Circling the News

Photo courtesy/Circling the News

This story was previously published on Circling the News and republished with permission from publisher Sue Pascoe. 

VENICE- This homeless car dweller parked at the corner of Albright and Monument. When Caruso was asked for a comment about the homeless next to his property, there was no response. The next day the car was gone and had been moved to a residential street.

The Covid-19 shutdowns and the “sunsetting” of City Law (SEC. 85.02. REGULATING THE USE OF VEHICLES FOR DWELLING) has led to a large number of people living in vehicles, including RVs.

The City Law that is no longer enforced stated: “No person shall use a Vehicle for Dwelling as follows: A. 1. Between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. on any Residential Street; or at any time within a one Block radius of any edge of a lot containing a park or a licensed school, pre-school or daycare facility. 2. Nothing herein precludes the enforcement of any other laws such as parking restrictions, including, but not limited to, prohibitions on overnight parking.” There is no law in place to require them to move.

This has been a major problem in Venice, where RV’s line a block along Main Street, and the sewage from the vehicles drains into the ocean (and it smells).

One RV is parked directly next to Westminster Elementary School. Although residents know the man’s name, he’s from Texas, has two felonies, and neighbors have taped him dealing crystal meth, he can’t be moved because he’s in his “domicile.”

This van is parked next to Westminster Avenue Elementary School, and the owner and his girlfriend, who are living in it, refuse to move.

A “live-in” car is parked in the public parking lot on Venice, next to Bridge Housing. Anyone parking in the lot, that is off Main and Rose, has to pay, but the car dweller is living for free.

Worried that what happened in Venice, could happen here, Jessica Rogers, president of the Pacific Palisades Residents Association, has asked the Pacific Palisades Community Council to take action.

On May 13, the PPCC passed four motions that were proposed by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils. The fourth one, “Increased Funding to Support Additional Safe Parking Programs,” calls for additional funding and resources, from all available sources, in order to implement more Safe Parking Programs and to support existing, reputable programs, including those operated by organizations such as Safe Parking LA, throughout the Westside of Los Angeles.

Rogers thinks that the fourth motion is problematic because of “the lack of laws to protect us.” She asked PPCC President David Card and Secretary Chris Spitz to request an amendment to the motion or to retract it.

“I wanted them to understand the real danger,” she said, noting that initially Card and Spitz agreed to allow PPRA, which has a representative on the PPCC board, to submit the request.

At the last minute, Rogers was denied the amendment. She said she was told, “We do not have any safe parking programs currently in place [in Pacific Palisades] and we can deal with it if and when the issue comes up with the city.”

Rogers said, “I honestly believe this is an even bigger issue than the beach,” referring to the L.A. City Council voting to approve a feasibility study to house homeless individuals at several beach and park locations, including Will Rogers State Beach. Her concern is that if the RVs are sent to the Palisades, “it would be a matter of days before we become Venice and it wouldn’t be at the beach, but at our schools and in front of our houses. I am very concerned.”

Circling the News has learned that in Council District 15, car and RV dwellers are offered bridge housing, which takes them off the streets.

RV’s line Main Street in Venice, near the Bridge housing.