Jamie Paige, Venice Current / SMDP Staff
The Los Angeles City Council has voted to move forward with a feasibility study on the possibility of housing homeless people at several parks and beach parking lots in Council District 11. Councilman Joe Buscaino voted against the motion saying the sites included in the study “are not feasible’’ for homeless housing.
Bonin’s motion instructs the City Administrative Officer to evaluate the feasibility of and identify funding for:
A temporary site for single-occupancy tiny homes or safe camping at the county-owned parking lot at Will Rogers State Beach, 17000 CA-1 in Pacific Palisades.
A temporary site for single-occupancy tiny homes, safe camping, or safe parking site at the county-owned Parking Lot #3 at Dockweiler Beach, 11999 Vista Del Mar in Playa del Rey.
A temporary site specifically for RV safe parking located at the county-owned RV park at Dockweiler Beach, 12001 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293.
A temporary site for single-occupancy tiny homes or safe camping site at the county-owned parking lot at Lot 2, 13477 Fiji Way in Marina Del Rey.
The motion also instructs the Department of Recreation and Parks to evaluate the feasibility of identifying portions of Mar Vista Park and Westchester Park for safe camping programs, while having the rest of the parks remain open for public use. It also instructs Los Angeles World Airports to work with the City Administrative Officer to identify and fund an airport-owned site for safe camping, safe parking or tiny homes.
The Westchester Playa Neighborhood Council, Mar Vista Neighborhood Council, Brentwood Community Council, and the Pacific Palisades Residential Association voiced opposition to the study.
“I am here today to express the outrage and concern for those who have been negatively impacted by the homeless. Our neighborhood council supported Bonin’s safe parking not once but twice. While just a study, Bonin intends to use as many public spaces as possible without the proper security resources and sanitation. One only has to look at Venice and see the crisis to know what will happen here,” said Paula Gerez, president of the Westchester Playa Neighborhood Council.
Gerez also stated that broken promises were made to Venice residents when opening the bridge home located on Sunset Avenue. “They were promised that the area would be cleaned and maintained and that it would not become a magnet. The opposite is true.”
Those who spoke in favor of the study said Bonin’s motion is not enough and that more needs to be done in all districts. “In CD11 a lot of usable land is in parking spaces. They [the parking lots] are underutilized properties other than maybe three months out of the year. Maybe it’s going to create a hardship for some, but not for all. As we all know this is a homelessness crisis and we all have to suffer some consequences. And maybe fewer people get beach parking. I am really sorry about that, but we have to start somewhere,” said Venice resident Lisa Redmond.
City Council President Nury Martinez noted that her office received more than 500 calls and on Tuesday alone.
Although he voted in favor of the motion, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who received pushback for the Echo Park clearing and cleaning, noted concerns about Los Angeles being a “park-poor” city and the possibility of Bonin’s proposal exacerbating that problem. O’Farrell also pointed out that an overwhelming majority of the “poorer population” use the beach to escape. “This is their only respite from city life,” he noted. “We have to consider these sites and parks moving forward.”
Buscaino said the proposal raises concerns about public access to beaches and parks, along with public safety issues. “I’m very concerned that this proposal will impact access to recreational spaces across this city,” Buscaino said. “The city needs to balance the needs of our unhoused residents with the needs of the housed. Parks and beaches must not be sacrificed for the needs of the few at the expense of the many.”
In response to Busciano’s objection, Bonin told Buscaino that if he “has some extra sites in his district for people who are currently unhoused in my district, I would be happy to look at those as a substitute for those that I have proposed.”
This story was published in partnership with the Venice Current.