LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Councilman Richard Alarcon walked out of a Los Angeles City Council meeting today, preventing his colleagues from voting on $18 million to fund the construction of permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless.
The City Council needed 10 members present to vote, but with Alarcon refusing to return, there were only nine members present. Councilman Paul Krekorian later withdrew the motion. By that point, many of the other council members had already packed up their belongings to leave.
The vote, which appeared headed for approval, was continued to next Tuesday’s meeting.
City staff had said it was necessary to approve the funds as soon as possible in order to increase the chances of getting more public funding — money that other cities are also in a race to capture.
The money was to have gone toward getting at least 136 affordable homes for the chronically homeless built beyond downtown’s “skid row” in various communities across the city.
Prior to walking out, Alarcon had taken issue with an amendment proposed by Councilwoman Jan Perry to eliminate an incentive to affordable housing developers for building public restrooms, laundry rooms and other communal facilities in the neighborhoods where the homes would be built.
Alarcon said the incentive should be kept, and that the homeless in his district would benefit from such facilities.
Perry said such an incentive would make it less likely for some communities to accept permanent supportive housing into their communities, further derailing an already sensitive and controversial issue.
The non-vote came the morning after mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel vowed during their first debate in the runoff race to end homelessness in Los Angeles.
Garcetti — a City Council member — was not present when the Krekorian item came up. His schedule today indicated he had no public events to attend.
City Controller Greuel does not take part in City Council meetings, and would not have been able to vote on the issue.
Council President Herb Wesson and council members Paul Koretz and Bill Rosendahl also were absent from today’s meeting.