(Editor’s note: This is part two of three part series about the Ballona Wetlands.)
PHOTOGRAPHS by: LYNZIE FLYNN and CTN
The first Earth Day was held in 1970 and marks the birth of the modern environmental movement. Groups that had been fighting individually against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness and the extinction of wildlife united on Earth Day around these shared common values.
The Mayor has not been able to move the RVs that are illegally parked along the Ballona Wetlands because of fears of law suits. There is an idea that unless there is a place to move them, they cannot be asked to leave.
Councilman Mike Bonin in a July 2017 motion, passed by City Council in August of the same year, prohibited oversized vehicles, such as RVs from parking on Jefferson Boulevard “immediately adjacent to the Ballona Wetlands Freshwater Marsh” between 2 and 6 a.m.
“There is an increasing problem with oversized vehicles that are parked overnight on a segment of Jefferson Boulevard immediately adjacent to the Ballona Wetlands Freshwater marsh.” The motion asked the Department of Transportation to post signs giving notice of a “Tow away, no parking” restriction.
Those signs are ignored in Ballona.
Over the last four years of illegal camping, fires were common by the wetlands, including this one reported in February “LAFD arrived quickly to the scene of a reported vehicle fire adjacent to the Ballona Wetlands and discovered a burning motorhome parked on the road shoulder.
“During fire extinguishment, a lifeless adult male was discovered in the vehicle. Beyond medical help, he was determined deceased and remains at the scene. No other injuries reported.
“The cause of the fire is under active investigation and will be updated when there is more information.”
Residents and Friends of Ballona have repeatedly reached out to officials, including Councilwoman Traci Park, who has begged her fellow councilmembers to pass a resolution regarding RVs illegally camping in Los Angeles.
A bird watcher at the Ballona told CTN. “I personally have called the LAFD twice, but I know of many other fires there.
“They put their camp stoves next to the fence and trees/shrubs and these are the ones that even bother to use a camp stove,” she said. “I’ve also seen crude fire pits on the ground.”
The Playa resident told CTN, “What the mayor is missing is that we are allowing a multitude of illegal acts to continue, and putting the rights of those living on the streets and in RVs over the rights of tax paying citizens of Los Angeles.”
The resident said, she wasn’t alone in feeling like a second-class citizen, while the lawbreakers, the Ballona squatters have now been elevated to first-class citizens, who don’t pay taxes and don’t have to follow the laws.
“This is an incredibly expensive city to live in and we are continually forced to put up with crime, blight and degradation of all services,” the resident said. “Illegal fires, illegal parking, illegal entry and illegal destruction of property. This mayor will not get another vote from me.”