Los Angeles, CA–Protestors attempted to halt a vote by L.A City Council today, to ban homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers. The protest took place in City Hall chambers, where the Council voted 11-3 in favor of the measure despite chants and shouts in opposition from protestors, who disrupted the city council meeting for more than an hour.
Council members Mike Bonin, Nithya Raman and Marqueece Harris-Dawson dissented. Last month, L.A City Council voted 10-1 in favor of the ordinance, with Bonin as the only Councilmember dissenting.
A second vote was required today for the matter to pass.
Municipal Code 41.18 prohibits sitting,sleeping, lying or otherwise obstructing the public right of way in several areas of the city.
“What we witnessed here this morning unfortunately was really an attempt to try and keep us from taking a vote,” Martinez said. “I think people were intent this morning to shut this place down and keep us from doing the very job that we were all elected to do.”Council President Nury Martinez
15th District City Councilman Joe Buscaino was the first to propose the idea of an encampment ban near schools last year. Protesters began chanting to “Shut it down” when Busciano tried to speak during the City Council meeting.
Council President Nury Martinez then announced a 15-minute recess, which lasted an hour.
Meanwhile, protestors were left in the chambers, where they advocated for homeless rights, saying the City Council were attempting to criminalize the homeless.
The ordinance also expands Municipal Code 41.18 to include:
- Areas within 2 feet of any fire hydrant or fire plug
- Within 5 feet of any operational or utilizable entrance or exit
- Within 10 feet of a loading dock or driveway
- Any 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
The law already protects the public right of way within 500 feet of “sensitive” facilities such as schools, day care facilities, parks and libraries — but only if each specific location is designated by the council for enforcement.
The amendment was also approved by the council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee.
Buscaino’s proposal grew in support thanks to Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who says teachers, principals and parents have expressed concerns about homeless encampments near schools.
I’ve seen elementary schools with conditions that none of us as parents would find acceptable for children. Individuals with mental illness, some of them absolutely unclothed, shouting profanities in the listening ear of children,” Carvalho told the council previously.