A resident sent a video and photo of a homeless person camping in Los Leones Canyon on August 30 to the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness. This kind of camping is forbidden because this state parkland is in a Very High Fire Severity Zone. The response was swift with Senior Lead Officer Brian Espin and three other LAPD officers responding to the park, joined by California State Park Rangers.
PPTFH co-president Sharon Kilbride was also on site and said that the possibility of a brush fire started by a homeless camper is high in everyone’s minds.
Earlier that same morning a homeless man was found on Entrada in Santa Monica Canyon in bad shape. Paramedics were called and the man was transported to the hospital.
VENICE HOMELESS UPDATE:
Venice Stakeholder Mark Ryvac reported on September 4 that the homeless count continues to rise along Venice Beach. Ever since County Sheriff Alex Villanueva visited the beach and vowed to clean up the encampments – and then Councilman Mike Bonin stepped in and said he had found housing for 211 transients and all would be gone by early August — Ryvac has been traveling the boardwalk early on Saturday mornings counting the homeless still living there. (Circling the News joined him on August 21 and counted 56 sleeping on the sand or on the boardwalk.)
The count has grown from the initial 46 to 81. Venice stakeholders are blaming the City for insufficient staffing to accompany LAPD’s overnight enforcement of the city’s beach curfew.
While the LAPD can order people off the beach from 2 to 5 a.m., officers are not authorized under the city’s Municipal Code Section 63.44 to remove tents, bedding, mattresses, backpacks, etc. This requires Department of Sanitation workers to collect and store items if necessary.
“While the LAPD’s, and apparently park rangers’ presence, several nights a week has deterred the return of most tents and structures, it has not stopped people from living and sleeping on the beach,” Venice Stakeholders reported. They are calling for a two-pronged effort:
- The daily presence of St. Joseph Center and LAHSA staff on the beach — both at day and at night — to finish their job of providing shelter to the homeless who continue to live there.
- Refunding of Sanitation staff to accompany nightly LAPD enforcement during the curfew hours until no one is sleeping in the VBRA. At that point enforcement could be reduced to every other night.
Stakeholders are worried that their town will return to having more than 200 campers, as it did before the City spent more than $5 million to shelter campers.
The Stakeholders note that “LAMC 63.44 bans camping in any city park. Councilman O’Farrell recently enforced this law at Echo Park and Councilman Buscaino has always enforced this in both of his beach parks in San Pedro.”
THANKS TO DEDE AND SHARON:
The day after her daughter was married on September 4, Dede Vlietstra planned to hike to Inspiration Point in Will Rogers State Park with PPTFH co-president Sharon Kilbride. However, they received a call from LAPD Officer John “Rusty” Redican about a campsite he had found off PCH. Instead of hiking, the two women cleaned up the site. CTN gives a big thanks to both of them!
TASK FORCE MEETING:
The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH) hosts bimonthly forums to connect with the Palisades community. At each meeting, questions are answered and ideas solicited. The meetings are discussion opportunities, which PPTFH appreciates, since the community helps fund this nonprofit group.
On Monday, September 27 at 7 p.m., a virtual meeting will be held, featuring speaker Marissa Bowman, director of housing partnership at PATH. Her topic will be “Apartment Leasing as One Homeless Housing Solution.”
Residents are invited to learn about apartment leasing for homeless individuals and how it is applied on a day-to-day basis. What is happening on the local community level and is there potential for broader application? How adaptable and flexible is this option for providing mid- and long-term solutions?
Register in advance for Zoom information and how to submit questions. Visit: PacPaliHTF@gmail.com.
BALLONA WETLANDS FIRES:
Circling the News reported on August 23 that the Ballona Wetlands, an environmentally sensitive area that is one of the last remaining coastal wetlands, was under siege from RV campers that were illegally parked and dumping garbage. ( https://www.circlingthenews.com/ballona-ecologic…-and-human-waste/ )
In March, a fire, most likely started by the homeless, burned about five acres of the ecological reserve.
On August 18, there was a shooting at the homeless encampment that left four men hospitalized. According to the Westside Current, “The Los Angeles Police Department dispatched officers to the encampment near the Ballona Wetlands on Jefferson Boulevard, between Culver Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard after receiving numerous calls regarding the shooting. Police believe the shooting could be linked to the theft of an ATM machine on Ocean Front Walk.”
On Labor Day, the Westside Current reported that the L.A. Fire Department was investigating a fire that burned more than a half an acre near the Ballona Wetlands.
“A grass fire started near Culver Blvd and Nicolson Street around 2:10 p.m., according to LAFD. Five fire companies, including engines with water, were called to the area. It took crews about an hour to put the fire out.”
CTN had contacted State Senator Ben Allen’s office earlier about the ongoing ecological disaster at Ballona and they responded on August 24: “Senator Allen is aware of these ongoing issues and shares his constituents’ concerns regarding the degradation of LA County’s last marine wetland. Our office has been in contact with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and will continue to work with all relevant jurisdictions in search of long term solutions that protect the reserve’s ecological treasures.”
Additionally, CTN contacted Mayor Eric Garcetti’s and Councilman Mike Bonin’s offices for comment, but neither office responded.
We ask, “What will it take for some high-ranking politician to help save this environmentally sensitive area?”