At our February 8, 2022 Winnetka Neighborhood Council Meeting we had Councilmember Bob Blumenfield as our guest speaker bringing news on his work in Winnetka.
He started by discussing the progress made on Winnetka Park over the years. Improvements have included gates around a covered area outside of the recreation center, to prevent encampments within the covered space. Construction is currently under way on a new outdoor basketball court, exercise equipment and track, an idea that came from the Winnetka Neighborhood Council. Construction is due to be completed in early May.
Blumenfield shared that security cameras connected to LAPD have been installed at Lanark Park and would be a good idea for Winnetka Park. He is planning to begin the process for Winnetka Park. Implementation steps include Recreation and Parks completing a lighting and electrical assessment and finding a budget of approximately $350,000.
Penfield Alley has improved significantly from when it had 25 people encamped there. It is now a paved legal alley, having the same status as a street. Encampments are not allowed on a street and his office is working through the process of clearing out the remaining encampments. The process is complicated by the effort to follow policy and avoid lawsuits lurking around every corner. Certainly encampment clearance has been hampered by lawsuits and judgements including one which prevented the removal of bulky items from the public right of way. Large items were required to be removed, documented and stored in the same manner as smaller items, a prohibitive effort. This judgement has resulted in the ever increasing size of encampments.
The next step in encampment clearance is the implementation of the 4118 ordinance which he helped author, negotiate and approve. It prevents encampments in specific critical corridors of the public right of way. In Council District 3 he requested three sets of critical corridors:
2. Interventions, areas around Bridge Homes, Cabin Homes etc.
3. Winnetka Park
The unfortunate delay in implementation arises from the timing of sign installation and LAPD training. Each sign must be custom made with the specifics of where you are and a map showing the area that is off limits for encampment. While awaiting the manufacturing of signs, CD3 had printed paper versions in posted them. Meanwhile LAPD is working on training for how to enforce the new ordinance. On a related note, CD3 has been working with and knows every homeless person in the district to offer services together with LAHSA.
The Winnetka Park area is scheduled for clean up by Recreation and Parks and Sanitation on February 24.
Another increasing epidemic is speed racing and street takeovers. Because LAPD has a limited budget to address street takeovers, Blumenfield has allocated $10,000 from his discretionary budget to cover LAPD overtime.
After introductory remarks, Councilmember Blumenfield took questions from stakeholders and board members.
You can view the whole presentation to get more details here.