LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is concerned that homeless people from vehicle encampments in the City of Los Angeles will spill over into unincorporated county areas after the city resumed its parking enforcement policies earlier this month.
During a board meeting on April 19, the supervisors passed a motion that will require the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (DPW) in collaboration with the CEO Homeless Initiative to report back within two weeks “with recommendations to mitigate any potential spillover effects of the City of Los Angeles’s RV enforcement for unincorporated areas,” according to the motion.
On April 6, the Los Angeles City Council, which operates separately from the county supervisors, directed the department of transportation to resume enforcement of parked vehicles that were suspended during the pandemic.
The enforcement directive identified five categories of vehicles that would be subject to immediate removal: if they present a traffic safety hazard, environmental or public health threat, interfere with public works projects or special events, or if they are inoperable or unregistered.
Enforcement for all other vehicles not following parking restrictions will begin May 15.
“This is a very responsible and I think much needed motion about hopefully some coordination with some additional housing resources,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said during the meeting. “But it’s likely to [cause] an abrupt increase for us in RV encampments in our surrounding areas.”
Kuehl said the board has been clear regarding past motions to address RV encampments that they don’t want to “see an increased criminalization of folks who simply have nowhere else to go.”
The board attempted to address the RV encampments in 2018 and offer RV dwellers housing and resources, and those efforts were revisited in January to implement strategic outreach.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she’s walked by some of the parked RVs that are not running and seen them dump waste into the street’s gutters.
“I saw it firsthand, so if you look at it from an environmental impact standpoint, it is real,” Barger said. “I highly encourage the department’s report back to develop community outreach strategy for the counties unincorporated areas that are most likely to be impacted by the effects of this policy change.”
Meanwhile, resident Lucy Han and founder of Friends of the Jungle—a local environmental advocacy nonprofit—has been sounding the alarm on the RV encampment in the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, the city’s largest wetland in Playa del Rey.
The unincorporated wetlands fall under the city’s authority. She told The Epoch Times that “the county is wiping their hands of the wetlands and marsh because it is the city’s jurisdiction.”
“The city and county should work together to find spots and prioritize high category tows; they should work together but they’re not,” she said.
The county’s move, she says, does not affect the city’s decision to enforce parking violations since the two authorities don’t work together.
“Which is unfortunate because the wetlands are Indian burial grounds, and they are … dumping their propane tanks in this environmentally sensitive wetland,” Han said.