ALPERN AT LARGE--Being homeless is NOT a crime, but it is a sad state of human affairs, and really has no place in a modern, civilized nation such as ours. That said, urinating and defecating and breaking into a person's yard and/or home certainly IS.
Some homeless need help. Some homeless need counseling, encouragement, and intervention. Certainly, all homeless need our prayers and, if spent well, our taxes, contributions, and other resources.
But IS there a time when we conclude that those claiming to help the homeless are failing at it?
IS there a time when we conclude that those purporting to fix the homeless problem are making money off of it, and really are NOT incentivized to fix the problem (and, perhaps, are even making a growth industry out of it to make a handsome paycheck until the public catches on)?
IS there a time when police and parking enforcement are encouraged by our Mayor and City Council to arrest and enforce the law against those making sidewalks unsafe for adults and children alike to use them?
IS there a time when police and parking enforcement are allowed to publicly oppose how they're being intimidated by our political "leaders" and special interests to stand down and not truly confront those who are scofflaws in order to focus our resources on the truly helpless and/or those who want help?
IS there a time when public urination and defecation in our yards and streets is NOT considered OK?
IS there a time when we separate those who want OUT of the homeless life from those who are quite OK with it (the latter group to our collective dismay)?
IS there a time when public health issues are again prioritized over the "feelings" of a wealthy few who have no homeless living on their property, and who never would have them live on their property?
IS there a time when "affordable housing" projects are required to have at least 30% affordable housing ($750-1000/month rent or so) in order to be allowed the perks we give developers who currently are making affordable housing HARDER to find?
MOST IMPORTANTLY, though ...
... IS there a time when those of us who want to really fix the problem both pragmatically and with results are empowered to do just that, rather than be told just to "shut up and take it while the experts continue to address the problem like they've done for years"?
(CityWatch Guest Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of both its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure and Planning Committees. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)