ALPERN AT LARGE--Believe it or not, those "activists" who have all sorts of time on their hands to attend meetings and scream at lawmakers under pressure to, you know, make and enforce the laws that allow us to be civilized, do NOT have more rights than the rest of us.
Believe it or not, those "helpless homeless" who REFUSE help do NOT have the right to reside in Los Angeles.
Believe it or not, those cities and counties who create homeless shelters DO have the right to legally and practically boot ne’er-do-wells among the homeless who do NOT want help. Orange County just sent us all an example of how to be kind and enforce the law.
Believe it or not, we can be kind and helpful to those who want help AND make it clear that a homeless person does not have the right to reside permanently in sunny California, as Orange County did and with passing legal muster to do so.
Believe it or not, reinstating the rules of preventing homeless individuals from living in their cars or RV's indefinitely and without following any rules CAN be outlawed in the City of the Angels, as the LA City Council just passed 13-0.
Believe it or not, the City Council might have dallied (why, oh why?) in restating the aforementioned rules and laws for the LAPD and other City agencies to enforce, but the homeless situation could have exploded much, much worse if they were not enforced.
Believe it or not, those of us who want to help the homeless (and who KNOW that some are much easier and quicker to help than others, who might need years of counseling and education and treatment) are quite aware of both compassion to those who merit it, and law enforcement for others who also merit it.
Believe it or not, the "activists" are NOT any more superior or enlightened than the rest of us.
Believe it or not, both medical, legal, economic, and moral gains can be made both by getting those wanting and needing help to get off the street...and those same gains can also be made by booting those needing that boot to go to a place where their lawbreaking and self-absorbed behaviors will not harm the rest of society.
Believe it or not, demonizing those of us who want to help AND have laws will NOT make anything better for anyone.
Believe It or Not, We CAN Follow the Laws AND Be Kind ... Because Without Laws, Our Society WILL Fall Apart.
(CityWatch 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 was (termed out) 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 its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of its Planning Committee. 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.)