Tag Archives: Homeless Encampments

Everyone Knows That LAMC 41.18(d) Outlaws Sitting Or Lying On A Sidewalk Or Street — At Least If You’re Homeless — But Did You Know That It’s Also Illegal Even To Stand Or Walk In An Alley? — At Least If You’re Homeless — Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Kurt Knecht Explains The Whole Thing To The LAPD — Who Aren’t Just Abstractly Interested In Legal Principles That Can’t Be Weaponized — And Clearly This One Can

One of the most shameful sections in the entire Los Angeles Municipal Code is the reprehensible LAMC 41.18(d), which says in its sinister understated way that “No person shall sit, lie or sleep in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public way.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its monumental Jones decision, has called this “one of the most restrictive municipal laws regulating public spaces in the United States” because, unlike laws passed by sane people, it doesn’t even require blocking anything for a violation. Just sitting, lying, or sleeping.1

As you can imagine if you don’t already know, this law is certainly never enforced against anyone who’s not homeless. We’ve seen, e.g., how Hurricane Kerry Morrison, killer queen of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, can confess publicly to violating it with no consequences. There are many, many such instances. But maybe you’ve noticed the loophole? You can be sure that, as many homeless people as the LAPD’s able to arrest for violating LAMC 41.18(d), there are surely far, far too many who get away unarrested because they’re standing or walking. As long, that is, as they’re not sleepwalking or sleepstanding. Then they can still be arrested.

This is an important unsolved problem in the criminalization of homelessness, at least from the point of view of the criminalizers. That is to say, how can they illegalize not just most, but actually all positions that a homeless body can be in? They have evidently had their finest legal minds working on it, and it turns out that Downtown neighborhood prosecutor Kurt Knecht, has come up with a legal theory on which homeless people can be arrested for standing or walking as well as sitting or lying as long as they’re doing it in an alley that’s open to cars. It’s only a partial solution, to be sure, but it seems to be a new addition to the criminalization toolkit.

The context is found in this September 2017 email from Knecht to LAPD captains Marc Reina and Timothy Harrelson about a homeless encampment in an alley in the 700 block of South Hill Street:2
Continue reading Everyone Knows That LAMC 41.18(d) Outlaws Sitting Or Lying On A Sidewalk Or Street — At Least If You’re Homeless — But Did You Know That It’s Also Illegal Even To Stand Or Walk In An Alley? — At Least If You’re Homeless — Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Kurt Knecht Explains The Whole Thing To The LAPD — Who Aren’t Just Abstractly Interested In Legal Principles That Can’t Be Weaponized — And Clearly This One Can

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Surreal Episodes From CPRALand! — Cryptoracist Deputy City Attorney Gita O’Neill Calls Deon Joseph “Articulate”! — Crazed Sidewalk Colonizer Miguel Nelson “Really Needs To Hire Security Guards” According To Gita O’Neill — He Emails LAPD Far Too Much And “He Probably Has The Money” Says She — Homeless Encampment In CD14 Given Highest Cleanup Priority Because Someone Is Making A Movie There

Recall that yesterday I received a huge stack of records comprising emails and other materials from various LAPD officers, other City officials, and some property owners having to do mostly with homeless issues on Skid Row. The whole set is available here on Archive.Org.

I wrote one long post about it yesterday and will write some others soon enough, but today I thought I would tell you about a few short episodes that probably can’t support a whole post but are really interesting nonetheless. There’s no theme, no subtext, no larger purpose, no moral. Nothing but gossip, really, but interesting!

Return of Safer Cities? Gita O’Neill calls Deon Joseph “Articulate”

As you may know, the LAPD under Bill Bratton introduced a local version of the reprehensible broken windows theory in the form of the quantum reprehensibility shift known as the Safer Cities Initiative. This seems to have faded away for reasons I can’t determine, but long-time Skid Row cop Deon Joseph has evidently been drooling copiously for years dreaming of bringing it back.

