Los Angeles

Sylmar Residents Hope Latest Vote Means Removing Hazardous RVs

The latest council vote means the city will immediately start removing hazardous RVs from LA streets, with full enforcement of all "no-parking" signage in May.

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On Foothill Boulevard in Sylmar, residents say they are fed up with an invasion of RVs, and they say it existed long before the pandemic hit.

Elaine Pellowski, a Sylmar resident, says it's been going on for a while.

"They’re tapping into the street lights. They’ve broken 16 street lights. They break fire hydrants," she said.

Jay Palmer says neighbors have reached out repeatedly to city offices to no avail.

"We’ve had numerous fires here on Foothill because the Rvs are unlicensed and there’s gasoline and propane in these vehicles," Palmer said.

"All the city services don’t communicate well together.”

But on Wednesday, LA Councilmember Monica Rodriguez joined in an 11-to-1 vote that will immediately start removing hazardous RVs from LA streets, with full enforcement of all "no-parking" signage in May.

Pellowski said they've reached out "many, many times" and hear "Nothing. Radio silence" in response.

“I had signs put up and nobody enforces it. It just comes down to enforcement," she said.

She doubts the city will follow through with the latest development.

Diana Bear said she understands the need to help those living on the street – even if they’re living in an RV.

"They need help, they need social services, they need housing, they need food and medical and they need behavioral health people to come out and talk to them," she said.

“I like, willingly chose to live unhoused," said Paisley Mares of Streetwatch.

Mares lives in an RV as of December of last year. He says it's because of the high prices of rent in LA.

"As long as the rent in the city continues to rise and people continue to pay them, I wanted to take myself out of that equation if that makes sense," he said.

He’s also an organizer with the community group Streetwatch, and says the city has yet to offer any real solutions for those living on the street.

"There truly isn’t the housing available. So what I see with Streetwatch is increased criminalization of people living in tents and vehicles without any viable solutions," he said.

He worries more will call the streets home soon when eviction moratoriums end. For some residents, though, they just want their sense of safety restored.

"And some people will just say, 'I ain’t going,' but if all that is offered to them, at least they can say OK, we gave you all we had and maybe plan b is that now all the RVs have to go," she said.

The city’s new ordinance goes into full effect on May 15, and it goes for any vehicle illegally parked anywhere in the city.

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