Authorities in California have ceded prime real estate on the Venice Beach boardwalk to a rotating cast of vagrants — a microcosm of the insanity plaguing the Golden State amid its spiraling homeless crisis.
For weeks, a vagrant surrounded himself beneath a pagoda along with boardwalk with a dump of grimy grocery carts, tarps and blankets, galling footage posted online showed. He and a friend reportedly rejected aid from police, city workers and LA County Park Rangers — who threw up their hands and let the beachfront takeover persist.
As online outrage grew, Los Angeles cops finally cleared the beach bum this week, only to have a different hobo immediately take over the spot — and all but shut-out taxpaying residents or tourists from enjoying it.
“It’s like they are babysitting [the homeless population],” Reza Karimi, 60, owner of the sunglasses store Good See Co., and whose prime location on the boardwalk is just steps away from the hobo-filled pagodas, told The Post.
“Here I pay taxes, I work every day, but these people are given money for free and yet they still do whatever they want and ruin the city.”
Scott Beers, who took over the primo real estate with his girlfriend, promised to keep it cleaner than the previous “tenant.”
“He had tents up and trashed this whole area up. You can’t have that here,” said Beers, 57.
“I’ve had homes before so I get it,” said Beers, who keeps his belongings neatly stacked on an airport luggage cart. “These people pay millions of dollars to live by the beach and they don’t want to see that s–t all over the place.”
Beers, who claims to have abandoned a 28-acre cattle ranch and dairy farm in Nevada for life on the streets after his wife’s death, sang the praises of the free services made available in the beachside community.
“Venice is my favorite because you can get hot showers every day. You can go out to the food bank three days a week. There is a church nearby that gives you a hot meal. And you can’t beat the views!” he said, noting that he gets by with panhandling and $221 a month from “general relief” funds from the Welfare Office.
Locals ripped the game of beach bum whack-a-mole.
“People [who have been previously removed] have come back and sleep out on the beach and the boardwalk,” said Jessica, whose family has run a business on the boardwalk for decades.
“The tourists do get scared. They see people screaming or acting out near the shop and they turn around and don’t want to come back.”
California holds 171,000 homeless people, which is 30% of the nation’s total homeless population, in accordance with a June report by the University of California, San Francisco.
At the pinnacle of the pandemic, the city executed a large sweep in 2021, breaking up by some counts nearly 200 tents on the boardwalk.
The city’s new mayor, Karen Bass, has also cracked down on encampments as part of her “Inside Safe” initiative launched earlier this year, which hopes to link homeless people with shelters and housing.
“What we see on our streets cannot continue to be normalized,” said Councilwoman Traci Park, who represents Venice Beach. “I will continue to address the homelessness crisis with dignity and compassion, and fight for the safety and wellbeing of everyone.”
LAPD and the mayor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
LA Park Rangers have ceded a public area overlooking the ocean to a man who refuses to stop camping there. The pagoda was one of very few accessible spots where wheelchair users could go to get a closer view of the ocean, but is now closed to the public.https://t.co/U0SJwZRrYu pic.twitter.com/EeHdxaKEY6
— SAVE VENICE! (@DyingVenice) July 8, 2023
Three LAPD officers on horseback ask a homeless woman to move her illegal encampment. She is blocking the sidewalk one block from the Venice Beach boardwalk
Woman does not comply and LAPD officers ride off into the sunset… pic.twitter.com/MIr81Dtaxn
— Soledad Ursua (@SoledadUrsua) July 12, 2023
A Venice beach homeless person lives in a public bathroom with a bunch of stolen bikes. This is exactly what’s going to happen when NYC rolls out public bathrooms.
Bad drug/homeless/mental illness policies become bad everything polices because they effect everything. https://t.co/a2n71kODrK
— Jason Curtis Anderson (@JCAndersonNYC) July 16, 2023
From the East Coast, never saw anything as bad as Venice Beach, CA. Not even Atlantic city was like that. Roving gangs of homeless just "chilling" all day. White people with dreads and tents along the entire boardwalk. Smelled like homeless.
— Philly P (@PatrickFries12) July 11, 2023
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