We produce public benefit projects that raise awareness for worthy causes such as: human rights, civil liberties, social and economic justice ie. homelessness, peace, environment, constitution.
Started 10 petitions
STOP THE VENICE PLACE HOTEL
The Abbot Kinney Hotel project that we fought so hard to stop, back in 2014, has resurfaced as VENICE PLACE, and will now be heard by L.A. City Planning on Thurs. September 22 @ 9:30 am at WLA Municipal Building, 2nd Floor Hearing Room, 1645 Corinth Avenue, West Los Angeles. Watch video of the VNC meeting Feb. 18, 2014 when this project was first heard by the community - including a presentation by hotel developer, Dan Abrams... https://youtu.be/AeGBvxXasnk?list=PL856FD6334B141B68 ...And, as it happens, Westminster Elementary School is located at 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, DIRECTLY ACROSS the street from the location of this proposed 80-room hotel with 200+ restaurant seats, 2,534 sq ft of ground floor retail space, a 1,735 sq ft spa, 3,371 sq ft of office space! And that's just the tip of the iceberg.... We MUST STOP this development!. Here's why: - Abbot Kinney Blvd. is a main thoroughfare with a traffic flow of up to 10,000 vehicles a day. Traffic is especially heavy from 7:30 am - 8 am and 2:30 pm - 6 pm, just when children are arriving and departing to and from the school campus. The project is estimated to generate at least 688 more car trips per day on this already gridlocked street! - The specific traffic impact of the project, per the Mitigated Negative Declaration is increased by 545%, creating dangerous conditions for children and their parents walking to and from school, crossing Abbot Kinney Blvd., Electric Ave., Brooks Ave. This HUGE increase in traffic will endanger children, pedestrians and bike riders, alike. - There's just NOT enough parking! At capacity (and esp. during special events), 167 parking spaces is NOT enough for this 80-room hotel, 200+ restaurant seats, 2,534 sq ft of ground floor retail space, a 1,735 sq ft spa, 3,371 sq ft of office space, and all the development's employees! - The developer seeks to tie EIGHT (8) LOTS together, setting a DANGEROUS precedent for future development, since in the Venice Specific Plan, the current number of lots allowed to be consolidated are THREE (3)! The developer apparently hopes to get around this by separating the buildings along existing lot lines (but connected by catwalks which are only accessible through the buildings). - The developer is seeking approval for a full line of ALCOHOL for ON-SITE & OFF-SITE consumption operating 7:00 am to 1:00 am, provided in the hotel rooms' liquor cabinets, by room service, and through the hotel lobby, outdoor courtyard, hotel lounges, and hotel business center! - The hotel will, thus, be serving ALCOHOL -- directly OPPOSITE Westminster elementary SCHOOL from 7 am - 1:00 am daily, and could well become a haven for predators, to observe and stake out our school CHILDREN!!! - The development will SIGNIFICANTLY increase traffic. The one traffic study seen states the project will generate 688 NEW CAR TRIPS a day. Much of this traffic will end up on Abbot Kinney Blvd., but ALL of it will originate at Electric Ave, where the parking garage entrance is located, causing GRIDLOCK at peak times on Electric Ave. and on surface streets in Oakwood. And unlike other recent retail/residential projects on Abbot Kinney, the hotel will be OPEN 24 hours a day, bringing with it TRAFFIC very late at night and early in the morning. - By adding 4 "apartments", it appears the developer is trying to create the illusion of a mixed-use residential/commercial development, rather than strictly commercial. - The project has INADEQUATE off-street loading - a MERE 600 sq. ft. off-street commercial loading area off Broadway! It’s way too small for such a HUGE COMMERCIAL OPERATION. Additionally, there will be only TWO (2) on-street loading areas, also on Broadway. Even now, with only a couple of restaurants currently operating on site, loading and garbage collection often partially or completely BLOCKS Broadway Ave. Let’s make sure our voices are heard and our presence is felt. COME TO THE ZA PLANNING HEARING THURS SEPT. 22, 9:30 a.m. West Los Angeles Municipal Building -- 2ND Floor Hearing Room. 1645 Corinth Avenue, WLA If you CAN or CANNOT attend PLS SIGN THIS PETITION TO SEND AN EMAIL to City Planner, Juliet Oh, and Councilman Mike Bonin telling them "NO WAY!"
