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Homeless RV Campers Could Be Banned From Parking Overnight In Venice; But Foot-Dragging Tortures Issue

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Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 12:08 PM

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The days of otherwise homeless folks camping out in RVs parked on Venice streets could be coming to an end. After intense fighting over the plight of the "mobile homeless" in the liberal, beach-side community, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday moved forward with a plan that would allow residents to ban overnight parking for oversize vehicles on a block-by-block basis.

Of course, we've heard this one before -- the council previously approved just such a measure, and Westside Councilman Bill Rosendahl even trumpeted his release of petitions that would allow residents to ban big rigs on their blocks -- so we'll see. So why Wednesday's vote -- and another to follow that would approve final language? The City Council is masterful at dragging its feet, especially when it comes to an issue -- the homeless -- near and dear to liberal constituents.

The City Attorney's office was ordered on Wednesday to draft another law, and the council will give it another vote. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has expressed some sympathy for the freedom to park in Venice in the past, could still veto it. But after three incidents of sewage dumping on Venice streets by RV dwellers hit the news this summer, the momentum appears to be in favor of pushing the "mobile homeless" away from the sea.

If passed, the ordinance by Westside Councilman Rosendahl would allow most residents west of Lincoln Boulevard ban oversize vehicles from parking on their blocks from 2 to 6 a.m.

Two-thirds of the dwellers on each block would have to approve via signature, but once their wishes are validated, signs would go up prohibiting vehicles taller than 7 feet or longer than 22 feet from parking on those streets.

Defenders of RV dwellers -- who say the homeless have the same right to be in Venice as anyone else -- have been fighting against the regulations and were actually victorious when the city attempted to implement residential permit parking in the area -- a move rejected by the California Coastal Commission.

The commission, however, doesn't have jurisdiction in the case of regulating oversize vehicles -- it appears.

Speaking at City Hall Wednesday, Rosendahl was pleased, saying the no-parking signs for oversize vehicles could be up in about a month.

"I'm just delighted," he said. "Who would want a camper in front of their home?"

-With reporting from City Hall by Patrick Range McDonald.

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