LA City Council Passes New Anti-Camping Measure to Restrict Homeless Camping

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LOS ANGELES, CA – (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

By Alan Vargas

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles will apparently move forward with the anti-camping ordinance as the city’s effort to put more pressure on the homeless population escalates.

 

As of July 1, Los Angeles City Council clamped down on the homeless encampments, forbidding people from pitching tents on specific sidewalks, parks, underpasses, overpasses, and bridges.

 

The measure, which outlawed sleeping and lying in public property, was verified and approved 13-2 by the Los Angeles City Council, and this has a potential impact on thousands of Angelenos.

 

This law would restrict and prevent individuals from sleeping, sitting, lying, and or blocking streets, bike lanes, sidewalks, schools, fire hydrants, libraries, amongst other places.

 

Some viewed the ordinance as a compassionate and tranquil way of getting people off the streets in an attempt at recovering public space and accessibility, with the city having the nation’s second-largest homeless population, second only to New York City.

 

In a city with 41,000 homeless people, insufficient shelters and beds for all unhoused is a problem argued and brought to attention by councilman ​​Mike Bonin, who voted against the measure.

 

Amplifying his objection to the law, Bonin later stated that the new measure did not consider the number of homeless people in Los Angeles, saying the city does not have tens of thousands of beds needed to provide for the homeless and not explaining where people could sleep, ultimately leaving many staggered and discombobulated.

 

Several activists who are part of the homeless population gathered in the steps of Los Angeles City hall downtown to object to the measure.

 

Among the protesters was Pete White, executive director for Los Angeles Community Action Network (LSCAN). This organization supports people in impoverished neighborhoods, opposing the ordinance and amplifying the criminalization of the homeless community.

 

Supporters of this law argued that the legislation would not lead to arrest or criminalization of the homeless community, stating an individual would only potentially face criminal and or misdemeanor sentencing if they refuse to comply with the new measure.

 

Under the ordinance approved, police would only get involved if there is a crime, and people who resist leaving would be fined rather than arrested.

 

Los Angeles city council member Mark Ridley Thomas, among the seven council members who supported and signed for the construction of the ordinance, said, “we are extending an array of resources to you so that you can take advantage, you do not in our view, and the context of an enlightened democratic society have a right to live on a park bench or the streets, the streets are cold, wet, hard and dangerous.”

If the ordinance is to be finalized and approved, the banning of living on the streets would not automatically be implemented everywhere in Los Angele.

For the ordinance requirements to apply instantly, the City Council needs to pass a resolution indicating the area in which they would want the prohibition to be implemented and post a warning sign that would inform people of the implementation.

These enforced areas could be proposed anywhere in Los Angeles and are not limited to overpasses, underpasses, bridges, tunnels, homeless shelters, schools, libraries, public parks, etc.

“Restore order to our streets while also uplifting and providing service to those in need,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, co-author of the ordinance. “I can’t think of any reason why we would not unite in support of what the people of Los Angeles want us to do.”

Krekorian later stated that the main objective of the ordinance is not to make homelessness illegal, “it does not criminalize homelessness.”

He argued the goal of the measure is to establish “passable sidewalks,” indicating that it would “protect the users of our public infrastructure and the unhoused residents of our city from being put into positions of iteration with automobiles, guaranteeing access to entrances to building and fire hydrants.”

Those in favor of the anti-camping ordinance and those who pushed the council to take quick actions to pass the ordinance were Nicole Mihalka, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Chair, who said, “The current homeless encampment situation on our streets is untenable for our businesses, our residents, and our children.”

“We cannot even begin to think about economic recovery and development if we do not correctly address this very critical issue,” Mihalka said.

President of the Hyde Park Organizational Partnership for Empowerment(HOPE), Assata Umoja, argued against the ordinance by saying, “people keep saying it’s a good start. It’s actually no start at all.”

The homeless “could be somebody in your family, everybody that’s out on the streets is not a criminal, victimizing and penalizing the homeless will not solve this problem,” she said.

According to two council members who opposed the ordinance, utilizing enforcement tactics would only exacerbate the homelessness crisis.

Criticizing the ordinance, Bonin disagreed with the approach that could lead to jail time if the unhoused do not cooperate. Instead, Bonin started his plan days after the new ordinance was put into effect. So far, 64 people have been moved indoors, and his plan promises to grant permanent housing for the homeless.

 

Bonin disclosed his own life experience in dealing with drug and alcohol addiction, revealing how he would couch surf in his 20’s and struggle living without a house. Bonin said, “I cannot describe how demoralizing and dehumanizing and defeating that experience is when you don’t know where you’re gonna sleep.”

 

Councilwoman Nithya Raman argued against the ordinance, noting in the end, “this will just push people around. It’s not going to solve homelessness or get anybody housing,” she said.

 

“It’s easy to say, ‘Let’s make it all disappear.’ But what will we be left with when we don’t ask the hard questions about how people on the streets will be asked to move and where they will go?”

