The City of L.A.’s Chief Administrative Officer recommended on Tuesday that 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.
“The majority of the sites are not feasible for homeless interventions, mainly due to infrastructure constraints,” the August 10 report stated, while also recommending against using part of the West LA Municipal Building for interim shelter or Westchester and Mar Vista Parks.
“The Marina del Rey and the Dockweiler State Beach RV Park sites are still under assessment, and the Los Angeles World Airports is communicating with the Federal Aviation Administration about the feasibility of using airport land for homeless interventions.”
In May, the City Council voted 13-1 to pursue a homeless feasibility study presented by Councilmen Mike Bonin and Mark Ridley-Thomas that would include placing homeless shelters on public spaces. At that hearing, Mitch O’Farrell noted that many people in Los Angeles can “only access these sites [beaches] by car. Shared public spaces are in short supply and sacred.”
Before voting, O’Farrell asked for clarification that this motion was strictly about the feasibility study and not in favor of the idea. He was assured that this was correct.
Councilman Joe Buscaino said, “I’ll save time — these sites are not feasible.”
Traci Park, who is running against Bonin in the 2022 Council District 11 race, said Tuesday, “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. 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.”
When the feasibility study was approved, there was a huge outpouring from residents in CD 11, who objected to Bonin’s proposal to take away public land from children and families. This idea stoked the recall efforts against Bonin.
After the CAO report was released, Bonin issued a long statement that said in part, “I will also ask that the City continue to explore the four sites that the CAO is assessing (the parking lot on Fiji Way, the vacant lot owned by Culver City, LAX and the RV Campground on Vista Del Mar at Dockweiler) and ask that any proposals undergo a public process to gain community feedback prior to consideration of approval. I won’t be asking the City to pursue the sites the CAO indicates are infeasible.
“I refuse to accept the status quo of encampments everywhere and people dying on our streets, and I will leave no stone unturned in searching for alternatives,” Bonin wrote. “I appreciate those who share that sentiment and supported conducting a feasibility study. One of my big takeaways of this report is that it underscores the drawbacks of emergency shelters and bolsters the argument that we need actual housing, with appropriate services.”
Park visited the Dockweiler RV lot and counted 56 RVs on Tuesday evening, after the report was released. “That number is easily double on the weekend, year round,” she 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 the 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.
In a July 23 letter from the Marina del Rey Lessees Association to County Supervisor Janice Hahn, the specific plan is cited, noting that the “current capacity of the launch ramp [also used by the Sheriff and Fire Department] shall be protected and ramp and support facilities shall not be combined with any other uses that would reduce the capacity of usability of the ramp.”
The letter noted that the Marina del Rey launch ramp is the only recreational boating public access to the water between Redondo Beach and Ventura. “It would be surely ironic, and contrary to the Coastal Act policies, if any portion of the launch ramp was removed from public access.”
A Palisades resident wrote CTN after the report was released that “The Bonin/Ridley-Thomas Motion engendered a lot of anger, hostility, and probably the Bonin recall petitions, but the motion surprisingly went nowhere. It would be most interesting to learn the real politics behind the CAO’s report.
“In the meantime, kudos to PPRA (Jessica Rogers) and PPCC (Chris Spitz) and Parks and Beaches4All (Annine Madok) for staying with the fight,” the resident wrote, referring to the Pacific Palisades Residents Association and the Pacific Palisades Community Council.