In Los Angeles, city officials grappling with an ongoing homelessness crisis have turned to an idea that for decades was politically unpopular and considered radical: a government-funded tent encampment.
Other cities, including San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa, Fla., have opened similar programs in recent years. But the high public cost of LA’s first sanctioned campground — more than $2,600 per tent, per month — has advocates worried it will come at the expense of more permanent housing.
The campsite opened in late April on a fenced-in parking lot beside the 101 freeway in East Hollywood. The lot-turned-campground can accommodate up to about 70 tents in 12-by-12-foot spots marked by white squares painted on the asphalt.
What a minute—what? $2,600 per month, per tent?!?!
As the kids say, AYFKM!? Only government could spend more for tents than you’d have to pay for a rental apartment even in high-priced Los Angeles. You can shoplift ten tents from a store (without risk of prosecution in California right now) for that amount.
But let’s keep going with the NPR story:
On a recent afternoon, the site was nearly full. A row of port-a-potties stood along one side of the camp. The program also provides showers, three meals a day and 24-hour security. Campers get entered into the county’s database for matching unhoused people with social services and housing resources. . .
According to a report by the city administrative officer, the new East Hollywood campground costs approximately $2,663 per participant per month. That’s higher than what a typical one-bedroom apartment rents for in the city, according to the website RentCafe. While the per-tent cost covers services, meals, sanitation and staffing, some are concerned that the city is investing too much in short-term Band-Aids over long-term solutions.
I’d love to see a genuine audit of this homelessness spending to see how much the bureaucracy, consultants, administrators, and others in the “caring professions” chain of being skim off the top.
But this is obviously no accident or oversight, it’s simply the looting pf the public treasury undertaken behind the facade of an idealistic cause. You can bet that those tents are being rented by the brother-in-law or pal or corporate shell actually owned by some influential democrat panjamdrum.
“Homeless” (Left-wing weasel word for bums and winos) in Venice Beach.)
Freelance writer Amy Alkon does not like guns, but finds that liberal democrat policies may very well oblige her to become a gun owner.
I never wanted a gun. In fact, I wanted to never own oneâ€”until around noon on Thursday, August 20th.
Since the late 1990s, Iâ€™ve lived in Venice, California, renting a one-bedroom Craftsman house a mile from the ocean that someone built out of a Sears-catalog kit 100 years ago. Iâ€™m a science-based syndicated columnist and author, currently working all hours to complete a book that keeps trying to kill me. Luckily, Iâ€™m writing it in this cute little old lady of a house on my sweet Venice block.
Whenever it seems Iâ€™m pointlessly pushing words around the page, Iâ€™ll step out the front door and take in the sunny stretch of palm trees, cacti, and bougainvillea. Iâ€™ll spot a hummingbird, wave to my neighbor with his parrot on his shoulder, or maybe watch Joey the Aggressive Squirrel, my wee dogâ€™s taunting nemesis. These brief distractions uncouple me from looming suspicions that Iâ€™m an incompetent dullard no one will want to read, and I often go back in, emotionally restored, and pound out a coherent and even reader-worthy paragraph. …
[A]bout a week and a half into August, a VW Vanagon Westfalia (circa 1987, tricked out with solar panels on top) appeared in front of my house and stayed there. A white woman, about 40, with long magenta-dyed hair, was living in the van with a big leather-muzzled Rottweiler. The dog was prone to barking jags, and the woman didnâ€™t just close the vanâ€™s sliding door when she got in and out; she often slammed it so hard that it shook my little wooden house. …
here was door slamming all day and sometimes at nightâ€”a deliberate ritual to show me she was in control. She could disturb my work, my peace of mind, and my sleep whenever she felt like it.
I was frustrated and upset, but I wasnâ€™t afraidâ€”until August 14th. A tall, rough-looking white guy roared up on a shiny Harley, parked it in front of the van, and got in. Soon afterward, another dude got in, too.
The noise and abuse intensified, with the vanâ€™s occupants making it clear it was punishment for me calling the police about the noise. Throughout the day, the guy would turn on his motorcycle, get back in the van, and just leave the thing idling on the street for 10 minutes at a time. The Harleyâ€™s unmuffled open exhaust woke the neighborâ€™s new baby and disturbed everybody on my block, many of whom are working remotely from home.
