Leaked email shows member of Councilmember’s staff complaining about person living outside Westchester Field offices
By Sam Catanzaro
A leaked email shows a member of Councilmember Mike Bonin’s staff calling about a homeless person living in front of the Westchester field office “disruptive”.
The email, sent Monday morning to the City Attorney’s office and other recipients, was from Hannah Levien, Bonin’s Acting District Director.
“Our staff is coming back to the office and we need to have full access to the entrance. Additionally, my office looks directly at the entrance and can hear everything through the wall. We have a person permanently staying in front of our office who is both disruptive to our ability to work and blocks the entrance,” reads the email obtained by Yo! Venice. “Would this be considered an interference with business trespass?”
“Please let me know as soon as possible,” the email continues.
The Westchester field office is located at 7166 Manchester Avenue right next to Westchester Park. The park has seen an increase in homelessness the past year, and was the subject of an online petition set up this spring requesting Bonin and City leaders clean up conditions by June 1.
“We demand increased security and enforcement of laws to help us return to safe and sanitary conditions across every inch of Westchester Park,” reads the petition, which currently has over 2,300 signatures. “City leaders, we urge you to treat this like the emergency it is.”
A nearby resident, following the email leak, accused Bonin’s office of hypocrisy in an interview with Fox 11.
“I think they are hypocrites,” Westchester resident Lucy Han told Fox. “What bothers me the most is that they can try and get homeless that are disturbing them from their front doorstep and yet when it’s our safety, our kids’ safety, our homes, they don’t care and they call us NIMBYs.”
Julie Zaller, another nearby resident, shared this view.
“They’re always saying we can’t do anything, we can’t do anything, we can’t do anything. But now that they’re trying to come back to the offices, they’re trying to do something,” Zaller told Fox 11.
Bonin could not immediately be reached for comment regarding whether or not the individual is still living outside the field office. His Chief of Staff Chad Molnar, however, released a statement to the media addressing the incident.
“Councilmember Bonin didn’t know about this and it isn’t how he personally would have handled it. He believes our response to homelessness and encampments on public property needs to lead with housing and services, not enforcement. That’s what he was fighting for today at City Hall, and that’s the approach we are taking as we are housing dozens of unhoused residents of Venice Beach this week with our Encampments to Homes program,” reads the statement.