February 6, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Markedly Different Reactions to Sheriff’s Plan to Clear Boardwalk Encampments

Plan to clear Boardwalk by Fourth of July met with applause, condemnation

By Sam Catanzaro

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s plan to clear encampments on Ocean Front Walk by the Fourth of July has been met with markedly different reactions from Venice organizations and stakeholders.

Last Monday Villanueva visited the Boardwalk to announce a plan to clear encampments there by Fourth of July. In his remarks, Villanueva took aim at City of Los Angeles officials, blaming them for the prevalence of encampments in the area. 

“The city of LA created this problem. This is a failure of leadership from the very top, all the way down. If I go there to the end of Santa Monica, at the end of Santa Monica I don’t see any tents. There’s no stronger argument than the division between the two sides,” told a group of reporters. “I want to see the boardwalk full of tourists. I want to see the boardwalk full of all the wonderful people here that were selling their crafts that Venice was known for. That is what it needs to be. This is not Venice.”

A day after Villanueva made these remarks, LASD’s Homeless Outreach Services Team came to the Venice Boardwalk to start the process of clearing encampments and connecting homeless individuals to housing. LASD Lieutenant Geff Deedrick, the head of HOST, told NBC 4 that cleaning Boardwalk encampments by July 4 is a goal, but not a deadline, and that it could take much longer. 

The Boardwalk falls under Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) jurisdiction, but the Department said in a statement to the Associated Press that it supports Villanueva’s plans and is willing to work with partner agencies to improve safety and support for the homeless community. 

“The Los Angeles Police Department is committed to working with all of our public safety partner agencies and elected officials to improve the safety of our communities,” the LAPD said,” Including efforts to increase outreach and provide needed housing and supportive services in the Venice Beach community and elsewhere.”

On June 10 a group of seven Venice organizations released a joint statement pushing back against Villanueva’s actions. 

“Time and time again, this approach has proven to fail in Los Angeles, and cause harm to people already dealing with crisis, trauma, and the extreme lack of affordable housing across our region and especially on the Westside. While the Sheriff claimed his team would engage in outreach for a few weeks before clearing the area by the 4th of July, his outreach team is not connected to the housing and service organizations in Venice and there are nowhere near enough resources, unfortunately, to house everyone in three weeks. Additionally, outreach connected to threats of enforcement and displacement only further isolates most people who have been pushed around from the streets to shelters to jail and back to the streets for years,” reads the statement from Grass Roots Neighbors, Safe Place for Youth, Venice Black, Indigenous and People of Color Elders, Venice Community Housing, Venice Equity Alliance, Venice Family Clinic and Venice Justice Committee. 

“Not one politician, one law enforcement official, one non-profit, one neighborhood group is going to suddenly have the ability to solve this crisis because it’s summer and people think that tourists, visitors and local housed and unhoused people are unable to share the beautiful and inclusive space of the Boardwalk and Venice Beach. We actually can share the space, be kind to unhoused neighbors, continue the local outreach and street medicine efforts that support people until they are housed, and put more resources into permanent housing solutions for folks on our streets,” the statement continues. 

In stark contrast to this statement, on June 14 another collection of Venice organizations announced their support for Villanueva’s plan. These groups are the Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA) and Venice United, representing residents, and the Venice Chamber of Commerce and Venice Beach Merchants Association.

“The Venice community has longed for just this kind intervention for several years,” said Mark Ryavec, VSA president and member of the Venice Neighborhood Council.

“The City of Los Angeles has abandoned us and ignored our repeated calls for enforcement of the city ordinance that bans tents and camping in city parks and beaches,” Ryavec added.  “It’s enforced at Will Rogers Beach and in San Pedro’s beach parks, but oddly not enforced in Venice.”

George Francisco, the president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, said, “The city’s failure to help those living on the beach to find shelter has hurt the homeless…and has hurt hundreds of our businesses.  Sadly, it has made the public scared to visit Venice.”

“We applaud the Sheriff’s decision to assign the highly-experienced HOST team to help this population link to services and shelter,”  Francisco added.

in News
Related Posts

Tishman Speyer Announces Basis Investment Group as Equity Partner for Santa Monica Collection

February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

BIG’s $30 million commitment — 11 percent of total equity — to the 3.1-acre mixed-use development will help create 617...

Two Industry Titans Invest $30M in Lavish Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica Homes

February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

David Bonderman and Christa Campbell recently acquired two lavish homes By Dolores Quintana Private equity tycoon David Bonderman and his...

Four-Year-Old Mountain Lion P-81 Found Dead on PCH

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

P-81 found on Pacific Coast Highway near Las Posas Road On Sunday, January 22, the California Department of Fish and...

Rep. Lieu Secures $2.5 Million for Local Projects in Santa Monica

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

Funding will go towards Santa Monica Behavioral Health Center and Ready to Succeed Scholarship program  By Sam Catanzaro ​​Congressman Ted...

Steve Marcy, Beloved Lincoln Middle School Teacher and Scoutmaster, Passes Away at 77

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

Longtime Lincoln math teacher passes away  ​​Steve Marcy, beloved Lincoln Middle School teacher and Scoutmaster of Santa Monica Boy Scout...

California Referendum Postpones Controversial Fast Recovery Act That Would Increase Hourly Wages for Fast-Food Workers to $22

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

AB 257 would create a board of 11 appointees to negotiate on behalf of fast food workers in California Last...

Highly-Anticipated Downtown Santa Monica Restaurant Close to Opening

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

Bar Monette close to opening at 109 Santa Monica Boulevard By Dolores Quintana Bar Monette is almost ready to open...

SMC Receives Grant to Expand Access to Critical Support Services for Foster Youth

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

New NextUp program will provide academic & comprehensive support, plus direct financial aid to foster youth enrolled at SMC Santa...

Find Inspiration in Moses Sparks’ Latest Collection of Tree Portraits in the Santa Monica Mountains

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

The exhibition and sale run from February 1st – 26th at the King Gillette Ranch Visitor Center  Internationally-acclaimed wildlife photographer,...

Pacific Park Joins The City Of Santa Monica To Recognize ‘Black History Month’ With Ferris Wheel Salute

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

Display of red, yellow and green colors, patterns and transitions beginning at sunset February 1 On Wednesday, February 1, the...

Girl Scout Cookie Season Returns to Los Angeles With New Cookie

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Cookie lovers throughout Greater Los Angeles can now support local Girl Scout entrepreneurs by ordering from the iconic lineup Girl...

Boris Allakhverdyan, Ben Hong and Talon Smith Unite in Santa Monica for Special Performance of Brahms’ Trio Op. 114

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Concert will take place on Sunday, February 5 The world-renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Principal Clarinet Boris Allakhverdyan and Associate Principal...

Metro’s Choice for Purple Line Muralist Sparks Veteran Concern

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Veterans concerned over disturbing painting by commissioned metro muralist at the purple line stop on the West L.A VA Soldiers...

Los Angeles Sees Increase in Kia and Hyundai Thefts Fueled by TikTok

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Social media platforms exacerbate vehicle thefts through security flaws Kia and Hyundai vehicles have become a major target for car...

Phil Brock Appointed to Serve on National League of Cities’ Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Brock will help shape NLC’s policy positions and advocate for America’s cities, towns and villages before Congress Santa Monica City...