Posts Tagged ‘Police’

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Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice — spiritofvenice.net

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9th Circuit Court of Appeals Heard Desertrain vs. City of Los Angeles; Looks Like LA City Living in Vehicle Law is Unconstitutionally Vague

December 6, 2013

VENICE RV

Pasadena CA, December 5, 2013— The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments today regarding Desertrain vs. the City of Los Angeles, a Venice Beach lawsuit.

The vagueness of Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) 85.02, the city ordinance making it illegal to habitate in a vehicle, was the main topic for the oral arguments presented by Civil Rights Attorney Carol Sobel.

LAMC 85.02 was used during a concerted Venice homeless eradication effort. This effort included a special Los Angeles Police Task Force that arrested, towed, ticketed, and threatened homeless people accused of living in a vehicle.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2010 alleging that the City of Los Angeles violated the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case was not successful in the lower federal court, but was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by Sobel.

The three judge panel especially questioned the enforcement criteria and lack of duration for LAMC 85.02. “The City Attorney had difficulty answering the questions posed by the judges” according to plaintiff, Steve Jacobs-Elstein.

Venice is a special coastal community historically known for the diversity of its population; a community known for acceptance and tolerance. It is home to one of the largest free clinics in the country and provides homeless services second only to the skid row area in Los Angeles.

As Venice property values continue to soar, comes an influx of newer residents who can afford million dollar buildings by the sea, and hardships increase for those who can no longer afford to be housed in the community.

Surely, with all this new wealth, better solutions can be created.

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Justice Committee & Media Group    http://www.justice.wetnostril.net

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Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice — spiritofvenice.net

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KEEP VENICE STREETS FREE — HEARING @ CA COASTAL COMMISSION – THURS. JUNE 13

JATAUN_NOPDJune 6, 2013 at 5.00 pm, was the last day to submit letters, emails & petitions opposing Overnight Parking Districts (OPDs) in Venice.

BUT…we can still make our voices heard by attending the CA Coastal Commission (CCC) hearing next Thurs. June 13 which begins @ 8:30 am in Long Beach, CA.

If you are available on that day PLEASE join us in telling the CCC that you want to keep coastal access to Venice beach free and open to all, as stipulated by the 1976 CA Coastal Act; and, if you live in Venice, that you don’t want to have to pay to park on your street!

NOPDs supporters are meeting @ 7:00 am on Thurs. June 13 at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291 –

We will be busing and/or carpooling to Long Beach – contact David Busch for info. about bus/carpools.

PLEASE COME IF YOU CAN, ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIVE IN VENICE.

The hearing will be held at City of Long Beach, City Council CHAMBERS, 333 West Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90802 (415) 407-3211

Go here to view the CCC agenda, scroll down to Thurs. June 13: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/mtgcurr.html

Go here – CCC_NOPD-6-2013 to view the May 31, 2013 report made by CCC staff, Charles Posner, who states: 

“Staff is recommending that the Commission approve the coastal development permits for the proposed permit parking program with special conditions to ensure that the public will continue to be able to access the shoreline recreation areas in the early morning hours. The recommended special conditions begin on Page Three.”

For more info. on this topic go here: https://spiritofvenice.wordpress.com/nopd/

Hope to see you there — it will be well worth the effort 🙂

Best,
SOV

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Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice — spiritofvenice.net

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Cops close in on RV at night in Venice - Thanksgiving 2010

Cops close in on RV at night in Venice during sweeps in 2010

Since last night (Friday, April 19 2013), two uniformed LAPD officers –have been escorting a 5-person film crew around Venice; intentionally harassing homeless people and people in vehicles and others –and then extensively filming it.

For example, they woke up several homeless people near the Boardwalk last night for some pretty flimsy pretexts–just to get a rise out of disturbed homeless people on camera, it seems to people who’ve seen it now several times –and even experienced it themselves:

With blinding lights in their eyes –and cameras shoved into their confused faces!

