A Santa Monica-based civil rights attorney has filed damage claims against Los Angeles for the March 7 cleanup on 3rd Avenue in which city trash collectors hauled off personal belongings.
Attorney Carol Sobel said Friday that she filed the damage claims, which is often a precursor to a lawsuit.
The trash haul March 7 took place on 3rd Avenue between Rose and Sunset avenues and was done by the Los Angeles City Bureau of Sanitation, which is part of the city's Department of Public Works. Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl at the time said the cleanup occurred following many complaints about public urination, defecation, blocked sideways and trash in the street.
A handful of homeless people were allowed to rummage through heaps of garbage the day after the cleanup to search for their personal belongings in a city sanitation yard. David Busch, a homeless activist, pulled his laptop from the trash heap as well as several art pieces. A homeless couple found food, money and clothes among the mounds of trash.
Many of the homeless who lost belongings couldn't make it to the sanitation yard and had lost money, medication and legal papers, Busch said.
Rosendahl said afterward that he would make it a policy going forward to give the homeless a courtesy notice before cleanups. He later told the Venice Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon that 3rd Avenue would be cleaned up on a weekly basis.
Busch, who sleeps on 3rd Avenue, said a cleanup Thursday morning was met by homeless people who stayed next to their property to prevent it from being thrown away. They were joined by Occupy Venice, Sobel and members of the National Lawyers Guild, who helped tag and guard belongings.
The garbage trucks left after Rosendahl intervened, Busch said.
The homeless in Venice recently have been impacted by a series of developments, including: the recent ban on overnight camping along the Venice Beach boardwalk, limitations on overnight parking for large vehicles and a program to transition vehicle dwellers into housing.