Los Angeles Homeless Activist Calls Out for Help



Great two letters.

I’m passing this appeal on to the HUFFsters and will bring it up at tomorrow’s HUFF meeting.  Not that we can do that much, but we can send e-mails.   You’re also invited on the air Thursday night at 6-8 PM, if you’d like.   We’ve gotten into a new studio and have live broadcasting again.


Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 16:18:17 -0700
From: peggylee.kennedy@gmail.com
To: venicejusticecommittee@gmail.com

Sorry for the duplicate emails, but this is really important!

Tomorrow, June 22 the LA City Council Committee on Poverty and Homelessness has (agenda item 4) the new ordinance making it illegal to sleep in a vehicle!

Here is the link to the agenda:

Please email a letter of opposition ASAP
PLEASE try to come to the meeting! It starts at 3pm. Put in a speaker card saying you are opposed to item 4.

Below is the email I sent them. Feel free to use what you want, but use your own words of course.

Below that is David’s email


To:          LA City Council Homelessness and Poverty Committee

LACity Councilmember Harris-Dawson   councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org

LACity Councilmember Huizar                    councilmember.huizar@lacity.org

LACity Councilmember Bonin                     councilmember.bonin@lacity.org

LACity Councilmember Cedillo                   councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org

LACity Councilmember Price                       councilmember.price@lacity.org

Legislative Assistant Eric Villanueva          Eric.Villanueva@lacity.org

CC:         Mayor Eric Garcetti                         mayor.garcetti@lacity.org


Re:         June 22, 2016, Agenda Item 4, Council File 14-1057

Amending LAMC 85.02 (to prohibit lodging in a vehicle on city streets)


I am opposed to this ordinance in either of the two draft forms provided by the City Attorney:

It makes the act of lodging in a vehicle a crime when homelessness is persistent and growing.

It  does not create solutions first and foremost, which is what this committee should look at first considering the urgency of the homeless situation in Los Angeles.

It is inhumane and innocent people will be harmed.

The City of Los Angeles saw another increase of 11% in the homeless count of 2016 from that of 2015 (one-year). The prior 2015 count saw an increase of 12% from 2013 (two-years). Clearly the homeless problem in Los Angeles is persistent and growing.

These counts are of people, not simply numbers. They are community members and neighbors once housed in Los Angeles.  In fact 72% of adults experiencing homelessness have lived in LA County for more than 20-years. (Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) Homeless County Presentation 

https://documents.lahsa.org/Planning/homelesscount/2016/factsheet/2016-HC-Results.pdf )

There are no Safe Parking programs in place, if ever created at all, which might meet the demand of those living homeless in a vehicle. Such programs may take years to develop. Any person of average intelligence can understand that living in a vehicle is safer than living outside “rough.”  Furthermore, Los Angeles does not have enough homeless shelters for the homeless people living “rough.”

The fact is Los Angeles has a severe housing crisis and is one of the least affordable places to live in the United States. (National Low Income Housing Coalition: Affordable Housing Gap Analysis 2016 http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Gap-Report_print.pdf ) I suggest the City of Los Angeles take a look internally to find reasons why so many low-income Angelinos are becoming homeless. Protecting, monitoring, and increasing low-income housing is one key place to begin.

In the mean time, emergency measures are in order now. We need safe places for homeless people to rest, storage for their belongings, access to sanitary facilities, and so much more.

Turning homeless people into criminals is cruel, it certainly is not a solution and it has proven more expensive that housing people. 

Vote no and stop this from going forward!

Below is David’s letter
He sent to all councilmemembers
Dear Councilmembers,

Re: June 22, 2016, Agenda Item 4, Council File 14-1057
Amending LAMC 85.02 (to prohibit lodging in a vehicle on city streets)

My name is David Busch, I am 60 years old, and a long-time resident and  community organizer in Los Angeles.  For over 15 years,  I have worked constantly to help bring dignity and opportunity to our unhoused community in Los Angeles.

I am writing to you therefore about my deep concerns, regarding two proposed ordinances now in your Homelessness and Poverty Committee.

