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Venice Neighborhood Council Votes on LAPD Enforcement of Homeless Laws

The Venice Neighborhood Council votes to reject a motion calling for the Los Angeles Police Department to consistently enforce laws involving the homeless.

The Venice Neighborhood Council held a board meeting Tuesday night that stretched for nearly 4 1/2 hours and featured a spirited debate on a motion concerning police enforcement of laws involving the homeless.

The board discussed the matter for about 90 minutes and heard from numerous speakers opposed to the motion that called for the Los Angeles Police Department to consistently enforce laws against obstructing public streets, camping overnight on sidewalks and leaving personal property on public property.

The council's board voted against the motion 15-0 with four abstentions. A substitute motion was considered by the board and it was rejected with five in favor, 12 against and two abstentions.

Capt. Brian Johnson, the commanding officer the LAPD's Pacific Division patrol, addressed the board during public comments and said the LAPD would remain neutral on the motion.

"Our obligation is to constitutionally enforce all laws," Johnson said.

Twenty-seven people signed up to comment on the motion, with three in favor and 24 against.

The motion came out of the council's Public Safety Committee and was introduced by Mark Ryavec, head of the Venice Stakeholders Association. Ryavec said the motion was drafted after a series of conversations with Capt. Jon Peters of the Pacific Division, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and beat officers in Venice.

It called for the LAPD when enforcing the laws to provide referrals to anyone in need of services or housing. It included enforcement of municipal code 41.18(d) that prohibits sleeping on sidewalks, which the LAPD is temporarily restrained from enforcing due to the city's settlement in the Jones v. City of Los Angeles case. It also included municipal code 56.11 that bans leaving personal property on sidewalks, though the City Attorney has advised the LAPD to observe a preliminary injunction issued in the Lavan v. City of Los Angeles case.

Ryavec and board member Ira Koslow crafted the substitute motion over the weekend to include language about legal constraints for enforcing municipal codes. The original motion was approved 3-2 in May by the Public Safety Committee.

Board president Linda Lucks said she opposed the motion because it was micromanaging the police department.

Steve Clare, executive director of the nonprofit Venice Community Housing Corporation, urged the board to reject the motion.

"This is a values question, this is not a legal question," Clare told the board. He said the motion would essentially make it illegal for people who are homeless to live in public spaces.

"Is that what you value? Is that what you want? Does it articulate the values of our community?," Clare asked.

He said the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty a few years ago ranked Los Angeles as the meanest big city in the country due to laws and practices that criminalize being homeless.

"If you vote for this, you would be unfortunately the meanest neighborhood in the meanest big city," Clare said to applause from the crowd.

(Editor's Note: Updated to add that the board also rejected a substitute motion and background.)

