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Here’s What You Missed Last Week at LA City Council

A recap of Los Angeles City Council meetings on November 23 and 24.

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Art by Sandra Markarian for Knock LA

Every week, Knock LA provides live coverage of Los Angeles City Council meetings from our Twitter account. While you can follow along live, we’ve also put together this breakdown of what’s happening at the highest levels of power in our city for those who don’t have 12 hours a week to spend on city council meetings (including regularly absent city councilmembers).

This week, we are running a little late due to the holidays, but below you will find a detailed breakdown for the week of November 21.

LA City Council Meeting 11/23/22

In this meeting, we had something a bit out of the ordinary when a motion to criminalize homelessness was not approved. Councilmember Joe Buscaino introduced a motion to ask the City Administrative Office (CAO) to draft a ballot measure to make camping illegal throughout the entire city (basically, a far more rigorous version of the controversial 41.18). The majority of councilmembers did not support the amendment, citing concerns about giving the CAO the power to make such decisions and requiring citizens to vote on something the city could not reasonably deliver. Councilmember Mike Bonin pointed out that the motion was leading with enforcement rather than outreach (as they had supposedly committed to doing with 41.18). The motion was sent to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee to be subject to further discussion.

Another item was about funding and actions needed to make changes at Cathay Manor. The motion specifically mentioned fixing the elevators, but also included funding for other repairs. One caller who spoke on this item called for the landlord to be fired. This motion passed.

Councilmember Nithya Raman spoke on a couple of items. One was to create an office of procurement, which she stated would help foster a citywide procurement strategy. She also spoke on an item that would allow for the inclusion of reporting hate crimes from sources other than the LAPD. This would include a possible new application or integration into the My311LA app. Both of these items passed.  

A few items were about accepting grants for various departments and programs, including: Department of Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services; the Securing the Cities grant; the Alcohol Policing Partnership grant; and the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program grant. The WDACS sounds like it could be a good department to have, promising to connect residents with careers, ensure the well-being of older and dependent adults, offer community and senior centers, and more — although it will be important to keep our eyes on it to make sure the department is fulfilling those promises. The other grants are for different policing measures, and we do not want to give the cops more money. All of these items passed.

One somewhat odd thing happened during public comment. Two lawyers called to discuss motions asserting jurisdiction over illegal building on certain plots of land. The lawyers tried to claim that the city didn’t have the right to assert jurisdiction over these plots because it had been too long since action was recommended. However, the law isn’t real. If the government decides to do something, they’re going to do it. Both of those motions passed.

LA City Council Meeting 11/24/22 

Note: Knock did not have anyone live tweet this meeting due to scheduling conflicts, so we have done our best to take note of the most important items.

Item 20 was a motion to modernize the city’s website. This is going to be a long process, but speaking from experience looking at government websites, it is very, very needed. The item passed with all “ayes.”

Items 27 and 28 were motions toward creating new Business Improvement Districts. These often allow for private security, and even — to a certain extent — create their own laws. BIDs are ways for rich people to have even more of the city and (unfortunately) the motions passed with all “ayes.”

Item 31 continues the city’s contract with Frontier California for their internet services. This wouldn’t be particularly notable except that many Frontier workers are on strike. This raises the question: Should the city be contracting with a company that is currently embroiled in a strike?

Items 45 and 46 are about the city suing a couple of large companies. Item 45 hires a law firm to represent the city against Monsanto for some polluting, and 46 grants the city attorney the power to settle with Purdue Pharmaceuticals in a suit about the opioid crisis. Both items passed with all “ayes.”

Items 51–55 were all motions by Monica Rodriguez to make it illegal to park RVs in certain areas. Unsurprisingly, these attempts to further criminalize homelessness were seconded by Joe Buscaino, Joe Lee, or Nury Martinez. They all passed with all “ayes.”