VNC Meeting: A Study in Patience and Stamina

By Roger Linnett

Reduced to what amounted to whining, Venice Stakeholders Association President Marc Ryavec continued his rancorous crusade against the unhoused element of Venice at the regular monthly VNC meeting with a motion titled Right of Way Enforcement, based on several L.A. Municipal Codes, the aim of which was to force the unfortunate of our community out of sight, and so out of mind.

Despite the fact that two of the codes cited, LAMC 41.18(d) which states that “No person shall lie, sit or sleep in or upon any street or sidewalk or other public way,” which, because of the Jones v. City of Los Angeles settlement, currently bars the LAPD from enforcing said code between 9 pm and 6 am, and  LAMC 56.11 which states “No person shall leave or permit to remain any merchandise, baggage or any article of personal property upon any parkway or sidewalk,” which, because of the Lavan v. City of Los Angeles settlement, mandates that any personal property seized during an arrest must be secured for 90 days by the LAPD.

In fact, last month’s VNC meeting featured L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who made specific reference to these two codes and the city’s intention of not incurring further lawsuits.

The other three statutes, LAMC 62.61(b), LAMC 63.44(d) and LAMC 41.18(a), deal with obstructing any right of way except by permit, camping only at designated sites and obstructing or molesting pedestrians.

Citing these Hammurabic fundamentals of civilization, the motion asked “the VNC to call upon the LAPD to consistently enforce the cited laws, while offering referrals to those who may need services or housing.” What was insidiously omitted from that last part was – while handing out tickets.

Councilmember Ira Koslow presented a “substitute motion” that cleaned up the language, omitting some disparaging comments.

Councilmember Ivonne Guzman made a motion to “indefinitely table” the motion, which the council defeated, wanting to settle the matter then and there, and proceeded to public comment and council consideration.

Steve Clare of the Venice Community Housing Corporation said this motion would “make Venice the meanest neighborhood in the meanest city in the country” [with regard to how homeless persons are treated.]

Councilmember Kelley Willis reminded the council that “regardless of housing or not, we are all stakeholders.” And VNC President Linda Lucks declared this would amount to “micromanaging the police.”

In an earlier statement LAPD Pacific Division Capt. John Peters had pointed out that the LAPD was already mandated to “constitutionally enforce” all laws, but also commented that officers had to use discretion in enforcing certain laws.

They then voted on the substitute motion, which was soundly trounced. Then, because of the Rules of Order, they had to vote on the original motion, which suffered an even more ignominious end with a vote of 15 nay, 0 yea and 4 abstentions.