For no rational, or official good policing reason –and yet with these police officers now seemingly ordering it!

Additionally, they somehow got some mysterious complaint lodged with the police that one particular law-abiding female homeless person’s RV here in Venice last night –parked on Rose –was “leaking” into the street last night.

They banged on her door; with cops, lights and cameras –and used it as a pretext to stick the cameras inside her RV last night –as, supposedly, all part of this spontaneous new police “investigation” by these two officers –to catch this poor homeless woman all upset and woke up and frightened and confused for this film crew inside her RV –and then, oh wonder of wonders, determined that “opps” well, no, there was nothing “leaking” into the street from outside her RV anyway.

Then, after getting all kinds of shots of this middle aged homeless woman here in Venice all flustered and such for the cameras in her RV –then the LAPD Officers told her, “Oh, hey, nothing to worry about after all –casuse we aren’t going to ticket you for leaking! So just forget about all this Lady, we’re the LAPD –no worries!”

You can go back to sleep now! and just forget about this!

I personally tracked some of this film crew down today on the Boardwalk; and I myself personally witnessed while they were filming an almost staged outburst of this gadfly from out of Venice –know as “Zuma Dog” –saying that “police should be shot for harrassing the homeless;” as he stood next to a bunch of local homeless, and appeared to be pretending for the cameras to be a part of this shocked local homeless group, that didn’t even know who this “Zuma Dog” guy was!

The crew I spoke to in the midst of this –denied it was staged –but claims that they are filming a pilot that they are “pitiching” to the “Travel Channel.” And they have two LAPD officers they seem to be following. But they wouldn’t tell me much more. So does anybody know anything about this? They seem like they are going to be doing this –harrassing, and entrapping the homeless around here with police escort; and staging such aweful stuff –for at least couple more days here.

This all seems pretty outrageous.

Might we all meet this week –to formulate a community response to this uglyness now being done here against our homeless –for these TV cameras?

Sincerely,

David Busch

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Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice — spiritofvenice.net

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PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION: STOP RACIAL PROFILING IN THE VENICE COMMUNITY

when you sign – an email is sent to Chief of Police Charlie Beck, Capt. Jon Peters and others.

To Captain Jon Peters, Sheldon Cruz, Gary Williams Esq, Venice Community;

WATCH VIDEO

Youth of color profiled by LAPD

Officers are stopping African Americans, Latinos and people of color for minor infractions and I will explain the two that I witnessed personally and I will venture to say it is because of the meeting that was held at Oakwood Recreation and Parks (where the entire community was not invited, selected people who wanted the meeting to be private without the long time residents involvement) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 about the concerns of the community and what is going on in and around Oakwood park.

Lead Officer attended and I do believe the results have caused all people of color to be nervous and on high alert because LAPD is everywhere. History has proved itself each and every time after these meetings of fear and the said communities Quality of life is at stake we the people of color have to endure weeks of intimidation and tickets and even jail to satisfy those who claim their way of living is being violated.

First incident on Saturday August 18, 2012 5:50PM-Roy Davidson Sr was riding his bicycle home from work and he was pulled over by the LAPD. Roy asked “Why am I being stopped?”

The officers said “Put your hands behind your back and assume the position,” Roy asked them why am I being stopped? Again the two officers said “Put your hands behind your back and assume the position?”

The other officer said “You failed to stop behind the white line on your bike.” Roy said “You want me to assume the position and be patted down for a traffic violation?” The officer said”Are you on probation or parole?”

Roy answered “No I am not.” Officer”You have a bulge in your pocket?” Roy said “Its my phone.”

Office: “We want you to assume the position we want to search you.” Roy made a request “Please call the area sergeant out because I have never seen anyone patted down and searched for a minor traffic infraction.”

One officer approached Roy and stated” I am trying to talk with you as a man and get you to assume the position so we can pat you down to see if you have a weapon? Roy then turned around and the officers handcuffed him and emptied his pockets, they did find a small pocket knife.

