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LA City Council Delays Voting On Measure That Prohibits Unhoused People From Camping In Public

Protesters hold up signs that read "House Keys Not Handcuffs" and "Block by Block by Block. Locked out, Gentrified, Criminalized"
People protest Los Angeles City Council member and mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino as he speaks during an event to announce his "Plan For A Safer Los Angeles" at Venice Beach on June 7, 2021
AFP via Getty Images)
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Los Angeles City Council members put off voting on a motion to place a ballot measure in front of voters, to prohibit camping in all public areas – if shelter has been offered.

If approved, the motion will instruct the L.A. City Attorney to begin the process of placing the measure on the June 2022 primary election ballot.

If the motion is declined, the measure still has a shot of making it on a ballot next year by way of close to 65,000 signatures - a process that has already begun.

"This takes a few weeks but we will avail ourselves of the full timeline to collect the 64,784 signatures necessary to be placed on the Nov 2022 ballot," said Councilmember and mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino's campaign manager, Michael Trujillo.

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Buscaino insists the homelessness crisis requires a "FEMA-like" response that focuses on emergency shelter rather than permanent housing.

"Why would we continue to allow someone to continue to live on public property if a safer, healthier alternative is available?" he asked during the city council meeting.

But his colleague, Paul Krekorian, says the proposal needs a lot more work.

"The questions that we all have about how this works should at minimum be debated in a committee where we can take public input," he said.

The council's Homelessness and Poverty Committee will take up the proposal in the near future.

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Only Buscaino and Councilmember John Lee voted against the move.

There's nowhere near enough shelter beds for L.A.'s homeless population. Mayor Eric Garcetti says he's skeptical an encampment ban would work without giving people on the streets a place to go.

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