Councilman Bonin’s Effort to Allow “Housing” for the Homeless at Will Rogers Beach 

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Councilman Mike Bonin is proposing putting little houses for the homeless in the Will Rogers State Beach Parking lot. The lots during the summer are packed with visitors.

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 Mike Bonin

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). 

 

This entry was posted in Community, Councilman Mike Bonin, Homelessness. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Councilman Bonin’s Effort to Allow “Housing” for the Homeless at Will Rogers Beach 

  1. Stefanie Cho says:

    Thank you for this insightful and comprehensive article about Mike Bonin and the disaster that he is creating……

  2. Cassandra Riera says:

    Bonin is essentially creating open air ‘asylums’ that are cruel. https://www.city-journal.org/olympia-washington-mental-hospitals

  3. JT Knap says:

    Please don’t turn our beautiful, clean, family friendly beaches into Venice Beach! This is so upsetting.

  4. Benjamin Leeds says:

    Well stated. We need to bring up Los Angeles. We don’t need a Ghetto Los Angeles. At our most famous locations. By the way, it costs $60,000 for a home trailer. They are separate and you avoid safety issues with sharing a common wall in an Apartment Building. Like fires, and maintenance issues. We have vast swath of land by the railroad tracks Downtown and East Los Angeles that would not affect Home Values and prevent a tax payer revolt.

  5. Ron Levin says:

    Guess who’s not voting for Bonin next election. Why doesn’t he propose a bill that would make it mandatory that each resident must take in a homeless person as a free boarder?
    Granted, this is a tragic situation, but turning our beaches into homeless communities is not a rational answer.

  6. Grant Loucks says:

    RE call Bonin

  7. Karen Howard says:

    Infuriating… every bit of it !

  8. Brenda Weiss says:

    Is there any centralized opposition, powerful enough to stop the madness?
    It is flowing in all their actions from our elected officials. And we, who pay their salaries and fat benefits, are helpless.

  9. Brenda Weiss says:

    Is there any centralized opposition, powerful enough to stop the madness?
    It is pouring out by all their actions from our elected officials. And we, who pay their salaries and fat benefits, are helpless.

  10. Roberta Kenney says:

    Mike Bonin is trying to house people in need and provide appropriate services. Bringing the unhoused to the beach temporarily is a good idea. When folks are dug into the hillsides and living along creek beds, it’s hard to reach them. Housing them someplace where sanitation, security, healthcare and transportation makes a lot of sense to me. It won’t be forever. Of course we want visitors and hard-working families to continue to use the beaches, but there’s a need for short-term solutions along with the goals that will take longer to achieve.

  11. GP says:

    Is this an April Fools joke???

  12. Ben Sherman says:

    “Please don’t turn our beautiful beaches into Venice Beach” LOL. They coming for you Palisades… Mike BOnin and his homeless, progressive brigade, right up the hill into your neighborhood. GET READY!

  13. Tom S Creed says:

    This article is well done. We all know there is a homeless issue in LA; it is in-humane how the homeless are living. At the VA on the West-side initially it was great to see the vets housed in tents and organized. Now after driving by for months it too seems troubling; over populated, hard to control.

    Pacific Palisades is having great success with placing homeless in homes; yes Ruby, Timmy are/were exceptions. PPTFH (Pacific Palisades Taskforce for Homeless) worked with Service groups, Police, citizens to database all homeless work to gain trust for each person and work to move them into housing. PPTFH have worked to educate the community.

    Does anyone have a solution?

  14. Beverley Auerbach says:

    It’s a good point to make different accommodations for people who are homeless for different reasons. People who are potentially a threat to others, either because of pan handling, drug use or untreated mental illness, should be placed where they can be helped and not where their encampments will create blight. People who are going through a bad patch because of job loss, domestic violence, etc. should be placed separately, and perhaps dispersed through communities, where they will be safe and not stigmatized. This is where qualified and sympathetic social workers should step in. Everyone should be eligible for dignified and safe surroundings where they can receive the help they need to rejoin society, but it strikes me that placing people on the beach, particularly ‘remote’ beaches like Will Rogers that are far from services like grocery stores, counseling, etc. is not the best decision. It won’t make the homeless problem go away. plus beaches and public parks should be available to everyone, not turned into venues that are perceived as dangerous. Let’s not create more problems than we solve.

  15. Sue says:

    Roberta,

    I urge you to get involved with the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness. Two social workers (who are funded by local organizations) and volunteers comb the hillsides in Pacific Palisades to work with the homeless. The success rate of housing people/providing services is high. What they do works–what Bonin is proposing has not been shown to work anywhere.

    Additionally, the beaches and parking lots here have been packed–all of those hardworking families, who live inland and who take a weekend visit to the beach shouldn’t have to worry about their kids stepping on needles. Read what’s happened in Venice–I have several stories on the website–and there’s another website (venicecurrent.com) that has been chronicling stories that impact Venice.

    Sue

  16. Bryan Ney says:

    Agree- Will Rogers beach is an absurd solution.

  17. Judi Jensen says:

    This is a disaster. It can’t happen. What he is proposing will not work and it will SMASH our Palisades and Canyon community. There are other reliable and kind ways to help homeless people. Thanks for getting the word out. We are emailing Bonin.

  18. David says:

    We should get a resolution passed that requires all council members that have spare rooms in their homes (offices, dens, dining rooms, unused bedrooms, etc.) to immediately house a homeless person in each of those rooms. And all open space around their homes should be immediately occupied by tents for the homeless.