The officer said “Oh yes you are going down for this.” Roy told him” I use this knife at work an you know that it has to be larger then your hand and clearly this one isn’t.” Officer”Oh you think you know the law what are you some street lawyer?”

Roy “No I know my rights for this type of harassment you are displaying now.” The officer had him stand there handcuffed,the other officer proceeded to the squad car and called for backup and the area sergeant an officers came from every direction with sirens blaring and speeding at high speeds.

Once the area sergeant was on the scene and speaking with the officers that stopped Roy, one of the other officers who were standing near Roy said “Oh well you are handcuffed now and what do you have to say?”, all the officers started to laugh?” Roy replied I want your names and badge numbers so I can file a report about your aggressiveness towards me riding on a bike home from work.”

Officer: “Well smart guy we don’t have any cards for you to have.”

Roy: “You can write it down on a piece of paper for me.”

Officer: “Oh you think you are a tuff guy.

Roy: “No I have been stopped before and I do know this is way over the top for a minor infraction.”

The area sergeant spoke with Roy and said that he should have done what was asked of him and again. Roy stated: “I was riding down the street and these officers were traveling in a different direction when they saw me they backed their vehicle up and proceeded after me and all I asked them was why did I need to be handcuffed and patted down. I was not being aggressive nor did my body language imply that I would do any harm to them while writing a ticket.”

The area sergeant went on to explain that there had been shooting over in the Playboy neighborhood and they were trying to protect the Venice Shoreline Neighborhood.”

Roy: “I want those officers information because I plan to file a complaint immediately because this stop was aggressive and my rights have been violated. I am a native and my family are long time residents and I am 32 years old.” The sergeant “Oh you look as if you are 24 years old you must take very good care of yourself.” Roy rode away on his bike shaking his head.

Minutes later 6:15PM- Ronald Weekly who resides in the apartments on 6th and Sunset was beaten by the police and taken to the hospital, family and friends stated that he was riding home on his skateboard and the officers started to pursue him and he was afraid and kept riding calling for his family to come an help him please.

The officers jumped out of the car and snatched him off of his skateboard and wrestled him to the ground.

When he kept moving they proceeded to hit him an many officers started to arrived and assisted in roughing him up. Family members were screaming and hysterical because they saw that this young man was in distress and needed medical attention. While down on the ground handcuffed he was bleeding and family and community called for and ambulance it arrived and he was transported. Family and community was dismayed about what went on in front of the building where he resided.

This I attribute to the meeting that was held where the concerns of twenty members of the community spoke out about how to keep the Oakwood area safe and the call for more police patrol in the area. Whenever more police presence is requested the people of color are treated unfairly and these incidents that I have explained above are beyond the call of duty. When concerns are expressed and solutions are requested why must LAPD’s brutality go into full swing?

Why is it that people of color are stopped constantly while the same infractions or stops are done for other people and none of the aggressiveness of the LAPD is displayed ex: Get out of the car so you can be patted down, or assume the position, or where are you going is ever asked of them?

Why is it that people of color are treated so unfairly in this area? Why is it that the only solution for the concerned community is LAPD patrol?

Why is it that people of color are always targeted? The fact is that none of the people of color were invited to the meeting held at Oakwood Park on Wednesday August 15, 2012? If solutions were truly being sought for the supposed problem at Oakwood Recreation Park then everyone needs to be involved to address these said issues and when I say everyone I do mean everyone.

Whatever fears that are within you are yours to deal with. We are not the enemy we love our community also and always have. We may display it in a way that may seem foreign to you, then get to know the culture and community first, but that is what makes Venice, Venice.

Respect us as people we live and work in this community and have been for decades, get to know us before you deem us as angry and you’re afraid to have us in a meeting with you because when we speak we do so with passion. Let me say this is the love we have for our home Venice.

When you ask LAPD to solve a community issue it is for sure one of our family members or community members always gets hurt, jailed, or killed.