BAN THE VENICE B.I.D.
The proposal of a Business Improvement District (BID): City File #16-0749(CD11) in Venice was initiated by ex-president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce (VCC), Carl Lambert, in 2013 when he first brought his proposal to the Ocean Front Walk committee, a committee stacked with his business cronies. Go here to watch video https://youtu.be/QstErnU0dQ4 Since then, the BID proposal has been working it's way through City Hall and is now surfacing as another giant step in the gentrification of Venice. Many residents, property owners, business owners and stakeholders, are concerned about the impact of the proposed BID and how it will be enforced in Venice. Here are just some of the reasons why this is not a good idea for Venice, with it's Bohemian past and history of free-spirited, uninhibited ambiance: 1. The process for establishing the BID has not been public or transparent. 2. BIDs in the City of Los Angeles, and particularly their private security forces, have a history of hostility toward homeless and low-income residents resulting in several lawsuits since their inception in the late 1990s regarding unconstitutional practices. 3. BIDs are a form of privatization that harms those that don’t own property and limits democratic control over resources. 4. BIDs are not feasible for all businesses or property owners to pay, particularly non-profits and small business owners. 5. The founding premise for the BID is faulty. It is claimed that a BID is needed because the City of Los Angeles is not providing the proper public services. While it is true that the city is not providing services, the solution is not privatization. We oppose privatization of our public spaces and services. 6. In 1904, Abbot Kinney deeded Ocean Front Walk to be a public park in perpetuity, which also included sharp restrictions on commerce; therefore the city has no authority to approve a Business Improvement District on this section of Venice. We DON'T WANT A BID IN VENICE - it will destroy the last vestiges of freedom that remain in our community!!!
SAVE THE VERA DAVIS FAMILY CENTER FOR THE UNDER-SERVED VENICE COMMUNITY
The Vera Davis Center accommodates Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, Latino Resources, Venice Arts, H.E.L.P.E.R.S. (formerly Venice 2000) public computers, distributes free groceries to the needy twice a month and assists area residents with Food Stamp applications. These services and all the good done by the aforementioned groups will be terminated, and efforts to find alternative sites have yet to provide new quarters for these much needed and appreciated community services. Below is CD 11 Councilmember Mike Bonin's explanation for why the Vera Davis Family Center, which has served the under-served population of Venice for decades, will no longer serve the community but will be transformed into a performing arts center for the new wealthier 'demographic' that surfaced after the 2010 Census ;) Bear in mind: the building that houses the Vera Davis Family Center, the former Venice Library and a historic building, belongs to the City of Los Angeles (COLA) (not Mike Bonin and his cronies) and should have been properly maintained by the City and not allowed to fall into disrepair, in the first place. This is a classic example of how COLA has systematically allowed public property to fall into disrepair or stand empty and unused (as in the case of the Westminster Senior Center) in order to work deals which, ultimately, favor a more privileged demographic that has evolved thanks to the rampant takeover of Venice by developers ie. the gentrifiers. Mike Bonin 5/2/16: "Since before I took office, the demographics for the surrounding neighborhood no longer qualified for the type of funding that was used to operate the Vera Davis Center. The housing department has carried the facility on a shoestring budget for the past couple years, with the understanding that the city would be issuing an RFP for someone to manage and operate the facility. That has been discussed in at least three city budget cycles, and over the years I personally have had discussions about it with various members of the Venice Neighborhood Council, so I know people have been aware of it. Despite that, no