And evidently present Chief Michael Moore is in favor of reviving this zombie jive crapola as well. At least that’s the frightening message found in this June 2018 email conversation between Deputy City Attorney Gita O’Neill and high LAPD muckety Marc Reina. And it’s not the only frightening thing in there. Here’s how O’Neill describes to Reina the role of Joseph, who is African American: “deon asked the question [about Safer Cities] to the chief, deon was very articulate”

And “articulate” is a problematic word indeed. As the New York Times said in 2007 after Joe Biden caused a scandal by calling Barack Obama articulate, when the word is used “in reference to blacks, it often carries a subtext of amazement, even bewilderment. It is similar to praising a female executive or politician by calling her “tough” or “a rational decision-maker.” “When people say it, what they are really saying is that someone is articulate … for a black person,” Ms. Perez1 said. Such a subtext is inherently offensive because it suggests that the recipient of the “compliment” is notably different from other black people. So, you know, evidently that’s what Gita O’Neill thinks of Deon Joseph.

And turn the page for more postcards from CPRAlandia!
Continue reading Surreal Episodes From CPRALand! — Cryptoracist Deputy City Attorney Gita O’Neill Calls Deon Joseph “Articulate”! — Crazed Sidewalk Colonizer Miguel Nelson “Really Needs To Hire Security Guards” According To Gita O’Neill — He Emails LAPD Far Too Much And “He Probably Has The Money” Says She — Homeless Encampment In CD14 Given Highest Cleanup Priority Because Someone Is Making A Movie There

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Massive Record Release — Including Emails Between Skid Row LAPD, Deputy City Attorneys, Council Staffers, Property Owners — Shows Among Many Other Things Extensive City Collusion In Skid Row Anti-Homeless Landscaping Projects — Like Miguel Nelson’s North Sea Horror Show — Encampment Cleanups Scheduled To Suit Needs Of Property Owners — Photographs, Briefing Documents, Sanitation Cleanup Schedules — And So Much Else It’s Not Possible To List

I recently obtained part of a vast set of records from the LAPD, comprising emails between four officers and a long list of people involved with homeless issues on Skid Row as well as a wide variety of other materials which was attached to the emails. The officers are Marc Reina, Aloaf Walker, Robert Arcos, and Keith Bertonneau. Their correspondents are many, but in particular property owner Miguel Nelson, deputy city attorneys Kurt Knecht and Gita O’Neill, and LA Sanitation staffer Bladimir Campos.

This is an incredibly rich, incredibly complex set of material. The whole thing, or as much as I have so far as I am told there is more to come, is here on Archive.Org. There are many, many enlightening stories to be told from these sources, and I will be posting on some of them over the next few days.1 Also, I hope to publish a list of some of this stuff soon with brief descriptions. But I have extracted one important story for you this evening.

There’s been a lot in the news lately about anti-homeless planters in Venice of one sort or another, installed illegally and passively tolerated or even actively assisted by the City of Los Angeles. But the latest round of weaponized agriculture started last year in Skid Row with the so-called North Sea Project, which also involved giant heavy planters taking up the sidewalk to prevent people from sleeping there.

This North Sea installation was guided mostly by local property owner Miguel Nelson.2 According to KCRW Nelson obtained permits from the City for his hostile landscaping, unlike the copycats in Venice. The purpose of these planters, anti-homeless and pro-gentrification, was widely reported in the international press. Even the SRNC Formation Committee’s own General Jeff weighed in on the anti-human motivation behind these abominations.

But what I haven’t seen reported on anywhere is the astonishing level of City complicity in the installation of these Skid Row planters, which exceeds at least what we know about parallel issues in Venice.3 The evidence shows that the City of Los Angeles conspired with Miguel Nelson to coordinate the installation of sidewalk fencing on the east side of Towne Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets with an Operation Healthy Streets raid.

Bladimir Campos of LA Sanitation gave Nelson five days advance notice of the cleanup so that he would have time to schedule his fence crew to barricade off the public sidewalk to prevent encampments from returning before he had a chance to install the planters. Note that five days is even more notice than the people living in the encampment got! Further, on the day that the cleanup crew was working Campos instructed his subordinates to give Nelson real-time estimates of their arrival. There’s no reason to suspect that this level of cooperation wasn’t in play through the whole North Sea installation process.

