AN ANGRY ANGELENO - You might want to google my previous CityWatch columns “Katy Yaroslavsky is a Dangerous Hypocrite” (May 29), which noted her opposition to No (Homeless) Camping Zones and “What Katy Yaroslavsky Doesn't Get” (August 7), which noted that neighboring residents/businesses of her proposed Pico-Midvale Homeless Project (replacing the neighborhood's city parking lot) in West LA threatened her with “RECALL” chanting at her in-person community meeting.
VERY LONG Stretch of Very Wide San Vicente Shaded Medians FENCED with City Signage.
The fencing and signs start a little North of Olympic Blvd, appropriately at the “CARTHAY CIRCLE” marker pictured above. According to the Beverly Press (9/23/21), Yaroslavsky lives in “South Carthay Circle”. This stretch is in Council District 5 and the appearance of the fencing and signs is recent. For many years, the San Vicente Medians (and Burton Way Medians to the north), which are wide, grassy, and have shade trees, have been safely used by the community, especially people with dogs...they're like mini-parks. By depriving the homeless of these shaded nice areas, Yaroslavsky is satisfying the residents in her area and pushing homeless people into MY area to the north. Which would be fine if she supported No Camping Zones in general, but she almost always does NOT...so it's especially convenient and hypocritical that she is ok with this setup near where she lives.
And these wide shaded medians with fencing and signs go all the way up to Wilshire Blvd (where there is ANOTHER “Carthay Circle” marker according to Google Street View...I missed it on my long walk today). The fencing used to continue all the way to La Cienega, near Rick Caruso's 8500 Burton Way lux building (which still has a fenced-in median in front of it), where a Giant Shade Tree Was REMOVED on a homeless-occupied median near a car repair shop...not very green! That triangular piece is still fenced in and depressing. Some of the medians between there and Wilshire have had fencing removed, but “PEDESTRIANS PROHIBITED” aka No Camping signs are still present. These signs use a different section of the LAMC (80.42.1) than the infamous LAMC 41.18, but the effect is the same: not allowing homeless people. These signs allow for discriminatory selective enforcement. If neighborhood folks are on them, nobody will call the cops. But if homeless people are on them, you can be sure the cops will be called. There are also new dark and light blue alternating GIANT (ugly) Decorative Pots...clearly designed to break up the space and be Anti-Homeless Devices. NO reason to put these here except to ward off the homeless. Again, this would be fine if Yaroslavsky generally opposed homeless camping. Not primarily when it happens to be near where she lives.
Katy Yaroslavsky ADMITS that she lives in the area
Keep in mind that Yaroslavsky's Council District is the size of one of the numerous small cities that surround the MASSIVE City of LA. Each LA City Council District is the size of a City. Council District 5, Yaroslavsky's council district, includes Westwood, Palms, Bel-Air, and Century City (which is not a city, but a neighborhood of the City of LA), just to give you an idea. On April 12, 2023, KABC covered a “Nude Homeless Encampment” along San Vicente Blvd that was “negatively impacting business.” KABC reported that Yaroslavsky “issued the following statement: 'My home is within walking distance of these encampments. I walk or drive past...almost everyday with my three children. What...the surrounding communities have had to endure is unacceptable.” And shortly after that I noticed all the new fencing and the city signage.
Choice of 2377 Midvale Ave City Parking Lot for Homeless Use Seems Cruel and Arbitrary
This block of Midvale is an R1 Single Family Home street that is part of a large R1 Single Family Home Neighborhood...makes you wonder if that's a factor in the pick, because Yaroslavsky was supposedly more supported by renters than her opponent, who likely had a lot of support among single family homeowners.
This also should have never been a city parking lot. Zev, Katy's politician father-in-law, used Eminent Domain to turn a restaurant into this city parking lot years ago. It seems extra cruel to now turn it into homeless housing when Zev said there was a a community parking need.
Katy Yaroslavsky chose a lot on the other side of her council district from where she lives. This lot is also split roughly in half by a shared alley. How about using the City's surface parking lot at 728 S Cochran Ave, between where Katy and Zev live...it has roughly the same number of spaces, stretches all the way to Cloverdale, is NOT split in half by a shared alley, is SURROUNDED by surface parking lots, and also has very tall buildings nearby. Seems more appropriate.