  19. CC says:

    I have emailed Bonin’s office several times about the mess on the sidewalk in front of the VA in West LA. No pedestrian access because the sidewalks are covered with tents, bicycles, barbecues, suitcases, boxes, trash, trash and more trash and now the lane closest to the sidewalk has parked cars in it! Why are they not towed? Never got a response from him or his staff. Vote him out!

  20. Diana Braun says:

    Not only should we do everything we can to prevent this plan from moving forward, we should also demand action from our leaders to reverse the damage done to Venice. This is no joke! Venice is a beautiful neighborhood. It’s people tried so hard to stop Bonin and his task force to allow people living on it’s sidewalks and along the beach/park. All this immediately next to his wonderful and useless bridge housing. He didn’t listen nor care about the concerns of Venice people! Same people spend thousands of dollars trying to stop it!! It’s a tragedy.
    Not only do we need to prevent the spread of this but also we shall demand repair!!

  21. call you out says:

    Odd I thought Will Rogers is where they play polo and the residents there didn’t mind when Venice was going down but god forbid it’s in THEIR backyard and ThEY will be affected. Maybe, this is finally gonna give some diversity to the area and to the people that walked past homeless for years and didn’t think twice. Until it’s at their doorstep. They will fight and raise their fists and lobby with greenback I’m sure to make sure this housing won’t happen. They will push it back down south to Venice.

  22. Sue says:

    Call You Out:

    This area would have been overrun if residents hadn’t formed the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness. Go to their website–pptfh.org. With the help of social workers, volunteers, LAPD, and private funding from churches/temples and nonprofits, it has made a difference.

    I’m not sure how many people here are aware of how awful Venice has become. After reporting on a L.A. Rec and Parks Commission meeting, Circling the News made a trip to Venice and reported on it:

    https://www.circlingthenews.com/residents-make-p…s-to-save-venice/

    The City is absolutely not dealing with people who have substance abuse issues or are mentally ill. Putting more and more of them in tents or little houses is not going to help, it will only turn the whole westside into a “Venice.”

    Bonin is also proposing taking parks away in Playa del Rey, Mar Vista and Westchester for homeless–its time all people on the Westside ban together and say “Enough.”

    Sue

  23. Fran B says:

    email Bonin’s office and object!

  24. Nancy Jorgensborg says:

    I have read of a petition to object to Bonin’s proposal on change.org. As far as you know is this legitimate? If it is I will contact everyone I know to ask them to sign this petition.

  25. Krishna Thangavelu says:

    Excellent analysis Sue.

    The Palisades Task Force does so well because they focus on law enforcement and rehabilitation. Homeless are offered two options: Connect to services offered or move on. Those should be the only two options.

    The city needs to address the needs of the drug addicted and the mentally ill …. not create asylums on sidewalks, parks, and beaches. How do we get some momentum under such an initiative? How do we hold elected officials accountable? Any ideas?

  26. James Murez says:

    The people in Venice have been living under the poor policies of Mr. Bonin for far to long, we need change and he is clueless what needs to be done to fix the problems he has created. His spending is only one example of poor judgement, proposing using the most exposed property to environmental conditions for people that have a hard time paying for food shows how our of touch he is. The beach is no place to get back on your feet, it is a nice place to visit when the weather is nice otherwise it is a very harsh place to live. But hay what do I know, I’m not a Harvard graduate who moved here from the East Coast to fix the westside of LA.

  27. Stephanie Macabee says:

    Mike Bonin and his partner Sean Arian bought a house in 2014 near Venice Blvd and Centinela. I wonder how they’d like a bunch of homeless squatting in their front yard?

  28. Paula H. Deats says:

    Hi, all – I could not be more devastated at the idea of this at WR State Beach parking lot. Lived in Palisades since birth, have spent more time on the beach than most of the sand there! I walk for several hours a week on the bike path or the wet sand. We are beyond fortunate to have a WORLD CLASS beach a couple of blocks away. (Find a beach in So. Cal equal to this one? You wont.) HOWEVER; WRBSP is a STATE property. We have nothing to say about this – and that’s a fact. Also, we are clearly practicing selfish NIMBY-ism: The “un-housed” in L.A. have to be housed. It’s everyone’s “terrible problem” – even, equally, the wealthy’s.

  29. Sue says:

    Paula,

    I wish people would stop repeating that this is an issue of NIMBYism. It is not. The homeless problem is not getting better. Where is all the money going that is targeted for the homeless? What are we doing wrong that the problem keeps growing? Something needs to change and it isn’t throwing up tents on the beach.

    Do me a favor. If you haven’t taken a walk on Ocean park in Venice, do it and then report back to me.

    Sue

  30. Eric Triplehorn says:

    I am a long time resident of Echo Park where this issue came to a head on March 24th. Over the past year the park was taken over by more than 200 tents and mountains of trash. The area became such a hazard to unhoused people and the community that it had to be closed to protect the public. Over 30 pounds of needles, 480 pounds of biohazard waste, and 43 tons of solid waste were removed. At least four deaths occurred in these encampments in a six month period. The lake water is polluted with human waste. All 209 people living at the lake were placed in four star hotels with meals, social services, and medical care among other provisions. This was a triumph for councilman Mitch O’Farrell and it is a success story that should be replicated at homeless encampments throughout the city, for the sake of saving lives and protecting the communities around these areas. Community activism and close ties with your local LAPD and councilperson’s office are essential for replicating this success story.

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