This is in sharp contrast to the City’s refusal, which continues to this day, to give homeless rights advocates advance notice of cleanups so that they can be observed and recorded. Interestingly, the City is expressly forbidden by the California Public Records Act from releasing or refusing to release information based on the purpose it’s to be used for,4 and yet that is exactly what they’ve done in this case by releasing it to be used against homeless people but withholding it from those who would use it to defend their rights.

It’s also in sharp contrast to the City’s stated purpose for Operation Healthy Streets, which like most5 such tools placed in the hands of the City has been weaponized to serve the interests of property owners. The mission at one time seems to have been fairly humane. Nothing to do with clearing out encampments so that property owners can colonize the space with planters:

Operation Healthy Streets (OHS) was implemented in 2012 as a robust homeless community outreach program designed to provide adequate notice and identify high-risk people in need of services and assistance.

As always, turn the page for links to and transcriptions of the actual evidence.
Continue reading Massive Record Release — Including Emails Between Skid Row LAPD, Deputy City Attorneys, Council Staffers, Property Owners — Shows Among Many Other Things Extensive City Collusion In Skid Row Anti-Homeless Landscaping Projects — Like Miguel Nelson’s North Sea Horror Show — Encampment Cleanups Scheduled To Suit Needs Of Property Owners — Photographs, Briefing Documents, Sanitation Cleanup Schedules — And So Much Else It’s Not Possible To List

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Venice Property Owners Have Raised More Than $70,000 To Cover A Pathway Near The Penmar Golf Course With Cactus And Sprinklers — With Full Cooperation Of Mike Bonin’s Office — Which Helped Them Obtain Permits — We Have A Copy Of Secret Nextdoor Dot Com Discussion — Which Provides Insight Into City Of LA Complicity — Not To Mention The Kind Of Hateful Anti-Human Pre-Genocidal Rhetoric That Drives These Projects — Also Reveals Mark Ryavec Asking About Landscape Architects In October 2018 — One Month Before He Helped Arrange For Illegal Palms/Lincoln Planters

There has been a wave of anti-homeless landscape architecture around Los Angeles, mostly involving planters. Some of these projects, like Miguel Nelson’s so-called North Sea thing in Skid Row, are done legally, meaning with permits obtained from the City. Others are completely illegal, like the livestock troughs full of dirt and cactus dumped all over the sidewalks of Palms Blvd. in Venice by despicable anti-homeless vigilante Mark Ryavec and his lynch-mob buddies at Lincoln Hardware.

And recently, a Venice resident, fed up with the attitudes of his or her neighbors, sent me a screenshot of a thread on Nextdoor.com, which seems to function more or less as the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines of the Los Angeles anti-homeless brigades, wherein another such project is being planned.1 These property owners have raised more than $70,000 on their GoFundMe page to install cactus and sprinklers obstructing most of a block-long public pedestrian path along the west edge of the Penmar Golf Course in order to prevent homeless people from continuing to live there.2

And even though this unfiltered glimpse into the white-hot seething id of homeless-hating planter proponents is interesting enough, like a rampaging flock of crocodiles or something, it’s not the most important aspect of this revelation. The most important thing revealed here is the level of the City’s complicity with this project. According to the organizers, Mike Bonin’s staff helped them obtain permits and also attends their community meetings to help them raise money.

This is in stark contrast to the absolute indifference the City displays when citizens concerned with blatantly illegal antihomeless measures seek help navigating City bureaucracy. Where was Mike Bonin’s office when activists were trying to get the City to enforce its own laws against unpermitted sidewalk-blocking planters? Nowhere, actually. It’s not their problem, it seems. Not their job to enforce those particular laws against those particular perpetrators. After the break you’ll find some quotes about and details of Bonin’s complicity.

