Ordinance 41.18 Misunderstood by Some Councilmembers

Ordinance 41.18 prohibits blocking public access to schools and libraries by homeless campers.

City Ordinance 41.18, which was passed in 2021 by the City Council is now coming under fire from Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky and incoming Council President Marqueece Harris Dawson, who do not understand its purpose.

This ordinance is not meant to reduce homelessness, but rather keep sidewalks accessible for children and seniors. No one should have to walk in traffic to access a daycare center because someone is sleeping on a sidewalk.

The Ordinance states: “Sitting, lying, or sleeping or storing, using, maintaining or placing personal property in the public right of that impedes passage as provided by Americans with Disabilities Act of 1999” can be challenged. If a site has been designated as 41.18, those blocking access can be asked to move.

The ordinance also made it illegal to block a loading dock or a building entrance or exit. The ordinance was meant to keep public right-of-way open in front of schools, preschools, public libraries and public parks.

Additionally, Councilmembers had to ask that signs be placed in their districts advising the homeless of 41.18. Not all Councilmembers requested that “sensitive areas” be maintained for the tax-paying public, seniors or children.

Yaroslavsky’s motion would require “credible” housing be offered to those in designated 41.18 locations before the ordinance could be enforced. It would also require a tracking system to streamline data of those homeless moved out of sensitive area.

“Expanding this ordinance without adequate support services merely disperses the problem, worsening homelessness in my district.” Yaroslavsky said.

Councilwoman Traci Park has been proactive in enforcing the ordinance. Her efforts mark a significant shift from her predecessor’s approach, leading to enhanced protective measures under LAMC 41.18.

“Before our administration, the Westside did not experience the full protective scope of 41.18 as it does now,” Park said upon designating her first sensitive sites. “Since enforcing these measures, 41.18 designations have been widely accepted by residents and have proven immensely effective in not only restoring access to our sensitive sites but also in moving hundreds of people indoors and preventing repopulation.”

The Westside Current reported that “Park’s efforts have received strong support from the Westside community. The backing was evident at a recent Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) meeting, where Nico Ruderman, a board member of the Venice Neighborhood Council, praised the ordinance’s effectiveness in improving local safety.

“Ruderman detailed troubling incidents near schools, stating, ‘Its aim is to create safe zones for the community; it’s about safety, not criminalizing those who are homeless.’ He underscored the significant role of 41.18 in protecting areas such as Venice’s Boardwalk and local schools, highlighting broad community support for the ordinance’s continued enforcement.”

Yaroslavsky’s motion will be considered by the Public Safety, Housing & Homelessness, and Public Works committees.

The Brentwood Community Council is suggesting that residents make their views known on Council File 21-00329-S5 by writing a letter to Public Safety, Housing & Homelessness and the Public Works committees.

BELOW ARE POSSIBLE TALKING POINTS FOR PUBLIC COMMENT LETTERS:

  • This motion shows a lack of understanding about what 41.18 is intended to do.  [ It states: “… individuals may end up repopulating the newly-created 41.18 zone, moving from one block to the next, or relocating into neighboring Council Districts. This approach is an ineffective use of City resources and is detrimental to our efforts to reduce street homelessness.”]
  • 41.18 is NOT an effort to reduce street homelessness.  41.18 is about protecting the public space for ALL constituents.
  • 41.18 is simply a tool for providing safe perimeters around sensitive locations such as schools, parks, day care centers, and senior facilities.
  • 41.18 protects ordinary hardworking people who need to use public facilities.
  • Our children and seniors are every bit as vulnerable as our unhoused neighbors and they deserve safe access to the places they need to go.
  • Keeping sidewalks accessible in areas where a child is walking, or a senior citizen is trying to maneuver a walker is basic public safety and common courtesy.
  • This motion makes 41.18 unnecessarily/unreasonably complicated.
  • Not really a “homelessness” policy, it applies to all obstruction of public right of way by any member of the public.

    The 41.18 ordinance is not a housing policy, but rather says sidewalks should stay open for public use.

