WRAC Board of Directors Passes Two Motions Relating to Camping in Public Spaces
By Dolores Quintana
The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils or the WRAC Board of Directors passed a motion that could eventually be voted on in fourteen community and neighborhood councils. The council seeks to force the LA city council to enforce the rules of the new anti-camping ordinance passed by the council and intended to end homeless settlements in various public spaces.
For the terms of the ordinance to be enforced, LA city council must vote to approve every action taken against any encampment or anyone violating the ordinance by resolution. After a resolution is passed, anti-camping signs can be posted and after 14 days the city can then impose fines to enforce compliance and as a punishment.
This new ordinance replaces the previous version of Municipal Code 41.18 and now prohibits “… sitting, lying down or sleeping, or storing, using, maintaining or placing personal property” of a manner that obstructs public use or access to public streets, sidewalks or other types of public structures or private property. There is a clause that also prevents the same with specific places related to the presence of children designated as sensitive use such as in “a school, daycare, public park or public library”.
This WRAC board motion attempts to pressure LA city council members who represent the areas WRAC represents – Mike Bonin, Paul Koretz, Nithya Raman and Mark Ridley-Thomas – to work with the councils neighborhood to identify areas that require enforcement of the ordinance, then present resolutions to city council as soon as possible to speed up enforcement of the ordinance on designated sites. The motion specifies, however, that offers of accommodation must first be made and refused by the inhabitants of the camps before the execution is carried out. Of the four city council members who represent the WRAC region, two of them were the only city council members to vote against the ordinance, Bonin and Raman.
Another motion that was passed by the WRAC board is a motion to support the proposed resolution written by City Council member Joe Buscaino and seconded by Paul Koretz that would ban campsites near all schools in the city of Los Angeles and that signs be posted near all schools. buildings, at the approved distance of 500 feet, to warn anyone attempting to camp there to stay away from school grounds. The resolution can be read here.
Both motions were drafted by WRAC Homelessness Committee (HOC) Chair Jay Handel and Vice Chair Chris Spitz. The motion is available for reading on Westside Councils.com. This motion was passed by the Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) and the PPCC sent a list of schools, daycares, public parks and libraries in their area to City Council member Mike Bonin asking him to write a resolution. for the City council members will vote to designate all of these sites as sensitive uses in order to enforce the ordinance. The letter was sent on September 12 and, so far, Mike Bonin has not responded.
WRAC Vice President Spitz was quoted by Westside Current.com as saying that “the burgeoning homeless settlements in the public right of way are THE current problem in Los Angeles. Protecting our children and supporting our schools are priorities for the vast majority of WRAC members with families. A swift follow-up by Bonin and other WRAC board members – to work with WRAC member boards and bring resolutions to LA city council to enable the ordinance to be enforced – would be consistent with these priorities. “