But before that, here’s an interesting little episode revealed in this discussion. On October 20, 2018, Mark Ryavec, the Adolf Eichmann of Venice, evidently whipped into some kind of visionary frenzy by all the talk of cactuses, asked one of the organizers: “…who might I contact to get the name and contact info for the landscape architect?” And they told him. And a little over a month later Ryavec and his minions, with the abject complicity of the City of Los Angeles, were replacing homeless human beings with illegal hostile planters at the corner of Palms and Lincoln.
Continue reading Venice Property Owners Have Raised More Than $70,000 To Cover A Pathway Near The Penmar Golf Course With Cactus And Sprinklers — With Full Cooperation Of Mike Bonin’s Office — Which Helped Them Obtain Permits — We Have A Copy Of Secret Nextdoor Dot Com Discussion — Which Provides Insight Into City Of LA Complicity — Not To Mention The Kind Of Hateful Anti-Human Pre-Genocidal Rhetoric That Drives These Projects — Also Reveals Mark Ryavec Asking About Landscape Architects In October 2018 — One Month Before He Helped Arrange For Illegal Palms/Lincoln Planters

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What Passes For Wit Among Zillionaires — South Park BID Board Members Paul Keller And Bob Buente Mockingly Refer To Downtown Homeless Encampments As “Bombay” And “Calcutta” — Super-Genius Paul Keller Proposes Illegally Using BID Staff Outside BID Borders To Clean Encampments — Has To Be Talked Down Off That Particular Ledge By BID Zeck Dreck Ellen Salome Riotto Who — Despite Her Devotion To Her Satanic DTLA Masters — At Least Has Some Goddamn Sense — Also Riotto Reveals Hitherto Unknown Illegal Downtown BID Anti-Homeless Intelligence Gathering Conspiracy

Last Thursday morning off I went to the concrete canyons of Downtown Los Angeles to sit through yet another interminable gathering of the Board of Directors of the South Park BID and, just for you, dear reader, I have posted video of the whole damn thing both here on YouTube and here on Archive.org. And it was mostly more of the same old bad BIDness, but without a quorum, so no action was taken.

There were a few interesting episodes though, and I’ll be writing about one or more of them soon enough, but the text for today’s sermon is this little hissy fit, pitched by none other than the finest legal mind of his generation, that is to say self-proclaimed schmuck Paul Keller, accompanied by the narcissistic back-up harmony vocal stylings of the BID’s own Uncle Fester,1 which is to say Bob Freaking Buente. There is, of course, a transcription of the whole damn thing after the break, and juicy quotes interspersed throughout the article here.

Paul Keller wants to talk about … underpasses. The ones he drives under when he gets off the freeway in the morning. They’re filled with homeless people. Paul Keller doesn’t like this. Bob Buente reminds him that in zillionairese underpasses are referred to as “Bombay” and/or “Calcutta.”2 What he really seems to hate about them is that (a) they are offensive to his finely honed zillionaire aesthetics and (b) he can’t ignore them because there’s a traffic signal there: “But unfortunately the light causes you to be in Bombay if it’s red.” The problem evidently is that CalTrans has jurisdiction over underpasses so the usual zillionaire methods of getting shit done, like e.g. giving José Huizar another 700 bucks, aren’t effective.

Turn the page to learn what the other problem is, how Ellen Salome Riotto schooled Paul Keller a little bit but he just won’t listen and wants her to break the law anyway, and the big reveal! All the Downtown BIDs are compiling anti-homeless intelligence which they’re evidently going to pass on to Miguel Santiago, possibly in anticipation of his becoming CD14 repster in 2020 because José Huizar’s rapey incontinence has effectively torpedoed the political ambitions of the other Huizar, his hand-picked successor, that is, of course, Richelle.
Continue reading What Passes For Wit Among Zillionaires — South Park BID Board Members Paul Keller And Bob Buente Mockingly Refer To Downtown Homeless Encampments As “Bombay” And “Calcutta” — Super-Genius Paul Keller Proposes Illegally Using BID Staff Outside BID Borders To Clean Encampments — Has To Be Talked Down Off That Particular Ledge By BID Zeck Dreck Ellen Salome Riotto Who — Despite Her Devotion To Her Satanic DTLA Masters — At Least Has Some Goddamn Sense — Also Riotto Reveals Hitherto Unknown Illegal Downtown BID Anti-Homeless Intelligence Gathering Conspiracy

