While defending a contentious proposal to build a homeless shelter in Venice California earlier today, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilman Mike Bonin and Police Chief Michel Moore braced for an ugly town hall.
The packed elementary school auditorium mostly full of people in opposition let the public officials know how they felt right as they walked through the door. The town hall was scheduled to be an informative event regarding Councilman Bonin’s proposal to build a 154-bed homeless shelter on an abandoned MTA yard in the heart of Venice, however the mayor struggled to get through his opening remarks as the respectful question and answer setting soon turned into angry and belligerent shouting match.
The current proposal is just one of a potential 14 more to come as the mayor plans to build one homeless shelter in each council district. “The easy thing to do politically is to walk away,” he said several times, adding, “We can’t afford to walk away from homelessness.”
Many attendees could be seen wearing shirts that said “Fight back Venice!” and “I live in Venice. I wasn’t bused in.”
One speaker said “You’re putting the most volatile people next to the most vulnerable,” before echoing familiar beliefs such as the shelters will only attract more homeless to the area.
Bonin, whose district the shelter will be in, faced the most direct criticism. He expressed that the shelters should be built where the homeless encampments already exist. This drew heavy backlash from the crowd.
The “Bridge Home” shelter is meant to be a temporary accommodation building. Construction has yet to commence.
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