action has been taken. Last week, during city budget deliberations, I asked that the departments of Housing and of Cultural Affairs each separately prepare a report detailing how an RFP would be issued and what the timeline would be, and when the center could potentially be under new management. (I asked Department of Cultural Affairs to do a report, because according to a 1998 voter approved measure called Proposition K, the facility can receive $500,000 in capital funds when it is used as a youth arts center -- something that has been foreseen and on the books for a couple decades.) I also asked the housing department, which currently manages the facility, to give me a detailed report with the structural and rehabilitation needs for the building, which I am told is in the millions of dollars. The facility has a number of issues, including handicapped access issues -- and as a result the federal government may prohibit organizations receiving federal funds from operating out of the facility. In short, once I get a sense from the two city departments about potential timelines, I will determine which agency should be responsible for the RFP, share the information with neighborhood Council and the community, and the city will prepare the RFP for an organization to operate that facility as a junior arts center, open to the community. I'd be happy to have Debbie Dyner Harris of my office to report on all this to the neighborhood council. Mike" Read this 2011 article in Venice Beachhead: https://freevenicebeachhead.org/2011/04/01/vera-davis-center-faces-uncertain-future/ DON'T LET THE CITY OF L.A. GET AWAY WITH THIS --- PLS SIGN OUR PETITION TO DEMAND THAT THE VERA DAVIS CENTER CONTINUE TO SERVE THE UNDER-SERVED COMMUNITY IN VENICE ie. low-income, poor, youth and seniors
STOP LAPD RACIAL PROFILING IN OUR VENICE OAKWOOD COMMUNITY
October 23, 2015 -- LAPD/C.L.E.A.R officers are targeting African American and Latino MALES that are either walking, driving, skateboarding or sitting at Oakwood Park. The men who have been stopped for the last few nights have reported that "LAPD / C.L.E.A.R officers are stopping Latino and African American Males on bicycles, driving, skateboarding or sitting in Oakwood Park, and informing them that they are taking them to jail just because, "All of you think who think the gang injunction is gone, well we're here to tell you it's in full force, and we are here to let you know it." The officers are stopping men of color when they are by themselves handcuffing them, lifting up their clothing and checking them for whatever it is they choose when they are by themselves...? If the gang injunction is being enforced by these officers: why are the men being stopped when they are alone on their choice of transportation (bike or skateboard, driving)? Why are the men being handcuffed immediately and treated as if they are committing a crime? Many of the men are not being asked by the officers if they are on probation or parole, (the ONLY reason that the officers would have to instantly handcuff them). The men are handcuffed immediately, and then they are asked if they are on probation or parole. We are educating our young men and women to cooperate and follow the rules that are being given to them by C.L.E.A.R and LAPD. We are determined in Venice to not live through another 'unwarranted killing' by your officers, with their unlawful stops of men and women of color, who are being treated like criminals when they are not on probation or parole, just being targeted because of the color of their skin. We are keeping our officials informed concerning the actions of C.L.E.A.R. and LAPD, so let there be no misunderstanding that LAPD officers are harassing civilians as they walk, skateboard, sit in Oakwood or ride through our Community, and yes Venice is still our neighborhood that we love! We are demanding that LAPD officers respect the public and, as they patrol our streets, do not assassinate peoples' character by arresting them, without just cause, as they move and flow through the streets of Venice. We are standing up and letting our voices of concern and love for all in Venice be heard...LAPD/C.L.E.A.R does not have the right to stop people just for the COLOR OF THEIR SKIN!!!
NO CAR LIFTS IN VENICE!