Myself, I have worked in the past with one of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s closest associates, the Rev. James Lawson, also the ACLU, and also with Public Council. For six years, I was also a leading volunteer with the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness; and have, myself, also started several food programs for unhoused people in Los Angeles. I have also lived in Southern California all my life–including as a renter in Venice Beach, Culver City, and Hollywood.

I am now writing this to draw, for the record, all your’s attention, however–to several severe defects with two proposed ordinances, that, under the guise of regulating the use and occupancy of vehicles on Los Angeles streets  –would over-broadly simply criminalize basic life functions.



As you know, the US Department of Justice, along with the US Inter-agency Task Force on Homelessness, recently issued strong national guidelines to cities–against the current and appalling criminalization of homelessness in many American cities.

In 2014, the United States was now also already singled out, to our shame, by the United Nations–which passed resolutions condemning our nation, and it’s lawmakers, for already passing ordinances so in violation of international norms that we in the United States are now even in violation of the International Conventions Against Torture–in the many ways we find to criminalize  our unhoused

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, also–has specifically condemned Los Angeles–particularly for its appalling treatment of  our tens of thousands of unhoused.  And also our city’s tens of thousands of vehicularly-housed.

Unbelievably, the two ordinances in your Homelessness and Poverty Committee would now soon add to that mistreatment and over-broad criminalization.   Both forms of the ordinance, for example, would seek to treat basic life functions–such as urination within the privacy of one’s own legally-owned vehicle as criminal acts.

Even how long a period of time “Storage” constitutes is entirely undefined. Moreover, placing a wet nose tissue within one’s ashtray on it’s face, hereafter, constitutes criminal activity with one’s  “bodily fluids” –and could be considered criminal under these incredibly broad ordinances as they are currently written.

A person falling asleep in their own car–in front of their own house or apartment building is a criminal act under these ordinances.  Moreover, police will be given over-broad power to pull over, detain, interrogate, and criminalize anybody they wish for merely having a blanket or pillow in their car. Unhoused people will be open to immediate and unnecessary police harassment in any area of the community local police arbitrarily decide they want to–in order to “send a message” that this person is going to be pulled over again and again and interrogated, merely for driving through many areas of Los Angles.

And simply because they are too poor or unhoused.

I am sure good police officers would prefer to do many things–rather than spend their day criminalizing someone for having a blanket in their car.

Or spend their day hauling off people away from Venice Beach– because there is curiously no provision in the ordinances requiring there be a legal place for the homeless to lodge in their vehicles there: and have  equal access to that beach –or any of our especially-protected coastal zones within the city’s limits.

Moreover, inebriated persons, leaving bars and restaurants throughout Los Angeles, and afraid of falling asleep in their vehicles –will be encouraged to endanger us all — by driving while drunk to escape the reach of these ordinances.  Or increasingly place the burden of their over-night presence on private property owners–such as at shopping center parking lots.
Shockingly, there is also, further, no provision in these proposals that would link the guaranteed prior availability–of legal parking for lodging anywhere –prior to the issuance of a citation.

We already know how many thousands of L.A.’s unhoused are already ticketed and hauled off to jail even though there is almost no liveable shelterbeds anywhere in Los Angeles already.  And that there is already no requirement that a shelterbed be positively located before police issue those citations, either.

Nor is there any provision that would require that the proposed legal parking areas be located in each council district, rather than unduly burdening only certain communities of Los Angeles -in ways that are likely to be found to be appallingly racially (as well as economically) discriminatory.

To go ahead and pass such ordinances, will also be nothing but an insult to our already over-burdened Court  system.  I am sure Judges are already sick of the city of Los Angeles sending defective criminalization-of-the-poor ordinances to their courts–as merely a stalling tactic against doing something instead–to find the funding, and enact enough  programs, to get our unhoused into permanent housing.

And instead of just unnecessarily– again, and again–further criminalizing them.

It is time that the city stop burdening our poor and working people of Los Angeles with the lack of affordable housing in Los Angeles –and maybe did something to prosecute the criminal activities in it’s zoning and development offices–that are every day destroying more and more working people’s communities with illegal developments–that pander to the rich; and than just criminalizing more and more of each of us–each day:

For simply living.

With all respect, please reject these ordinances.  They are unneeded to stop abuses–and they will only increase them against our city’s already most-abused.

David Busch
Community Organizer, Venice Beach