City Councilmen Buscaino and Lee Seek an Anti-Camping Ordinance for Streets and Sidewalks

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The homeless encampments in Venice block pedestrian access to sidewalks.

The City of Los Angele has a camping ordinance that was suspended during the Covid pandemic, which prohibited tents during daytime hours, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

A stricter draft anti-camping ordinance went before the Homelessness and Poverty Committee on November 30, 2020, where it has languished.

Seven months later, on June 23, Councilmen Joe Buscaino and John Lee invoked Rule #54, which took the proposed ordinance from the Committee and moved it to a June 29 L.A. City Council meeting.

The ordinance would restrict people from lying, sleeping, sitting or placing tents and personal property on sidewalks 1) where it reduces the path of travel required by the American with Disabilities Act; 2) within 10 feet of an operational utilizable entrance, exit, driveway or loading dock; 3) within 500 feet of a facility that provides housing, shelter, supportive services, safe parking or storage to unhoused people; 4) within 500 feet of a designated freeway overpass, underpass, ramp, tunnel or pedestrian subway and 5) at all times and at all locations if a person has been offered shelter.

“With over half of all fires related to homelessness, completely blocked sidewalks, and a sharp increase in crime associated with street encampments, it is unconscionable for this City Council to adjourn for a month-long recess without considering this important ordinance that will restore rules and order to our shared public spaces,” said Councilmember Buscaino in a June 23 statement. “Public Safety is the core responsibility of local government, and we are failing to protect both the unhoused and the housed. Allowing unmitigated encampments on our streets and sidewalks is not compassionate, it’s reckless.

If adopted, the draft ordinance would go to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has 10 days to either approve or veto the measure. This law would align with that of other California cities, such as San Francisco, Berkeley, West Hollywood and Santa Monica.

Residents may share their feelings about the law by emailing the City Council and Garcetti and signing up to speak during public comment.

Rule #54 (below) was first adopted in Rules of the Los Angeles City Council AS, adopted on December 19, 1986, and amended in January 2019.

“A motion to withdraw a matter from a Committee shall be referred by the Presiding Officer to the Clerk for placement on the next agenda to be posted for a Council meeting. The motion to withdraw may then be adopted by majority vote after two weeks from the time the matter was originally referred to Committee, or by a two-thirds vote if the matter had been referred to Committee less than two weeks before Council action on the motion to withdraw. Adoption of the motion to withdraw places the matter before the Council. The motion to withdraw must have attached thereto a copy of the underlying matter being withdrawn. Unless such a motion to withdraw appears on the posted agenda for the meeting, the Council must, as a part of said action, determine by a two-thirds vote that pursuant to state law there is a need to take immediate action and that the need for action came to the attention of the City subsequent to the posting of the agenda.”

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2 Responses to City Councilmen Buscaino and Lee Seek an Anti-Camping Ordinance for Streets and Sidewalks

  1. Steph says:

    He should add school zones to the list as well.

  2. Paula H. Deats says:

    Thank you, Sue, for managing to always keep us up to speed on local government – which includes the whole City (and neighboring ones, I hope). The no-camping ordinances are a lightbulb! And couldn’t be fairer.

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