LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A pair of ordinances that critics say would make it easier for the city to issue criminal citations, dismantle homeless encampments and confiscate personal belongings left in public areas will become law, after Mayor Eric Garcetti returned them to the City Council without his signature.
Garcetti opted not to veto the ordinances on Tuesday, July 7, which means they become law and could still be enforced by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Activists from groups representing homeless people camped outside Garcetti’s home over the past weekend in an effort to persuade him to veto the ordinances, with many saying that if they become law, the mayor has limited power to keep police from enforcing them.
In a letter to the City Council, Garcetti said he is returning the ordinances and supports their plan to “consider amendments that would enable smarter enforcement, ensure more compassionate treatment of homeless Angelenos and strengthen the city’s ability to withstand legal challenge.”
Garcetti reiterated his opinion that “the ordinance does not adequately achieve the proper balance” between the keeping public areas “clean and safe,” while also protecting the rights of the homeless.
Garcetti added that he “will be directing city departments to defer implementation of these ordinances until the Committee and City Council adopt changes to the ordinances.”
In the mean time, “city departments shall continue to keep our public areas clean and safe using existing citywide protocols for the removal of personal property,” he wrote.
About two dozen civil rights protesters from the Los Angeles Community Action Network, the Downtown Women’s Action Coalition and other groups had demonstrated outside the mayor’s residence on July 6 to call for a mayoral veto on the ordinances.
Some of the protesters also visited City Hall to present their written demands to the mayor’s office. They were detained on the first floor lobby and were not allowed to enter the mayor’s office on the third floor.
Garcetti’s homeless policy director, Greg Spiegel, went out to speak to them instead, arranging to meet with them again Friday morning, July 10, to discuss the ordinances.
One protester, Peggy Lee Kennedy, urged Spiegel not to wait until Friday, and to advise Garcetti to veto the ordinances.
“That’s nice that you’re going to amend (the ordinances), but technically it’s a misdemeanor within a couple of days,” Kennedy said, which could mean that “all these people who have no other option but to be homeless are going to get misdemeanor tickets.”