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José Huizar Told A Bunch Of Zillionaires At The Fashion District BID Annual Meeting That It Is “Unfortunate” That BID Security Guards Are Not Allowed To Steal Homeless People’s Property — Evidently José Huizar Thinks The City Of Los Angeles Has Not Yet Paid Carol Sobel Enough Money

Last Thursday the Fashion District BID held its annual meeting. You may recall that Assemblymember Miguel Santiago gave a reprehensible little speech to kick things off, but CD14 repster José Huizar was the keynote speaker. You can watch his whole speech here, but the parts I’m specifically interested in tonight are his remarks about homeless encampments and, especially, his discussion with some guy whose name I didn’t get on the same subject. Of course there are transcriptions of all this poppycock after the break, as usual.

About homeless encampments, well, it was the usual jive. We’re going to build a lot of shelters and housing and of course, once we have enough shelters and housing we can start arresting the homeless again, so that’s good!1 Unsurprisingly, though, things got more interesting during the questions. An unnamed guy asked José Huizar about the homeless fires problem.2 After some chit-chat, the questioner asked José Huizar who, exactly, was allowed to remove the property of homeless people from the sidewalk. In response José Huizar said:

The police department. Not the fire department, the police department. They don’t give that right to the BIDs, unfortunately. But the LAPD can remove it if it is blocking the right of way.

What is the guy thinking? Is he thinking that the City and the BIDs haven’t been sued enough by Carol Sobel, LAFLA, and the National Lawyers Guild? There is a really good reason that only police are allowed to remove the property of homeless people, and that is because society endows sworn officers with extraordinary powers to take actions that would be and should be absolutely illegal for anyone else to do. Like kill people,3 or kidnap them,4 or take their stuff off the sidewalk, which is theft when anyone but an officer does it. This is why BID officers aren’t allowed to remove people’s property, because they’re just ordinary people and it would be stealing. Does he think it’s “unfortunate” that ordinary people can’t steal stuff? Maybe he also thinks it’s “unfortunate” that BID officers can’t kidnap and kill homeless people like the police are allowed to do.5 Bizarre.

And ironically, he’s speaking to the Fashion District, which famously was sued in Federal Court in 2015 for conspiring with the City to illegally confiscate the property of street vendors.6 The Fashion District is right next door to the Downtown Industrial District BID, also in José Huizar’s district, sued in Federal Court in 2014 for the very thing that José Huizar is lamenting the impossibility of here. The City ended up paying half a million dollars to LAFLA because the BID Patrol can’t keep its grubby hands off other people’s stuff and José Huizar thinks this is unfortunate? It’s not his money, of course, but still…

And, as usual, turn the page for transcriptions of the relevant remarks and a little more mockery!
Continue reading José Huizar Told A Bunch Of Zillionaires At The Fashion District BID Annual Meeting That It Is “Unfortunate” That BID Security Guards Are Not Allowed To Steal Homeless People’s Property — Evidently José Huizar Thinks The City Of Los Angeles Has Not Yet Paid Carol Sobel Enough Money

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At Eager Prompting Of Scofflaw Board Member, Brand New South Park BID Homeless Outreach Coordinator Angela De Los Santos Admits On Camera To Violations Of State Law Regarding Where BID Activities Can Take Place

You may recall that I regularly write about the South Park BID and the seemingly endless parade of their wanton violations of the Brown Act. It seems like every meeting brings another violation and the last meeting involved at least two distinct violations. Thus it will come as a welcome change of pace, I am sure, to learn that this post is about the South Park BID violating the law, to be sure, since that’s pretty much what they do over there, but at least it’s not about them violating the Brown Act!

The law in question here is the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994, which states at §36625(a)(6) that “[t]he revenue from the levy of assessments within a district shall not be used to provide improvements, maintenance, or activities outside the district…” And yet, at the April 26, 2018 meeting of the South Park BID, funding activities outside the BID is precisely what was discussed. But I’m getting ahead of my story!

