LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Councilman Mike Bonin on Wednesday defended his effort to explore housing homeless people in campsites or temporary cabins in certain westside parks and beach parking lots.
“These are not encampments. They are emergency response – an alternative – to encampments, and they are temporary solutions meant to get people off the streets and into homes,” Bonin wrote in an email to his constituents.
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Bonin said his motion is an attempt to move unhoused residents out of parks and beaches and into designated camping and cabin areas in a portion of some parks and county-owned parking lots.
Specifically, Bonin’s motion, which was introduced March 31, would instruct the City Administrative Officer to evaluate the feasibility of and identify funding for temporary homeless housing in locations like a county-owned parking lots in the Pacific Palisades, Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey and Fisherman’s Village in Marina del Rey.
Portions of Mar Vista Park and Westchester Park would also be considered, as well as sites owned by Los Angeles World Airports if the motion passes.
More than 19,000 opponents of the motion have signed a change.org petition against creating camping sites and tiny home sites in westside beaches and parks.
“If the motion is approved by the City Council, people who are homeless because of drugs and mental illness will have the legal right to live in the parking lot at our public beach in Pacific Palisades,” the petition states.
Bonin sent his email to constituents to dispel what he said were rumors that his motion, which asks only for a report on feasibility, would actually create encampments.
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“Some are claiming I have proposed that the city allow homeless encampments at our parks and beaches. That rumor is not true. On the contrary, what I have proposed is designed to reduce encampments, so that our public spaces can return to full public use,” he said.
In April, Bonin tweeted, “None of the locations we’ve identified are ideal, and I’m always open to other suggestions. But we’ve looked long and hard. There are no ideal places on the Westside, but that doesn’t reduce the need or urgency to act.”
Candidates for the Westchester/Playa del Rey Neighborhood Council plan to hold a virtual “Meet the Candidates” event Wednesday night, and some residents plan to speak out against Bonin’s proposal, saying it is “permitting homeless to camp in L.A.’s parks where children go,” according to an email by Westchester resident Erik Laykin.
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Laykin founded Homeless Help America, an organization that advocates for relocating all of the country’s homeless population into mass camps of 50,000 people each in six states.