OH NO! VENICE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL ENDORSES CAR LIFTS AS ADDITIONAL BEACH PARKING AT VENICE BEACH! FEB 17, 2015 Venice - In a series of resolutions and endorsements, the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) approved the addition of thirty (30) automated car lifts at the Windward Circle, Venice Beach. At the surface parking lot located at 29-47 Windward Ave., the VNC approved the addition of 30 automated/hydraulic car lifts which will ONLY increase parking capacity from 38 to a measly 68 spaces! "The most important issue facing Venice is parking and, tonight, we helped alleviate the lack of parking right at the Windward Circle," offered President Mike Newhouse. "This kind of NUTS (and bolts) problem-solving is at the heart of why we have grass roots representation here in Los Angeles with neighborhood councils." (Thnx, Mike, we think it's NUTS, too!) THIS VOTE WILL SET A PRECEDENT FOR CAR LIFTS IN VENICE - PERIOD - IS THIS WHAT WE WANT? 30 CAR LIFTS WILL ONLY MAKE 30 EXTRA PARKING SPOTS -- PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. LET'S STOP THIS NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!
A MORATORIUM ON ALCOHOL LICENSES IN VENICE, CA
The next biggest secret is out - Venice Beach CA has in EXCESS of 120 alcohol licenses in a 3.1 square mile area, which translates to 40 per square mile, whereas in Los Angeles the average is 4 per square mile! This is outrageous, and an abuse of our neighborhood...and still they just keep coming...! Many of you already know about the 320 Sunset project which is applying for a full-line ON-SITE alcohol and OFF-SITE beer and wine license, right next to a residential area with families and children. The same is also happening at 259 Hampton Drive, 15 feet from residents. Another at 600 Mildred Ave (ex Kim's Market) is trying to force a sit down restaurant with alcohol, a mere 3 FEET from a family home, and in a very dense residential area. There are further examples of this up and down Abbot Kinney Blvd., Rose Ave, Washington Blvd. and soon, if things keep escalating as they have, we will see a bar on EVERY corner. Is this the kind of Venice we want to live in? Where peace and quiet enjoyment in our homes is sacrificed, and our neighbors are not neighborly but noisy, inebriated, party-goers until 1 or 2 AM? Not to mention the problems which present along with these licenses. No parking (or very little) is being provided by the operators, forcing their patrons to crawl our residential streets in search of parking, then noisily return to their cars and drive through our family neighborhoods inebriated. Venice may be considered a tourist destination by the City of LA, but it is also our home, and needs to be protected as such! Where will it end? In tract #2733, where the ABC license application is in process for Gjusta, 320 Sunset Ave, there are 3,695 residents and 16 alcohol licenses, maybe more. That means 1 license per 230 people. The ABC regulation is one per either 2000 or 2500, depending if it's an on/off-site sale license. BUT there are way too many ABC licenses already here! Please help us bring a MORATORIUM on alcohol licenses in Venice to safeguard the future of our community, our families and our children! SIGN OUR PETITION TO SEND EMAILS TO DECISION MAKERS. THANK YOU!
STOP FULL-LICENSE RESTAURANT / BAR WITH TAKE-OUT BEER AND WINE SALES AT 320 SUNSET AVENUE, VENICE
OPPOSE the liquor license application for a FULL LICENSE "restaurant" with TAKE OUT beer and wine sales at Gjusta, 320 Sunset Ave., Venice - in a small, quiet artist neighborhood -- close to Google --- with extremely limited parking and just 13 feet from people's homes!It's obvious that the developer is making this move to capitalize on being so close to Google and if he's allowed to do it, there will be others following in his path - commercializing and congesting the tiny little intersection at Sunset and 3rd Ave. Added to which, the developer has misrepresented his project from the very beginning - passing it off as a "bakery with accessory retail". If this place does anywhere near as good as Gjelina's it will create constant traffic from dawn to dusk. This is going to be a big operation with up to 110 capacity (staff + customers) with takeout food, beer & wine traffic added on.Some may think that sounds like a good idea - but not in this location which backs onto a residential area and has very little parking!From a neighborhood resident: "TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT! The applicant, who also owns Gjelina's on Abbot Kinney and next door, GTA, has caused serious/serial problems to the surrounding neighborhood for the