Laddie Williams

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Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice — spiritofvenice.net

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Bill Rosendahl

From Councilman Rosendahl:

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, we have a crisis of homelessness in this nation, and it is particularly acute in Los Angeles and in Venice. In recent weeks, with encampments in Venice growing, the community dialogue has become heated. Some people have spread distorted or false information, and then demanded action based upon such misinformation, complicating the City’s efforts to find solutions to our shared problems.

In order to clear the air, share accurate information, and shed some light, my staff has compiled a FAQ (frequently asked questions) about the situation:

What is going on with the encampments in Venice?

Over the past year, encampments of people in bedrolls, tents, or cardboard boxes began to proliferate in Venice, mostly along Ocean Front Walk. Many of the people were down on their luck, and homeless. Fortunately, many of them availed themselves of the Emergency Winter Shelter program and connected with social service programs. Others were younger transients, living “off the grid” and on the streets. Still others suffered from alcoholism, addiction, or mental illness; many refused social services that provide housing and treatment.

In February, when the Los Angeles Police Department and the Department of Recreation & Parks began enforcing a curfew at Venice Beach, a number of encampments began springing up on or around Third Avenue in Venice, mostly between Sunset and Rose Avenues. A few encampments have recently emerged on the median of Venice Boulevard, near the Abbot Kinney Memorial Library.

The City has sought to strike a balanced approach: provide help to those who need and want it – and to enforce all applicable laws to protect quality of life.

What is the City doing about the encampments?

Despite the claims of certain activists, the City has taken consistent, strong and multiple measures to deal with the encampments. We have stepped up law enforcement with the LAPD. We have increased street cleanings with the Bureau of Street Services and other agencies. We have increased social services through People Assisting the Homeless and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

What has LAPD done?

Under the supervision of Captain Jon Peters and his staff, the LAPD’s approach has been tough but measured, aggressive yet fair. Since February, officers have made more than 100 arrests for a variety of offenses, from outstanding warrants to drug charges to violent crime. LAPD is working closely with city prosecutors to ensure cases are as strong as possible to stand up in court.

What sort of clean-ups have been conducted?

The City has directed multiple and repeated clean-ups of the Third Avenue area, removing trash and abandoned materials, disposing of and cleaning up after human waste, and removing bulky item materials. The most recent large-scale clean-up was conducted Friday, April 27. Further clean-ups will happen, and on a regular basis.

So, why are so many people still sleeping on Third Avenue, and why is it such a mess?

Due to two court cases, the Jones case and the Lavan case, the City’s ability to enforce its laws has been significantly restricted:

On October 15, 2007, the City entered into a legally binding settlement, agreeing not to enforce the law prohibiting sleeping on the streets, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. until it builds 1,250 units of permanent supportive housing. The City entered this agreement after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Lawyers Guild (Jones v. City of Los Angeles), found that the law against sleeping on the streets amounted to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment, noting there were thousands more homeless people in L.A. County than there were shelter beds. This applies citywide, meaning it is currently lawful for people to sleep on the sidewalks at night.

In a separate case, Lavan v. City of Los Angeles, last year, ACLU attorney Carol Sobel, the Los Angeles Community Action Network, and the Los Angeles Catholic Worker obtained a restraining order, prohibiting the City from seizing or destroying property from homeless camps in downtown’s Skid Row. This means the City can only remove abandoned property. If someone claims that items in the streets are their personal belongings, the City cannot remove those items without risk of legal repercussions. The City is currently appealing this decision.

I heard the City has built enough beds to satisfy the Jones settlement and you can make it illegal to sleep on the streets again. True or false?

That is not true — yet. The settlement says the City “will keep this policy in effect and operate according to this policy until an additional 1250 units of permanent supportive housing are constructed within the City of Los Angeles, at least 50 per cent of which are located in Skid Row and/or greater downtown Los Angeles.” According to the Los Angeles Housing Department, the City needs to construct several hundred more units before it meets the requirements of the settlement.

The Lavan case does not apply in Venice, so why are the streets not cleaned up?

