LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Signs an Injunction Criminalizing Homelessness, With Possible Fines Up to $1,000
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently signed a bill criminalizing homelessness in most parts of the city, a motion that has received as much fervent support from some as by others.
The law specifies certain times and locations where it is “unlawful for a person to sit, lie or sleep, or to store, use, maintain or place personal property on a public road.”
The ordinance, which comes into effect 30 days after last Thursday, makes it illegal to sit, lie, sleep or set up camps within 150 feet of “sensitive use” properties, including schools, parks, libraries, overpasses, underpasses, highway ramps, tunnels, bridges, pedestrian bridges, subways, car washes, dispersal areas and active railways.
The ordinance also makes it a crime to sit, lie, sleep or set up camps within 300 yards of or on a “street, sidewalk or other public right-of-way.”
Individuals who break the law will receive a subpoena from the city’s administrative citation enforcement program.
However, individuals who refuse to comply with or obstruct a city employee from enforcing the law will face a felony charge, jail time for up to six months in LA County Jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000, as set forth in Section 11 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently signed a bill criminalizing homelessness in most parts of the city
The law specifies certain times and locations where it is “unlawful for any person to sit, lie or sleep, or store, use, maintain or place personal property on a public road,” the ordinance reads.
Garcetti and other proponents of the law say the aim is not to punish homeless people, but to promote public safety and cleanliness.
“The homeless crisis has reached epic proportions throughout the city of Los Angeles,” the ordinance reads. “It is the city’s duty to keep its public pathways clean and available for public use, and to protect public health, safety and access for city participants.”
Garcetti signed the bill Thursday after a 13-2 vote in favor by the Los Angeles City Council.
The following night, about 50 protesters gathered outside Garcetti’s home, some leaving protest signs on the sidewalk and others vandalizing the exterior with toilet paper and graffiti.
Police in riot gear responded to the protest and cleared the area, but no arrests were made, according to Fox news.
According to the Greater LA Homeless Count, there were 66,433 homeless people on LA County streets in 2020, an increase of 12.7 percent from the previous year.
The night after Garcetti signed the law, about 50 protesters gathered outside his home
Some left protest signs on the sidewalk and others trashed the outside with toilet paper and graffiti
Police in riot gear responded to the protest and cleared the area, but no arrests were made
Over the past decade, Los Angeles County has seen the number of homeless people double from about 40,000 to about 80,000, according to the Los Angeles County Homeless Count.
Mike Bonnin, one of two city councilors who voted against the ordinance, said during the city council meeting on Wednesday: “There are far more people who want housing than we have enough resources for.
He added that the city only has enough shelters for 39 percent of the unhoused population, but “What about the other 61%?” Where can they go? Where can they sleep?’
Bonnin previously spoke out against the motion, giving a personal anecdote about his experience of homelessness, Spectrum News reports.
“Some of those nights I slept in the car, some nights, when my car was in the store, I slept on the beach,” he said.
“I can’t tell you how much turmoil there is in your heart when the sun goes down and you don’t know where to sleep. I can’t tell you how demoralizing and dehumanizing and destructive that experience is if you don’t know where you’re going to sleep.
“That’s what it boils down to for me… where can people go, where can people sleep if they don’t have an alternative.”
Ricci Sergienco, of the LA People’s City Council, spoke against the ordinance on Wednesday, saying it “basically says that poor people who simply exist will be criminalized.”
He added: “This law incorrectly portrays people without housing as a threat to children and the public. The lack of suitable housing is the real threat to public safety.
“I’ve been on the Venice promenade in the middle of the night for the past month and the police are taking people from 2 to 5 in the morning. How the city is handling the homelessness crisis is not appropriate. And if you all think you’re all doing well, take a good look in the mirror.’
Many took to Twitter to express their dismay at the new law. Yoonj Kim, an MTV News correspondent, tweeted: “So instead of responsible policy reform around affordable housing, zoning or even rent control, Los Angeles – the epicenter of the housing crisis – has officially criminalized sitting and sleeping outside. Context by @ananyaUCLA @BryantOdegaLA’
A left-leaning podcaster named Lefty-Desiree McLefty Face, Milkshake Whisperer, tweeted, “The Los Angeles City Council is just about banning homeless people rather than addressing the very real structural issues that cause them. The minimum wage should be around 30 per hour for starters. Tonight protesters will go to Garcetti’s house to raise the issue.’
But some residents were just as passionate about their support for the law. Sulman Mancus, who is on the board of a local condominium association, spoke out in favor of the motion, saying that when it comes to seeing dozens of homeless people camping out on public streets, “we all feel our hands tied to do something about it.” . ‘
“Kids feel unsafe, people feel unsafe in my building to walk around the neighborhood,” he added. “Previous speakers don’t speak for most Angelenos. We are a compassionate city, the city council members are also compassionate, but there has to be a balance between a full heart for people who don’t have a home and also a full heart for our community and our sense of neighborhood and safety.’
Councilor Paul Krekorian, who voted for the law, said: The independent earlier this month that the law does not make it illegal to be homeless. “It doesn’t make any behavior fundamental to human beings illegal,” he said.
“It does guarantee that we will repair walkable sidewalks. It protects the users of our public infrastructure and the non-residential residents of our city from interacting with cars, around loading bays, driveways, and so on. It guarantees access to our fire hydrants, entrances to buildings.’
A statement the mayor sent to The Independent describes the city’s attempt to balance public safety with the homeless crisis.
It says: ‘We don’t have to choose between keeping our public spaces clean and safe and connecting the homeless in Angelenos to the housing and services they so desperately need.
“We can and will do both, and I support the council’s action because it will help achieve that goal in a way that is humane, compassionate and responsive to the pressing needs of our communities.”
Meanwhile, the morning Garcetti signed into law, authorities cleared dozens of homeless camps on Venice Beach
The homeless camps have become a virtual tent city with violent crime and rampant drug use, driving tourists and families out
City workers began tearing down homeless camps along Venice Beach for the weekend of July 4 this year
Meanwhile, the morning Garcetti signed into law, authorities cleared dozens of homeless camps on Venice Beach, and camping has been banned in the area since last Friday.
The homeless camps have become a virtual tent city with violent crime and rampant drug use, driving tourists and families out. City workers began the process of tearing down homeless camps along Venice Beach ahead of the weekend of July 4 this year.
The move followed the discovery of a dead homeless man in his tent on the boardwalk, according to Fox News. And another homeless man was arrested in connection with the murder.
Fox News reported that in late May, Venice had a 132 percent increase in attacks involving a homeless person as a suspect and a 126 percent increase in cases where a homeless person was the victim.
Meanwhile, robberies involving a homeless victim increased by 1,100 percent, while robberies involving a homeless suspect increased by 160 percent.
The number of arrests for crimes has risen by 81 percent so far this year, the outlet reported.