Venice homeowners file lawsuit involving transient beach camps

    0
    744
    cleanups Venice Stakeholders Association says trash and feces abound at the beach

    Venice homeowners and residents who filed a lawsuit accusing Los Angeles city officials of neglecting a variety of problems they link to transients who camp overnight at the nearby beach, announced today a judge has allowed their case to move forward.

    Image by Joseph Sohm
    Image by Joseph Sohm

    Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon this morning rejected
    efforts by city and county attorneys to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Venice
    Stakeholders Association, saying the plaintiffs may have a case when it comes
    to nuisance-abating steps that do not infringe on the rights of the homeless or
    are “not necessarily tied to immunities or constitution violations.”

    Alarcon wrote in his denial that “the pleading is sufficiently broad in
    scope” so that it could cover “simple issues such as cleanup, other than
    more concerning issues of law enforcement or homeless rights.”

    Rob Wilcox, spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office, said the city
    “strongly” disagrees with the judge’s ruling and there are plans to “seek
    immediate appellate review.”

    Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, said he
    and other plaintiffs are “heartened by the court’s support of our position
    that the city and county have a legal responsibility to abate the nuisance,
    which they are allowing to exist in the Venice Beach Recreation Area.”

    “Just like all other owners who are responsible for their property, the
    city and county need to be held responsible to residents for the harm we
    experience,” Ryavec said.

    In their initial 2014 complaint, Ryavec and other plaintiffs contend
    that during the previous five years, “on almost a daily basis,” the city and
    county “have failed to control and maintain” the Venice beach area and
    surrounding areas by allowing “transients and other individuals” to bring
    baggage, camping gear and personal belongings to the area at “all hours of the
    day and night.”

    The complaint faulted the city for failing to enforce an ordinance that
    restricts people from setting up encampments to sleep overnight at the beach
    area, which is considered a park owned by the city and partly managed by the
    county.

    The group’s attorney, Kristina Kropp, said today that while the
    stakeholder group has separately taken issue with transients camping overnight
    at the beach, the case moving forward today is not targeted at the homeless,
    but rather at the existence of the illegal activity and nuisance problems.

    Kropp added there may be “different groups” that are the source of the
    troublesome activity, not just transients.

    Ryavec said enforcing a revised version of the ordinance that restricts
    encampments at city parks “would address a significant aspect of the
    nuisance,” as would enforcing park curfews and drug laws, the city has
    “prosecutorial discretion,” which allows city officials to decide which laws
    they wish to enforce.

    Mayor Eric Garcetti recently directed the city to suspend enforcement of
    that ordinance, and another one for sidewalks, that gives the city a process
    for removing items left on the street, including the encampments of the
    homeless.

    Ryavec contends that unlike the street encampment ordinance, the law
    addressing encampments at city parks has not been the subject of legal
    challenges, so the city should not have suspended enforcement on it.

    Ryavec said the group’s message to the city is that “this is a problem,
    you have to fix it.”

    “Either they (the city) stop the nuisance, or they get to compensate us
    with a lot of money, and we can use that to pay for security,” Ryavec said.

    Summary
    Venice homeowners file lawsuit involving transient beach camps
    Article Name
    Venice homeowners file lawsuit involving transient beach camps
    Description
    Venice homeowners and residents who filed a lawsuit accusing Los Angeles city officials of neglecting a variety of problems they link to transients who camp overnight at the nearby beach, announced today a judge has allowed their case to move forward.
    Author