The Pacific Palisades Community Council passed a motion at its June 9 meeting to approve a letter asking Councilman Mike Bonin to use discretionary funds to allow for additional police officers to the Palisades Beach Detail this summer.
The entire Pacific Palisades is in the Very High Fire Severity Zone, and transients camping in the brush in 2014, 2015 and 2016, started fires that threatened the community.
The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH) was started in 2016, and one of its first efforts was to have signs banning camping in the brush approved and placed.
Additionally, Los Angeles Police, known as the Beach Detail, started accompanying Palisades volunteers into hilly and brush-covered areas, because some of the transients who were there illegally, carried weapons.
This editor, working with now PPTFH co-president Sharon Kilbride, was threatened with a knife by a transient illegally camping in the brush. The Beach Detail responded immediately.
Now the Palisades Beach Detail has been dramatically reduced for the summer, from six to two police officers.
The letter noted that “PPTFH volunteers and outreach workers see increased evidence of severe mental illness and drug addiction among the PEH who are attracted to our beach, bluffs and canyons. Dangerous, violent conduct directed against volunteers and outreach workers by persons experiencing homelessness is becoming a frequent occurrence.”
In the summer, transients will also camp on the beach, which can provide problems for Junior Lifeguards and other beach and volleyball camps that are held for youth, who arrive in the early a.m.
The letter sent to Bonin asked for him to spend some of the CD 11 discretionary funding to fund overtime for additional officers to be assigned to the Beach Detail click here.
The PPCC said that Councilmember Paul Koretz had authorized the use of CD 5 discretionary funds for overtime for officers in Westwood and other area of the district and asked Bonin to do the same here.
Residents might remember that on May 18, Bonin cast the sole dissenting vote to approve the $11.8 billion budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which included an $87 million increase in the police department
In a May 18, Westside Current/City Services story (“Bonin Casts Sole Dissenting Vote to Approve city Budget Citing Increase in Police Funding”), Bonin was quoted.
“There’s something I think is troublingly ironic about protests against police violence, resulting in police violence, resulting in the police department getting more money,” Bonin said. “How do we grow so that our summer youth jobs program is 50,000 instead of 1,000 kids, how do we do it so the (Gang Reduction and Youth Development) Program is everywhere in the city or that the therapeutic vans … is everywhere instead of in five or six places?”
The Palisades News reported that Bonin denied the request. CTN had reached out to Bonin’s office, but had not received a response.
On June 16, Bonin’s spokesperson Naomi Goldman responded to CTN: “The budget for the Los Angeles Police Department is at a record high, dwarfing expenditures for everything else in the city. For the remainder of Councilmember Bonin’s time in office, he is focusing use of his discretionary dollars on efforts to address the homelessness crisis and on strategies to prevent homelessness. He is funding shared housing programs and organizations doing outreach and providing casework to unhoused individuals, and he is providing money to groups working to prevent homelessness and support people at risk of homelessness, such as tenants, foster youth, and survivors of domestic violence.”
Tomorrow look for a story on discretionary funding and some of the items Bonin has supported.