web analytics

Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

San Clemente Does Simple Homeless Shelter with Tents and Passes Litmus Test of Ninth Circuit

What are other cities doing to provide shelter for the homeless? Here is a synopsis of what San Clemente has done … and it has passed the litmus test of going to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rather than building a homeless shelter or purchasing pallet shelters and installing them at a location near parks, schools, residences, restaurants, or other businesses, San Clemente provided a small parcel of City property in an industrial area.

They then enacted an ordinance, and issued an emergency declaration, This required all camping to occur at that site. They asked for reasonable requirements, such as registration and check-in protocols, prohibitions on weapons, drugs, alcohol, dangerous tools, fires, or loud music, quiet time enforced from 10pm to 7am. San Clemente later required proof of residency as well.  City provided basic tents and portable toilets but no electrical hookups.

People experiencing homelessness and their advocacy groups sued San Clemente. The judge determined that San Clemente’s conduct complied with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Martin v. City of Boise decision, and dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice.  Last month, the plaintiffs in that case abandoned their appeal to the Ninth Circuit, thus acknowledging that their legal challenge to San Clemente’s solution lacked merit.

The following links contain the San Clemente Ordinance and the Emergency Declaration.



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

What does the Jones Settlement, Ninth Circuit (Boise case) Decision Have to Do With LA Homeless?

The Jones Settlement, the Ninth Circuit court decision have been bantered around a lot and people are curious about these two in relation to the Los Angeles homeless situation. Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association recently wrote the following to Venice United group in reply to an inaccurate statement. It seems worth printing to help readers get clarification on these two subjects.

I will say again:

The Jones Settlement is a dead issue. The city built the 1250 units of permanent supportive housing required by Jones and even the Mayor declared last year that the settlement was satisfied.

The Boise, Idaho Martin decision does not apply to Los Angeles. This is from our attorney’s letter to Bonin, Garcetti, and Moore of November 2, 2018:

In their argument for enforcement (of LAMC 41.18) only near Bridge Housing facilities, Chief Moore, Mayor Garcetti and other Bridge Housing proponents have cited to a recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Martin v. Boise (Case No. No. 15-35845). However, that case holds, at most, that shelter beds must be available somewhere in the City before an ordinance like section 41.18(d) can be enforced.

In Martin, the City of Boise had a program in which the three homeless shelters in the city each self-reported to the city whether they were full each day. If they weren’t, the police were free to issue citations to people sleeping on public property. A group of homeless persons sued the city, contending that even though one of the shelters had routinely reported that it had free beds, in fact these beds were not available to some offenders, either because of restrictions on length of stay, limited check-in times, or a requirement to participate in religious programs. Under these circumstances, the court noted that there was evidence that despite the self-reporting of the shelters, shelter beds were not actually available to violators. On that basis the court denied the city’s request to dismiss the case and allowed it to proceed.

The City of Boise is approximately 9 miles by 9 miles in size, making up over 82 square miles. The average low temperature in December and January is 23 degrees. Yet the Martin court said nothing about the distance between the homeless persons to be cited and the available shelter beds; much less did it set any minimum requirement for that distance. Nor did the court even imply that the city was obligated to offer an actual shelter bed to a violator, or to transport the violator to a shelter, as a precondition of issuing a citation. Instead, the court merely found that in order to cite an offender, a shelter bed must be available somewhere in the city.

In sum, the City of Los Angeles is basing its Bridge Housing siting practices upon a myth – namely, that the Jones Settlement, and/or the Martin decision, requires that shelter beds must be in close proximity to the violator in order to allow enforcement of section 41.18(d).

In fact, there is nothing in the Jones Settlement or the Martin decision that precludes the City from pursuing the model favored by VSA, in which police officers themselves (or social workers working in tandem with them) make credible, documented offers of housing and transportation, and then, when such offers are rejected, proceed to enforce section 41.18(d).

The Mayor, Councilman Bonin and the ACLU have been mischaraterizing the Martin decision to support their ideological position favoring no enforcement of ordinances (41.18 and 56.11) that indeed allow the LAPD and Sanitation to break up encampments.

Finally, we have yet to see City Attorney Feuer definitely state whether there is anything new in the Martin decision from the earlier take-away from Jones: to enforce 41.18 at night and avoid another Jones-like lawsuit there must be a credible offer of a shelter bed. But I have been saying this for over five years. And nothing in Jones or Martin restricts enforcing 41.18 from 6 am to 9 pm, so I would again call upon the LAPD, in instances where campers are living within 300 feet of residences, to wake them all up at 6 am, double back at 6:30 am, and if they have not moved on, cite them and then the next day if they are still sitting on the sidewalk after 6 am, arrest them, and after a few arrests, apply for a stay away order. I appreciate that this process is labor intensive, but life is hell otherwise for residents when these encampments are just a few feet away.

Ninth Circuit Refuses to Re-Hear Martin Vs. City of Boise, Idaho

These are the states affected by the Ninth Circuit Court decision.

The Ninth Circuit Court, 1 April, refused to re-hear the Martin- suit against the City of Boise, Idaho. The Ninth Circuit thus continues to say that prosecuting people for sleeping on the streets if they have nowhere else to go is cruel and unusual punishment, a violation of the 8th Amendment of the US Constitution.

The city had asked for an “en banc” re-hearing, which would have meant a larger panel of judges than the usual three that are used in appeals.

The City of Boise released the following statement:

Todayʼs ruling does not mean the city ordinances are (unconstitutional), it simply has the effect of forcing the matter to be litigated further. Therefore, the cityʼs camping and disorderly conduct ordinances remain in effect until further clarification can be obtained from the courts; the ruling will not cause us to change our procedures.

Los Angeles has the Jones Settlement. Mayor Eric Garcetti stated: Los Angeles has a 50-year-old law banning sidewalk sleeping but has not enforced it in recent years due to a 2007 settlement with the ACLU. Last year Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would start to enforce the ban again but only near one of 15 new emergency shelters.