past 8 years!He exploits the neighborhood for his own financial gain, and has no regard or concern for how to be a good neighbor...and it looks like he's planning on doing the same and possibly MUCH worse in this quiet corner of Venice at 320 Sunset Ave.He has misled the neighborhood from the start, leading them to believe he was opening a local "bakery", while ALL ALONG he was planning a fully licensed restaurant seating 90 people, with outdoor patio dining, and a staff of 30 employees per shift.He plans to open 19 hours per day, from 6AM to 1AM, with full bar AND OFF-SITE (takeout) beer & wine sales. A fact that he HID from the community until he was exposed, and which will drastically change our neighborhood FOR THE WORSE.This out of character development in this M-1 (manufacturing) zone will ruin residents' daily lives due to noise pollution from patrons, equipment and traffic.Not to mention the acute lack of parking which all the neighbors experience...and he has no intention nor obligation to provide any! If he has a massive turnover of patrons per day, it would be a huge drain on local street parking, which is already scarce, forcing us all to park several blocks from our homes. Not safe at all.Plus, Sunset Ave. would not allow for ease of traffic flow from all the added congestion to and from his business. Pedestrians, and cyclists alike would be in jeopardy safety-wise from that kind of traffic obstruction.He maintains that he would be cleaning up the area and doing "us," the neighborhood a huge service, when really we know he is just coming in to exploit our neighborhood as he did with Abbot Kinney Blvd. and the surrounding residential streets.WE NEED TO SPEAK UP NOW AND LOUDLY!
Support Free Safe Storage for Homeless People's Belongings in Venice, CA
September 14, 2016 CD 11 Council Member, Mike Bonin, will have a community meeting THURS. 9/15/16 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. The topic is: moving Free Safe Storage for homeless people in Venice to the former senior center at Westminster and Pacific Ave., Venice. As many SUPPORTERS of this project, as possible, are needed to attend as a counterpoint to the NIMBYs and the haters who were VERY vocal and hostile at the Venice town hall meeting 9/8/16, on this topic. PLS. FORWARD WIDELY TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS WHO SUPPORT THIS SOLUTION. THANK YOU! March 14, 2015 - Posted on FB by Occupy Venice: Longtime Venice Beach activist and un-housed resident Dave Busch was arrested last Friday morning (March 13) in an act of civil disobedience to fight the increased criminalization of the homeless and expose the boardwalk sweeps for what they are - an ongoing campaign to purge the homeless from the boardwalk and larger community. Venice has a free safe storage program, but it's full and needs to be expanded. Until then, where are people supposed to store their stuff? During these sweeps, sanitation workers under protection of the police apply selective enforcement when confiscating and disposing of personal possessions like sleeping bags, tents, etc. They target the un-housed/homeless and leave tourists' and other people's possessions along the beach alone during the sweeps, clearly a violation of equal protection under the law. Dave took upon himself to block sanitation vehicles and at one point was facing a $100,000 bail on Friday (an absurd amount), but has been released. More on his arrest via the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-venice-cleanup-20150313-story.html Please sign this petition to send a message to Councilman Mike Bonin that he should follow through on this pledge to provide permanent storage facilities for homeless people in Venice! ------------------ July 11, 2014 - The Free Safe Storage Program in Venice needs our support. The program is under threat of being closed down at the end of the month and needs our help to remain open year around. Currently it serves the community from 5:30-6:30 every day. The storage is free and the total annual cost is a few hundred dollars of liability insurance - that's it.Please put your full support behind keeping the storage facility open and operating all year by signing this petition to Councilman Mike Bonin. Thanks! ...and also let Mike Bonin know you support using Westminster Senior Center as a permanent facility for unhoused people to store their belongings and receive other, urgently needed, services. It just makes good sense to use that empty building, owned by the City of L.A., for such a program. -------------- Jan. 3, 2014 - It's a new year and a new day -- "rumor" has it that Councilman Bonin is already back-tracking on his pledge to honor