I climbed on the base of my fence to ask the guy, seated in the van, to please be respectfulâ€”turn off the motorcycle when he wasnâ€™t riding it. He said nothing, but got out and hand-revved the bike to amp up the noise and pump out exhaust fumes. I put a towel under my door to block the fumes, which helped not at all. I came out again to ask him to please stop. His only response: â€œShow me your tits.â€
The cops came out repeatedly, answering not just my calls but those of my neighbors. Time after time, the police apologized for the fact that they couldnâ€™t do anything to alleviate the abuse, explaining that theyâ€™d been neutered by the mayor, with the support of our local city councilman, Mike Bonin. …
The biker guy turned out to be a violent felon, early-released from prison on August 14thâ€”the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, 70-some miles south-east of L.A. Heâ€™d been sentenced to remain in prison until October, but got popped ahead of time because of the pandemic, and came straight to my street.
I looked up his record. This 38-year-old man had so many violent felonies and restraining orders, I remarked to a friend, â€œHow does one even find the time?â€ Even more disturbingly, in addition to an arrest for assaulting a police officer, I found a restraining order filed against him by a 60-year-old woman, whom I suspected could be his mother. Yes, exactly the sort of â€œneighborâ€ weâ€™re all hoping for.
One morning, about a week after his arrival, I sat down at my computer and discovered it was feces oâ€™clock (approximately 6am Pacific Time). The stench of human waste was wafting in from the sidewalk, which apparently was doubling as a toilet. I had become afraid to go out my locked gate, even to get the mail from the box just on the other side, so I got up on my kitchen step stool and leaned over the fence to hose off the sidewalk.
The felon, irate to be awakened by the rather normal neighborhood sound of a person using a garden house, flew out of the van in a rage. My gate is steel-frame, covered by wood planks, and six feet high like the rest of my fence, but it is still terrifying to have a man pounding on it with both fists and yelling â€œYou bitch! Iâ€™ll get you, bitch!â€ Terrified, I dropped the hose, screamed, â€œIâ€™m calling 911,â€ and ran inside. …
An hour and a half after Iâ€™d called 911, officers arrived. And it was thenâ€”noon, on Thursday, August 20th that I had an upsetting revelation: We citizens can no longer rely on the police to show up. And then the thought hit me: I need to get a gun.
Youâ€™ve got to love the irony. Itâ€™s the Democrats who push for gun control, yet itâ€™s the Democrats in power in my city who are leaving me with no choice but to arm myself.
The truth is I shouldnâ€™t have a gun. Iâ€™m a boob when Iâ€™m afraid. I lose all mental and physical capacity. I know, if you get a gun, youâ€™re supposed to practice at a gun range regularly, and I would. Still, in a heated situation, I have my doubts that I could even find the â€œsafety,â€ a term I know only from watching TV and movie crime dramas.
I emailed two libertarian lady friends with gunsâ€”subj: â€œJenny From The Glockâ€â€”to ask for advice, and talked to some of the cops, too. The consensus: Iâ€™d do best with some Little House on the Prairie-type shotgun that sprayed buckshot, giving me the best chance, in a home invasion, of hitting someone other than myself.
The next morning, a sound from outside startled me. The guy was vandalizing my gate. This time, the police came, and one of the cops somehow succeeded in getting the couple to move the van down the street a bit, away from my house. This was a relief, but not a solution. There was further vandalism of my gate the next day.
The police told me theyâ€™d need me to file a restraining order to give them any power of enforcement. Assuming the judge approved it, they could finally make the guy move off our block, and they could arrest him if he came near meâ€”assuming he didnâ€™t kill me and take off on his bike before the overtaxed LAPD could get a cruiser out my way.
I was terrified to get a restraining order, because it would give the guy my name and other personal information while likely angering him further and putting me at increased risk of harm. It could also tie me up with days or weeks of paperwork and possible court appearances. But I had become a prisoner behind my gate, afraid to take out the trash, walk my tiny dog, or mail a letter. I was a stressed-out wreck, constantly on edge. I scared our poor sweet postman who delivers packages at odd hours, screaming in terror two nights in a row when a box thudded over my fence onto the pavement. This was no way to live, and thanks to Mayor Garcetti, it seemed that the only way to enable the LAPD to protect my block was to file for an order of protection, effectively turning myself into bait.
I called Legal Aid, and a compassionate young lawyer, Jenny N., helped me on the phone for about four hours over two days. I spent another six hours filling out 50 pages of restraining-order paperwork and making corrections to the parts that Jenny said Iâ€™d gotten wrong or omitted. It was unpaid work at a time when I had looming deadlines and was short on moneyâ€”but what was my alternative? People suggested I move.
