Sheriff Alex Villanueva is set to hold a town hall from 1 to 2 p.m. on Monday, July 12, in which he says he plans to talk about regulating public spaces and homeless shelters in public parks and beaches.
Members of the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of looking into the feasibility of bringing temporary homeless housing options to Mar Vista Park, Fisherman’s Village in Marina Del Rey, Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey, Westchester Park, Will Rogers State Beach and the West LA Municipal Building.
The motion, presented by Councilmember Mike Bonin, has received significant pushback since being introduced in early April. Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Mar Vista and Westchester voted to oppose the motion in recent neighborhood and community council meetings.
Councilmember Joe Buscaino, the only committee member to vote against the motion, said beaches and parks are not appropriate options. Other members of the committee pushed back and said this is a feasibility study– all options should be looked at. (Editor’s note: Circling the News discovered through emails obtained through the Public Records Act, by the Pacific Palisades Community Council, that the study had already been underway since August 2020.)
In a recent letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the sheriff said:
“Since taking office [in 2018], I have watched state, County, and local government fail to address the homeless crisis affecting the residents of Los Angeles County.
“Despite spending in excess of $6.5 billion over the last ten years to address the issue, and the creation and efforts of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), nothing has changed. In fact, the homeless problem has only grown by approximately 20 percent each year. According to LAHSA’s 2020 count, Los Angeles County had over 66,000 persons experiencing homelessness living in our streets. Conservative estimates for 2021 put the figure over 80,000 persons.”
Villanueva, who recently described LASD work in Venice as a “humanitarian mission,” has strongly urged the Board of Supervisors (Board) to declare a local state of emergency on the homeless crisis.
“Los Angeles County is experiencing an influx of transients from across the nation taking advantage of our services. Needless to say, these individuals are taking valuable services away from our local homeless population and creating further hardship on our communities. We have homeless individuals dying everyday on our streets because they are not getting the services they need. Failed policies, self-interest groups, and political agendas are enabling a national crisis to fester within our communities. ”
Villanueva said the Board needs to tap into all available state and federal funding and resources to help the residents of the County. “Because of this national crisis, the Board should consider applying for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In an era where “defunding” the police is a popular term used by a vocal minority, the LASD needs the necessary funds to prevent the catastrophic loss of human life and address the existential threats we are facing.”
As for the LASD HOST presence on the Boardwalk, the Venice Current has been told that the deputies plan to have a minimal presence while Saint Joseph’s Center and Mike Bonin’s office implement an “encampment to home” program they started last Monday.
The Town Hall will be held Monday, July 12 from 1 to 2 p.m. You can register here.