Sidewalks Are Public Walkways

A man signs a Recall Bonin position on the sidewalk along Sunset Boulevard. Caruso employees told the young man, in green sunglasses,  it was a private sidewalk and he could not collect signatures there.  The sidewalk is a public thoroughfare and the employees were incorrect.

A young man gathering signatures for the “Recall Bonin” petition was accosted by Caruso security on the sidewalk along Sunset, near Erewhon, on August 24.

Two readers contacted Circling the News and said that “Caruso’s employees are claiming that the sidewalk on Sunset is private property. The Caruso suits and security are harassing him to leave.”

L.A. commercial property is zero-lot line, which means businesses don’t have a setback and the sidewalk is public property, including Swarthmore and Monument.

That means the sidewalks that are within or alongside Caruso’s Palisades Village are all public property and a person standing on a sidewalk, who is asking people if they would like to sign a petition, is absolutely allowed to do so. The only restriction would be a person blocking an entrance to a business, which this young man was not doing.

A Caruso spokesperson was contacted and asked why the young man was harassed. CTN had not received a response by post time, if we do, we’ll update the story.

Regarding public versus private space, this isn’t the first time that Caruso employees have had trouble distinguishing between the two areas. In 2019, the California Coastal Commission sent a 10-page letter to the managing director of Caruso’s Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel in Montecito, telling him  to discontinue the use of security guards and ropes that functioned to “discourage and restrict” public access along the waterfront there.

“The use of security guards on the beach effectively privatizes beach areas where the public has the right to be,” Coastal Commission’s Enforcement Officer Tina Segura wrote. “Further, ropes and posts have been placed on the beach and have remained on the beach on a consistent basis, which give the appearance that the entire beach is private. Public access is protected under the Coastal Act, and protecting such access is a high priority of the Commission.

“Providing hotel guests who can afford the $700+ per night room rates exclusive use of the beach that legally may be used by the general public is inconsistent with the environmental justice provisions of the Coastal Act,” Segura wrote.

Three people employed by Caruso told the man collecting signatures that he had to move. Legally, the he  was in his rights to stay and collect signatures on a public sidewalk. Interestingly enough, the Erewhon sign on the parkway is illegal according to the specific plan.

This entry was posted in businesses/stores, Community, Councilman Mike Bonin. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Sidewalks Are Public Walkways

  1. Annine Madok says:

    This is not surprising given that one of the things Caruso agreed to do was maintain as a public right of way the former alley between monument and Swarthmore as a condition to allowing unopposed his one way Swarthmore. The two way access lasted one day. The signs on Monument are there illegally and have never been challenged.

  2. Ron Vernon says:

    I wonder if that mean those “mask required in this area” sign they put on the sidewalks surrounding Caruso’s village that were being vigorously enforced by his suits and private security guards were also illegal? If so, then that was really creepy.

  3. BC says:

    This ongoing behavior is the single most significant reason (of many) that I can’t bring myself to patronize the Palisades Village Mall. Private party restriction of First Amendment rights on public property is a serious offense. Three of Caruso’s staff were on this and not one had a clue? Embarrassing.

    Also, on many nights the Swarthmore Avenue roadway north of the alley has been closed. The cute white plastic picket fence in the roadway and location would seem to be of Caruso’s doing. Do they have a permit for this? And, if so, why? Perhaps the rest of the business district would like to close their streets overnight as well.

    Thank you again for exposing this issue.

  4. Stephen P Dickey says:

    A minor correction. Caruso Affiliated has decided to adhere to the Pacific Palisades Commercial Village and Neighborhoods Specific Plan’s requirement for two-foot setbacks from the sidewalks. Caruso Affiliated has removed its request for zero setbacks from its application to the city.

  5. Sue says:


    Thank you for the clarification. The commercial zone requires a zero setback, but it appears as if Caruso may have agreed with the community’s request to exceed that requirement by two feet. Nevertheless, the young man collecting signatures was on the public sidewalk and had the right to solicit citizens for that purpose.”


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