VNC's vote on where to place storage bins - at the Westminster Senior Center -- in favor of the Baptist Church at 7th & Westminster, as far away from Venice boardwalk as possible -- and certain business interests. PLEASE sign this petition - which has been recently modified to reflect the latest turn of events - to urge Bonin to keep to his word and do what Venice community wants - for a change! ...and forward widely, thanks. TBN The Venice storage program gives homeless people a place to keep their belongings - good idea :) Some Venice residents/business people don't like the idea and think it is enabling more homeless people to be in Venice. But L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin supports the program and has put aside the opposition voiced by the "grinches" of Venice and is going ahead with the much needed program this winter. Argonaut December 24, 2013: Storage unit for belongings of shelter users draws criticism: Even some who support the program say it should be located somewhere other than the Venice boardwalk. A plan to once again allow homeless men and women to store their possessions in a container on the Venice boardwalk has been met with nearly unanimous opposition — a rare moment of agreement for the beachside enclave on matters pertaining to the homeless. Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin announced on Dec. 11 that he would follow in the footsteps of former Councilman Bill Rosendahl and authorize a temporary storage unit for belongings of homeless people who spend the night in winter shelters. Bonin also proposed using the same location, an area behind the paddle tennis courts near Ocean Front Walk and 19th Avenue. Many residents and business owners, however, object to staging the storage program on the boardwalk for a variety of reasons. Members of the Venice Neighborhood Council voted Dec. 17 to recommend allowing shelter users to instead store their belongings at the nearby Westminster Senior Center on Pacific Avenue. There were eight votes for the senior center and three for the First Baptist Church, which already provides some homeless services but is about two miles from the boardwalk. None supported the boardwalk. “The boardwalk is an economic engine for Venice,” said Daniel Samakow, who co-owns three restaurants near Ocean Front Walk and said the plan to locate the storage container there didn’t take into account the consequences for local businesses. Gary Harris, who lives on Ocean Front Walk, said the area around the container last year had become “an encampment for the homeless” and said Bonin’s proposal was “disrespecting the boardwalk and the community.” Deborah Lashever, a Marina del Rey resident who formerly owned a business on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, also thought the senior center was the best choice because participants could also access social services workers there. “If there’s going to be a permanent long-term program, it has to be inside,” Lashever said. Samakow said he and others in the business community supported having the location at the First Baptist Church because the Mildred Cursh Foundation and a Safe Place for Youth both use the church for their social services initiatives several days a week. The church had talked the idea over with Samakow and others, First Baptist minister Samuel Crutchfield said. Venice Neighborhood Council member Erin Sullivan Ward, who voted to offer storage at the senior center, questioned the wisdom of using the church in Venice’s Oakwood neighborhood. “I think the residents there would be up in arms about this,” she said. In an early December interview, Bonin said he doubted the church would be a good place for the homeless to store their belongings. “The goal is to find a location that is functionally suitable with the minimal impact. I think that is significantly more challenging in a residential neighborhood,” Bonin said. Other suggestions of where to locate the storage program include the St. Joseph Center, Venice of America Centennial Park (the tiny park near the Venice Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority yard on Pacific Avenue. “There will be challenges at every site — challenges of permitting, of space, of many different things,” Debbie Dyner-Harris, Bonin’s district director, told council members. Bonin said the storage program will remain at Ocean Front Walk unless and until a new location is worked out. In the meantime, “As long as people live on our streets, it is humane to give them a place to store their belongings. Providing secure and safe storage of belongings to people without shelter gives them both peace of mind and dignity,” Bonin said.