killerweed July 19, 2012 at 03:49 PM
It's interesting to see the sore losers fixate on trivial details and deliberately misrepresent the essential truth of what happened Tuesday night. Watching that VNC discussion and vote I saw a couple of things pretty clearly. First, Mark Ryavec's motion was about trying to make Venice probably the only community in all of Los Angeles where anybody voted to make being homeless illegal. And make no mistake about it - that's what the kind of enforcement the motion called for would accomplish. Whatever their NIMBY sentiments, I'm unaware of any other community in L.A. that has had the chutzpah to openly try to do that. Maybe they understand that being homeless is not against the law. I don't presume to know what those who wrote the motion know, or think they know, about such an arcane topic. But it's obvious that a certain faction in Venice needs to get over itself and stop trying to ignore the fact that they're part of a larger city and don't have the right to arbitrarily shove their problems off onto other neighborhoods. Second, the vote tally reflected an understanding that there's no point in making a symbolic demand that LAPD enforce laws that the City Attorney and courts have told them they can't. It wasn't about wanting to inflict unpleasantness on their fellow Venetians as some seem to be asserting in these comments. This debate wasn't useful in any way. Thanks to Ryavec it was just an evening I'll never get back.
Jenny Baum July 19, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Venice Beach is 'Venice Beach'... Love it or Leave it
Sean July 19, 2012 at 04:59 PM
was any body "bullied" as they spoke? in my experience, if you are on the side of LL, you get "extra" time to speak, if she disagrees with you, you're rudely stopped short and not allowed to finish i just hope people remember this in october... so whose going to run for a position on the VNC?
Mark Ryavec July 19, 2012 at 05:21 PM
There are a few folks sympathetic to resident concerns about encampments who have told me they are seriously considering running. Stay tuned. We don't have to change too many votes to get a majority who will support enforcement of existing laws, as all the other beach cities do. Despite Killerweed's opinion, encampments like the ones we see on Ozone, Market, 3rd Avenue, Sunset, occasionally the Farmers Market lot and elsewhere are not legal or tolerated in Malibu, SM, Marina del Rey, El Segundo, Hermosa, Manhatten Beach, Redondo, Torrance, etc.
Alex White July 19, 2012 at 06:14 PM
@ AWV. You actually got an "un-free" speech ticket? Like to here details of the encounter. Pulled over for not using a right blinker. I guess I'm guilty, as are 99.9% of driver's in LA, including the cop pulling me over. I usually signal. When he departs the traffic stop, he fails to signal his intention to merge into a traffic lane from the curb, a VC violation. He uses the traffic stop as a way to "snoop -n- poop," develop probable cause leading to arrest. It's his desire to make a DUI arrest. He has a lawful detainment-- the traffic stop. I'd just left a bar, where, on my way home from work, and as a favor, I'd stopped in for less than a minute to pick up a disabled person's cane. He left it there earlier when taking a cab home. I was not drinking. 1.5 minutes later, a block from the bar, blue lights in rear view mirror, and two motor cops on my tail. The first thing the cop says-- "How many drinks you had tonight?" "None," I reply. "Then why are your eyes so F'n bloodshot?" "Allergies," I answer. "That's why you were at a bar, allergies?" His flashlight beam is in my face. I'm given no time to answer "Why is your face so red? he spits. "I'm pick'n up this cane, and I have high blood pressure," I state, pointing at the cane. "Get out of the car!" After the field sobriety test, he issues me a ticket for the right turn violation. At least he doesn't tell me to "have a nice night." LAPD uses any excuse to detain you, if it serves their immediate agenda. They train this way.
concernedneighbor July 19, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Weed - no other beach city has the homeless issues we have because they have zero tolerance policies and thus no need to urge enforcement of current laws. Current laws don't make being homeless illegal - but they do clearly define things like setting up permanent encampments on public sidewalks, public urination/defecation, and drinking/drugging in public illegal. Jones Settlement allows folks to sleep on the sidewalks between 9pm and 6am so the unhoused have a place to sleep. I've been cohabitating with the rose crowd for the last couple months and while I wish they had a shelter to go to the current situation seems to be working for both sides. They're up and out by 6am and the street is clean and safe during the day. The homeless are observing the current laws and the Police are enforcing current laws. What we can't have is a return to the thunderdome atmosphere that existed back in March/April. Proper enforcement of current laws is what we need to keep everyone (housed and unhoused) safe and secure.
Sean July 19, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Mark, i supported you via e-mail on this, i was unavailable to attend the meeting due to work constraints, but from what i've read the meeting went along just as i suspected, with another victory for the social service mafia. I believe you still made your point, now the community has a fresh example how the VNC votes for the homeless above its residents, now if we can only get them to show up on election day
Herbert July 19, 2012 at 07:12 PM
