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LA mayor has no plans to dismantle 100s of RV encampments, despite demands from housed residents

TV cameras were rolling as the mayor’s office made headlines Wednesday by giving the go-ahead to dismantle a huge RV encampment on Forest Lawn Drive, but there are no plans clear any of the other hundreds of other RV encampments across Los Angeles.

“I think there are other solutions,” Mayor Karen Bass told the I-Team. “The RV situation is very complicated.” 

Across LA, housed residents have been telling the I-Team they want the mayor to dismantle the encampments and ban them from areas like near schools and residential neighborhoods.

“We see fights, we see drug deals, we see prostitution around the RVs,” said Adam Johansson, who lives near several RV encampments in the west San Fernando Valley.

Johansson and his neighbors say they see the RV occupants dumping human waste into the street, something the I-Team’s cameras have documented numerous times.

“A dozen times or more, I’ve seen them open the door, and physically dump human waste in the gutter,” Johansson said while standing next to RVs parked a few feet from houses on Valley Circle Boulevard in West Hills. 

“This [RV encampments] is the No. 1 issue my office is receiving complaints about,” said LA City Councilperson Traci Park, who has numerous encampments in her Westside CD11 district.

“We have seen a lot of crime and violence around the RVs,” said Park, who has introduced a motion in the city council to ban or “restrict oversize vehicle dwellings… [like RVs] in residential areas…and other sensitive uses” like near schools.

“They need to be in places where they are not directly and negatively impacting our schools, our communities,” Councilperson Park told NBC4.

But some of her fellow council people disagree with her about an outright ban, and so does Bass.

“Before we do that [ban RVs], I think there’s some other solutions,” Bass told the I-Team.

Mayor Bass says if the city banned RVs in certain areas, and inhabitants defied the bans, the city has only one truck capable of towing RVs. 

“You can ban all you want, then what are you going to do? The city doesn’t have the ability to tow,” Bass said.

On Wednesday, the city somehow gathered the resources to dismantle an encampment of dozens of RVs on Forest Lawn Drive, that had been the subject of numerous media stories.

But the mayor’s office told the I-Team it has no plans to clear any of the hundreds of other RV encampments across LA. Instead, Bass tells the I-Team her plan is to identify pieces of city and county land to create “safe parking” lots where RVs can park away from residential neighborhoods. 

“We’ll make sure that area has 24-hour security. We’ll make sure that area has proper waste disposal and hygiene and services,” Bass said.

When asked for a list of possible locations for “safe parking lots” for RVs, the Mayor’s press secretary Clara Karger told the I-Team there’s no list yet of areas that have been identified.

But housed residents, like Adam Johansson of the West Valley, say the mayor and the city council have to dismantle the encampments and ban them from parking near houses and schools, where they create fire, health, and safety hazards.

“I say to Mayor Bass, ‘you’re not doing what you promised,’” said West Valley resident Adam Johansson.

“You have to do something about the RVs… help us,” Johansson added.   

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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