Wealthy neighborhoods in the Los Angeles are have had a serious problem for many years. However, that problem is only getting worse. The problem involves the owners of homes in wealthy areas of the city renting their property on a regular basis to people who want to throw very large and noisy parties for hundreds of guests. These parties will often create gridlock on the narrow streets that were not designed to handle that many cars at the same time. This inconveniences people who live in nearby homes who find it hard to drive down the street. The noise level is also a nuisance because the parties will often keep going into the middle of the night.
The Hollywood Hills is one of the worst areas for these types of infractions. However, the city of Los Angeles is taking steps to end these parties in residential houses by punishing the owners who rent their homes to partygoers for a tidy profit. The city council has just approved a new ordinance which will go into effect very soon. It states that the people who organize the party and owner of the home could face a fine that is a maximum of $8,000 for each infraction. This ordinance comes on the heels of charges being filed in 2017 against a property manager and the owner of a house that was hosting many loud parties over a period of several weeks.
The concern of many residents is that the amount of the fine might not be a sufficient deterrent. This is because many of the people who own the homes where these parties are held are very wealthy people. Therefore, $8,000 will not be much money to them. Also, they still might be making a profit from renting their home even after paying the fine.
On Wednesday, February 7, Los Angeles councilmen Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander met with other city officials to discuss “crucial street and sidewalk infrastructure improvements.” L.A. has a population of over 10 million people, and it is the eighth largest city in the world. It is also 24th in the list of Top 50 Bike-friendly Cities in the U.S., and the dilapidated condition of the streets is dangerous to users. The city has had several lawsuits in the past five years involving cyclists who crashed on the broken pavements. On Wednesday, the city council allocated $700,000 for the maintenance of miles of the bike paths.
Hundreds of potholes need to be filled along with hours of general street maintenance to bring street conditions up to standards. In 2017, more than $19 million was paid to cyclists who were either injured or killed due to broken pavement and dangerous roads; Los Angeles has directed its attention to fixing its infrastructure.
Recently, three lawsuits were settled: 1) Patrick Pascal received $200,000 as he was injured when his bicycle wheel became embedded in a crack in the cement. 2) One of the largest settlements, $6.5 million, was awarded for a horrific crash that ended in death as auto hit a cyclist on the dilapidated pavement. 3) Another fatal crash occurred three years ago involving a 13-year-old boy, Chris Rodriguez, who had been riding his bike in Boyle Heights. City council approved $2.5 million to be awarded the family in February. These bicycle crashes are too frequent, and the city has hired seven new employees to investigate the streets for renovation.
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition commented to the Los Angeles Times that “All streets are legal places for people on bikes to be riding,” so the roads should be well-maintained for cyclists and drivers alike. Another significant point is that in 2018, L.A. will be hosting the Summer Olympics.
Los Angeles is planning the to ban items such as shields, touches, baseball bats, and mace from public demonstrations and protests. This will be made possible by a proposed amendment law that will be debated by the City Council. The ban has been motivated by the violence that has been experienced in recent protests that have been held in Charlottesville, Virginia, Berkeley, and a few other cities. According to the motion that proposes the amendment, demonstrations that have been occurring around the country are becoming more violent every day. Protesters carry items such as sticks, poles, signs, glass bottles, and different devices that can be modified as weapons to cause injuries and destruction of property.
The proposed amendment has a long list of items that should not be carried by people during the demonstrations, protests, pick lines, rallies, and public meetings. They include firearms, tears gas, glass bottles, ice picks, projectile launchers, sword, knives, nunchuck, ball bearings, water guns with hazardous liquid, and many others. The city will also have to regulate the use of banners and signs that have the handles. After the amendment, protesters will be required to us signs that are made from cardboard, plastic, or cloth. All metal sticks would be illegal while plastic and wood sticks won’t be allowed unless they have a width of the less than two inches or a ¼ inch thickness. The plastic sticks would also be required to be hallow. Los Angeles Municipal Code’s Section 55.07 will be amended even though it has already banned the use of wooden bats.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has opposed the amended ordinance by questioning if it is legal. The City Attorney’s office has whoever defended it by stating that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals supported the existence of the Section 55.07 in 2003. This decision by the court confirmed that the city has a right to regulate items that can be carried during demonstrations despite the section limiting only the size of wood sticks at that time. During a protest that occurred in August, neo-Nazis and white supremacists carried tiki torches while matching around the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville. The following day, there were counter-protests, and this led to violence where dozens of people injured. The encounter led to the death of the one counter-protester. Items such as the shields, long sticks, and mace were used during the violence.
You have probably bought various items from street vendors at some point in your life. You can find these people selling food, clothing and souvenirs an all of the major American cities. Los Angeles is the one major American city where street vending is illegal. However, that does not stop people from trying to sell things on the street. it is estimated that more that $500 million every year are spent on purchases from illegal street vendors in the city of Los Angeles. There have been many attempts over the years to get a permit system in place so that street vending can become legal in the city. Unfortunately, that has not come to pass.
It is estimated that there are more than 50,000 people selling items illegally on the streets of Los Angeles. The vast majority of people who try to make a living in this manner are poor immigrants. It is believed this is the primary reason why many lawmakers have not been interested in moving forward with legislation that would legalize street vending. One of the reasons why the issue of legalizing street vending in Los Angeles has been brought up again recently is the surprise election of Donald Trump. He vowed to deport illegal immigrants who have criminal records. Therefore, there are people who believe that the decriminalization will prevent many immigrants from being deported for a crime that is only a non-violent misdemeanor. It remains to be seen if the push to legalize street vending will have enough support.