People are shocked at the Venice Neighborhood Council opposition. Its almost as if they live in a completely different planet. With all the drug dealers, gangsters from down South and the Eastside really start satuating Venice just like have Skid Row and we all know Venice is now known as Skid Row 2 then the Venice Neighborhood Council clueless board will be asking why aren't the police cleaning up the area of crime.
KMP July 19, 2012 at 10:47 PM
If by bullied you mean that they had limited time at the mic, maybe. I've seen you refuse to shut up at VNC meetings Sean, going on and on and on. Insisting everybody gets time at the mic is not bullying, refusing to shut up and allow it is. I for one would LOVE to see a rematch election. The truth is that multiple online personalities do not equate to votes simply because there is only vote per humanoid rather than one vote per online personality.
Linda Lucks July 20, 2012 at 02:44 AM
For those who missed it, VNC members listened to all who rose to speak for 1 minute each, read the emails.and the cautionary letter from the City Attorney. What was ultimately voted down after much deliberation Tuesday night was a motion asking us to "micro-manage" the LAPD by cherry picking 4 ordinances, two of which have legal constraints due to law suits costing the City millions that could other wise be spent on maintaining our infrastructure.. Capt. Brian Johnson reported a significant reduction in crime in Venice, most unusual in the summer AND then he said that the ordinances in question ARE being enforced to the full extent possible. The VNC overwhelmingly voted to support the LAPD by not second guessing them. One board member asked why no one ever was ticketed for walking on the bike path. Good question.
killerweed July 20, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Yeah, change a few votes by lying to people. It's kind of appalling that the same guy who complained about Paul Chavez' vote counting in the original article that began this thread - vote counting that Chavez freely admitted was approximate when he graciously accepted corrections - should turn around and purposefully take what I said and simply spew out something that is blatantly erroneous and irrelevant to the specific point I made. But that's good old Mark Ryavec for you. Notice that he fails to mention even ONE other neighborhood in the City of LA where the court orders apply that LAPD must adhere to. Not one of the cities he lists are served (or protected) by LAPD. I was talking about our neighbors in Mar Vista, Del Rey, WLA, Westchester, Playa del Rey and the 95-plus identified neighborhoods in L.A. where they do, not other beach cities. How convenient that the ever-myopic Slovenian "minister without portfolio" left any and all of them out of his deliberately misleading retort! If this is what informs his kind of leadership, you'll never find me lined up with his followership of fools and the rest of you should beware. But I guess if you don't mind being lied to because it conforms to your "emotional truth," goodie for you. But bad for the community.
killerweed July 20, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Those of you who continue to think, and spew the falsehood, that the Neighborhood Council voted "for the homeless above its residents," you live in Cloud Cuckoo Land, not Venice. They voted against taking a stupid, meaningless and unenforceable symbolic position that only stroked the ego of the megalomaniac who proposed it. The other thing you're failing to understand is that the homeless live here too. Truth be told they're "houseless," but Venice is their home just as much as it is yours.
Another WorldView July 20, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Not true - in this case one speaker was very economical in his use of words condemning the motion, keeping it under 15 seconds, and the next speaker - UnHoused activst David Busch didn't even get the courtesy of having the clock reset for him. When one supporter of the misanthropic motion spoke - it might even have been Ryavec - the time keeper didn't even start the clock, until the audience weighed in on the matter. Mark Ryavec was given every opportunity to make his case - and he immediately descended into the basement - bringing up irrational and unfounded fears held by some people he knows (allegedly), and arguing against all statistical evidence to the contrary, that this motion would somehow help reduce crime. Ryavec was given all the courtesy and accomodation, which he would deny to others - and still got waxed. Linda Lucks recused herself on the motion - so that there wouldn't even be the appearance of unfairness - Clarence Thomas and Scalia ought to follow her lead, at appropriate moments.
catman July 20, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Considering that there is somebody currently on the loose who is stabbing homeless people and in light of the fact that there aren't enough shelters, encampments are the safest place for homeless people to be right now. Now would probably be a good time for you and the moneyed developers you represent to stand the hell down and stop your unrelenting campaign to put the lives of our homeless neighbors in jeopardy. Enough is enough.