If you're telling the Pico-Midvale community that it will be safe, build it NEAR YOU instead.
I can also think of a city parking structure on Robertson, just North of 3rd Street. That block has had mostly vacant storefronts for years. It's HUGE. 123 S Robertson. Yaroslavsky can adapt the use.
To be clear, I don't want homeless housing at any of these locations, primarily because so many of our homeless are coming from The Other 49 States, Other Parts of California, Other Parts of LA COUNTY, and Other Parts of the City of LA. Only foolish progressive politicians insist on destroying affluent neighborhoods with these uses...it's enough that we're paying for the homeless housing; we shouldn't also have to live next to it. Katy Yaroslavsky is basically choosing which neighborhoods to destroy.
Pray that yours isn't next.
And why are we just limited to city surface parking lots. Why not finished buildings? Why not city library parking lots? Why not SMALL parts of our large city parks or City GOLF COURSES? If these uses are as safe as Katy Yaroslavsky claims. Why not take over City office buildings? Why do homeless people found in Council District 5 have to be housed in Council District 5 ?? That seems like a ridiculous constraint. Actually, I think a lot of the homeless people that found their way into the City of LA from ELSEWHERE should be housed OUTSIDE the City of LA on COUNTY land...it's bad enough we're paying for all of this...and totally unfair!
Speaking of 2377 Midvale Ave, the Westside Pavilion is nearby, and it's been taken over by Google, for the most part. Nice of Katy to house the homeless next to a major new employer and economic driver! Actually, I think that everybody (homeowners and mom-and-pop businesses and commercial property owners) will sell and run away and the developers will win...maybe that's part of the plan. But Katy could ask Google to use part of their property to house the homeless...and be paid by the City, of course. And Google would have no trouble with that, of course, because it's perfectly safe.
Very Serious Ethics Complaints Filed by Pico-Midvale Homeless Project Opponents
According to their press releases, Yaroslavsky's Housing and Homelessness Policy Director Zachary Warma allegedly steered the contract for the Pico-Midvale Project to his former employer, LA Family Housing. This would violate a City of LA conflict of interest rule that forbids you from such acts during your first year of city employment towards somebody who employed you within the year prior to your city employment. The 2nd Press Release on these matters (September 20) states “Yaroslavsky's spokesperson told Los Angeles Magazine that Yaroslavsky 'knew LA Family Housing was Warma's previous employer', admitting that Yaroslavsky appears to have knowingly allowed Warma to violate the City of LA's conflict of interest laws.” The press release continues: “...documents produced by Yaroslavsky's office prove...that Warma was involved in every aspect of the Pico/Midvale Project, from conception to public announcement, which includes the award of a multi-million dollar, no bid, single- source contract to Warma's former employer, LA Family Housing.” According to the press release, all of Warma's activity regarding Pico/Midvale started as early as February 7, 2023, and included “emails, virtual meetings, and in-person meetings between Warma, Yaroslavsky, and the CEO of LA Family Housing, Stephanie Klasky-Gamer.” According to the press release, “Warma review[ed] site plans and design layouts with the LA Family Housing CEO and senior executives.”
Yaroslavsky Office Ethics Scandal Gets Worse
According to the press release about the Ethics Complaints lodged against Yaroslavsky's Office, “on February 3, 2023, [a mere] four days before...initiating the Pico/Midvale Project, Warma made a campaign contribution to an LA Family Housing executive running for LA City Council, Marco Santana. Warma listed his employer, NOT as Katy Yaroslavsky's office, but rather 'Associate Director of Policy, LA Family Housing'.” The press release includes a portion of Warma's LinkedIn profile showing that he finished at LA Family Housing in December 2022 and started as Yaroslavsky's Housing & Homelessness Policy Director in January 2023.
(“An Angry Angeleno” is the nom de plume of Yuval Kremer, a former ballot candidate for both LA County Supervisor and LA Mayor. The opinions expressed by Mr. Kremer are solely his and not necessarily those of CityWatchLA.com.)