LA POLITICS - I'm surprised it took this long. (google my May 29 CityWatch column “Katy Yaroslavsky Is A Dangerous Hypocrite”). I mention at the end of that column that “Now the tree [at La Cienega] has magically disappeared, the area is fenced in, and from La Cienega almost all the way to Wilshire, there are LONG FENCED-IN areas and A LOT of City Signage along San Vicente.” Recently, I noticed that most of the San Vicente Medians between Wilshire and OLYMPIC Blvd are ALSO fenced-in. “So, the City has basically EXTENDED no camping on the medians all the way to” (scratch Wilshire) OLYMPIC. [quite hypocritical for one of the LA City Council's New Crew of Progressives Who Don't Like No Camping Zones]
But, First, A Quick Simple Question
If we had Eviction Moratoriums in Los Angeles (tenants did not have to pay rent and could not be evicted) during Covid, how or why did our Homeless Population go up ?? (The LA Times ABSOLUTELY LOVES to blame homelessness on people losing their apartments because they can't pay their rent)
Common sense and basic logic would tell you that homeless people are coming into LA COUNTY from THE OTHER 49 STATES (which are less hospitable) and THE OTHER 57 California Counties (which are less hospitable). They're also streaming into the City of LA from the Other (less hospitable) 87 Cities in LA County. In fact, MANY RESIDENTS LEFT Los Angeles during The Covid Era (also The Work From Home Era), so that made a lot of housing available. And there was VERY LITTLE construction activity during The Covid Era. And when rent-controlled housing is torn down, tenants have to be paid what is required by the City's Housing Department. So, really, anybody who denies the migration of homeless people into the State of CA from the OTHER 49 States (especially cold weather states and red states); into LA County from OTHER CA Counties; and into LA City from other LA County Cities, is either arguing in bad faith or naive.
North Hollywood is Suffering
Fox 11 Los Angeles just posted a YouTube Video entitled “Homeless Crisis Haunts North Hollywood.” Check it out...it's less than 4 minutes long. So, in this NE portion of North Hollywood (close to Sun Valley) was dumped a huge new project, 50 low income apartments AND a homeless shelter, “The Campus at LA Family Housing” (LAFH is a politically connected non-profit). Across the street from LA Residents. “Deadly threats, drug use in front of their homes, trespassing on their properties...it's non-stop, there's always someone fighting, screaming, and yelling...there's been a few people shot, as well...a few people [who have] been stabbed. It's just insane; it's crazy.” Drug and adult paraphernalia, mentally ill people, passed out people. A homeless person staying at the homeless shelter shows scars from where he was “attacked with a machete right in the middle of the street...sliced [his] fingers and cut the tendons”. The homeless guy “claims that the shelter is just as dangerous as the streets...the security, they suck...people are bringing in weapons and knives” “Other people staying at [the facility] share similar stories...problems can turn violent within seconds” A resident of the low income apartments says that there are “a lot of drug addicts, A LOT OF THEM, and a lot of people who are just really high and goofy” The neighboring residents/taxpayers/voters “don't understand why the City of LA would endanger” them. The homeless “are out there partying like it's nobody's business”. There are also “all the tents blocking the sidewalk and the trash...SO MANY YEARS of not having any peace and quiet in our neighborhood”. Residents are begging for peace and quiet from the politicians and nothing is happening. And a resident there just told me on Twitter that a homeless man was playing with his front private parts right in front of his living room window where his children were...chased him away and he came right back 10 minutes later.
Interestingly, I see No Camping City Signage in the Video, but it is not being enforced. That's the problem. When you put these HORRIBLE uses into a nice neighborhood, the least you should do is not allow camping on surrounding streets. And that should be STRICTLY enforced so that the facility does not become a magnet for homelessness and crime.
In fact, that was promised to communities that took Garcettivilles, er, Eric Garcetti's branded “A Bridge Home”s, which would only be in your hood for 3 years...how's that working out for you? And they used City surface parking lots, as if those hoods didn't need them. Don't you just love it when the City keeps properties it supposedly doesn't need while claiming to not have enough money? Remember that abandoned (for years) fire station in Encino that Paul Koretz and his colleagues tried to do a long term lease on for a (single) dollar a year for 50 years? I do. The year was 2013. And he wanted to be our City Controller. How do you suddenly find all these public properties to be used as homeless housing? If they're needed, they should be kept for their prior uses. If they're not needed, they should have been sold at market price. Especially if it's valuable real estate.
