Tuesday, July 13, 2021

New York Times: Los Angeles at War with Itself over Homelessness

Here's a long feature story from the NYT 's Magazine on the awful situation we have faced here in Venice for years. The writer, Jaime Lowe, first interviewed me before the pandemic hit, then the story was shelved, then she came back earlier this year and we conducted another interview and tour. It was evident the homeless occupation had grown exponentially. Apparently, it had to get far worse before the authorities would act.

As we saw in Echo Park, and as one can see in San Pedro's beach parks, and even at Will Rogers Beach, the city can legally remove all the campers from the beach under LAMC 63.44. I have been arguing for this for years. Only the intervention of the Sheriff and his HOST Team and then the Mayor overruling Bonin, and finally, after many year of neglect, showing some leadership here, has the situation started to improve. 

However, until and unless the LAPD, Rec. and Parks and its Rangers are given authority to strictly enforce no camping, no tents, and the overnight curfew, the encampments will return. 

Why is that important? Because the majority of the campers are from out-of-state, even some from out of country. As the Sheriff's HOST Team found, over 40 of the 200-20 campers declared themselves "travelers," with no interest in services or housing. The point of strict enforcement, then, is to stop the beach from being a magnet that draws homeless, the drug-addicted, the mentally ill, and the young travelers to our beach and community from all over the nation, to such tragic and dangerous ends.