concernedneighbor July 20, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Weed you moron - that's exactly the point. No other BEACH CITY tolerates what you are promoting - a paradise for the homeless and general lawlessness - not only supporting and encouraging the lifestyle but inviting folks from all across the country to come here and crap on our sidewalks. 'How convenient' that you're mentioning non beach cities with ZERO homeless because they are not attractive places for the un-housed to gather. Of course they don't need to call for special enforcement because they don't have the homeless issues we have in Venice. I do agree that we need to offer a safe and comfortable alternative to sleeping on the street and there are not adequate shelter facilities - but that is a CITY OF LA problem not a Venice problem. The city needs to build enough shelter beds to support the 5000+ homeless we have here. They need to be spread throughout the city - NOT at the beach. Both sides need to work together and DEMAND adequate shelter facilities from the City!!! Build shelters (and make sure they're safe & comfortable), encourage the un-housed to use them, discourage new homeless from moving to LA, and strongly but respectfully enforce laws currently on the books - that's how we fix this together...
concernedneighbor July 21, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Catman - you conspiracy theory nutjob - how dare you use these incidents to fuel your anti housed resident agenda. First - not everyone that wants a clean and safe Venice is pushing a developers agenda. What developers? What agenda? My agenda is to feel safe in my own home - period. Second - This unfortunate crime appears to be homeless on homeless so let's not throw stones. People belong in shelters - not in the street. Having hundreds of un-housed folks sleeping on the street isn't safe for anyone. Stop obsessing about the Slovenian Minster and help figure out how we can get the City of LA to provide adequate shelter facilities... From USA Today "Typewritten notes labeled "death warrants" were left at all three scenes. The notes were signed "David Ben Keyes," a name that police on Friday discovered was fake. Police said the man's real name is Courtney Anthony Robinson, and described him as possibly homeless and recently arrived in Los Angeles from Santa Barbara."
Another WorldView July 21, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Spam-bot reality-check . Crime rates are dropping in Venice not climbing. The UnHoused are statistically less likely to commit crimes than their Housed counter-parts.
Another WorldView July 21, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Well said 'killer'. You only have to be "identified" to be a "Res-ident". The UnHoused are not "less" because of their Housing status. And all 'hommage' due to you, is extended - for the 'Stockholders' gloss. It really seems to get under the skin, of a certain Slovenian-dictator-type.
Another WorldView July 21, 2012 at 11:19 AM
Wow CN - just when I start buying into your whole act (trying to appear to be a "reasonable" centrist-type) - I see you writing some garbage like this. Who, exactly, has a "zero-tolerance" policy? And what does that mean? Are you saying that 3rd and Rose is somehow 'unsafe', or 'dirty', at night? What "thunderdome atmosphere" are you talking about, exactly? I was there, and didn't see it. I have seen a number of long-term "residents" of third st., driven-off by police harrassment, however. (Not to worry, their spaces were immediately scooped-up by others). You sound an awful lot, like that closet-fascist, Ira Koslow.
killerweed July 23, 2012 at 05:36 AM
I just love being called a "moron" by someone whose head is stuck so far up Mark Ryavec's backside that his perception of reality is both odiferous AND toxified. The actual reality is - once again for those of you who can't seem to get it through your thick skulls - that Ryavec tossed off a list of cities that, unlike L.A., haven't been sued over their approaches to regulating the homeless, as if they, and not the City of L.A.'s unique legal situation, were the focal point of the ridiculous debate we all had to suffer through last week at the Neighborhood Council. Thankfully that board voted not to follow Ryavec down the rabbit hole into some mystical netherworld where nothing productive gets done but he looks like some kind of demented hero to his cult followers. If you don't like being reminded of that, fine, but the rest of us aren't going to join those of you who are stuck up that canal by choice and like the scenery, nor those who have crawled in because they don't know any better. If you want morons, take a look in the mirror where they'll be looking right back at you with a silly grin.
concernedneighbor July 23, 2012 at 06:31 PM
WV - I wasn't advocating for a zero tolerance policy in Venice - I was saying that the beach cities that don't allow the homeless don't have a need to ask for enhanced enforcement. I also said that I've been peacefully cohabitating with the Rose crowd for the last couple months. The thunderdome atmosphere was back when they had tents, tables, and even couches out on the sidewalk 24/7 and were making all kinds of noise all night long. Not sure if it's self governance, police enforcement or a combination of both but I think the current situation is livable for both sides. I do wish they had a shelter here on the west side that was clean and safe as an alternative to sleeping on rose and would be willing to donate time and money to try to make that happen. I think that's something that both sides should be working together on to DEMAND from the City of LA...
concernedneighbor July 23, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I could be snarky and say that 'it smells better up here than the library lot' or 'the view up here is about the same as from Linda's backside where you reside' but while fun that doesn't help anyone. Do you agree that there should be a shelter here on the westside? Do you agree that the City of LA should fund the shelter? Do you agree that while we might be opposing sides that a Shelter is something we could agree on?
