Category Archive 'The “Homeless”'

26 Sep 2020

Bleeding Heart Democrat Policies Force Coastal Elite Intellectual Into Considering Arming Herself

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“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 one—until around noon on Thursday, August 20th.

Since the late 1990s, I’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. I’m a science-based syndicated columnist and author, currently working all hours to complete a book that keeps trying to kill me. Luckily, I’m writing it in this cute little old lady of a house on my sweet Venice block.

Whenever it seems I’m pointlessly pushing words around the page, I’ll step out the front door and take in the sunny stretch of palm trees, cacti, and bougainvillea. I’ll spot a hummingbird, wave to my neighbor with his parrot on his shoulder, or maybe watch Joey the Aggressive Squirrel, my wee dog’s taunting nemesis. These brief distractions uncouple me from looming suspicions that I’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 didn’t just close the van’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 night—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 wasn’t afraid—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 van’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 Harley’s unmuffled open exhaust woke the neighbor’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 respectful—turn off the motorcycle when he wasn’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: “Show me your tits.”

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 couldn’t do anything to alleviate the abuse, explaining that they’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 14th—the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, 70-some miles south-east of L.A. He’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, “How does one even find the time?” 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 “neighbor” we’re all hoping for.

One morning, about a week after his arrival, I sat down at my computer and discovered it was feces o’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 “You bitch! I’ll get you, bitch!” Terrified, I dropped the hose, screamed, “I’m calling 911,” and ran inside. …

An hour and a half after I’d called 911, officers arrived. And it was then—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.

You’ve got to love the irony. It’s the Democrats who push for gun control, yet it’s the Democrats in power in my city who are leaving me with no choice but to arm myself.

The truth is I shouldn’t have a gun. I’m a boob when I’m afraid. I lose all mental and physical capacity. I know, if you get a gun, you’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 “safety,” a term I know only from watching TV and movie crime dramas.

I emailed two libertarian lady friends with guns—subj: “Jenny From The Glock”—to ask for advice, and talked to some of the cops, too. The consensus: I’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 they’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 me—assuming he didn’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 I’d gotten wrong or omitted. It was unpaid work at a time when I had looming deadlines and was short on money—but what was my alternative? People suggested I move.

HT: Bird Dog.

10 Mar 2020

Homeless Man Built His Own Secret Bunker

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Dominic Van Allen was not just a spaced-out junkie. He worked, but found it impossible to earn enough to pay London rents. So he improvised, and in the process demonstrated major amounts of initiative, enterprize, and ingenuity. Unfortunately, in the end, he became a victim of contemporary urban tyranny. He was accused of ownership of a crude pipe gun found buried in the ground and convicted. Unless his appeal succeeds, he won’t have to deal witrh homelessness for five years.

Camden New Journal

08 Mar 2019

Big City Compassion in Action

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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 hasn’t gotten worse in spite of LA’s wealth but because of it. A city where working families can’t afford to live has fewer of them—and the web of social connections they form—to catch people as they fall into desperate circumstances and patterns of self-destruction. Without family and community, all that’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 city’s poorest and most disturbed people are the least tuned in to the frequency of the market’s signals and otherwise unequipped to respond.

RTWT

09 Jun 2008

Montgomery County Considers Putting Homeless Family into $2.5 Million House

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Johns Hopkins Professor Phyllis Piotrow wanted to sell her brick five-bedroom house next to Hillmead Park in Bethesda, Maryland and retire to New Hampshire.

She had been hoping to sell her house with 1.3 acre lot to a developer, but Montgomery County fought development plans until the real estate market softened, then cajoled Piotrow into selling the property for a below-market price of $2.5 million to be incorporated into the neighboring park.

Then, somebody had an idea, as Marc Fisher reports in the Washington Post, 6/8:

The parks commission had planned to demolish Piotrow’s 1930s house, at a cost of about $65,000. Instead, staffers at Montgomery’s housing agency wondered, why not spend about twice the cost of demolition to renovate Piotrow’s five-bedroom place and use it to house a large (mother with 13 children -DZ) homeless family? After all, finding housing for large families is notoriously difficult, the county already shells out about $100,000 a year to keep a homeless family in a motel and at least six other houses in county parks are being used in similar fashion.

You will not be shocked to learn that the good people of Montgomery County thought this a very poor idea.

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The same Marc Fisher recycles the same story into a blog editorial with a title which wonders indignantly: Is This House Too Nice for the Homeless?

(I mean, really, what kind of person could possibly think that?)

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Residents of the Hillmead neighborhhood evidently could, and did, think un-PC, uncharitable thoughts.

Examiner.com

Washington Post 3/23:

As the Montgomery County Council put the finishing touches on a $2.5 million plan to buy more land for a Bethesda park, council member Nancy Floreen lobbed what has turned out to be the equivalent of a neighborhood cluster bomb:

Why not house a needy family in the 1930s-era home on the property in the Hillmead neighborhood and expand the park at the same time? …

Residents of Hillmead, a leafy community about three miles from downtown Bethesda with small Cape Cods and large McMansions selling for more than $1 million, say they only recently learned of the county’s plans and think officials did a poor job of keeping them informed. …

The Hillmead residents insist that their opposition does not stem from antipathy to poor people. Those leading the fight say it’s a debate about how the county chooses to spend its $4 billion budget in tough economic times, and about due process for communities. …

“This really isn’t about having a homeless family living in a house that is bigger than probably 90 percent of the houses in the neighborhood,” said Brett Tularco, a developer who lives in the neighborhood and has offered to tear down the house to save the county the expense. “Our kids are going to school in trailers and then this homeless family would be living in a $3 million estate. That money could have been spent on housing tons of people instead of one family.”

He said he is also worried about public safety if the homeless family moves on and the county then uses the house to shelter mentally ill residents or drug abusers.

“That really isn’t who we want our kids playing next to,” he said.

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Councilmember Nancy Floreen’s website

29 Apr 2008

Exposing a Small-Scale Racket

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Things are different in Utah. Out there, rather than peddling the usual leftwing sob stories about the homeless, CBS News investigative reporting investigates one of them, revealing a professional panhandler who makes good money pretending to be stranded and in need of the necessary funds to buy a bus ticket home to Seattle.

8:38 video


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