Last month, American missionaries went to clean up a village in a Third World nation. The volunteers picked up 50 tons of garbage in this backward land. Nowhere is the gap between the rich and the poor greater. The poor live in tents, while the rich reside in the most expensive houses in the world.
The poor face typhoid and other debilitating diseases that were eliminated in civilized nations. People poop in the street for lack of indoor plumbing.
Instead of meeting the basic sanitation needs of its cities, the corrupt, one-party government squanders billions on an unneeded high-speed train. It will never be built but contracts are awarded to political insiders for work that will never be done. Because of this corruption, President Donald John Trump wants to curtail U.S. aid to the land.
Something must be done to save this land from itself. Taking over this backward Third World nation would be easy. We already have troops stationed there. Its army consists of a national guard and police.
But that would mean spending trillions on another foray into nation building.
Jacob Siegel, in American Affairs Journal, notes that the official policies of America’s large liberal cities have a rather merciless impact on the most unfortunate. The Left’s supposed dedication to welfare, compassion, and a government-provided safety net is largely wishful thinking, when it actually comes down to policy choices Big City Democrat Machines socially engineer high-priced living for those with very high incomes. They won’t actually let the cops prod the vagrant with his nightstick and tell him to move along, but they will reduce the total of number of public toilets in Los Angeles available to the homeless to under ten.
In Los Angeles, the cumulative consequences of decades of policy failures going back at least to the deinstitutionalization of the 1970s have settled like sediment at the bottom of an increasingly gilded city above. Homelessness hasnâ€™t gotten worse in spite of LAâ€™s wealth but because of it. A city where working families canâ€™t afford to live has fewer of themâ€”and the web of social connections they formâ€”to catch people as they fall into desperate circumstances and patterns of self-destruction. Without family and community, all thatâ€™s left for some are the jails and shelters of the state, or the tent cities granted all the freedom of leper colonies. …
In a major city like Los Angeles, the housing market functions as an invisible messaging apparatus. It conveys the priorities of the government and powerful private interests, and signals to people where they do and do not belong. In this sense, the realtor may be more honest than the mayor or your neighbor about where you are welcome and what purpose, if any, you serve. The message in LA is clear: the working and middle classes are not necessary for the functioning of the city. Those who get the message leave or, if they stay, must adapt to conditions of precarity. The problem is that the homeless live outside the norms and reach of the messaging infrastructure. The cityâ€™s poorest and most disturbed people are the least tuned in to the frequency of the marketâ€™s signals and otherwise unequipped to respond.
The US Bank Tower, formerly the Library Tower (left), and the Financial District of Los Angeles: still there.
Marc Thiessen factually refuted the claim that enhanced interrogations were ineffective back in April of 2009 using government memos revealing that Downtown LA is still there only because KSM talked after being waterboarded.
The Justice Department memo of May 30, 2005… notes that “the CIA believes ‘the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.’ . . . In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques.” The memo continues: “Before the CIA used enhanced techniques . . . KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, ‘Soon you will find out.’ ” Once the techniques were applied, “interrogations have led to specific, actionable intelligence, as well as a general increase in the amount of intelligence regarding al Qaeda and its affiliates.”
Specifically, interrogation with enhanced techniques “led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.” KSM later acknowledged before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay that the target was the Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast. …
[And] there is more information confirming the program’s effectiveness. The Office of Legal Counsel memo states “we discuss only a small fraction of the important intelligence CIA interrogators have obtained from KSM” and notes that “intelligence derived from CIA detainees has resulted in more than 6,000 intelligence reports and, in 2004, accounted for approximately half of the [Counterterrorism Center’s] reporting on al Qaeda.” The memos refer to other classified documents — including an “Effectiveness Memo” and an “IG Report,” which explain how “the use of enhanced techniques in the interrogations of KSM, Zubaydah and others . . . has yielded critical information.” Why didn’t Obama officials release this information as well? Because they know that if the public could see the details of the techniques side by side with evidence that the program saved American lives, the vast majority would support continuing it.
Critics claim that enhanced techniques do not produce good intelligence because people will say anything to get the techniques to stop. But the memos note that, “as Abu Zubaydah himself explained with respect to enhanced techniques, ‘brothers who are captured and interrogated are permitted by Allah to provide information when they believe they have reached the limit of their ability to withhold it in the face of psychological and physical hardship.” In other words, the terrorists are called by their faith to resist as far as they can — and once they have done so, they are free to tell everything they know. This is because of their belief that “Islam will ultimately dominate the world and that this victory is inevitable.” The job of the interrogator is to safely help the terrorist do his duty to Allah, so he then feels liberated to speak freely.
