Letter to Editor: Opposition to Palisades Homeless Shelter

To the Honorable Councilman Mike Bonin, 

My family and friends strongly object to your City Council motion March 31st, to study bringing additional overnight homeless camping to several LA County beaches, or to anywhere else in CD 11.

During our large CD 11 fire safety meeting at Palisades High in March 2018, we requested your position on overnight camping on beaches.  You told all of us that you OPPOSED such camping.

My wife and I attended your public outreach, at Westminster Elementary in October 2018, where you and Mayor Garcetti tried to persuade your Venice audience that Bridge Housing on the MTA lot would help that community   An assistant to the Mayor claimed sincerely, “The proposed shelter will raise the value of nearby homeowners’ properties”.  What happened to your promises of frequent cleaning, enforcement against tents, and extra security detail?

Riding the bike path weekly since 1995, I’ve had a first-row seat to watch Venice decline since you took office in 2013.  Also, I’ve confirmed in periodic conversations with LAPD, that you had instructed LAPD to stop enforcing against overnight loitering on Venice Beach, and we now see the results of your policies and actions.

Joining the April 8 City Council meeting on Homelessness  I heard callers pushing new large-scale housing construction, claiming “Housing is a Human Right”, and discussing “unhoused neighbors”.  But nothing on property rights, tax policy, or projected ongoing costs.

Roughly 450 joined the Palisades Community Council meeting with you last night where you asked us for a location (in the Palisades) to locate your proposed encampment of “cabins”.  Please do not force us, or the rest of CD 11, to accept your cabins of chaos.  

You and the Mayor created this crisis, and we resent being tasked now with cleaning up after your destructive policy decisions.  Why are such crises not seen in Beverly Hills or Manhattan Beach?  

Your voting record shows a continuing enablement of homeless people, including 1) reduction of periodic cleanups, and 2) raising the amount (and timeframe) for storable homeless possessions.  You cater to homeless advocates, at the growing expense of taxpayers.  You propose a “Continuum of Care” including housing, food, treatment, and job training, but adding costly housing and services only attracts even more homeless.

Reviewing your proposal, let’s use HONEST vocabulary:

1. The camping you propose as ”Safe” is instead dangerous.  Your $8M Bridge Housing in Venice reveals a strong correlation between vagrancy and violence, including three murders near the Venice shelter since December.

2. Camping labeled “Temporary” will be permanent.  Any location will become an encampment protected by activists, lawyers, and yourself.  We saw last month’s conflict at Echo Park Lake, and your outcry against LAPD clearing the park for scheduled cleaning of a public property.  After your complicit response to homeless advocacy groups, inquisition of local police, and your vote to defund the LAPD, we wonder who you truly represent.

3. Renters and owners are NOT simply “one paycheck away from homelessness”.  If housing were a human right, many would be pitching giant tents on large parks in Beverly Hills.

4. Homeless are NOT our “unhoused neighbors”.  Neighbors do not defecate on lawns, or leave heroin needles on streets, or murder the elderly   Surveys indicate homeless often come from OUTSIDE Los Angeles.  You now ask us to import from outside the Palisades, from outside of CD11, and from outside Los Angeles.  Worse, you seek to limit our choice to where (not whether) to import into our community.

5. You push “Solutions in Every Neighborhood” but this proposal instead simply relieves pressure on yourself from angry constituents in Venice, spreading and magnifying problems.  Your approach mirrors Council moves in July 2019: Adding >222 homeless beds to every Council District would be unpopular, so no Councilmember demurred.  If any did, the others would suffer asymmetric heat from their respective voters.  So all Councilmembers voted, en masse, to force a homeless shelter on each District.  Within CD 11, you’re now doing the same.  This is not leadership.
Most homeless in CD11 are not from CD11, and we have zero further obligation to shelter locally.  When constructing shelters, choose locations where they can be expanded without resistance, well outside of municipalities and neighborhoods. 

Stop guilting us into endless obligations for your public policy.  We see the results, in mushrooming tents, trash, needles, fights, noise, feces, fires, stabbings and murders by homeless people in your District.  Where’s our $1.2B from your Prop HHH in 2016   Where’s our millions from the 2004 income tax, intended for treatment of the mentally ill

Deploy appropriate medical treatment to those in need.  Enforce no-camping laws on those who don’t.  Work with your colleagues on the City Council, and with State Assemblyman Richard Bloom and State Senator Ben Allen, to achieve the following:

A. Repeal the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 1967, to help the mentally ill.

B. Repeal the destructive Propositions 47 and 57, to keep communities safe by reducing the population of criminals.

C. Identify available govt buildings and lots, to secure less expensive housing, safe parking, and required services.

D. Create a program to help people return to their families outside of California, to halt the explosion of homeless in L.A.

E. Update mental health legislation, including:     + Thresholds for holds      + LPS conservatorship     + Probate conservatorship 
Implement solutions which actually HELP the homeless.  Abandon your March 31 LACC motion.  

Thank you for your service to the Palisades, and to the rest of Council District 11.

Respectfully,Matthew Reiser, CD11 voter, and Los Angeles native
Denise Reiser, CD11 resident and voter
Valerie Williams, CD11 resident and voter 
Jennifer Hawks, CD11 resident and voter
Pamela Finck, CD11 resident and voter
Caryn Perez, CD11 resident and voter
Scott Quigley, CD11 resident and voter
Elynor Chiu, CD11 resident and voter
Gene Rink, CD11 resident and voter
Lucia Ludavico, CD11 resident and voter
Paul Blyumkin, CD11 resident and voter
Lori Erenberg, CD11 resident and voter
Lisa Ross, CD11 resident and voter
Kathleen Lilley, CD11 resident and voter
Beth Holden-Garland, CD11 resident and voter
Julie Lai, CD11 resident and voter
Alla Douglas, CD11 resident and voter
Kathleen Lilly, CD11 resident and voter
Holli Gomes, CD11 resident and voter
Liz Bluestone, CD11 resident and voter
Cheryl Robinson, CD11 resident and voter
John Attard, CD11 resident and voter
Victoria Zet, CD11 resident and voter
Jeaneen Fabbro, CD11 resident and voter
Krishna Thangavelu, CD11 resident and voter

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