Archive for LA City Council

Over 120 Organizations and Civic Leaders Respond to Homeless “State of Emergency” Announcement: Stop the Criminalization and Create Real, Permanent Solutions

Posted in civil rights with tags , , , on October 14, 2015 by Cangress

Logos for Sign Ons

Open letter to Mayor Garcetti and LA City Council Regarding the Homeless “State of Emergency” Declaration

We write you in response to the recent declaration of a homeless “state of emergency” in Los Angeles and an announcement of a $100 million investment towards homeless services and housing. While we welcome the call for more resources for solutions to homelessness, this must translate into substantial, long-term sources of funding and, equally important, an end to the failed policy of criminalizing the lives of homeless residents through laws and enforcement that punish people for being poor and only make it more difficult for someone to get out of homelessness.

The homeless “state of emergency” did not create itself. The City has invested hundreds of millions dollars to address homelessness in the past several years, but the large majority of that money has gone to the Los Angeles Police Department to cite, arrest and otherwise police people who need resources, not fines and jail time. Just last year, according to Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, $87 million of the $100 million that went toward addressing homelessness out of the City’s general fund was spent on LAPD arrests of homeless people. This is not only an inhumane strategy, it is a wasteful and ineffective one as well. Many of you now seem to agree, which we welcome. Mayor Garcetti has called criminalization efforts “pennywise pound foolish.” We were encouraged that Councilmember Huizar also joined us in saying that “this approach to homelessness has failed” and that “we can’t ignore the problem, and we can’t arrest our way out of it.”

Only $13 million in one-time funds have been identified with no real plan of how you all will get the additional $87 million or ensure long-term investments to really impact the homeless crisis. This must happen immediately if your constituents are to believe this announcement is a real commitment to change. Additionally, increases in financial resources towards this crisis will only work if the City abandons what has been its primary approach toward homelessness over the past decade: criminalizing the lives of homeless residents. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is now requiring that localities have a proactive plan to prevent the criminalization of homelessness or federal funds will be at risk. The time is now. The City can and must redirect millions of dollars towards housing and services and create an environment to ensure homeless residents are not criminalized or penalized for life-sustaining activities.

As Councilmember Bonin recently stated, the City needs to “get out of this cycle we’ve been in of trying to enforce against people who have no alternative.” To this end, in order to adequately address the homeless “state of emergency” with a plan for long-term, dedicated resources, we call on you to do the following:

1. Identify long-term, sustained sources of local funding totaling at least $100 million per year and dedicate the large majority of those resources toward new permanent supportive housing units.

2. End all “quality-of-life” and “Safer Cities” enforcement against homeless residents, including, but not limited to:

a. Evaluating and repealing punitive laws such as LA Municipal Code 56.11, 63.44 B and I, and 41.18D.
b. Redirecting the $87 million spent on arresting homeless people, as identified in the recent CAO report, toward permanent solutions to homelessness.

3. Provide emergency public health resources to people living on the streets without major investment in infrastructure, including mobile restrooms and showers, mobile health and mental health services, and voluntary storage facilities.

At the announcement, City Council President Wesson declared, “Today, we step away from the insanity of doing the same thing and hoping for different results, and instead chart our way to ending homelessness.” Announcing a goal of $100 million is a start. Words that acknowledge the failed policy of criminalization are promising. But if the City is to truly achieve different results, we need your leadership to ensure $100 million per year is identified and spent on housing and public health solutions and finally step away from policing as a strategy to address homelessness. We have the solutions and the City has the financial resources, we now need sustained political action.


Alliance of White Anti-Racist Everywhere – Los Angeles
AME Church Ministerial Alliance of Southern California
Anti-Racist Action LA
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
Black/Jewish Alliance
Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles
Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB)
California Partnership
Center for Media Justice
Church Without Walls
Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE)
Congregation Kol Ami
Courage Campaign
Dignity and Power Now
Drug Policy Alliance
DRUM- Desis Rising Up & Moving
East LA Community Corporation
Esperanza Community Housing
First To Serve, Inc.
Global Women’s Strike
Housing Works
Hunger Action LA
Inquilinos Unidos
Inner City Law Center
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Justice Not Jails
Labor/Community Strategy Center
Legal Advocacy Project
Living Word Community Church
Los Angeles Anti-Eviction Campaign
Los Angeles Catholic Worker/Hippie Kitchen
Los Angeles Black Worker Center
Los Angeles Community Action Network
Los Angeles Human Right to Housing Collective
Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches
Los Angeles Poverty Department
Los Angeles Tenants Union / Sindicato de Inquilinos de Los
Martin Luther King Coalition of Greater Los Angeles
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter
A New Way of Life
Occupy Venice
People Organizing for Westside Renewal (POWER)
Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles (PSR-LA)
Progressive Christians Uniting
Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission
Revolutionary Autonomous Communities Los Angeles
Rodney Drive Tenants Association
Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness
Skid Row Housing Trust
South Asians for Justice – Los Angeles
Southern California Homeless Bill of Rights Coalition
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
St. John’s Well Child and Family Center
St. Mary’s Center
Stop LAPD Spying Coalition
Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE)
Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE)
Thai Community Development Center
Topanga Peace Alliance
Trust South LA
Union de Vecinos
United Homeless Healthcare Partners
Venice Community Housing Corporation
Venice Justice Committee
Voice of My People Foundation
Wesley Health Centers & JWCH Institute
Western Center on Law and Poverty
Western Regional Advocacy Project
Women Organizing Resources, Knowledge and Services (W.O.R.K.S.)
Youth Justice Coalition

