LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles City Council voted on Jan. 12 to enforce its anti-camping law at 58 new locations, including MacArthur Park, with two council members voting against the resolutions.
The five resolutions passed on Thursday will allow enforcement at MacArthur Park’s north and south side, as well as 27 other locations in Councilman Gil Cedillo’s district, 22 locations in Councilman Joe Buscaino’s district, and seven locations in Councilman Kevin de Leon’s district.
The law, which went into effect Sept. 3, prohibits sleeping, sitting, camping, and obstructing the public right of way within 500 feet of “sensitive” facilities, including schools, daycare facilities, parks, and libraries.
It can be enforced once the council passes a resolution to designate a specific area for enforcement, posts signage, and gives notice of the date that the ordinance will be enforced for the area. The ordinance is also supposed to go hand-in-hand with street engagement and offers of shelter to people living in the location selected for enforcement.
MacArthur Park’s lakeside portion was closed on Oct. 15 for “much-needed deferred maintenance.” At the time about 290 people were moved indoors ahead of the closure, but people were also allowed to move to the other side of the park across Wilshire Boulevard, Cedillo’s office told City News Service.
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Councilman Mike Bonin both voted against the ordinance and all enforcement resolutions since the ordinance was passed. He compared the ordinance to “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” and said that housing and services, not enforcement, will make Los Angeles safer.
Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Bonin asked council members to suspend enforcement of the ordinance during the current surge in coronavirus cases fueled by the Omicron variant, noting that it pushes people into congregate shelters where the virus spreads. Councilman Paul Koretz said he thought “it would be wise” for council members to not implement enforcement of the resolutions during the Omicron surge.
Councilman Kevin de Leon said the locations in his district included in Wednesday’s resolutions would not see immediate enforcement.
Once a resolution passes, enforcement can also be conducted as following:
- Up to 500 feet of a designated overpass, underpass, freeway ramp, tunnel, bridge, pedestrian bridge, subway, wash or spreading ground, railroad track or where lodging unsheltered or in tents is unhealthy, unsafe, and incompatible with safe passage
- Up to 1,000 feet of a facility opened after Jan. 1, 2018, that provides shelter, safe sleeping, safe parking, or navigation centers for persons experiencing homelessness
The ordinance also prohibits sitting, sleeping, lying, storing personal property, or otherwise obstructing the public right of way without a resolution’s passage in several areas of the city, including within two feet of any fire hydrant or fire plug; within five feet of any operational or utilizable entrance or exit; within 10 feet of a loading dock or driveway; in a manner that interferes with any activity for which the city has issued a permit or restricts accessible passage as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act; or anywhere within a street, including bike paths.