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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Camping Restrictions on Venice Beach to be Lifted

All camping restrictions of LAMC 63.44 from the Ocean to and including the Venice Boardwalk will not be enforced by the LAPD, according to Venice Field Deputy Nisa Kove.

This goes along with the City’s agreement ban on no enforcement of the LAMC 41.18, which has similar restrictions for Los Angeles. Apparently, the latter is voluntary by district and one councilman is not enforcing it in his district.

Meanwhile, Kove announced that the Venice Bridge Housing had 88 occupants in the adult section and 43 in the youth section. The full capacity should be 100/54. Based on the Ninth Circuit Court decision of an available bed for people on the street, one asks of the City where does enforcement stand?

“The law is being misapplied as it has been from the start,” according to one Fight Back Venice reader. “No legal reason 41.18 cannot be enforced — like most laws — on a person by person basis in Venice against anyone who is offered but refuses to take Bridge Home beds.”

US District Court Judge David O. Carter has an alliance that is removing homeless from the freeway areas for a start so enforcement of the City laws can start somewhere.

It all becomes confusing for both the homeless and residents. All parking restriction enforcement has been removed also until 1 October.

LAPD given directive not to enforce ‘no camping law’ on beach for now

Westside Neighborhood Councils Follows Venice to Amend 41.18

The LAMC 41.18 people’s petition motion to amend sidewalk camping rules is gathering momentum since it was passed by the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) at the February meet.

The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) got together the day after the VNC vote. City Attorney Mike Feuer who wrote the original 41.18 change was there and discussed the VNC having passed this motion with several of the attendees.

One member of the Pacific Palisades council took a formal position to ask that all neighborhood councils place this motion on their agenda and to vote to pass this motion. City Attorney Feuer urged them to do so.

He said that if 2/3 of the neighborhood councils from CD 11, and CD 5 pass this motion then it becomes an official position of Westside Regional Alliance of Councils.

Since the VNC passed our motion, our next step is to urge our Mayor, City Councilman Mike Bonin, City Attorney Feuer, and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s field deputy, Ami Fields-Meyer, to support the 41.18 amendments.

Below is a sample letter to send, along with their email addresses in support.

Dear Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, Councilmember Mike Bonin, and Field Deputy Ami-Fields-Meyer:

I urge you to pass the attached O’Farrell/VNC Motion to protect students, residents, and disabled persons from the burdens of homeless encampments.

This Motion was initially requested by Councilman O’Farrell and drafted by the City Attorney under a proviso in the Martin decision that states:

“Nor do we suggest that a jurisdiction with insufficient shelter can never criminalize the act of sleeping outside. Even where shelter is unavailable, an ordinance prohibiting sitting, lying, or sleeping outside at particular times or in particular locations might well be constitutionally permissible. See Jones, 444 F.3d at 1123. So, too, might an ordinance barring the obstruction of public rights of way or the erection of certain structures.”

The Venice Neighborhood Council has amended the original O’Farrell Motion, which provides buffer zones for parks, schools, child care centers and homeless shelters and housing, to add 150 foot setbacks for residences, slightly greater setbacks from entrances/exits, and easier access for the disabled to sidewalks.

Something must be done for the safety of residents, the elderly, the handicapped, children, and pregnant women who are forced to walk into the busy and often dangerous streets because our sidewalks are made impassable due to homeless encampments.

Sincerely,

_____________
Name
District
Neighborhood

mike.feuer@lacity.org

mike.bonin@lacity.org

eric.garcett@lacity.org

ami.fields-meyer@lacity.org

Moms and kids forced into the street because of encampments


Two women with children facing encampment in the middle of the photo.  One is in the street and the other will have to enter to be able to pass.

By Sam Awad

(7 August 2019) Because of the lack of enforcement of 56.11 and the Jones Settlement, on a daily basis we are forced off the sidewalk and into the street facing traffic because transient encampments are blocking the whole sidewalk and not leaving more than 6 or 8 inches for anything else to pass, which is not ADA compliant.

Without these planters, you are putting children’s lives in danger again, and this post will go on the record in the unfortunate case of injury due to unsafe passage on a Venice sidewalk.

Please stop ignoring the safety of Venice residents and allow neighborhood beautification projects and enforce 56.11,  the Jones Settlement, and the Federal ADA law as written.

I am at a loss for words on what is happening in this city. What is wrong with this picture other than everything.

Frustrated Venice Resident

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.

Legal Issues Cloud the Cleanup of the Homeless Encampments at El Pueblo and Venice

Carol Sobel, civil rights attorney and resident of Santa Monica, “filed a federal law suit asking the court to intervene in camp cleanups in Venice.”

“The lawsuit followed a letter from attorneys with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles warning of the ‘serious constitutional questions’ with the special zone enforcement,” according to LA Times article.

The LA Times article.

One of the questions posed by Venetians at the Town Hall was “How would the Mayor cleanup encampments after a Bridge Housing system is implemented in light of the letter sent to him by the Legal Aid Foundation. What would this mean to Venice. Would Venice have even more homeless.

Now Sobel is upset with the way Venice does the cleanup of encampments in Venice.

Garcetti to drop Jones Settlement with caution

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The news of Mayor Eric Garcetti dropping the Jones Settlement and enforcing LAMC 41.18 spread like wildfire in the Venice Community Friday followed by Saturday’s  LA Times story with the Mayor stating that the building requirements for Jones had been met.

The Mayor did say this would be handled with caution and people would not be ticketed if there wasn’t some form of shelter available.  Implementation specifics are not known yet.  

The Jones Settlement  is an agreement the City made with the ACLU and others representing the homeless of LA.  It is basically a deviation from LAMC 41.18 that states 

LAMC 41.18. No person shall stand in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public way open for pedestrian travel or otherwise occupy any portion thereof in such a manner as to annoy or molest any pedestrian thereon or so as to obstruct or unreasonably interfere with the free passage of pedestrians.

Jones Settlement. The Jones Settlement allows people to sleep, loiter on the sidewalk except between the hours of 6 am and 9 pm.  The Jones settlement came about because there wasn’t sufficient housing.  The City off LA has met the requirement of 1250 units with 50 percent in Skid Row.  See Jones Settlement.

Regina Weller, executive director of the LAPD Homeless Task Force, checked in immediately with a positive note  stating “GREAT NEWS: A lift of the suspension would relieve the influx of people from other states coming into California, maybe persuade some people to go into the open doors of rehab, possibly prompt more to consider returning home to their families, reduce the amount of residential crime, and certainly reduce the amount of homeless-on-homeless crime, including rapes, and drug overdoses.”

Regina, who has been helping the homeless for years along with her husband Pastor Steve Weller, made the statement years ago that 90 percent of the homeless in Venice were transient and 75 percent were addicted.  Former LAPD captain Nicole Alberka had similar statistics.

George Francisco, president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce and vice-president of the Venice Neighborhood Council, said “We are happy to see that the city has taken steps to provide the mandated housing required under the Settlement. And while our hope is that the current announcement enhances safety and cleanliness on our streets, we will continue to support policies that increase the ability to provide housing for everyone.”

Will Hawkins, chair of the Homeless Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council, had this to say: “This is a long time coming and a step in the right direction. If Mayor Garcetti’s Bridge Housing plan is going to have a chance to succeed in reducing homelessness this is the kind of enforcement that needs to be implemented. And that can’t be done as long as the Jones Settlement is in place.

“Ultimately, I believe we need an equal balance of services, housing and enforcement if we ever want to overcome this crisis. Its encouraging to me that the mayor is finally showing that he’s really serious about doing that.”

Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, has advocated for some time that the Jones Settlement should be removed.