Homeless encampments will stay put under Los Angeles settlement

“The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday agreed to settle a pivotal and contentious case on the property rights of homeless people — a decision that is likely to limit the seizure and destruction of encampments on skid row.” Since 2016 the city has been in litigation with civil rights lawyers representing homeless persons “and two Skid Row anti-poverty groups.” Subsequently, “U.S. District Judge S. James Otero in Los Angeles issued an injunction [that] barred the city from seizing and destroying homeless people’s property on skid row unless officials could show it had been abandoned, threatened public health or safety, or consisted of contraband or evidence of a crime.” [Gale Holland, L.A. Times; Susan Shelley, L.A. Daily News] An estimated 2,000 persons live in the downtown L.A. encampments, and diseases little seen in peacetime in the modern era, including flea-borne typhus, have been making a comeback. [Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News/The Atlantic; KCOP; earlier]

L.A. should have put the Skid Row encampments under the authority of the California Coastal Commission. That would have ended all chance that anyone could successfully assert property rights in them.

7 Comments

  • threatened public health

    diseases little seen in peacetime in the modern era, including flea-borne typhus, have been making a comeback

    Sure sounds like it threatens public health.

  • “threatened public health or safety”

    “diseases little seen in peacetime in the modern era, including flea-borne typhus”

    the loophole to end all loopholes. Clean them out. The judge provided cover for what the city wanted to do anyway would be my guess.

  • Assuming that the press quote is accurate (always a big If), the city will now have to demonstrate, before it can take any action at a specific location, that the occurrences of typhus are linked to the “homeless” at that location. The lawyers will fight that, too.

  • A worse idea is in the works. From City Journal on March 11, 2019:
    “The Washington legislature is one step closer to legalizing homeless encampments statewide. Last week, Democratic lawmakers passed through committee legislation, introduced by Representative Mia Gregerson, that would usurp the authority of city governments and legalize camping in all “plazas, courtyards, parking lots, sidewalks, public transportation facilities, public buildings, shopping centers, parks, [and] natural and wildlife areas” throughout the state.”

    What would that do to the mortgage industry?

    • The problem with the Washington proposed legislation—the property interests of the government entity or those who have donated land in trust.

    • “What would that do to the mortgage industry?”

      Probably not much. Very few people who could afford a mortgage would be interested in living like that.

  • What would that do to the mortgage industry?

    Not a thing. The people living in “plazas, courtyards, parking lots, sidewalks, public transportation facilities, public buildings, shopping centers, parks, [and] natural and wildlife areas” throughout the state.” wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage.

    While I tend to be liberation in many of my views, preferring the least restrictive government possible, at what point do we stop devolving into a 3rd world country. You can see the dystopian society taking root more and more.

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