On Wednesday, City Councilman Mike Bonin introduced a motion to allow single-occupancy tiny homes and safe camping/parking on the county-owned parking lot at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades. It was seconded by Mark Ridley-Thomas.
If the motion is eventually approved by the City Council, people who are homeless because of drugs, mental illness or economic bad breaks will have access to beachside property.
The Will Rogers parking lot is typically filled in the summer and holiday weekends with hard-working people, many of whom come from inland with their families to enjoy the sand and ocean.
CTN acknowledges the homeless crisis in Los Angeles, but as long as politicians continue to lump all homeless in one category and try to make tax-paying residents feel guilty because they are not living on the streets, nothing will change.
The saying “There but for the grace of God, go I,” coined by evangelical preacher John Bradford, is usually used to shame residents.
Generally speaking, there are three categories of people who find themselves living on the street:
1) Alcoholics and those with substance addiction.
2) Those who are mentally ill.
3) Those who have suffered economic setbacks, such as losing a job, and those who are domestic abuse victims.
If someone has a substance abuse problem, they should be required to go into detox. Living at the beach and panhandling for money or stealing from parked cars does not help them, nor is it fair to people living in Santa Monica Canyon.
If someone is mentally ill, the laws need to be changed so that these people can be committed. And yes, society needs mental institutions, again—however that looks.
Ruby, who has lived outdoors at the Palisades Branch Library for decades, should not be allowed to live like a feral cat. Her mental illness does not allow her to make a sane response to her situation.
Those people who have experienced domestic abuse and are living on the street with families – or the families that have fallen on hard economic times — need to be helped by social workers.
CTN has worked for years with the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness and I’ve learned that generally, people in the third category are more willing to accept services. The first two categories usually decline help.
Councilman Bonin’s actions have helped devalue real estate in Venice, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. He has worked to allow tent-to-tent homeless to live along Ocean Front Walk and on streets close to the beach. He has allowed tents to spring up in Westchester, near the airport, and along Venice Boulevard under the 405.
Now he wants tiny homes and safe camping/parking, not only at Will Rogers, but also Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey and Fisherman’s Village in Marina Del Rey. He wants a lease agreement for a temporary safe camping site at the privately-owned parcel at 5000 Beethoven Ave. in Del Rey; a site set up in Westchester Park; a site established in Mar Vista Park; and a site on an airport-owned property.
Many will remember Proposition HHH, coauthored by Bonin and Ridley-Thomas, which passed in 2016 and was designed to issue $1.2 billion in bonds to build 10,000 units of low-income housing.
In September 2020, City Controller Ron Galperin found that 228 total units were built in four years under Prop. HHH and that 60 percent of the expected units will exceed $500,000.
Who helped fund the passage of Prop. HHH? CTN has listed some of the players (below), who generally donated more than $15,000 to the campaign. This included homeless organizations such as P.A.T.H (People Assisting the Homeless), a nonprofit which contributed $15,000; Skid Row Housing, $10,000; Mercy Housing, Inc. ($20,000) and United Way of Greater Los Angeles ($148,857).
Architects, developers and real estate agents included Bridge Housing Corporation ($25,000); Committee to Expand the Middle Class, Supported by Airbnb ($100,000); Atlas Capital Group, LLC ($25,000); Robert Champion of Champion Real Estate ($25,000); California Community Foundation ($250,000); Jia Yuan, USA Col Inc. ($25,000); Kilroy Realty ($25,000); Thomas Safran & Associates ($10,000); Christopher Pak, owner Archeon Group ($25,000); Sun Hills Real Estate ($25,000); Omni Contracting, Inc. ($50,000); Scott Scott Minerd (Guggenheim Partners) $50,000); Mike McGinley, consultant SRO ($15,000); Related California Residential, LLC ($25,000); Related California Urban Housing ($25,000); The Related Companies LP ($25,000) and The Related Companies of California ($25,000);
Trades include: L.A./Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades ($25,000); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 18 ($25,000); Southern California Pipe Trades District Council #16 ($25,000); State Building and Construction Trades Council of California ($25,000); Members Voice of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California ($25,000); Planning Architecture Engineering Alliance, Inc. ($25,000); Think Long Committee (Berggruen Institute) ($50,000); Wells Fargo Bank ($25,000); and Coalition to Protect L.A. Neighborhoods and Jobs, a nonprofit team of businesses and labor organizations ($57,548).
Bonin’s committee, Los Angeles Forward, donated $26,587 and Ridley-Thomas’ Committee for a Better L.A. gave $100,000.
Los Angeles residents voted to fund Prop. HHH, which was intended to provide housing to end homelessness, but in four years has not accomplished its purpose.
Since the funds have been “frittered” and housing has not been built, Bonin, backed by Ridley-Thomas, is now proposing turning over portions of parks and beach parking lots to the homeless.
Bonin should rethink the homeless issue and stop lumping everyone into one group. About two-thirds of the people need more than housing — they need detox; they need mental illness help. This is where billions of dollars should be spent by city, county and state agencies.
(Editor’s note: The motion is on page 10 Bonin Motion).