OUT OF CONTROL - So, I'm typing this up late Tuesday night.
So, THIS afternoon, there was a young homeless woman who set up shop in the middle of the property where I live...just sat on our patio furniture under our lemon tree. Walked up our driveway past a HUGE No Trespassing sign. I asked her to leave. She tried to pretend that a resident in the apartment complex said she could sit there. I asked for a name. She couldn't come up with one...of course. I told her I would call the police if she didn't leave...she didn't budge. So, I call the police, which as you know, with LAPD, takes quite a while...when I finally get somebody to take the call, she's disappeared. Then I have the police on the phone with me as I scour the property to make sure she actually left.
LAST night (Monday night), I met the police at MIDNIGHT at the corner. Homeless guys doing suspicious activity. One appeared to be a lookout at the mouth of the alley. There was also a white guy that looked like he just got out of prison with an attitude and his head on a swivel marching the alley. I was told by a neighbor that they were stashing items between the dumpsters...theft and/or drugs most likely...lots of activity. Cops got the last one to move along. My evening ruined.
It's like a PART-TIME job for which I don't get paid...LOTS of Angelenos know the feeling. This is tip of the iceberg stuff, just trying to nip things in the bud. We were UNDER SIEGE FOR OVER A YEAR with a huge encampment, open drug use, constant trespassing, thefts, SEVERAL FIRES. People MOVED AWAY. CONDOS SOLD. BUILDINGS SOLD. Older buildings spent A LOT of money turning into security buildings. You have to lock off every nook and cranny. I hate gates and signs. Anyway, they don't really protect you from somebody looking to steal to buy their drugs. Not that long ago a homeless guy jumped the side wall of the security building next door to us, ransacked a car, and cut a lock to steal a bike. Around the same time, all the mailboxes of the security building across the street were broken into. We still have a locked back gate (because a fully naked homeless guy was back there once and another time somebody took a huge dump back there that I had to personally clean up). Water faucets locked off...hose disconnected and stashed away so that it doesn't get stolen. The mall next door has MASSIVE HOMELESS SHOPLIFTING going on constantly...I find discarded security devices ALMOST EVERY DAY. It didn't used to be this way. Beverly Grove is a nice hood. People pay A LOT of rent to live here...they don't need to be scared while they're walking their dogs after a long day's work. But Eric Garcetti, our former Mayor, rolled out the red carpet to the nation's homeless, and the LA City Council and our former LA City Attorney Mike Feuer went along for the ride. I refer to the City of Los Angeles as The Wild West.
It didn't used to be like this. I've lived here for more than 20 years, about the same amount of time as Career Politician Eric Garcetti spent at LA City Hall. He graduated from my high school one year before me, so I've followed his whole political career. He was a relatively unpopular City Council Member nicknamed Eric GarShady by many previously for 12 years, the last 6 as City Council President, the 2nd most powerful person in the City after the Mayor. He spent 9 and ½ years as Mayor. Should have been only 8, but when the Elections got shifted, he got an extra year and a half.
Oftentimes, he was an Absentee Mayor. Eric Preven (and his brother) published a GREAT short article right here on CityWatch in October 2017...you can google it...entitled “Herb Wesson, LA Mayor For Almost A Year Now”. Basically, every time the Mayor is out of town, the City Council President is Acting Mayor. So The Prevens got the deets on when and how often that happened, and in total, Garcetti had been out of town for almost a year. The LA Times SHOULD have been ALL OVER THAT...but you know how the Times is...they endorsed him for reelection as Mayor for a 2nd Term even though they knew he was horrible and becoming unpopular. There REALLY should have been a follow-up to The Prevens' piece, because Garcetti STARTED his 2nd (extended 5 and a ½ year term) in 2017. And we all know he was out of town A LOT, especially near the end when he was maybe running for President of the United States (G-d Help Us) and then didn't seem to care about his day job, focusing on his next gig in Biden's Cabinet (which the protests in front of the Mayor's Mansion thankfully helped prevent). Pete Buttigieg got the spot he wanted. Then he seemed to be hoping for a different Cabinet spot. Word must have gotten to Biden how unpopular and what a miserable failure he was in Los Angeles...it made national news that we were the Homeless Capital of the United States...and, of course, A LOT of Crime went along with that distinction.
