Jan and Estela – Quit spewing Garbage and just Pick up the Trash
“A Legal Rulings Unfortuante Impact: June Decision Turns Skid Row Sidewalks Into a Health Hazard”
Op-Ed by Estela Lopez, Executive of the Central City East Association (Los Angeles Downtown News August 26, 2011)
“Injunction and Growing Encampments Bring Health Fears on Skid Row”
by Eric Richardson, (blogdowntown.com October 26, 2011)
The recent chatter regarding the impacts of a Preliminary Injunction ordered by Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, United States District Judge, has been one big ball of MISINFORMATION.
As background, in June Judge Gutierrez found that the City of Los Angeles was in fact violating the rights of homeless people living in Downtown Los Angeles by seizing and destroying their personal property. The violation(s) happened in a number of ways including confiscation of property directly from homeless people and seizing property that was left unattended for short periods of time. (Click HERE to read the decision).
As such, the courts PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED THE City and its agents from doing the following:
1. Seizing property in Skid Row absent an objectively reasonable belief that it is abandoned, presents an immediate threat to public health or safety, or is evidence of a crime, or contraband; and
2. Absent an immediate threat to public health or safety, destruction of said seized property without maintaining it in a secure location for a period of less than 90 days.
The City was also directed to leave a notice in a prominent place for any property taken on the belief that it is abandoned, including advising where the property is being kept and when it may be claimed by the rightful owner.
The intent of the order is very clear and is consistent with constitutional and California law. More important, however, it in no way, shape or form, instructs the City of Los Angeles to stop picking up trash—but stop collecting trash on a consistent basis is exactly what they have done. As a response to this action, the strategy on the part of the City and the Central City East Association appears to be to point fingers at “said” trash and say that it is the judge’s fault. Why? To hopefully influence the appellate court to see things their way.
In a recent conversation with Central Bureau Deputy Chief Jose Perez , he unabashedly confirmed the obvious: that LAPD and other city agencies were in fact not picking up trash because the decision prevented them from doing so, which, of course, is a straight out non-truth. Now, you have City Councilmember Jan Perry parroting new nonsense about health risks that have been created as a result of the decision and some bogus business about a process needing to be created that instructs people to move their PERSONAL PROPERTY so that the sidewalks can be cleaned.
For the record:
- The LAPD HAS NOT lost their ability to enforce laws prohibiting appropriate sidewalk access.
- The judgment DOES NOT prohibit LAPD from taking property that presents an immediate threat to public health or safety, or is evidence of a crime.
- The judgment DOES NOT prohibit the City from cleaning the streets and sidewalks.
- The City of Los Angeles HAS an obligation to keep the streets and sidewalks clean for the health and enjoyment of all residents.
Lastly, the current situations regarding personal property and trash in Central City East represents an immature bureaucracy hell-bent on denying the rights of downtown’s poorest residents for the sake of a few. Most passersby will quickly realize that most residents in downtown have a stringent routine (some of the routine is based on ordinances that forbid standing, sleeping, or sitting on public sidewalks during the hours of 6:00am – 9:00pm) whereby personal property is neatly stored and areas cleaned up first thing in the morning.
So, we must ask, what are Lopez, Perry, and similar groups really after? Clearly they are more concerned about winning their appeal of the decision and getting “permission” to steal and destroy people’s personal property than they are about ensuring a clean and safe community for ALL residents.