Tapping rarely used rule, LA councilmen Buscaino, Lee urge vote on stricter anti-camping ordinance

Councilmen Joe Buscaino and John Lee invoked a rarely used rule on Wednesday, June 23, to have the Los Angeles City Council vote Tuesday on whether to pull a draft anti-camping ordinance from the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, where it has been sitting since Nov. 30, 2020, and force the full council to vote on it.

The ordinance would restrict people from lying, sleeping, sitting, or placing tents and personal property on streets and sidewalks:

  • Where it reduces the path of travel required by the American with Disabilities Act;
  • Within 10 feet of an operational or utilizable entrance, exit, driveway or loading dock;
  • Within 500 feet of a facility that provides housing, shelter, supportive services, safe parking or storage to unhoused people;
  • Within 500 feet of a designated freeway overpass, underpass, ramp, tunnel or pedestrian subway; and
  • St all times and all locations if a person has been offered shelter.

“It is unconscionable for this City Council to adjourn for a month-long recess without considering this important ordinance that will restore rules and order to our shared public spaces,” Buscaino said Wednesday.

“Public Safety is the core responsibility of local government, and we are failing to protect both the unhoused and the housed. Allowing unmitigated encampments on our streets and sidewalks is not compassionate, it’s reckless,” he added.

The city’s current anti-camping ordinance, which has not been enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic, prohibits tents during daytime hours, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

On June 9, Buscaino, who is running for mayor in the 2022 election, requested the City Council amend the mayor’s Declaration of Local Emergency and resume enforcement of the current anti-camping ordinance.

Wednesday’s action was taken under Council Rule 54.

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