See, what happened is that on April 9, 2018 the South Park BID hired a homeless outreach coordinator, Angela De Los Santos, who was introduced to the BID on the 26th by executive Directrix Ellen Salome Riotto. Angela De Los Santos passed out a handout (which stated that there were only 18 homeless people in the South Park BID), talked about her duties for a while, and then took questions from the Board.

One of the questions was about “the underpasses just outside the South Park BID borders,” and that’s where things got interesting! You can watch the exchange here, although parts of it are hard to hear. Turn the page for transcriptions, discussions, and some more documentary evidence.
Continue reading At Eager Prompting Of Scofflaw Board Member, Brand New South Park BID Homeless Outreach Coordinator Angela De Los Santos Admits On Camera To Violations Of State Law Regarding Where BID Activities Can Take Place

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Amicus Briefs Filed In Orange County Catholic Worker Case In Support Of Injunction Against Evictions, Hearing On Tuesday Morning, February 13

For background, see Luke Money‘s excellent coverage in the Times, starting with this January 29 article on the Lawsuit and continuing with this article on the February 13 hearing. You can also download selected pleadings in the case from our Archive.Org site.

Last week Judge Carter issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Orange County, the City of Anaheim, and anyone else who might be minded to do so from arresting anyone on the bed of the Santa Ana River for trespassing, camping, and similar anti-homeless offenses. Prior to this, on February 4, in the order setting the fast-approaching February 13 hearing1 on the plaintiffs’ original application for a restraining order, Carter invited a broad range of non-parties to appear at Tuesday’s hearing:

The Court also welcomes attendance at the hearing and written briefing by any amicus groups, which may include veterans’ organizations, service providers, abused women’s protection and housing organizations, and other cities affected by the homelessness crisis in Orange County that are not named as Defendants in this case.

Well, beginning last Friday and continuing on through tonight, a number of amicus briefs were filed. You can find a list and links to the actual pleadings after the break. Also, although I’m not really committing myself to covering every aspect of this case, it’s been really interesting so far, so I went ahead and set up a page on the Archive to collect pleadings.
Continue reading Amicus Briefs Filed In Orange County Catholic Worker Case In Support Of Injunction Against Evictions, Hearing On Tuesday Morning, February 13

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In Response To Emergency Motion Filed Yesterday By Plaintiffs, Last Night Federal Judge David Carter Issued Temporary Injunction Forbidding Orange County From Arresting Homeless People On The Santa Ana Riverbed Pending The Scheduled Hearing On February 13

For background, see Luke Money‘s excellent coverage in the Times, starting with this January 29 article on the Lawsuit and continuing with Monday’s article on the February 13 hearing.

UPDATE: The Times (finally) got around to covering this development this afternoon. Here’s their story on the temporary restraining order.

I’m not really covering the lawsuit, filed on January 29, by the Orange County Catholic Worker and Carol Sobel’s law firm against Orange County for civil rights violations incurred against homeless human beings living on the bed of the Santa Ana River.1 You can read the initial complaint here to get an idea of what’s going on.

Yesterday afternoon the plaintiffs asked the County when they were going to start arresting people living on the riverbed and the County replied at 5:31 p.m. that arrests would begin today, February 7. Read the entire email exchange here:

Consequently, beginning tomorrow morning, OCSD personnel will begin advising people remaining on the District Santa Ana Riverbed property that they must vacate or may be cited and/or arrested for trespassing.

This prompted the plaintiffs to file an Emergency Request to Stay Arrests with the court. The metadata of that PDF suggests it was written at 5:59 yesterday, about half an hour after the County’s reply. There is a transcription after the break.

This, in turn, prompted the court to issue an Order Granting Temporary Restraining Order forbidding the County from arresting homeless human beings on the riverbed for trespassing, loitering, or camping, until the hearing on February 13. The metadata of that PDF suggests that it was written at 11:11 p.m. yesterday. There is a transcription after the break.
Continue reading In Response To Emergency Motion Filed Yesterday By Plaintiffs, Last Night Federal Judge David Carter Issued Temporary Injunction Forbidding Orange County From Arresting Homeless People On The Santa Ana Riverbed Pending The Scheduled Hearing On February 13

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