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Homeless protesters demanding veto

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – About two dozen civil rights protesters demonstrated
outside Mayor Eric Garcetti’s residence today, demanding that he veto
revisions to the city’s municipal code that make it easier to seize and destroy
homeless people’s belongings.
The Los Angeles Community Action Network, the Downtown Women’s Action
Coalition and other civil rights activists held protests at the mayor’s
residence until noon, and were expected to bring their concerns to the mayor’s
office at City Hall this afternoon, according to LA CAN’s Pete White.
The protesters contend two ordinances recently approved by the City
Council include discriminatory provisions making compliance impossible for
homeless residents, people with disabilities, street vendors and others. The
ordinances become law Tuesday if not vetoed by Garcetti.
“These changes impact anyone resting their bag on the ground at a bus
stop or someone with a small cart of goods to sell, but primarily, they will
cause un-housed individuals to be targeted by law enforcement simply because
they do not have a home of their own to store their property,” said Cynthia
Ruffin of the Downtown Women’s Action Coalition.
Garcetti — who is on vacation in Oregon — announced last week he would
Mayor's House homeless protest- Dignity for Dolcenot sign the ordinances, which can become law without his signature, and that
he would block enforcement until the City Council eliminates the misdemeanor
penalty for violations and removes medicines and documents from the list of
items that can be seized.
But Ruffin said that “is not an acceptable approach. We have no
guarantees they won’t be enforced or that they will ever be amended.”
White, co-executive director of LA CAN, also pressed the mayor to veto
the ordinances.
“We can’t ignore the racial dynamics and ongoing institutional racism
at play here,” he said. “It’s time for Mayor Garcetti to demonstrate
leadership that shows that black lives matter, instead of just empty words.”
He urged the mayor to “veto these changes instead of allowing bad law
to move forward even though he knows it’s wrong.”
Mayor's House homeless protest- Call the Mayor   Several members of the City Council expressed misgivings about the
ordinances, but adopted them anyway last month. Some said the ordinances were
necessary to settle a lawsuit over the confiscation of items left in public
areas.
Councilman Jose Huizar, whose district includes downtown’s Skid Row
area, where many of the city’s homeless services are centralized, acknowledged
prior to the vote that the ordinances flawed, but the city has “court
requirements, settlement discussions that are happening, so we have to move
forward with something.”
He said the ordinances will be further refined by the City Council’s
newly formed homeless committee, which he chairs.
One of the adopted ordinances applies specifically to items left at city
parks. It will allow officials to remove personal items that remain at city
parks — including beaches — past closing time and when there is already a
sign at the park stating that leaving behind items is prohibited.
If there is no sign, the city would need to give 24 hours notice before
items are removed.
A second ordinance for sidewalks bans tents from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. but
allows the homeless to set up tents to use as shelter at night.
If the city does not have enough space to store the items left on
sidewalks, officials would not be allowed to remove them, city attorneys have
said.
Under both ordinances, any item that is a health or safety risk — such
as something that could spread disease, contains vermin or is a dangerous
weapon — will be discarded without any advance notice. Items considered
contraband or evidence of a crime could also be removed by the city without
notice.
Garcetti said last week he did not believe the ordinances “achieve the
proper balance” between keeping public areas “clean and safe” and protecting
the “rights of people who have no choice but to live on them.”

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