Individuals (Organizational Affiliation for Identification Purposes Only)

Aminah Abdul-Jabbaar, Filmmaker and Professor, CSULA
Dr. Melina Abdullah, Professor, CSULA & Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles
Professor Jody Armour, Roy Crocker Professor of Law, USC
Akilah Bakeer, Social Worker
Larry Aubry, Journalist, ABSA, BCCLA
Gary Blasi, Attorney at Law,Professor of Law Emeritus, UCLA
Margo Bouchet, Attorney at Law
Jordan T. Camp, Postdoctoral Fellow Center for the Study of Race & Ethnicity in America (CSREA)
Thandisizwe Chimurenga, Journalist
Chuck D, Public Enemy
Rosa Clemente, 2008 Green Party VP Candidate and co-founder Hip Hop National Political Convention
Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder Black Lives Matter
Michael Datcher, Author and Professor, Loyola Marymount University
Ralph D. Fertig , ACSW Federal Admin. Judge (Ret.) Professor, USC School of Social Work
Regina Freer, Professor, Occidental College
Alicia Garza, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter
Jonathan Gomez, Artist
Nana Gyamfi, Attorney at Law
Stephen Gyllenhaal, Film and Television Director
Dr. Ange-Marie Hancock, Professor, US
Phyllis Jackson, PhD, Associate Professor, Pomona College
Dr. Angela James, Professor, Loyola Marymount University
Gaye Theresa Johnson, Associate Professor, UCLA
Erin Aubry Kaplan, Journalist
Rev. Peter Laarman, Coordinator, Justice Not Jails
Dr. Libby Lewis, Adjunct Professor, UCLA
Professor George Lipsitz, Professor, UCSB
Lynn Martinez, Attorney at Law
Diane Middleton, Diane Middleton Foundation
Dena Montague, Postdoctoral Fellow, UCSB
Marilyn Montenegro, PhD., Coordinator NASW Women’s Council Prison Project
Maegan Ortiz, IDEPSCA
Jose M. Paez, Professor, CSUN
Yasser Arafat Payne, Ph.D.Associate Professor, University of Delaware
Kevin Powell, Author and Journalist
Margaret Prescod, Global Women’s Strike
Vivian Price, Ph.D., Associate Professor, CSUDH
John Raphling, Attorney at Law
Dr. Anthony Ratcliff, Professor, CSULA
Steven Renderos, Center for Media Justice
Dr. Boris Ricks, Professor, CSUN
Cynthia Ruffin, Downtown Women’s Action Coalition/Liberation Artist/Revolutionary Angel
Rev. Dr. Roslyn Satchel, Minister, Attorney and Community Activist
Aqeela Sherrills, Organizer and Peace Activist, Watts, CA
Mark Simon, Rodney Drive Tenants Association
Carol Sobel, Civil Rights Attorney
Dan Stormer, Attorney at Law
Alan Sutton, The Louise Sutton Kindness for All Foundation
Dave Wagner, Professor, University of Southern Maine
John Walton Senterfitt, PhD, RN Epidemiologist and Ethicist, L. A. County Dept. of Public Health
Goetz Wolff , Immediate Past President, UC-AFT 1990

Demand a One-Year Rent Freeze

Posted in food access, grassroots policy, health access, housing victories, legal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2010 by Cangress



Councilmember Alarcon has introduced a motion for a one-year moratorium on any rent increases in rent-stabilized buildings in Los Angeles.  This moratorium needs to move forward VERY quickly or it could get lost in the city’s budget process.  Landlords are already calling Councilmembers and weighing in against it – not surprisingly.

But….there are more tenants and tenant supporters than there are landlords – so they need to hear from us now! Please make your own calls and ask colleagues, members, neighbors and others to make calls between today and Friday, April 30th. Be sure to specifically tell the Councilmembers if you live or work in their district – but call them any or all as an LA resident.