Then Garcetti couldn't even get Ambassador to India for a long time, and keep in mind that India was a Covid Hotspot, so I doubt there were a lot of people asking for that, besides which, ambassadorships are usually given to BIG DONORS, not established politicians. But Biden owed him because Garcetti endorsed him in the Presidential Primary, so Biden burned political capital on a nomination that the US Senate was ready to end FOR A LONG TIME because Garcetti was caught up in a Sexual Harassment Scandal here in Los Angeles...lawsuit against the City for harassment by his key advisor...harassment that Garcetti almost surely knew about because it happened right in his presence. He likely committed perjury about all of that...and Biden still backed him, even during MeToo. Absolutely Shameful and Hypocritical for Democrats to be backing Garcetti FOR ANY POSITION during MeToo ! Garcetti even desperately had his parents lobbying for him in DC to get the gig to try to salvage his political career and not get a real job like the rest of us (let's not kid ourselves, he's rich, and he likely would have become a Lobbyist for Big Developers)...no joke...he made multiple trips to DC...his mind was clearly elsewhere. The Photo Opp King, now dethroned by Our New Photo Opp Queen LA County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath (who apparently is still in Campaign Mode even though she is underqualified for the job she has), was now EVEN MORE focused on using his mayoral gig as a stepping stone, or maybe just a stone at this point, to his next political gig. Cocktail Trivia: Garcetti's nickname was “Mayor Of Instagram”, so what will LA County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath's nickname be?
So, let's be clear. Mayor Bass is trying to clean up the Mess created by The LA Times AND Garcetti AND the LA City Council and City Attorney that worked with him on homelessness...and by worked, I mean they caused it to explode. Before Garcetti, we had Villaraigosa, and as much as I disliked him (for other reasons like underfunding the Animal Services Department and causing so many helpless animals to die in the City's half dozen “shelters”), homelessness was in Downtown in Skid Row, with some in Hollywood and some in Venice. And crime was low. I did not have a car and I was WALKING my WHOLE neighborhood. We had SIX homeless people. The SAME 6 people. They were all men. I knew them by face, ran into them often. I would happily have my taxes pay to house those 6 guys that have been here in my hood forevah. Then Garcetti becomes Mayor and the homeless population EXPLODES in my hood into hundreds or thousands of people (ironically during GOOD economic times). And that happened to almost all the good hoods in the VERY LARGE City of LA. And he's out there telling us that these people are our neighbors trying to make it seem like they've been here all along and they did not come from elsewhere, while the LA Times is trying to convince us that these are people that just became homeless from not being able to make rent. Please. We're not stupid.
In June 2018, Gale Holland over at the Times wrote an article entitled “LA Plan To 'Gentrify' Skid Row Will Oust Poor Residents, Advocates Say”. The plan to gentrify Downtown's Skid Row was called DTLA 2040. Then in July 2019, Holland wrote an article entitled “Protesters Target LA Over Skid Row Plan: 'We Will Not Be Gentrified'” You see where this is going...the goal is to push these folks, through development and aggressive policing, out of Downtown LA. But why? Homeless Services are based there and they've been there all along.
To understand that you need to learn about the Central City Association. The most powerful Special Interests at LA City Hall have historically been Big Developers and the City's Employee Unions. Big Developers were big backers of Garcetti for most, if not all, of his political career. The Central City Association represents Downtown Developers and they used to carry tremendous power over our politicians at LA City Hall. So, what happened is, young single people were buying EXPENSIVE condos in Downtown LA (the last big Real Estate Bubble was Condos; this one is Luxury Apartments). Why would they want to live next to Skid Row? Well, they can be hip and cool and edgy like people in New York City. THEN they decided they didn't like the Crime. So they ask for more policing...and you see where this is going...homeless people getting pushed out of Downtown LA into the good hoods in the City.
And there are lots of ways to nudge or push people out of one hood into another. You just make the starting hood very unfriendly to homeless people. You can tell them that the police won't bother you when you're doing drugs in these other hoods. You may have heard stories of police departments in adjacent cities to the City of LA telling homeless people to cross the street into the City of LA and then they will no longer be bothered. You can pay for one way rides for them into other hoods (my last column dealt with cities that have busing programs for homeless people that pay for one-way bus tickets to other cities in other states, so a short trip is peanuts compared to that). The idea is to make it somebody else's problem. I equate it with patient dumping when these folks are mentally ill and/or drug addicts.
But the homeless and the accompanying services for homelessness WERE THERE FIRST before these youngsters in the condos! If you don't like being near a large homeless population, don't move there! So, in my hood, I was suddenly running into people that looked like they were from Skid Row, what I refer to as “lifetime homeless”, and Garcetti and the LA Times were telling me that they were my neighbors...NO, they weren't.
To be continued...
(“The Angry Angeleno” is the nom de plume of Yuval Kremer. Yuval is a Registered Democrat; a Cali-Camp, Harvard-Westlake (pre-merger), USC, and Loyola Law School Alum; and a former ballot candidate for Mayor of LA (failing to prevent Mayor Garcetti's reelection) and LA County Supervisor (ran against Sheila Kuehl, Katy Yaroslavsky's former boss), and a regular contributor to CityWatchLA. The opinions expressed by Yuval are his and not necessarily those of CityWatchLA.)