It’s illegal to pitch a tent and camp out on a city sidewalk. At least that’s the case in most cities. In Los Angeles, the city agreed to stop enforcing the laws against overnight camping 11 years ago, at least until more homeless housing had been built so people had a place to go. Now, with the homeless problem increasing throughout California, the city is announcing that it will once again ticket those who violate the law. At least it could do so though, in fact, it probably won’t. From the LA Times:
Now Mayor Eric Garcetti says enough housing has been built to meet the settlement requirements, clearing the way to enforce the law again. But if L.A. starts ticketing people under the contested code, it is likely to kick off a new battle with homeless advocates.
“There is a snowball’s chance in hell that a court will let them enforce that,” said Carol Sobel, one of the attorneys who represented skid row residents in Jones vs. City of Los Angeles. “The city will lose in court again.”…
At the time, the Jones settlement was bemoaned by business leaders who complained of chaos on downtown sidewalks. As homelessness surged in Los Angeles, residents alarmed by squalid encampments popping up from Chatsworth to San Pedro have argued it is time for the city to start enforcing the law.
Venice resident Maryjane Johnson complained that in her neighborhood, “you can’t go anywhere without being confronted by huge tent cities.”
“We have every right to end it and we should end it because it makes the problem worse,” Johnson said of the Jones settlement.
The speculation, which seems to be partly confirmed by the article, is that Mayor Garcetti is looking to announce new homeless shelters. A few months ago he offered “rewards” of increased police and cleaning crews to those neighborhoods that volunteered to be the site of a shelter. However, many residents were hesitant because inviting the homeless into their neighborhood could result in new tent camps popping up in the vicinity. And so long as the Jones settlement is in place, police would have no power to prevent it.
The mayor’s deputy chief of staff, Matt Szabo, told the LA Times the goal was to keep the area around new shelters free of tents, “We’re going to do what we need to do to keep those neighborhoods clean.” That sounds sensible, the problem is that homeless activists don’t care whether new tent cities pop up around the new shelters. They are going to take the city to court regardless of how the residents living nearby feel about it.
Here’s a Tucker Carlson clip from March about the conditions in Skid Row.