Many of the same people who won the Lavan injunction downtown are seeking to make it apply citywide, and are preparing legal action against the City to accomplish that. Overly aggressive action could backfire, and make it harder to clean up encampments. The City Attorney’s office is strongly cautioning Bureau of Street Services to proceed carefully, and has crafted guidelines and a protocol to make sure clean-ups in Venice and other areas of the City do not have unforeseen legal complications, including a citywide injunction against removing encampments.

So, what CAN the City do?

The LAPD can and will continue to enforce existing laws. Sleeping on the sidewalks is not permitted during the day. Blocking the sidewalks and impeding the public right of way is not permitted.

The City will also conduct periodic clean-ups of the encampment areas, using a protocol being devised by the City Attorney’s office. We will have more flexibility in removing materials from or near encampments if those sleeping on the streets have a safe and secure place to store their belongings.

I am also pleased to report that County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has agreed to help assign teams of personnel from the Department of Mental Health to work with local social service providers to assist those living in encampments. A similar outreach program in Westchester Park a few weeks ago was very successful.

Why is the City allowing people to operate feeding programs on Venice Beach?

The Ninth Circuit Court has ruled that people or organizations have a First Amendment right to distribute free food. During litigation over the assignment and regulation of public space on Venice Beach’s Ocean Front Walk, the court insisted that the City set aside two spaces on Ocean Front Walk for food distribution. We are legally required to do that, and I support programs that feed hungry people during one of the worst economic recessions in our nation’s history.

What has the Councilman done about homelessness?

Since taking office in 2005, finding solutions to homelessness has been my passion. Some of my specific actions include:

* Securing funds to hire PATH, which has found permanent housing for more than 30 individuals who were living in their cars or RVs in Venice.
* Securing funding last year for the only early emergency winter shelter program in the county. Expanded the number of beds, setting some aside especially for homeless youth.
* Providing $400,000 in federal block grant monies so Upward Bound House could convert a motel on the Culver City/Mar Vista border into housing for homeless families.
* Supporting New Directions, Inc. in converting a house in Del Rey into a home for returning veterans of Iraq and Aghanistan.
* Joining Santa Monica Councilman Bobby Shriver in repeatedly lobbying the VA and the federal government to step up efforts to house homeless vets on the VA’s West LA campus.
* Supporting and securing nearly $1 million in federal block grant funds for the 1736 Family Crisis Center, which operates a youth shelter project for at-risk, runaway, and homeless adolescents.
* Supporting an affordable senior housing project in Del Rey, being built by developer Tom Safran.
* Supporting, allocating funds to, and finding a location for Stand up for Kids, which provides food, clothing and support to runaway and homeless young people.
* Securing $750,000 for Venice Community Housing Corporation’s permanent supportive housing facility at 15 Horizon.

What else do you plan on doing about homelessness?

I am currently working with LAHSA and civic-minded local residents to identify a location and funding for an emergency transitional housing facility on the Westside. I am also encouraging proposals from private and non-profit developers to build permanent supportive or affordable housing in the 11th District.

I keep hearing that the LAPD feels there is much more they can do to make our neighborhoods cleaner and safer and crack down on the encampments – but that you are forbidding them from doing so.

This is absolutely, patently false – and has been refuted, repeatedly, by Chief Charlie Beck and Captain Peters. My office and I vigorously support and encourage the LAPD to enforce the law. Captain Peters and I are in contact almost daily (and sometimes several times per day). We consider each other to be partners. I support him, his team, and his smart, measured enforcement of the law. Since February, LAPD has made more than 100 arrests or citations on Third Avenue. I’ve fought for more resources and flexibility for Captain Peters and his team, and he and Chief Beck will confirm that.

Is there anything else the public can do to help the LAPD?

Yes. Promptly reporting all crime to the LAPD is paramount. Property owners near encampments can also work with LAPD and install security cameras with recording devices. LAPD is also strongly encouraging residents to leave the enforcement to the LAPD and not take vigilante action.