This entry was posted in City, City Councilmember Park, County Supervisors, Homelessness. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Ordinance 41.18 Misunderstood by Some Councilmembers

  1. Krishna Thangavelu says:

    This is such a helpful article. Thank you for explaining the details.

    It occurs to me that even as our world has changed and become increasingly complex our elected politicians are correspondingly less educated in matters of municipal law, public policy and administration.

    We are very lucky to have a partner level municipal attorney in Traci Park serving CD-11 on the Los Angeles City Council. I would like to see the CVs of the rest of the Council. Would we have hired them to run a multi-billion dollar company with four million stakeholders based on their resumes?

    Clearly I am not the only person who needs to educated on 48.18. Apparently City Council does too. Now we just have to do that with every single matter that comes up in City Council, Board of Supervisors, and State legislature. Cover the fundamentals. And check comprehension.

  2. Mark Moss says:

    Thank you for explaining ordinance 41.18. Perhaps you need to explain it to the other members of the City Council. Do they not understand what our ordinances mean. Maybe Have the City attorney explain it to them. We need to have other ways to remove homeless from the streets and sidewalks. It is a problem that is destroying our cities. The other problem is crime. Need to repeal Prop 47 and not let the Governor try to go around repealing it with a poison pill legislation. Good luck on bringing Common sense to the City Council. Sincerely, Dr Mark Moss – Brentwood

  3. karen weiss says:

    Thank you for the explanation. I support the enforcement of she law keeping sidewalks free of people , personal items and trash so she public can walk freely.

  4. JOHN BAGINSKI says:

    City Ordinance 41.18, must remain unchanged and in force. A great common sense ordinance that will help LA has a tool for providing safe perimeters around sensitive locations such as schools, parks, day care centers, and senior facilities. Residents of Venice know the value it provides.

  5. Had huge Skid Row encampments next to me on both sides of overpass for years prior to and throughout the pandemic. And others were down the block and two blocks away. A real horror. Blocked sidewalks/fires set to portable toilets/tents/garbage and rats all over the place including in back of our property/drug addicts/mentally ill/broken down leaky trailers parked for months. And during (covid) nothing could be done. Until restrictions were lifted. Many people came and went from this location.

    Mitch O’Farrell our former council head in CD/13 voted for 41:18 that eventually cleared these areas. His staff who I knew mentioned that offers of shelter/beds were offered several times prior to removed. Some took it. Others didn’t.

    PRESENT: DSA Hugo Soto-Martinez/CD/13 who I didn’t vote for is against the ordinance. And will NOT enforce it. As he supports the right of folks to remain on the sidewalk even if beds are avail.

    Hugo would never have done what Mitch did if he was in charge then. We would still be surrounded by these encampments.

  6. Pat Morgan says:

    Keep fighting for enforcement of 41.18. This problem is definitely getting worse and there are more “goody goody” groups that are making the trash worse. They bring excess surplus food and other items. The homeless pick through these, grab what they want and throw the rest in the street.
    I keep seeing articles about the millions of dollars directed to building homeless shelters but have not been used. Tell Councilwoman Yaroslavsky about these. And use her efforts there.
    I was about to complain about Cotner Ave between Olympic and Santa Monica blvds. However I believe this might be the best solution. Make the whole street a homeless camp. It has restrooms, washing station and weekly mobile shower. The RVs are all over and “expanded”. Encourage others to go there.

  7. Peter zNott says:

    As camping needs to be banned near schools and parks and various sensitive areas, shouldn’t it also be banned the same distance from private homes on residential streets.

  8. Deborah La Franchi says:

    A big thank you to Councilmember Tracey Parks for these efforts. We certainly need many more tools to effectively deal with the homeless crisis. It is heartening that you are proving to be one of the most willing to objectively assess and utilize the available tools that actually do exist to help ensure our children and communities are safe AND that the decimation of our local commercial corridors due to blight and vacancies (from a range of factors) reverses. Please keep it up!

    Deborah La Franchi, Mar Vista Resident

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