The Los Angeles City Council voted 10-2 Wednesday in favor of settling a pending federal lawsuit filed by Skid Row residents. That suit, which accuses the city of unconstitutionally seizing and destroying their personal belongings, led to a temporary restraining order that has greatly restricted efforts to sweep area encampments for nearly three years.
The exact conditions of the settlement are not yet public, but they will likely codify strict limits on items that can be seized off the street in Skid Row.
The decision followed a series of raucous public meetings that pitted Skid Row anti-poverty advocates pushing for the city to settle the case against downtown business and redevelopment interests who wanted Los Angeles to litigate the case in court.
At City Hall on Wednesday, nearly two dozen people on both sides delivered impassioned testimony as to why L.A. should or shouldn’t settle the case. After public comment, the city council recessed to closed session to discuss the matter.
Most everyone had left when council chambers re-opened to the public three hours later. During closed session, a steady stream of people in suits and carrying briefcases passed in and out of council chambers with of varying degrees of stressed or anxious expressions.
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