The Los Angeles City Council has voted to ban homeless camps near schools and daycares in the city, despite pushback from liberal activists who claimed the measure was equivalent to murder.
City council members voted 11-3 on Tuesday to approve the new measure, which makes it unlawful to set up a homeless encampment within 500 feet of L.A. schools and daycare centers. The law is an addition to the city’s Municipal Code 41.18, which bans sleeping, lying, sitting and obstructing the public in multiple areas in the city.
Before the final vote could be taken, a crowd of people affiliated with Street Watch L.A. and the L.A. Tenants Union — both progressive organizations that aim to support the city’s homeless population — repeatedly disrupted the meeting with chants and shouting.
SHUT IT DOWN! HOUSE KEYS NOT HANDCUFFS! pic.twitter.com/gnUdBk1Xz0
— Street Watch LA (@StreetWatchLA) August 2, 2022
Council President Nury Martinez later called the demonstration “incredibly disturbing” and said the protesters had been trying to stop the city council from doing its job.
“What we witnessed here this morning, unfortunately, was really an attempt to try and keep us from taking a vote,” Martinez said. “I think people were intent this morning to shut this place down and keep us from doing the very job that we were all elected to do.”
Another of the council members, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, responded at one point to accusations that the city council was advocating for the murder of homeless people.
“I’m going to stand up for this council,” O’Farrell said during the meeting. “Everyone here is compassionate, deeply caring of people who are the most vulnerable among us. I’m not going to buy into this rhetoric that we’re monsters, that we’re murderers or anything like that. It’s all nonsense.”
The L.A. city council voted 10-1 to approve the measure last month, but had to hold a second vote on Tuesday because the first had not been unanimous.
The measure was taken up after L.A. Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho revealed that teachers and parents had been complaining about homeless camps near their schools.