But our City's progressive politicians want to destroy all the good neighborhoods. At one point, homeless housing was even proposed for Bel-Air. Yes, let's turn every affluent hood in the City of LA into Skid Row. Then, either one of two things or both things will happen: 1) developers (who back our politicians) will get their hands on all the commercial and residential properties to tear down and build monstrosities and/or 2) all the people with money (especially those with children and the elderly) will leave and the tax base will die...you will have a City Full of the Nation's Homeless without the taxes to pay for Police, Fire, etc needed to serve that MASSIVE Homeless Population from OTHER STATES (and Other Parts of California)...like ALASKA, where the City of Anchorage is publicly (and wisely) planning to pay for one-way flights for their homeless to come to LA and be taken care of by us FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES (they did it LAST winter too). Seems like a good investment...the cost of a one-way flight...we were the idiots rolling out the red carpet to the Nation's Homeless under former Mayor Eric Garcetti.
And when Anchorage, Alaska's Mayor recently announced that, I didn't hear a peep out of our politicians. I expected press conferences with outrage and legal threats and dire consequences from Governor Newsom, our State Attorney General, our State Legislators, our LA County Supervisors, our County DA Gascon, our LA Mayor Bass, our LA City Council...did YOU hear anything from them? If you did, leave a comment with a link to the evidence. And if ALASKA, that block of ice with oil underneath it (which actually generates income for their residents), that's connected to the side of Canada, is allowed to publicly dump their homeless people on us, their druggies, their mentally ill, kind of like patient dumping from afar, can you imagine what the Other States have been doing and will be doing. Never mind one-way bus tickets, programs which I wrote about previously...one-way flights are much more effective.
How does Alaska know we're huge fools here in Los Angeles? Well, maybe because the peak of our stupidity was a Mid-2019 article [notice that's BEFORE Covid] in USA Today entitled “700K for an Apartment? The Cost to Solve the Homeless Crisis is Soaring in Los Angeles”. The article states: “They will receive keys to one of 72 new apartments, complete with a fitness center, in the heart of trendy Koreatown, built [for over 690k per unit]...Two additional projects...are expected to top 700k per unit...DESPITE A BOOMING NATIONAL ECONOMY, homeless people have set up tents in makeshift encampments...” [emphasis added] This article turned Los Angeles into a National Joke. Even The Feds Treat Us Like Idiots.
There was an article by Nick Gerda (he seems pretty good; you should read his stuff; it's a free read) in LAist entitled “120 New Apartments For Unhoused Veterans Were 'Move-In Ready.' Months Later, Most Sit Empty” that came out on July 13. But the gem that I took away from that article is that WE, the City of LA, are paying for homeless housing for US War Veterans on the West LA Veterans Affairs Campus Land that is run by the Feds and was gifted many years ago to house veterans. Why The Heck are WE paying?? Do we have “Idiots” stamped on our foreheads? Are we not ALREADY doing WAY MORE THAN our fair share for the NATION's homeless that we ALSO have to pay for THIS housing, when OBVIOUSLY the Federal Government should be paying for it, ALL OF IT. We should not be dealing with it AT ALL.
“The massive 400 acre campus was gifted to the Federal (United States) Government [in the late 1800's] specifically to house former soldiers. At its peak [in the early 1950's] about 5,000 veterans lived [there]...[United States] Congress later dismantled the VA's soldiers home system...VA officials [later improperly] leased out much of the [land] to NON-veteran uses...Marriott Hotels...private Brentwood School...UCLA baseball stadium.” Veterans complained, “ACLU sued in 2011”, VA officials retaliated against the veterans that complained, VA settled the lawsuit, “promising to build 1,200 units of housing on the campus.” These appear to be the first 120 of the 1,200 promised units.
So, the United States Government was given a MASSIVE piece of extremely valuable land in West LA for the purpose of housing soldiers/veterans, they ultimately shirked their duty and leased out to private interests for $$$, and now the City and County of Los Angeles have to pick up the tab? Why? Here's an idea. GIVE US THE LAND. If you want us to be responsible for housing homeless vets on the land, then GIVE US THE LAND.
Hey, Mayor Bass. You told us when you ran that you would use all those connections with the Feds and the Biden Admin from your time in Congress (and being on his short list for VP)...make the VA or the Feds pay for homeless vet housing on Federally owned VA land. Call up your buddy Joe. Are we not already doing way more than our fare share to deal with national homelessness? Why are they raiding our relatively meager funds?
