Tue, Apr

Memo to LA ‘Leadership’: Stop the Defecation on Our Sidewalks, Stop the Defecation on Our Rights


THE DOCTOR IS IN--Contrary to popular belief, not all homeless people are terrible, disease-spreading, drug-addicted blights to our society.

What is true, however, is that ramming false narratives down our collective throat in the handling of our homeless crisis has threatened our collective health.  

Prior to passing a Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) motion two nights ago from Director Robert Watkins, M.D., which would oppose the efforts of Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Mark Ridley-Thomas for a City of Angeles "feasibility study" to set aside a portion of Mar Vista Park for homeless individuals, we all heard from the usual suspects: 

(Usually, but not always, these lockstep, repetitive, talking bobbleheads are the Democratic Socialist Activists or the Street Watch L.A. folks, some who are respectable true believers but too many who are subsidized activists, and most NOT MVCC stakeholders): 

1) Too many of us are heartless, compassionless individuals who have no idea of what it's like to be poor and/or on the street. 

2) These homeless are our family and neighbors who we must protect as much as our own sheltered, well-fed families and neighbors. 

3) Helping the homeless comes from the heart, and those who fight for them are pursuing that fight out of idealism, and without any self-interest. 

4) A very large portion (perhaps the majority) of Angelenos, in Mar Vista or other regions, support doing more to providing a place for the homeless to stay in public venues such as Mar Vista Park. 

5) There are Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers Near Los Angeles.

Fortunately, Dr. Watkins' motion passed 9-3, and which almost certainly represented the will of Mar Vista stakeholders, be they homeowners or apartment renters, and be they rich or poor, and be they with or without children.  

To those who showed up to respond to whatever call there was to "fight the power" at the MVCC meeting, and from someone who was right in the middle of the Venice Blvd. Road Diet controversy a few years ago, let me again repeat my statement last Tuesday night: 


I suppose I should add: "CUT THE CRAP", insofar as that this "feasibility study" is as much a LIE as was the Venice Blvd. Road Diet "pilot study" hijacked by a "Vision Zero" agenda that has created a health, traffic, and economic crisis in what used to be a thriving Downtown Mar Vista.  

And CRAP on our sidewalks risking Hepatitis A, or CRAP on our quality of life, or CRAP on our rights, is just as awful as CRAP on our shared and urgent desire to truly FIX the homeless problem plaguing our city and nation. 

There is no study, only a way to sneak something through against the overwhelming majority of Angelenos, be they either in Mar Vista or anywhere else. And to anyone on the City Council, Mayor's office, or any other "woke" entity, it's time to be "woke" to the idea that those among us, be he/she from the political left to the political right, are "woke" as to the ongoing list of lies being promulgated on caring, taxpaying citizens: 

1) Angelenos have and will continue to tax themselves, even though the money is being horribly misspent, to help the homeless. The true compassionless among us are those accusing the rest of us of being non-caring while they enrich themselves or their allies/donors/lobbyists to expand the "homeless industry" of inefficient and failed contracts to build housing in a cost-effective and results-oriented manner. 

2) Placing the homeless in our open spaces (such as Mar Vista Park) will have the same disastrous results as allowing them access to our major thoroughfares--those areas are universally avoided, downright dangerous to children, and now inaccessible to the general public. Our sidewalks are unwalkable, and our parks will be avoided if they are allowed to be large, open-air homeless shelters--taking away our collective open space and rights is cruel. 

3) The homeless on our streets and among us are NOT vetted as to any family, school, social, or other links to our Los Angeles communities--having L.A. being a "homeless magnet" to the state and nation is NOT an appropriate way to manage both a local and national problem. Absolutely NO ONE, and certainly not our elected and representative leaders, has the right to force Angelenos to bear the brunt of this national crisis. 

4) There are both existing shelters and resources, and a need for federal funding of new shelters and resources, that are all long overdue to fixing the problem...if fixing the problem is truly the desire of those whose lives and incomes have been all about addressing a problem that has been at the center of their livelihoods for years. 

5) To the Mayor, the City Council, the rest of Downtown L.A. "leadership", and their well-funded and well-subsidized activist allies, it should be emphasized: as with our sidewalks, Mar Vista Park or any other park is NOT YOUR PARK. There are open spaces that will not impact children, families, and taxpaying residents that are ripe for housing, medically treating, job-training, and counseling our homeless (and I mean OUR homeless). 

To quote Dr. Watkins in his recent piece in the Venice Current: 

"...last year the MVCC (Mar Vista Community Council) passed a compassionate and cost-realistic solution to the homeless crisis:

  1. Massive emergency temporary shelters need to be built in an area with affordable land, away from residential neighborhoods to provide medical care, mental health, drug treatment, safety, hygiene, and services to re-introduce people back into society (job training, relocation, family reunification). Anyone sleeping on the streets must be required to go to the shelter which should eventually be converted into a permanent structure to provide all services.
  2. Subsidized affordable housing, with services on-site, needs to be built in residential neighborhoods to re-integrate people into society. People eligible for this option must have a prior connection to the neighborhood defined as living as a member of the community for the past three years; living, working, or attending school in the neighborhood (for example, people who meet the prior criteria and who have become disabled, elderly, mentally ill, or drug-addicted).
  3. “Low-Barrier” Shelters do not belong in residential neighborhoods. Shelters that allow drug use and are open throughout the night are detrimental to the children and working members of the community. What’s more, services that allow people to remain on the street will enable homelessness and encourage more to migrate to desirable areas."

The Brentwood Community Council has also opposed creating shelters in open spaces (both public and private) through the Westside, and NOT because they're selfish, heartless monsters. 

Like the rest of us, they're paying the bill, and they have rights. 

We don't need ANYONE or any group of people who've left debris and even defecation on our sidewalks and public venues...and we don't need ANYONE who will continue to wreak havoc and defecate on the rights of those of us paying the bill, and who (gasp!) actually have rights, too.


(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 of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two stints as a Board member for 8-9 years and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach, Planning, and Transportation/Infrastructure Committees. He was previously co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee, the grassroots Friends of the Green Line (which focused on a Green Line/LAX connection), and the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)



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