Jaime Paige, Special to the Daily Press

A report released Tuesday on the feasibility of housing homeless people in temporary cabins or camping sites in select Westside parks and beach parking lots — a suggestion that, in part,  stoked a recall effort against Councilman Mike Bonin — recommended against such operations at four proposed locations. 

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) recommended the city not pursue tiny homes or safe camping sites at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey, or at a privately owned lot at 5000 Beethoven Avenue in Del Rey. It also recommended against using part of the West LA Municipal Building for interim shelter.

Bonin requested the feasibility study of temporary housing in westside park and beach parking lots in a motion that was approved by the City Council on May 26.

“The taxpayers of Los Angeles spent $300,000 on a four-page study to conclude what we all knew all along: these locations were never feasible in the first place,” said Traci Park who is running against Bonin in the 2022 CD11 race.  “If Mike Bonin had bothered to engage with the local community before bringing this motion, we could have told him that our beaches and parks were not suitable.  He could have called over to Recreation and Parks and asked about revenue and usage.  But he didn’t ask, and he didn’t care.

After the study was released, Bonin said he will not push the city to pursue any of the sites deemed “infeasible” and will instead focus on four locations where the CAO’s report recommends further assessment which includes the Marina Del Rey boat launch ramp for a tiny home village or safe sleeping site, a vacant lot owned by Culver City for a joint homelessness intervention with Culver City and the city of Los Angeles and parcels at LAX for tiny home village or safe sleeping site or safe parking [which would require consultation with the Federal Aviation]. The CAO also recommended  an RV park at Dockweiler and  the RV lot at 12001 Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey, potentially for safe parking.

Park said she immediately visited the RV lot in Playa del Rey after the study was released [on a Tuesday night] and counted 56 RVs.  “That number is easily double on the weekend, year round” Park said. “ I stopped to chat with several families – they were all from out of town, enjoying a late summer vacation with friends and family.  They each pay $70 per night to park in the lot and hook their RVs up to water, sewage, and electrical outlets.  They’ve been coming here for years and consider this Dockweiler lot to be one of their favorite destinations.”

Park also noted that the parking lot in Marina del Rey is right at the boat access point, directly across the street from the Ballona Wetlands ecological preserve, and immediately adjacent to the restaurants, retail businesses, and marina water recreation sports in Fisherman’s Village.  “There are no services or public transportation.  I remain highly concerned about the adverse impact this will have on the small local businesses, and the employees and families who depend on them. “

   “To address our homelessness crisis, we can leave no stone unturned in the search for long-term housing, interim housing, or shelter,” Bonin said.

Bonin said that while the CAO recommended against pursuing tiny homes and safe camping sites at Westchester Park and Mar Vista Park, it did recommend pursuing funding and resources for “Encampment to Home” programs at those locations.

 “If the city adequately funds motel purchases or master leasing through Project Homekey, and if the city matches sufficient housing resources to Encampments to Homes, we can quickly bring thousands of people indoors, reducing the need for tiny homes and safe camping sites,” Bonin said. “That would be tremendous, tangible progress.”

   Bonin said Tuesday he wants the city to focus on long term housing solutions for people experiencing homelessness in the city, and he noted that the CAO’s report shows that short-term, interim housing is expensive, especially on the westside.

“One of the big take-aways of this report is that providing long-term housing — whether it is through rental subsidies, vouchers, master leasing or shared housing — is often faster and more fiscally prudent than many emergency interventions,” Bonin said.

“Even if Mr. Bonin pursues more Project Homekeys in the District, I can tell you from personal experience that he does not care where they are located, and he does not care about the safety of the host communities.  It won’t matter if they are next door to a preschool or a library or a nursing home.  He won’t listen to the concerns of the neighbors, even if their concerns are valid,” said Park.

This story is published in partnership with the Venice Current.