What can you say about the angry feelings between Venetians over this issue?

We need less finger-pointing, less anger, and more of a cooperative spirit of good will. We cannot shout or accuse our way out of a problem; we need to work together, thoughtfully, as neighbors with a desire for a better community.

Addressing this problem requires a balanced approach. Some people insist we need more law enforcement. Others demand social services. We need both. We must secure public safety and preserve neighborhood quality of life – while respecting the law and the rights of people who do not have homes. We must help homeless people who need and want help – without enabling homelessness itself.

The question should not be: should we allow people to sleep on the streets? The question must be: how do we provide people housing, services, and shelter so no one has cause to sleep on the street?

Regards,

Bill

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Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice — spiritofvenice.net

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An interview on KPFK’s “Uprising” with Sonali Kolhatkar

Residents and activists in Venice beach say police are harassing community members and the homeless as a new wave of gentrification hits the city, best known for its eclectic beach-loving population. Last Wednesday dozens of homeless people lost their personal belongings when the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, in cooperation with the LA Police Department, raided a homeless encampment at Third Street between Rose and Sunset Avenues in Venice Beach. Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said the city was conducting a “sanitation action” that was only meant to sweep up abandoned property.

The homeless disagree, and say their personal items, including prescription medications, wallets, and clothing, were indiscriminately collected and immediately dumped into garbage trucks. Adding to the outrage of the community is a feeling of betrayal, because police began directing the homeless to the Third Street encampment when the city began enforcing a no camping ordinance on the boardwalk, which displaced many homeless individuals. Venice residents from the Oakwood neighborhood and others also report an increase in community members being ticketed by police for small infractions, such as not having the fence around a home properly painted.

GUESTS: David Busch, an activist with the Spirit of Venice Coalition, Maria Fitzsimmons, and organizer with People Organized for Westside Renewal, or POWER, and Kendra Moore, a POWER leader and president of the Holiday Venice Tenant Action Committee Visit http://www.power-la.org for more information.

There will a direct action training in relation to the Venice area activism on April 14-15, 2012. For more information, visit http://www.99spring.com.

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Stay in touch with the Spirit of Venice — spiritofvenice.net

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Venice Homeless Retrieve Belongings Trashed by City

Please sign our petition at Change.org to send email messages to LAPD, Councilman Rosendahl, City Attorney, Mayor Villaraigosa and other officials

Homeless people dig through trash to retrieve their belongings taken by LAPD and City sanitation

A handful of homeless people rummaged through heaps of garbage Thursday [March 8, 2012] in search of their belongings hauled off the day before in Venice by city trash collectors.

The trash haul Wednesday [March 7, 2012] on 3rd Avenue between Rose and Sunset avenues was done by the Los Angeles City Bureau of Sanitation, which is part of the Department of Public Works, with the involvement of the Los Angeles Police Department, said Richard Lee, a spokesman for the Bureau of Sanitation.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said the sanitation cleanup occurred following “many, many complaints” from a broad cross-section of local people about public urination, defecation, blocked sideways and trash in the street.

“Sanitation took away as trash anything that was abandoned,” Rosendahl said Thursday. “It was a sanitation action of picking stuff up and, if people left stuff there, sanitation treated it as they would any abandoned stuff, as trash.”

Rosendahl said that he heard afterward that many homeless had their personal belongings collected and he arranged for two of the garbage trucks to be transferred to a Bureau of Sanitation yard in the 3300 block of Thatcher Avenue. The homeless searched Thursday for their belongings and Rosendahl said they also were invited back Friday from 10 a.m. to noon to reclaim their property.

Rosendahl also said that he would make it a policy going forward to give the homeless a courtesy notice before cleanups.

The incident is the latest in a series of developments impacting Venice’s homeless population, including a recent ban on overnight camping along the Venice Beach boardwalk, limitations on overnight parking for large vehicles and a program to transition vehicle dwellers into housing. More