We are asking for at least 2 calls from each person in the next week:

FIRST and most urgent: Call Councilmember Herb Wesson who is Chair of the Housing and Community Economic Development Committee (HCED).  Strongly urge him to schedule the moratorium proposed by Councilman Alarcon to freeze rent increases for rent controlled units from July 2010 – June 2011. We want him to schedule it on the HCED agenda on or before May 5th.  We also need to urge his support for the final policy.  The motion was introduced in City Council and is now waiting to be heard in his committee.  If Wesson does not put it on the agenda, it can’t be drafted.

District 10, Herb Wesson, 213-473-7010

Sample script if needed – My name is___________  and I am with (organization name) and  a resident of the City of Los Angeles (tell him specifically if you also live in his district).  I am calling to ask that Councilmember Wesson put the moratorium preventing rent increases on the agenda for the next HCED meeting.  I want him to know this issue has to be on the agenda by May 5th or it won’t be enacted in time to prevent rent increases this year.  I also would like to know if Councilman Wesson plans to vote in favor of the moratorium (and if he does not support it, why not?)

SECONDLY Please call the councilmember that represents your neighborhood and/or the area your organization works in.  Below are organizations who already volunteered to make calls in specific council districts – we need to cover as many councilmembers as possible, so take on as many districts as makes sense.  Email me to update me on which district(s) you can cover.   OUR GOAL IS THAT EACH COUNCILMEMBER RECEIVE AT LEAST 500 CALLS OVER THE NEXT WEEK.  We are urging each of these councilmembers to support the moratorium because renters simply can’t take any more increases during these tough economic times.

Sample script if needed – My name is___________ and I am with (organization name) and I am a resident of the district.  I am calling to ask that Councilmember_________ vote in favor of the moratorium on rent increases for rent controlled units.  The moratorium is only for one year. We are ONLY seeking a temporary break on our annual rent increases.  Tenants are faced with reduction in wages and increases in utilities and transportation costs.  These savings will help us cover other basic necessities to survive.  Can we count on the Councilmember’s support?

For these councilmembers, make calls and urge them to support the moratorium (commitments to date listed):

District 1, Ed Reyes, (213)-473-7001 – Comunidad Presente, Coalition LA, Inquilinos Unidos, Healthy Homes Collaborative

District 2, Paul Krekorian, (213)-473-7002 – we need organizations here who have members!

District 4, Tom LaBonge, (213)-473-7004 – CES, KIWA

District 5, Paul Koretz, (213)-473-7005  We need organizations here!

District 6, Tony Cardenas, 213-473-7006  We need organizations here!

District 9, Jan Perry, 213-473-7009  LACAN, Comunidad Presente, SAJE, Esperanza

District 11, Bill Rosendahl, 213-473-7011  POWER

District 13, Eric Garcetti, 213-473-7013  CES, LACAN, Healthy Homes Collaborative

District 14, Jose Huizar, 213-473-7014  Union de Vecinos, LA CAN

District 15, Janice Hahn, 213-473-7015  POWER

LASTLY – don’t forget to call Councilmember Alarcon and thank him for introducing the motion and tell him you support it!

District 7, Richard Alarcon, 213-473-7007

Stay tuned for more information – a LOT more action will be needed to achieve this crucial victory.  You may see numerous emails on this issue as several coalitions and organizations are actively involved – don’t delete them!  We need everyone engaged.

LA Times Uncovers Amerland Group / Council member Cardenas Connection

Posted in civic participation, education, grassroots policy, housing victories, legal, organizing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2008 by Cangress
City Councilman Tony Cardenas.

City Councilman Tony Cardenas.

When Ruben Islas, Jules Arthur and their San Diego based Amerland Group arrived downtown they were met with open arms. Without question, dollars were funneled in their direction as they paraded a solid wall of prestigious supporters before a mayor appointed Community Redevelopment Agency [CRA] board.  LAPD Captain Andy Smith, Richard Montoya of Culture Clash, Council-members Perry & Cardenas, just to name a few of the “dignitaries” in attendance.

In one particular CRA hearing–Council-members Cardenas & Perry waited hours to give Amerland Group the firm backing of their offices–it became clear that the majority of people & organizations that supported Amerland had a financial incentive to do so. LA CAN did extensive digging and released a story in their March/April 2008 Community Connection that began to show a disturbing pattern. It appeared, in the cases of Council-members Huizar & Cardenas, that campaign & special contributions coincided with their favorable votes for Amerland Group project’s.


On July 10, 2008 Tibby Rothman of the Los Angeles Weekly would also release a story similar to LA CAN’s Community Connection article further delving into the questionable activities by council-members in what appeared to be a “pay to play” scheme.

Now, David Zahniser of the Los Angeles Times, has released yet another story pointing to questionable relationships between Tony Cardenas, Amerland Group and their hiring of his step daughter. We leave it to you to be the judge but we believe that something fishy continues to go on here.

Buckle your seat belts because this story surely will not stop here.