By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
In a 4-1 vote at the Los Angeles City Council Homelessness and Poverty Committee meeting Thursday, May 13, committee members moved forward Councilmember Mike Bonin’s submitted motion to evaluate and identify funding for supportive housing sites across West Los Angeles, including Pacific Palisades.
Bonin first submitted the motion on Wednesday, March 31, requesting the city look into the use of the county-owned parking lot at Will Rogers State Beach, located at 17000 CA-1, as a temporary site for single-occupancy tiny homes or safe camping to shelter people experiencing homelessness.
Other temporary sites proposed include Parking Lot #3 at Dockweiler Beach, the county-owned RV park at Dockweiler Beach and the Fisherman’s Village parking lot in Marina del Rey.
The committee met to discuss the prospects of a study to evaluate site feasibility relative to Bonin’s motion.
“Time is of the essence, negotiating projects is seriously problematic when time is not our friend in the development process,” Committee Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas said in the meeting. “We need to be resolute in our push to build affordable housing, tiny housing, construct the shelters that are needed as interim solutions and anything short of that misses the mark. We simply have to be clear that marching forward is the order of the day.”
Councilmember Joe Buscaino, who represents Council District 15—the only other district with beach access—was the sole committee member to vote against moving forward with Bonin’s motion.
“We have built three bridge home shelters on underutilized government property without depriving residents of recreation and open space: One in Watts, San Pedro and Wilmington,” Buscaino said during Thursday’s meeting. “We should be looking at … vacant lots, vacant buildings. Not some of the most popular, most crowded parks and famous beaches in the world. I can tell you these locations are not feasible … I’m voting no on this item.”
Committee Vice Chair Kevin de León, as well as Councilmembers Monica Rodriguez and Nithya Raman, nodded their approval.
A number of attendees called in and expressed their objection to the motion—while some questioned the opposition.
“It’s just a feasibility study,” one person said. “We should be looking at all avenues and all possibilities to get us out of the current state that we’re in.”
A representative from Bonin’s office told the Palisadian-Post the next step is a vote from the full City Council, which will likely happen in the coming weeks.
“If approved, the motion instructs that the feasibility report be completed,” the representative said.
In a subsequent letter to the full City Council, the Pacific Palisades Community Council Executive Committee urged that “under no circumstances should public officials entertain the idea of sanctioning homeless habitation at Will Rogers State Beach or any of our nearby fire-prone areas,” following the Palisades fire that started Friday night.
“The proposal to ‘study’ the use of public state beach parking lots and parks for homeless housing is a singularly unnecessary, dangerous and bad idea,” the Executive Committee said in the letter.
The letter explained the Palisades falls entirely within a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, and recently served as a command post and staging area for firefighting personnel and equipment.
“Palisadians justifiably fear that the introduction of sanctioned homeless habitation at WRSB … will reduce firefighting capacity and exacerbate already dangerous conditions,” according to the letter.
During its Thursday, May 13, public board meeting, Secretary Chris Spitz said PPCC will continue to monitor and think of ways to continue to voice their concerns as the motion moves forward.
“We are going to stay strong, we’re going to continue to do what’s appropriate and reasonable, and what we are able to do to make our voices heard,” Spitz said.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.