As you might have read, we are thrilled that both the County and City have agreed to settle our case, and enter into a consent decree supervised by the courts. This was done just 44 days after initial filing of our complaint and is a testament to how dynamic and rapidly-evolving this situation is. This agreement allows us to move forward with our plans without spending time and money on protracted “litigation”. The details of that consent decree still need to be worked out, but the basic premise will be a district-by-district implementation, with an affirmative, enforceable agreement to increase beds and services coupled with enforcement of the law once a target number of beds have been reached.
Despite these huge successes, there remains resistance among some including, we are told, the Office of the City Attorney. One of the first projects was to establish a “safe parking” space for people currently living in RVs. The parties originally all agreed on a CalTrans lot on the corner of 16th/Maple in downtown Los Angeles. However, the City raised some environmental concerns, and therefore at the last minute sent us an alternative list of four purportedly “suitable” locations. No decision has been made regarding the site location. For some reason, either intentional or negligent, the City Attorney presented a lot on Los Angeles street which we now know to be inappropriate for a host of reasons, including the ongoing construction adjacent to the parking lot. This project was well known to the DWP and presumably to the City Attorney when it was included on the list of available properties. Although the property in question has obstacles attached to it, for some unknown reason, the City now seems to be firm about using that location (although there are other similar properties that are without major impediments).
We have spoken with area stakeholders, including the developer of the adjacent site, have proposed alternative sites, and have actively advocated for use of a different space. What we could use help from all of you is identification of lots (10,000 square feet or larger) that will result in a net-zero cost to the City (either government-owned, donated by a kind soul, or a lease paid for with fundraising dollars) within Council District 14 (we recognize the high burden that has already been placed on CD14 – that will be addressed at a later more appropriate time). If the community can come up with multiple alternative sites that would ultimately result in more beds and has community support, it will go far in convincing the Court that this is not a NIMBY issue, but rather simply an inappropriate site location.
Ultimately we are pleased with our success thus far (which we have only been able to obtain with your deep support). We remain committed to the big picture, to getting this City turned around once and for all. We are in the right place, with the right judge, at the right time. We expect many obstacles like this to crop up as we proceed and we welcome all input and support moving forward.