Venice Shorts: VNC Approves Anti-camping, Prioritized Towing Action of RVs and Campers

By Nick Antonicello 

Copies of both resolutions are attached.

Both resolutions saw strong audience support at recent meetings of the Homelessness Committee of the VNC, only to be rejected without any stated rationale or reasoning. But both resolutions made their way to the full board for consideration on Tuesday, May 21st. 

Brown, a retired attorney and two-term VNC member has made the issue of homelessness a key component of his time on the board as well as Ryavec, the head of the local Venice Stakeholder’s Association and longtime critic of the city’s failed approach to ending encampments on the streets of Venice for over a decade. 

Both Brown and Ryavec have called for compassion for the residents who have endured street encampments for years, versus the notion that the unhoused have a right to live on the sidewalks as well as RV’s, buses and campers that are in the hundreds here in the neighborhood. 

While all would agree that action on homelessness has improved with the election of Councilwoman Traci Park (CD-11) two years ago, the speed of removing encampments has been slow and frustrating to many as the exact amount of homeless here in Venice remains a mystery as data has been impossible to secure from such agencies like LAHSA, the hybrid bureaucracy charged with solving the homeless crisis here in LA County with little in results or action. 

Venice, long considered ground zero for the homeless outside of Skid Row, has been exhausted by the sheer numbers that have apparently shifted from encampments to RV’s and other vehicles that remain in the hundreds around this urban beach enclave and tourist destination to millions annually. 

Both resolutions are seen as options for consideration as under stakeholder comment, there was strong support for both actions. 

In fact both Brown and Ryavec supported each other’s resolutions that are really advisory and recommendations that would provide the council office options in best practices to move forward. 

VNC member CJ Cole urged the board to vote for both as Clark Brown noted broad community support, and that action for Venice was not just necessary, but required to cure the ills of street encampments and permanently parked campers that have sat in the same place for weeks and in many cases for months. 

Opposition to the resolutions stated that there was a need to “preserve the character of Venice,” while noting Venice had “the grit,” to overcome the crisis. Other board member feedback noted that the homeless encampment issue has inundated sensitive areas of the community close to parks and schools. 

Homelessness Committee Chair Alley Bean thanked both Brown and Ryavec for their efforts and called the entire approach to homelessness “broken.”  Bean shared that Councilwoman Park is seeking citywide consensus that would reduce the overall homeless population despite many political obstacles. 

Brown’s resolution in many ways replicated the San Diego initiative which when implemented realized a 60% reduction in street encampments. 

According to Brown, the resolutions eliminate the many “exceptions and conditions” for enforcement which riddle LA’s current anti-camping ordinances and thereby make effective enforcement impossible. 

Brown noted it was critical for a new and effective ordinance apply to individuals camping in vehicles because occupied, oversized vehicles and RVs are the biggest homelessness challenge in Venice.  

“Homelessness is not going away. In fact, it’s increasing per LAHSA’s 2023 Homelessness Count.” 

And as of this writing, the official results of the 2024 Homeless Count have yet to be released, marking concern that the numbers are still rising despite billions expended and appropriated courtesy of taxpayers. 

Brown noted in March that the VNC Parking & Transportation Committee unanimously approved both resolutions. 

The successful passage of both will now be sent to Councilwoman Park for her feedback, input and support. 

Nick Antonicello is a thirty-one year resident of Venice who covers the deliberations of this Neighborhood Council. Have a take or a tip on all things Venice? Contact Antonicello via e-mail at [email protected]

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