Another WorldView August 02, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Unless the VNC failed to properly and fully respond to a public records act request - as the law requires - then that claim of 100 e-mails was simply a LIE told by Ira Koslow, to the rest of the board, and the stakeholders and others assembled at the meeting. In response to a records request the board produced a grand total of under 30 e-mails - most of which were of the cut-and-paste chain-letter variety. It seems like they were from the list of usual suspects as well. Some claimed to be from "long-time Venice Residents" and others from people here less than 30 years. The recently deceased Bud - whose death was chronicled in the Patch, in relation to his Housing status - was a longer-term "resident" than most of these folks....
Another WorldView August 02, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you CN - my comment got lost in the nether-verse of cyberspace, and I was hoping to get it back without the hassle of re-typing it. I think that you're wrong - every beach city and non-beach city has its own population of the unHoused. I don't believe that anywhere has a "zero-tolerance" policy as you put it - certainly it would be a de facto policy not a de jure one (like segregation and "Jim Crow" laws/slave codes, were in their day - simply unlawful exertions of STATE power, actually in violation - not support - of the LAW). If you find a "zero-tolerance" city, let me know - I'll abandon my domicile and line up for the unlawful enforcement of that "law" - because the WorldView could stand to get paid once in a while, too. I'm glad that you're getting along better with your UnHoused neighbors. Certainly they have been working with community activists to mitigate the reasonable concerns from some of their neighbors. Making noise late at night is and has been against the law already - but just like their Housed neighbors, occasionally the UnHoused have "domestic disputes", or verbal disagreements with one another. If you're disturbed, then you should call the cops, just like you no-doubt would on your Housed neighbors. The couch was a found item - discarded by the Housed and claimed by the UnHoused because they thought it comfortable. When it was found to have "bed-bugs" they were happy to see it go, too.
Another WorldView August 02, 2012 at 12:51 AM
I'm not sure how something left in an alley becomes any worse, when left on a sidewalk. I don't seen the benefit of people being made less-comfortable than they could be otherwise. As for a shelter here in Venice - you certainly have my support. Next you'll need to get Bill Rosendahl, Zev Y., and Mark Ryavec on board - since they all oppose any additional services or infrastructure beneficial to the UnHoused, in Venice.
Another WorldView August 02, 2012 at 12:59 AM
While it is true that "David Ben Keyes" is thought to be UnHoused (he does seem to have some fairly expensive camping equipment in the photos I've seen - certainly not your average member of the UnHoused population) - that can't be said of the guy who was stabbing the UnHoused down in the OC, recently. The UnHoused are often disproportionately targeted for violence, whether by the Housed, the cops, or even unhinged members of their own number (responding to a mem from the larger society, no doubt). They are group that it is still societally acceptable to target, for HATE and/or violence, unfortuneately.
Another WorldView August 02, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Perhaps the concerns of the many who showed up in opposition - or the concerns expressed by the City attorney, and/or Constitutional Rights attorney Carol Sobel - outweighed the determined support of a very narrow (minded) cross-section of Venetian StockHolders and the other stooges.
Deborah Lashever October 14, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Just to sert the record straight, the VNC only received 22 letters! We requested them as a mater of public record and have them all. Ira did not tell the truth when he said they got 100 letters. Also he did not tell the truth when he said that homeless people have been responsible for 10,000 rapes. Both untrue "statistics" were given by him right before the vote, by the way. Very bad form!
Deborah Lashever October 14, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Swankgirl YOU are completely wrong! Ira did not tell the truth. There were only 22 letters. I have them all. You can get them too! They are a matter of public record. So now what do you say? The people that are working toward real solutions are far more than those that want a police state in Venice. Even the police said publically at the meeting that they were against this bad motion! You didn't mention that! So more people made statements against the motion than for it. You only had 3 people at the VNC meeting and two left before the motion came up. Only Ryavec's attorney stayed to make a statement, and I assume he was being paid to be there. So, let's see, you only had 22 letters, not 100, the police were against the motion and you lost. Any other complaints?
Deborah Lashever October 14, 2012 at 10:47 PM
And I loved the comment that no one gets ticketed and hassled for eating on the sidewalk outside Gjelina on Abbot Kinney! Selective enforcement is what we see everyday. Even without that absurd motion!

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