Tensions flare over homeless crisis in Venice Beach after LASD deploys deputies to LAPD territory

Local news

Tensions are rising as the debate on how to handle the growing homeless crisis in Venice Beach continues.

The controversy comes after Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva deployed deputies this past week to L.A. Police Department territory, inciting a political battle between lawmakers and law enforcement.

Taking center stage were L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who has represented the area since 2013, and Villanueva.

Villanueva dispatched deputies on Tuesday to Venice’s Ocean Front Walk to help those living in encampments with signing up for available services and resources. 

This drew harsh criticism from Bonin, who shared an extensive Twitter thread where he detailed a list of controversies faced by the Villanueva administration.

On Saturday, Villanueva spoke with KTLA, saying that he didn’t deploy his deputies to disperse people in Venice.

“Our homeless outreach service team has been working for eight years breaking up homeless encampments throughout L.A. County in areas you typically don’t see,” Villanueva said. “They were out there on the boardwalk actually talking to the homeless and trying to assess the situation of each individual … They’re doing the job that the City of L.A., Mike Bonnin refused to do in his own district.”

In response to the criticism his department’s actions drew, Villanueva said “the only people who are upset are the political establishment who are responsible for doing nothing.”

“If you survey the residents of Venice right now, they are jumping for joy that something is finally happening,” he added.

The sheriff had previously said the goal was to clear the Venice boardwalk area of homeless encampments by July 4.

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