If you wanted to write a city ordinance that would lead to the break-up of a city, you probably couldn’t do much better than the anti-camping ordinance just promulgated by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The newly amended ordinance is Section 41.18 of the Los Angeles City Code, titled “Sitting, lying or sleeping or storing, using, maintaining or placing personal property within the public right of way”. The title makes no reference to what the ordinance does about these things, and that’s not an oversight. Imprecision is city policy.

“No one should obstruct a street, sidewalk or other public right-of-way,” the ordinance begins, “by sitting, lying or sleeping, or storing, using, maintaining or placing personal property. , in a way that prevents passage, as provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act…. “

With the exception of the ADA provision, the restriction on sitting, lying, etc., only applies within 10 feet of an aisle or loading dock, within five feet of a building entrance, within two feet of a fire hydrant, in any location that “unreasonably interferes” with an activity for which the City has issued a permit, or on a street or bicycle lane.

Specific sites designated as “sensitive uses,” including schools, daycares, parks and libraries, may have signage prohibiting sitting, lying, etc., at a specified distance.

But pretty much anywhere else, sitting, lying, etc., will be allowed unless city council passes a resolution banning it in that specific area.

This is a formula for fierce fighting between different parts of the city, as council members are forced to compromise with their colleagues over where encampments will be allowed and where they will be prohibited.

This does not happen with other types of laws. Imagine complaining to your local council representative about armed robberies in your neighborhood and being told that other council members will not vote for the law to be enforced in your part of town.

Before a homeless camp in your neighborhood is banned, the city council will have to determine, “in a designation resolution and on the basis of specific documentation”, that the camp “constitutes a particular and permanent threat to the population. public health or safety “.

Be prepared to document incidents of “death or serious bodily harm”, “repeated serious or violent crime” (repeated how many times?)

Once these incidents are documented, city council will consider a resolution to ban this particular camp. If the resolution is approved, the City will post signs for 14 days indicating the date when camping will no longer be authorized at the site. When the date arrives, the city will attempt to enforce the law. How, that does not say.

You’re probably wondering what happens if the people at the encampment pick up and get off two blocks?

Apparently the whole process has to be repeated.

This is not an anti-camping ordinance. It is an official authorization to maintain homeless camps everywhere except next to walkways, building entrances, fire hydrants, schools, daycares, parks and libraries.

A UCLA study estimated that 40% of the city of Los Angeles will be banned from settlements, meaning the homeless population will become more concentrated in the remaining 60%. This is sure to cause tension in many neighborhoods, especially if some members of the city council are more aggressive in proposing resolutions to ban settlements while others prefer to leave settlements alone.

The new ordinance sets up a war between the city’s neighborhoods, with a majority vote in council needed before any neighborhood can enforce basic health and safety laws to prevent (instead of documenting) death , violence and fires.

Secession of the city of Los Angeles requires a “yes” vote from a majority of voters in the area trying to secede and voters in the rest of the city. This probably cannot happen unless enough communities choose to secede at the same time, and each seceding area votes for one in two secession. If the people of the city genuinely want local government, and if people get angry enough, there could be a political earthquake that shatters Los Angeles to pieces.

Write to Susan Shelley: [email protected] and follow her on Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.