There are lovable parts of America, Montana, Vermont, the Virginia Horse Country, and there are the other kind of places where we wind up if we’ve been bad.
Gavin McInnes explains in a detailed rant exactly why he hates LA.
If my kids turned out to be gay, Iâ€™d say, â€œOh great, there go my grandchildrenâ€ and move on. But if my son turned out to be the guy at The New York Times who covered modern dance, I would lie in the bath and dig a razor blade into my wrists so deep, youâ€™d think there were vaginas living there. And if my daughter ever moved to LA, Iâ€™d send her my head in a box. Los Angeles is to life what New York City is to a womanâ€™s ovaries. Itâ€™s an elephantâ€™s graveyard where stupid losers go to die. Here are 10 reasons why.
Santa Monica watch dealer defending his store against armed robbers killed five criminals in the course of four gunfights. Targeted for revenge by an LA gang, he finally gave up his storefront, but he still sells watches and does repairs by appointment and on-line.
California features a tremendous variety of natural features, climate zones, and human conditions. It is possible to go directly from the most intensely artificial urban environment to extremely hazardous wilderness in a surprisingly short time, as Californians frequently discover the hard way.
In addition to the tragic spectacles of the vegetarian who met the hungry mountain lion while joggng in the state park, or the suburbanite who neglected to prepare properly for high altitude temperatures and snow when traveling in the high mountains, or the optimist who thought he could drive fast and inattentively around Devil’s Slide, California offers as well distressing scenes in which ordinary Americans encounter to their great misfortune hypertrophied large urban regulatory machines sprawling into their lives.
One day, while I was still living on the SF peninsula in San Carlos, I went outside to get something from my car, and the pretty Oriental young lady who lived in the house across the street (whose name I did not even know, we had only been on waving-hello terms) ran crying into my arms.
My neighbor began sobbing out her story. A building inspector from the city of San Carlos had just left. He had disapproved of the nails used to attach the wire-mesh to the outside of the house which had already been covered with stucco cement and painted. Because the city didn’t like the contractor’s choice of nail, my neighbors were going to have to give up plans to move in. They would be obliged to tear off the entire new exterior surface of their house, and re-attach new wire mesh and stucco, and paint the whole thing all over again. It would take months to do the demolition and exterior covering again, and it would cost a lot of money.
Beyond the many tens of thousands of dollars all that extra construction was going to cost, they’d have to do an additional move (their lease was up) and pay thousands of unnecessary dollars a month for another rental house. My neighbors had been hit with six figures in extra expenses by the local building code enforcement system over a nail.
No wonder the poor girl was sobbing. She probably felt a lot like Richard III.
I don’t doubt that there is some possibility that the use of a less-than-optimal nail to attach that wire mesh could result in problems. The mesh might gradually loosen, and come away from the wall of the house in places over time. Movement might occur, and the homeowner might find that portions of his stucco surface developed cracks. The poor homeowner might have to do some repairs one day. But, if every one of those nails fell right out, and the entire stucco coating on all four sides of the house fell right down onto the oleander bushes, it would be no skin off the nose of the city of San Carlos. San Carlos would not be paying for the repairs.
Building codes are represented to be necessary to protect the public. In urban California, at least, there is a reasonable argument for earthquake protection to be a factor taken into account in building standards. But codes obviously go characteristically far beyond addressing potential hazards to the general community. Building codes function to prevent competition from outside licensed guild-member businesses. Building codes protect the interests of unions. Building codes also operate as a secondary system of zoning, to protect the interests and impose the preferences of existing property owners. Building codes, finally, are also one more revenue source and a means of creating power.
In a lot of places, New York City would be a classic example, building codes describe an absolutely unattainable dream of perfection which never does and never can exist in the real world. Consequently, all buildings and all building owners are always guilty and in violation of lots of things. Officialdom can crack down and enforce the entire code any time it chooses. Make some kind of waves for officialdom, and watch the inspectors arrive, whip out their notepads and start writing.
All this is in reference to a horrifying LA Times story, describing how the long arm of big city city building regulation has, in recent years, begun reaching out to crush and destroy little people living far away in remote high desert locations which, unfortunately for them, nonetheless fall under the jurisdiction of the County of Los Angeles. Be sure to take your high blood pressure medication before reading the article or watching the video.