- Declaring local emergencies for chronic issues is bad policy and creates complex legal issues.
- The city has bypassed due process by adopting secretive processes, including site selection, avoiding competitive bidding, and using sole-source contracts.
- The use of R1 Property directly violates current law.
- Local small businesses face damage due to parking loss.
- Concerns exist regarding neighborhood safety with a “low-barrier” homeless right next to homes and businesses.
- Unnecessary Consolidation of Power: The City declared a Shelter Crisis in 2015. This action alone negates the need for a “Local Emergency” and already gives the City tools to address the crisis. Declaring a Local Emergency consolidates power and sidesteps democracy, impacting not just homeless shelters but all housing.
- Misuse of Emergency Declarations: Using emergency declarations to address chronic issues threatens our democratic principles. We must preserve checks and balances.
- Transparency Concerns: The project at 2377 Midvale lacks transparency, challenging the principles of due process, public engagement, and accountability. Democracy thrives in openness.
- Economic Impacts: Small, local businesses face significant impacts from the loss of the only available parking during peak hours. Additionally, there is a considerable potential effect on both commercial and residential property values.
- Improper use of R1 Property: The proposal to use 2377 Midvale as a homeless shelter seems to breach city and state laws on homeless shelters.
- Zoning Concerns: Zoning laws arise from extensive public discourse and compromise. Circumventing them using emergency powers raises deep concerns.
Throughout history, there are instances when leaders have declared emergencies or invoked extraordinary powers, citing chronic conditions with the “emergency” continuing for indeterminate periods. Often, this has been seen as a maneuver to consolidate power, suppress dissent or operate in secret.
No one believes that homelessness isn’t a crisis, and the City already declared a homelessness crisis in 2015 in response. We take no issue with the declaration of a crisis of homelessness provided that such a declaration does not deprive the public of its rights.
The concern here is whether the existence of chronic conditions such as homelessness and affordability are being used to avoid public discourse, due process and transparency through a declaration of a local emergency meant to deal with emergent and unexpected occurrences such as earthquakes.
Democracy and Emergencies: Addressing homelessness is essential, but our approach’s nature is just as crucial:
- Frequently invoking “emergency” status to skirt laws can erode our democratic values, paving the way for unchecked power.
- Avoiding laws related to competitive bidding, sole-source contracts, and ethics sidesteps vital checks and balances. Given LA’s history of corruption, we must demand complete transparency.
- Extraordinary powers must face intense public review to ensure alignment with the public interest.
- Public involvement is not optional; it’s fundamental for effective governance. Ignoring stakeholders raises concerns about the consideration of all potential solutions.
Project Considerations (2377 Midvale):
- The city has executed the project with a lack of transparency, damaging public trust.
- It seems the city selected the site and vendors without ensuring due process.
- The city has not disclosed its future actions, the processes it will follow, or the legal justifications for those actions.
- The local neighborhood council and HOA leaders remained uninformed until the last minute, exemplifying the lack of transparency.
- Mixed messages from the council office confuse the public.
- The significance of Lot 707 for local businesses, especially with parking restrictions, cannot be overlooked.
- The decision regarding the under-utilization of Lot 707 seems misguided.
- Situating a temporary homeless shelter next to single-family homes requires careful consideration. With this project, the sole exclusion criteria for residents are violations of Megan’s Law.
- Zoning is not just about land use; it’s about a carefully cultivated process that values public input.
Collaboration yields the best solutions. By genuinely involving the public, we not only respect the principles of the U.S. and California Constitutions but also encourage diverse perspectives and solutions, reducing the risks associated with unilateral decisions.