I want to thank the Pacific Palisades Community Council for hosting Councilman Bonin to discuss his errant motion to use a Will Rogers State Beach parking lot as a homeless encampment and providing a forum for the community to respond. I share the frustration and dismay expressed by those that spoke.
As I reflect on Councilman Bonin’s presentation and responses to our community’s concerns I am convinced that nothing said will persuade him to withdraw his motion. He dismissed any references to the cultural and recreational aspects of the Will Rogers State Beach to not only our community but to all of Los Angeles, both city and county, not to mention visitors to Los Angeles.
Councilman Bonin also made it clear that he would back off from proceeding with the consideration of the Will Rogers State Beach site only if the Pacific Palisades community proposed a suitable alternative site within our borders to replace it.
Accordingly while I am certain there will be a concerted effort by members of our community to continue to express opposition to the councilman and his office, those of us with relevant relationships might also consider challenging the consideration of the site at every level and stage of the process.
More specifically the motion is currently in a council committee for review. The site is also being evaluated by various city agencies as to suitability. From there it will go to the council for a vote and then the mayor for signature. Simultaneously there will need to be an acquiescence from the county as they manage the Will Rogers State Beach for the state. And as the councilman noted it will have to be blessed by the California Coastal Commission.
Any of us with relationships with anyone within those groups should not hesitate to express our opposition and the reasons why to the elected and appointed officials as well as their staffs. None of us individually can make a difference but all of us collectively can. And in undertaking this effort, if we do so with dignity and decorum, I am convinced we will ultimately prevail in defeating the councilman’s efforts.
All of that said, although the selection of the Will Rogers State Beach parking lot as a location for a homeless encampment is ill conceived, the problem of addressing the homeless situation is real and daunting. To that end we need look no further than our own community group, the Pacific Palisades Task Force on the Homeless, for a template on a pathway for sensitively tackling the problem with each individual homeless person while at the same time doing so with the good of the community in mind.
What the PPTFH has accomplished for the homeless in our community in just a few years since its inception is unparalleled anywhere in the city and county and it is incumbent on all of us in the community to support them and pursue extending their reach to well beyond the Pacific Palisades boundaries.
Did you know that a single rotation of an offshore wind turbine can power your house for an entire day? Yet, California—the state with the strongest coastal winds—has no offshore wind turbines at all. That seems like an enormous missed opportunity, doesn’t it?
The U.S.’ reliance on fossil fuels has detrimental effects on our planet and we need to decrease carbon emissions by transitioning to using clean energy. President Biden recently laid out a goal of achieving 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030 in his infrastructure plan. Offshore wind could be an extremely powerful source of clean energy in California, but remains untapped thus far despite its tremendous capabilities. Unlike solar energy, offshore wind is strongest at night, powering California’s power grid when it is needed most.
With a planning target set by California, other coastal states will likely follow California in its planning target, helping to reach Biden’s 30 GW goal by 2030. California, being such an influential leader in combating climate change, needs to set a planning target for offshore wind. AB 525, a bill from Assemblymember David Chiu, would do just that.
‘We Are One’
“There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It don’t take much to see that something is wrong, but it does take some eyesight to see what will put it right again,” Will Rogers.
Our Councilman’s vague motion to evaluate homeless housing at Will Roger’s beach and other areas will likely fail, as it should, under public, logistical and political scrutiny.
I think he has known this all along.
But if we can look past our anger and disbelief at him and his scary proposal for a moment, what do we see?
We see that people are already living—and dying—on our beaches, in our fire-prone hillsides, and in our parks and streets. The numbers are growing at an alarming rate. We see that government systems that are supposed to address these issues are stuck and overwhelmed. And we see that at a certain point, we can’t just ignore, wish, demand or blame this all away. No matter the reasons, we are here now.
The audacity of this proposal has unified more residents of CD11 and beyond than ever before in an effective, powerful voice that says, “No, this can’t happen anymore!”
If this motion does anything, I hope it moves each of us to look beyond this moment, figure out what we can bring, and use this unity to massively volunteer, donate or become involved in helping others solve this cruel crisis.
Together, we can do anything. I have seen it happen before. Now is our chance.
“What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds,” Will Rogers.
The Disclaimer: These thoughts are my own and do not reflect those of any organizations for which I volunteer.
A version of this letter was sent to Councilmember Bonin and has been reprinted with permission.
My family strongly objects to your motion March 31 to spread homeless campers throughout LA, including to several county beaches.
We attended your public outreach October 2018 in Venice, as you and Mayor Garcetti pushed the $8 billion Bridge Housing. Venice was promised frequent cleaning, enforcement and security. Promises were broken, with obvious disastrous results.
Your votes have enabled an explosion of homeless in LA, at growing expense to taxpayers. You propose “Continuum of Care” with housing, food, treatment and job training. But providing additional costly housing and services will only attract even more homeless.
Let’s use honest vocabulary:
- Camping proposed as “safe” is instead dangerous. Bridge Housing in Venice has brought violence.
- Camping you label “temporary” will become permanent encampments protected by activists. Seeing last month’s conflict at Echo Park, your inquisition of LAPD, your complicit response to advocacy groups and your vote to defund police, we wonder who you’re representing.
- Renters and owners are not “one paycheck away from homelessness.”
- “Solutions in Every Neighborhood” simply relieve pressure from Venice. You’re spreading and magnifying problems. Do not force your cabins of chaos into any other community. Stop the endless obligations. You and the mayor created these crises, while Beverly Hills and Manhattan Beach have none.
Where’s our $1.2 billion from Prop HHH? We’re all tired of the mushrooming tents, trash, needles, fights, noise, feces, fires and murders. Do not export your destructive policies to further poison our parks, libraries and beaches.
Please deploy medical treatment to those who need it. Enforce no-camping laws on those who don’t. Site shelters well outside neighborhoods. Work with your colleagues in City Council, with State Assemblyman Bloom and with State Senator Allen, to:
A. Repeal the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act.
B. Repeal the destructive Propositions 47 and 57.
C. Identify available government buildings/lots, to shelter less expensively.
D. Help homeless people return to families outside of California.
E. Update mental health legislation, including thresholds for holds, LPS conservatorship and probate conservatorship
Thank you for your service to CD 11.
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