The following is a letter from the Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) to the Los Angeles Times editors over a recent editorial supporting looking into using Will Rogers State Beach for temporary housing.
Re: Los Angeles Times Editorial, “Shelter next to the beach?” – May 23, 2021
The Times doesn’t seem to know much about Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades. The beach is owned by the State of California, for the recreation and relaxation of all the people of the City, County and State, including people in each of the 15 City Council Districts.
The State received a portion of this beach from Palisadian Will Rogers for recreational purposes for all, as set forth in his original agreement with the State, not for housing. Unlike most of Santa Monica Bay, there are no private houses blocking access to this beautiful beach along scenic highway PCH. Residents of Pacific Palisades have always welcomed everyone from all over to the beach.
Years ago, when homeless people started camping on this beach, the Palisades community organized to find ways to offer a variety of services, including housing, to those who needed and wanted help. Through private giving, that effort has been successful and continues to offer help to those who keep coming. Pacific Palisades has addressed and will keep addressing the problem with compassion and action.
Pacific Palisades has long recognized the need for and been at the forefront of action. The City and County government response has lacked urgency, until the federal court action prompted it. That’s the immediate impetus. However, as Judge Carter recognized, public beaches and parks need to be protected and safe for all the people, housed or unhoused, to use but not to live at. The County prohibits overnight dwelling on the beaches and beach lots that it operates for the State. The California Coastal Commission protects all citizens’ access to the beach. Firefighters and first responders regularly use the Will Rogers State Beach parking lot for wildfire command, staging, and evacuation, as they just did for the Palisades Fire.
We would welcome a conversation with you and your editorial staff at Will Rogers State Beach to provide facts and inform your perspective.
David Card, Chair
Pacific Palisades Community Council