DECLARE A "SHELTER CRISIS" IN LOS ANGELES (CA. GOV. CODE § 8698-8698.2)
December 10, 2013 A male transient was found dead Monday morning [Dec. 9, 2013] on a sidewalk in Downtown Los Angeles during the lowest recorded temperatures in the area in over 22 years. The body of the man, who was in his late 50s, was discovered at about 6:40 a.m. in the 300 block of West First Street, according to City News Service. His name has not been released. The L.A. Fire Department said he may have been sleeping under blankets or in a sleeping bag. Preliminary reports indicate that the cause of death was from natural causes, but the record low temps may have contributed to his passing. The National Weather Service reports that the temperature in DTLA dropped to 34 degrees Monday morning—a record low temp for the date and the lowest recorded temp in the area since December 23, 1990. The previous record low temp for the area was 36 degrees in 2007. ---------------------- California Homeless Crisis Grows As State Is Reluctant To Use Powerful Law (CA. GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 8698-8698.2) Shelters across California have only enough beds for a small fraction of homeless people turning away hundreds each night for this reason leaving them to fend for themselves. But one of the state's most powerful tools to assist this vulnerable population is hardly being used. Buried within California's legal codes is a 25-year-old statute that allows counties and municipalities to declare a state of emergency when a "significant number" of homeless people exist in a community, allowing them to convert public facilities into shelters and even to change zoning codes to site shelters in most neighborhoods. Yet since the law was passed in 1987 -- and as the homeless population increased -- few communities have invoked the statute, and when they do, it is almost always just to set up temporary winter shelters. As a result of a lack of political will, neighborhood resistance and budget constraints, this law has rarely been tapped to ease the suffering of the dispossessed." "It is almost unparalleled in its potential," National Coalition for the Homeless executive director Neil Donovan said about the statute. "But it's a challenge [for California] because of the financial crisis that they're in. Other communities use similar statutes far more effectively. I'm thinking of Boston, which opens up its armories when overcrowding happens." The reluctance to take action frustrates advocates for homeless people. "It's a very powerful statute in the sense that once a shelter crisis has been declared -- it could be done on a statewide level by the governor or on a county level -- there are just about no restrictions to housing the homeless anywhere," said civil liberties lawyer Mark Merin. "But there are very few instances where it has been invoked. Any mayor or board of supervisors which has not declared a shelter crisis should be asked - Why not?" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/californias-homeless-crisis_n_1243223.html
ACCESS TO TOILETS IS A HUMAN RIGHT
SO, THIS IS AMERICA - WHO KNEW? America - world leader - in homeless abuse? “On August 24, 2012, in an official report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, a top UN investigator said that the United States’ failure to provide homeless persons access to water and sanitary facilities “could … amount to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.” The report was issued by UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation Catarina de Albuquerque.” (Whitney Gent, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty) The UN Special Rapporteur’s report states: “The United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, must ensure that everyone [has access] to sanitation which is safe, hygienic, secure and which provides privacy and ensures dignity. An immediate, interim solution is to ensure access to restroom facilities in public places, including during the night. The long-term solution to homelessness must be to ensure adequate housing.” According to Amnesty International (AI) and the U.N. General Assembly access to toilets is a human right, as they are “essential to human well-being”. Similarly, according to AI: “Housing is a basic human need and fundamental human right”. OK, tell that to the thousands of homeless people living on the streets of Los Angeles today! Then, take a trip to Venice Beach, a district of Los Angeles and ask the homeless people sleeping on the street what these “rights” mean to them. They will likely laugh in your face and tell you there is no housing for them in Venice; and the only available public toilets, located at the beach, are locked from approx. 9:00 pm - 6:00 am, daily. So where do they ‘go’ when they need to use the toilet after 9:00 pm and before 6:00 am (the beach is now also under curfew from midnight to 5:00 am nightly)? Good question! This is a health time-bomb waiting to explode and it doesn’t just apply to Los Angeles but to every city where homeless people are forced to live on the streets without adequate sanitation. How is it possible that a country as advanced as America can turn a blind eye to this most fundamental human need? Make your voice heard - tell the Mayor of Los Angeles and other city, county, state and federal officials that it’s time to make access to public toilets a human right in America.