After reporting on an early morning fire in Temescal Gateway Park on November 1, which Station 69 Firefighters rapidly put out, LAFD Captain Robert Bates expressed concern about the homeless that are living here in the very high fire severity zone (wildlife brush interface).
There were two homeless fires within 48 hours in Pacific Palisades last week and firefighters said that fortunate weather conditions prevented the fires from becoming full-blown and a threat to residents.
John “Rusty” Redican, the LAPD officer who has been in charge of the Will Rogers Beach Patrol with Officer Jimmy Soliman, has been out for the past month.
He returned this week and Circling the News found him in Temescal Park early Thursday morning with an officer from a private security company. (I was looking for the barn owl, spotted last week, when I came across Redican.)
The officer knows the nooks and crannies of the area and was inspecting areas that might have gone unchecked the past month.
He had just located “Irving,” a transient who has been fond of living in the park in the past, and had spoken to him.
“I gave him a bottle of water and he told me he would never start a fire,” Redican said. “He said he would like services, so I’ll have Glanda stop by and see him later.”
Glanda Sherman is one of the two social workers hired by the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness. This nonprofit sponsors these two social workers, who in conjunction with the LAPD Beach Patrol (two officers), speak to all who are homeless and offer them services.
Unfortunately, because of City budget cuts, the Beach Patrol is in jeopardy.
On June 5, the Pacific Palisades Community Council sent a letter to Councilman Mike Bonin asking him to protect the police and fire resources allocated here.
On October 21, the PPCC sent a letter to L.A. City Mayor Eric Garcetti and Bonin, urging that the beach patrol stay here. (The patrol serves as an important police presence in Pacific Palisades, which is geographically isolated from the rest of Los Angeles.)
“Without robust enforcement by the LAPD Beach Detail, the volunteers of PPTFH will be hard-pressed to be effective in encouraging homeless people to take the offer of services and a transition into housing,” the PPCC executive committee wrote.
California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom also wrote to Garcetti and Bonin in favor of keeping the beach patrol here. “The exceptional work of the PPTFH would be greatly diminished without the partnership of the Palisades Beach Detail,” he said. “The Palisades Beach Detail also works to prevent fires in the bluffs and hillsides.”
Bonin, along with the rest of the City Council, voted to cut the police department budget, according to a July The Hill story (“L.A. City Council Votes to Slash Police Budget by $150 Million in Response to Protest”).
According to a L.A.Times story (“Los Angeles Cuts LAPD Spending, Taking Police Staffing to Its Lowest Level in 12 years”) the City Council voted 12-to 2 to bring the LAPD workforce down to 9,757 officers by next summer. The last time that level of police staffing was seen in the city was 2008.
Bonin responded to PPCC on October 27: “Like you, I fully support the beach detail, and support regular LAPD presence for Pacific Palisades. I agree the beach detail has been a great asset for the community. I will continue to advocate on behalf of the detail and Pacific Palisades with Police Chief Michel Moore and with other LAPD officials who make the decisions regarding deployment of LAPD personnel.”
Bonin then blamed the police department in his letter for the possibility of losing the Beach Patrol. “I have consistently called upon the police union to defer raises and bonuses until the economy and the city’s fiscal health improve. They have refused to do so, and as a result, even as the department’s budget stayed relatively the same, to pay for those raises, LAPD has not been filling vacancies, and patrol hours have suffered. . . . . That’s why I was shocked and disappointed when the union aggressively lobbied this year for a proposed budget that would have cut City services and would have slashed neighborhood patrol by 220,000 hours. Pacific Palisades and LA’s neighborhoods deserve better than that.”