. Many feel this is a humanitarian endeavor but it is not. Also 3rd Ave is next to Public Storage so many people put unwanted items on the street for pickup. Once this writer was talking with a couple on 3rd, left to talk with others, came back to original couple and found a roll of carpet next to them. Asked the couple how carpet got there and the couple replied that a guy in a truck stoped and dumped it.

Rick Swinger has mentioned that the abandonment of furniture of 3rd could be eliminated by Public Storage if they would put a bin for unwanted items on their property. But storage would not want to do that because what was precious and stored, becomes junk in six months. So Public Storage would have to pay for having to have the stuff picked up, Same price others who are dumping refuse to pay.

LA Times article.

Councilmembers Propose Penalty for Vacant Housing Units in LA

LOS ANGELES – In a bold step to confront one of the root causes of the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, City Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Paul Koretz and David Ryu today called for the city to begin penalizing landlords who keep habitable housing units empty while tens of thousands of Angelenos are forced to live on the streets because of the high cost of housing.

Legislation proposed at today’s council meeting instructs the Housing and Community Investment Department to work with the City Attorney to report to the council with options for creating a charge for landlords who keep housing units empty. In other jurisdictions where similar efforts have been implemented, not only have vacancy rates declined, but millions of dollars have been generated by the charges to help create new affordable housing.

“No bed in this city should be empty when people are being forced to sleep on pavement,” Bonin said. “Empty home penalties encourage landlords to keep people housed, and they help raise needed funds to create more affordable housing. This is an important tool for addressing one of the root causes of homelessness in LA, and it is a step we desperately need to take.”

“Working class Angelenos are struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads.” said Councilmember Marqueece Harris Dawson “With the latest homeless count numbers, we have to work harder to find as many solutions as possible to open up more housing units as well as funding for them.”

An estimated 111,810 housing units in the City of Los Angeles are vacant, according to Census data, and with the 2019 LAHSA Homeless Count showing an increase in homelessness despite housing more people than ever before, it is clear that the housing crisis and homelessness crisis are inexorably linked. Vacancy penalties already exist in cities like Oakland, Washington DC, and Vancouver, B.C., and voters San Francisco are likely to soon consider a similar measure.