Mon, Jul

Shameful Inaction: Venice Corner Overrun by Tents and RVs

VENICE - The failure of the City of Los Angeles to move the tent and the vehicles from the corner of Marr and Washington Blvd in front of the MDR Liquor Mart, the Hoyt Plaza strip mall and the nearby apartments in Venice and relocate their occupants is shameful. 

The tent covers most of the sidewalk on Marr, an oversized vehicle without front plates, a very large, oversized vehicle with damaged wheel wells and no front plates and a Range Rover without front plates occupy this corner. 

The tent and the vehicles have been permanently there for over a month and off and on for over three months.  Their occupants fill neighborhood trash bins, defecate and leave their trash, waste and toilet paper throughout the neighborhood, including the side of the apartments  which border Marr Street and the rear of Hoyt Plaza which borders Abbot Kinney.  The areas around the RVs are littered with bottles full of liquid, which is probably urine. The occupants, fight, scream, blow dope and generally disturb the neighborhood.  They enter the stores in the mall without doing business there. Next to the vehicles is the City sign which bars oversized vehicles parking between 2am and 6am which the occupants ignore. 

The City has ample legal authority to promptly remedy this   situation. 

The tent violates LAMC 41.18 (a) which states in relevant part: “(a) No person shall obstruct a street, sidewalk, or other public right-of-way: (1) by sitting, lying, or sleeping, or by storing, using, maintaining, or placing personal property, in a manner that impedes passage, as provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.” The ADA requires 3’ of passageway around a tent which the tent does not allow. 

 All the vehicles violate LAMC 80.73.2 which states in relevant part: “It shall be unlawful for any person who owns or who has possession, custody or control of any vehicle to park that vehicle or leave it standing upon any highway, street or alley for 72 or more consecutive hours.”


 The RVs  violate CVC sec.22669(d) which states: “(d) Motor vehicles which are parked, resting, or otherwise immobilized on any highway or public right-of-way and which lack an engine, transmission, wheels, tires, doors, windshield, or any other part or equipment necessary to operate safely on the highways of this state, are hereby declared a hazard to public health, safety, and welfare and may be removed immediately upon discovery by a peace officer or other designated employee of the state, county, or city.” 

The RVs violate the ban on oversized vehicles parking between 2am and 6am as noticed by the sign prominently posted at the curb next to the vehicles. 

 All the vehicles violate CVC sec. 5200(a) which requires all vehicles to display license plates and stickers on the front and rear bumpers of the vehicle. 

All these violations of law constitute public nuisances which the City can promptly abate under LAMC sec. 11.00(l). “… any violation of any provision of this Code is declared to be a public nuisance and may be abated…by means of a restraining order, injunction or any other order or judgment in law or equity issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.” 

The City has ample monetary and non-monetary resources to remedy this blight.  There is over $950 million in the current city budget to remedy homelessness. There are countless public and private agencies whose sole mission is to remedy homelessness, including LAHSA, the St. Joseph Center, PATH.  and many others. Hope the Mission operates 8 tiny home villages funded by the City which provides over 1,500 beds for homeless persons. The City could use the huge vacant parcels of land it owns at LAX for tiny homes and storage of RVS. 

Yet the City does nothing. I have repeatedly called and emailed: (1) Juan Fregoso, Sean Silva, and Cassie Pratt, Councilwoman Traci Park’s District Director, Venice Deputy, and Homeless Deputy, respectively; (2)  Captain  Michael Applegate, and officers  Monique Contreras and Sami Gill the LAPD’s Commander and Senior Lead Officers respectively  for Venice,  and (3)   Aaron Grey and Tovonni Price  the City Department of Transportation senior officers for Venice. None have taken or responded to my calls or emails.  

Traci Park has 19 people on her staff not counting clerical ones.  No reason she can’t order any of them: “Tell the LAPD and the DOT to clean up that corner this week. And see they do it.   Do I make myself clear???!!!” 

The problem on Marr and Venice exists throughout Venice as evidenced by the RVs and oversize vehicles which line Washington, Venice and Lincoln Boulevards, Pacific and Main.  Shame on the City. 

(Clark Brown is a Board Member of the Venice Neighborhood Council.)