A Katy Yaroslavsky Story
During Covid, the Rec Center at Pan Pacific Park (next to The Grove) was used for homeless housing, longer than it should have been because when the LA Times wrote up that G-d Forbid we should get our rec center back, Paul Koretz showed he had no spine and kept the homeless use going. The homeless started fires outside. Eventually, one day, a fire burned down the playground. On June 1, Mayor Bass and Katy Yaroslavsky (they like to do press appearances and photo-opps together) “cut a ribbon...for a play structure that replaced one destroyed by an arsonist [a year ago]” (google the Beverly Press article) Who put up the money? Hackman Capital Partners, the new owners of Television City, donated $236,000. Katy said she's “really grateful” to Hackman. Well, isn't that the point? Don't they have a large project that you'll be voting on? Why didn't THE CITY pay to replace the equipment that was likely destroyed by a homeless arsonist because homeless people had been housed there?? Because, THIS way of funding, our Council Member gets public praise for what seems like a developer's legal way to buy influence...not cool. Katy should know better. She was lecturing us about Ethics not too long ago with regards to the Bulgari Hotel in Benedict Canyon buying influence.
So Why Are No Camping Zones Near Homeless Facilities NOT Being Enforced
The politicians (who lied to us) used Covid as an excuse. As if moving the homeless once or twice (they don't try again once they know a no camping zone is enforced) would make Covid worse. They just didn't want to enforce the zones and Covid gave them a great excuse. Also, the Homeless Activists, part of the Homeless Industrial Complex, wanted EVERY SIDEWALK for the homeless.
Next to a homeless facility...they don't care...how dare you not allow the homeless to camp there...how dare you clear them? 99.99% of the sidewalks were not enough for those extremist activists. They had to have that last 0.01%. Of course, NO neighborhood will accept homeless uses if they see that camping is allowed near other facilities and that they turn into drug, crime, etc, etc magnets like that LA Family Housing (LAFH) facility in NoHo discussed above. Which Leads Us To Katy Hearing The Recall Chants Fox 11 Los Angeles (AGAIN; I know, they're doing a GREAT job) just posted a YouTube Video (two and a half minutes long) entitled “Karen Bass Booed At Meeting On Homelessness”. But, really, it's Mayor Bass AND Katy Yaroslavsky, making another one of their joint appearances. Video starts with Bass clutching a microphone at a community meeting and saying “Your councilwoman, I believe, is taking a very brave stance” by trying to place a homeless facility into an affluent West LA hood. Well, no, she isn't. It would be brave if she LIVED THERE with the homeless for a couple of years. It would be brave if she LIVED RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the facility with her family for a couple of years. You're not being brave, either, Mayor Bass. Your home got broken into, your TWO guns got stolen, and what did you do? You moved into the Mayor's Mansion in Hancock Park where you will never have to deal with the homeless situation...or with crime... and you'll live rent-free.
An LAFH (the NoHo MISmanagers) “Interim Housing Project at 2377 Midvale Ave” located on a “underutilized” city-owned parking lot at the intersection of Pico and Midvale (Thank G-d I don't have one of those near me). Now, that's REALLY EXPENSIVE real estate. Imagine how much more bang for the buck you could get if you sold the land and built it on cheap land. Why do we have to pay for homeless housing AND live next to it. Why not locate it OUTSIDE the City on COUNTY land. The COUNTY is supposed to be the social safety net, not the City. So many of these homeless folks are from outside the City anyway. Why should we house, care, and feed them for the rest of their lives?
Because we're stupid. And we rebuilt the wheel. Homeless housing USED TO BE a bed with a roof over your head in a shared room. The LA Times and Garcetti turned it into newly built housing (what's wrong with using existing older buildings) on expensive real estate, APARTMENTS OR MINI- HOMES (what's wrong with just getting a room) for the homeless and what about the hardworking people who work 2 or 3 jobs and take the bus to make rent? Where's their free apartment? If they were druggies, you'd take care of them?
There's NOTHING WRONG with being “NIMBY”.... LA Times uses that term in their headlines all the time in an offensive way. NIMBY means you care about your neighborhood, you're protecting it. BE PROUD to be a NIMBY. And a lot of the people that use that term are actually either hypocrites who are also NIMBY's or they have a financial conflict of interest, or they're part of the Multi-Billion Dollar (funded with YOUR tax dollars) Homeless Industrial Complex.
What Katy doesn't get is that she's building housing for people that ARE NOT from Council District 5. Most of them came here homeless in the last few years, pushed out of other areas. So don't make them permanent residents here. These politicians are smart, but they lack common sense. Look at Garcetti. He was a Rhodes Scholar and he completely destroyed Los Angeles.
(“An Angry Angeleno” is the nom de plume of Yuval Kremer, a former ballot candidate for both LA County Supervisor and LA Mayor)