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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15 thoughts on “LA City Council Passes New Anti-Camping Measure to Restrict Homeless Camping”

  1. Keith Olsen

    In a city with 41,000 homeless people, insufficient shelters and beds for all unhoused 

    And how is 1.8 million illegal immigrants seeping through Biden’s open borders this year adding to the problem now and into the future?

    1. Ron Glick

      “And how is 1.8 million illegal immigrants seeping through Biden’s open borders this year adding to the problem now and into the future?”

      I have no idea how these things are related. Do you?

      1. Keith Olsen

        It’s not difficult.  The article stated that “In a city with 41,000 homeless people, insufficient shelters and beds for all unhoused ” how is this ever going to alleviate when we have an untapped flow of illegal immigrants crossing our borders?

      2. Ron Oertel

        Though truth be told, I suspect that most illegal immigrants don’t end up homeless themselves (or “houseless” – if you prefer). It takes a certain amount of determination (or “success”, if you will) to make that trek.

        They do, however increase demand for housing and services/benefits.

        Seems like mostly “white” people who are homeless. And they congregate on some of the most expensive dirt (or sand) in the entire U.S.

        A certain amount of irony, in that.

        Keith’s video link is worth a look.

        1. Keith Olsen

          They do, however increase demand for housing and services/benefits.

          Exactly, 1.8 million more immigrants will be taking up housing this year alone.  In many cases taking away housing that could’ve been used to house our current homeless.  Do you notice that no one will touch this on this blog because they know we’re right.

          1. Don Shor

            Do you notice that no one will touch this on this blog because they know we’re right.

            Are you aware of the massive labor shortages in ag, ranching, landscaping, restaurant and hospitality industries?

        2. Ron Oertel

          Do you notice that no one will touch this on this blog because they know we’re right.

          When the development activists refer to a “nationwide housing shortage” (but ignore impact from illegal immigration), that’s absolutely true.

          Not sure how much it impacts any specific “local” area demand, though.  Especially within Davis. (Perhaps more indirectly.)

           

        3. Keith Olsen

          Are you aware of the massive labor shortages in ag, ranching, landscaping, restaurant and hospitality industries?

          Are you aware that the government is still paying people to stay home including covering their rent?  Would you wait tables if you made more money to stay home?

          1. Don Shor

            Pre-COVID:
            Number of farm workers needed annually: 2.4 million
            Number of H2A workers allowed: 250,000
            % of farm workers who are immigrants: 73%
            % of immigrant farm workers who are here legally: 50%

            The farm labor gap was arguably the single most pressing issue facing agriculture before COVID. The failure of immigration reform, stricter border enforcement, and reduced numbers of allowed workers in recent years made that substantially worse.
            There are thousands of people coming to our border who want to work here.
            If they’re willing to work, make them legal on a guest or permitted basis. Provide a path to citizenship. Make sure housing is provided near their work and near the schools and resources their families need.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Are you aware of the massive labor shortages in ag, ranching, landscaping, restaurant and hospitality industries?

          It’s possible that they’ll have to stop taking advantage of people.  🙂

          And yeah – if that means a $20 burrito, so be it.  (Burrito was picked as an example of a common take-out food item for anyone.)

          Or perhaps, $5 for a non-genetically engineered, non-rubber, RoundUp-free tomato.  (Actually, aren’t they having a special on those at the Co-Op?)  🙂

          Of course, you could grow your own, at $10/tomato (considering the price of residential water). Right up until the point that they outlaw backyards, if they haven’t already.

          But truth be told, I suspect there’s opportunities for both America and Mexico/South America to expand the guest worker program. Who knows, maybe some Americans will end up working in those countries, as well.

        5. Ron Oertel

          Are you aware of the massive labor shortages in ag, ranching, landscaping, restaurant and hospitality industries?

          I do have one other idea, though:

          All those homeless people need a job, don’t they?

          Never mind – they’re “Americans”.  🙂

  2. Alan Miller

    with the city having the nation’s second-largest homeless population, second only to New York City.

    I went to NYC twice not long before the pandemic.  NYC may have more homeless, but whatever they are doing, they are doing something better than Sactown, Berktown, Oaktown, SanFrantown, or LosAngeltown.  NYC is clean compared to CA.  I biked all over and rode the subway and went to Manhatten and Harlem.  Yes I saw homeless, there was a guy who shåt himself in a Starbucks, but not tent cities, not the open drug use in public areas, not the complete taking over of bike trails and parks.

    Good for LA, but how is LA getting away with this, when the Boise decision doesn’t let Davis police clear homeless unless there is a place to house all of them?

    “It’s easy to say, ‘Let’s make it all disappear.’ But what will we be left with when we don’t ask the hard questions about how people on the streets will be asked to move and where they will go?”

    How about IYBY?  In YOUR backyard . . . or your city park, our your sidewalk that you walk, or your bike path blocked by tents, or your business entrance blocked by ‘homeless’ belongings, Nithya Raman slash Mike Bonin.

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