P.O. Box 661450; Los Angeles, CA 90066
May 3, 2021
Draft hand-delivered to Councilmember Mike Bonin on April 26, 2021
Mayor Eric Garcetti
Los Angeles City Council
County Supervisor Holly Mitchell
Re: Council File 21-0350
Motion to INSTRUCT the Office of the City Administrative Officer (CAO) to identify funding for a lease agreement for a temporary safe camping site at the privately-owned parcel at 5000 Beethoven Avenue (sic) in Del Rey, including the provision of services, security and resources where a large tent encampment currently exists.
Our Land Use & Planning Committee designates four types of locations where it would be inappropriate and detrimental to our community to establish a permanent or temporary camping site for unhoused people. Whereas these facilities may be a necessary step towards improving or solving this tremendous problem in our society, they should not be located in:
1) areas where the presence of these added residents could pose a danger or nuisance to adjacent residential neighborhoods;
2) places that would prevent the community from safely using and enjoying recreational amenities meant for the general public;
3) environmentally or ecologically sensitive locations;
4) sites that do not have essential infrastructure to support the added population and land use.
The location of 5000 Beethoven meets three out of four of these disqualifying criteria. (No. 2 does not apply because this land is privately owned.)
The ecologically sensitive nature of this location is well documented and represented in many discussions pertaining to this property in the recent past. It should be clear that there is no supporting infrastructure serving this site including ingress and egress, utilities, nearby service facilities, or transportation.
However, the nuisance criterion is the one we must emphasize based on the experiences of the neighbors adjacent to 5000 Beethoven.
The homeless occupants at this site are more than just a public nuisance; they are a danger to the residents in the 136 homes just east of it (bound by Ballona Creek, Centinela Avenue, and the 90 Freeway).
The roads in and out of this location are closed to the public and marked by “No Trespassing” signs. Yet this law is never enforced when homeless use these roads and cut through the fences to gain access to the camping site.
The neighboring residents and their children unwillingly come into contact with individuals who are unsafe, confrontational, belligerent, or dropping trash. Water taps are opened and left that way, leading to property damage. This quiet 50-year-old neighborhood of 136 homes is strewn with drug paraphernalia. Crime has increased dramatically.
Why are those residents’ rights subordinate to those of homeless individuals breaking laws and norms of community living?
Finally, the greatest danger to the largest number of people - the fires. There have been multiple, large fires in homeless encampments along the 90 Freeway just yards from residents’ homes and in the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. So far, Del Rey has been fortunate, and the fires have been stopped before homes were burned, but two fires in March destroyed more than four acres of the ecological reserve.
Although there may be a shortage of appropriate locations in Del Rey and perhaps in Council District 11, our position is that “safe” facilities for the homeless should be located exclusively in places that have:
1) existing paved or gravel-covered lots, whether publicly owned or leased from private landowners;
2) existing buildings with sanitary facilities; or those that can be modified to provide appropriate and safe living conditions, without the need for cooking or heating fires;
3) supporting infrastructure and nearby commercial facilities
The photograph shows the current encampment on Bird Island (5000 Beethoven).
Relief from the current circumstances is critical. It is urgent that the City Council reject the proposal to allow safe camping at 5000 Beethoven Street.
Our land use committee prepared and approved this letter on April 20, 2021, and our board of directors voted to approve it at our board meeting on May 3, 2021.
Very truly yours,
Maureen Madison, President