LA mayor issues order to shut off utilities at non-compliant house parties.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has authorized the city to disconnect utility services at a Hollywood Hills mansion after it continued to host large parties which he said were in “flagrant violation of COVID-19 public health orders.” Garcetti first issued a public warning that anyone found hosting “un-permitted large gatherings” could have their water and power service turned off.
“With more than 2,000 Angelenos, and over 170,000 Americans, lost to COVID-19, we need every resident to undertake critical safeguards to stop the spread of this virus,” he said. “That includes not hosting or attending parties that put themselves, their neighbors and many others at risk.”
According to the mayor’s office, the Hollywood Hills house hosted a party on August 8, three days after the warning was issued. Under the order, Los Angeles Police Department officers who respond to such events can request a utility shut off within 48 hours. The department reportedly visited the residence, posting warnings and providing notice that future violations could result in a referral to Garcetti’s office “for review and issuance of a directive to disconnect utility service.” Garcetti confirmed, “Despite several warnings, this particular house has turned into a nightclub in the hills.”
The city began to crackdown on party houses in August after it was made aware of several large gatherings and a 200-person party at a Mulholland Drive mansion resulted in a fatal shooting. Police issued citations for “noisy gatherings” at thirteen houses in one weekend alone.
Garcetti said while all nightclubs and bars have already been closed, “these large house parties have essentially become nightclubs,” often happening at homes that are vacant or used for short-term rentals. The consequences of these large parties ripple far beyond just those parties. They ripple throughout our entire community because the virus can quickly and easily spread.”
The directive received some pushback from LAPD with its union submitting a letter voicing its concerns.
“Mayor Garcetti wants to reimagine policing. He should send his civilian staff to turn off people’s electricity & cut off their water,” the League wrote. “Let officers deal with the rise in shootings and killings in L.A. We need a leader and not a political contortionist.”
Jerretta Sandoz, vice president of the union, said, “Police officers should not be involved with helping turn off utility services. He wants to use police officers when it benefits him politically…If we are trying to bridge the gap between community relations and police, then why would we go out to a call like this, which would cause more friction?”
However, Garcetti is relying on law enforcement’s help in the initiative which he said, “will focus specifically on party hosts determined to break the rules,” acting “as a threat to public health.” So far, officers have complied with the procedures put into place and have aided in shut off procedures.