Homeless Anarchy in Los Angeles

Anyone thinking about blaming the police for the anarchy that grips America’s liberal cities is not paying attention. The police know how to do their jobs, but the politicians, elected by progressive liberals, do not let them. And often enough, even when there are laws left on the books that might permit prosecution, activist prosecutors, also elected by progressive liberals, do not press charges.

Life in California, as usual, epitomizes this dysfunction. In 2014 voters approved Proposition 47, which downgraded drug and property crimes. In 2016 voters approved Proposition 57, which released thousands of nonviolent criminals. Back in 2006, the ACLU prevailed in the Jones vs City of Los Angeles case; the judgment prohibits arrests for vagrancy unless there is a space available in a homeless shelter.

The result of these laws is predictable enough. California’s unsheltered homeless population is now more numerous than all the rest of the homeless in the United States combined. And why not? Along with great weather, there are no serious legal consequences for being intoxicated on methamphetamine or heroin, much less marijuana or alcohol, nor are their serious legal consequences for stealing to support your drug habit. And if you want to set up a tent, almost anywhere, nobody can make you move along until they provide you a shelter.

If California is ground zero for urban anarchy, Venice Beach is one of the epicenters. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic and pre-election planned rioting turned the anarchy up two notches, Venice Beach was already occupied, and terrorized, by well over a thousand homeless. Today, the homeless population in Venice Beach is estimated to have at least doubled to 2,000, in an area of only three square miles. Several factors caused this increase.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in thousands of prisoners being released from the Los Angeles County Jail, and many of them headed for the beach. A new homeless shelter was opened earlier in 2020 in Venice Beach, and while it only has 140 beds (at a cost of $8 million), it serves meals to many more, and has no requirements for sobriety or even a curfew. But how the City of Los Angeles responded to the COVID-19 crisis had an even greater impact on Venice Beach.

For years, once per week the streets would be cleaned. This forced people living in cars or RVs to move them to allow trash and debris including feces to get regularly swept up and washed away. But since March 2020 there has been no street sweeping. Also suspended in 2020 by court order was a 2016 LA County ordinance that prevented homeless people from accumulating more than what could fit into a trash bin (about eight cubic feet). If that weren’t enough, since COVID came along, the police have virtually stopped enforcing all laws and ordinances still in effect that might regulate the number of homeless and the behavior of the homeless.

Venice Beach residents are besieged as never before. When speaking with residents to prepare this report, one of them said “I feel like I have a house in the middle of a large homeless encampment.” Residents describe the mountains of trash that have begun to accumulate as a result of a breakdown in code enforcement, along with an explosion in the rat population. For those who have been assaulted or shot, of course, rats and trash are just a nuisance.

The degree to which civilization has receded in places where the homeless have taken over in Los Angeles is difficult to separate from the other epic distractions that have dominated the news in 2020. But these other distractions, COVID-19, economic hardship, mass rioting and vandalism, have compounded the problem of the homeless.

For example, on one residential corner in Venice Beach, for the past few months a man has lived there, working on welding projects. Many of these projects involve converting scrap metal into knives, machetes and axes. According to a neighbor, the man was approached by Antifa and offered marijuana in exchange for weapons, but he refused, stating he only would work for methamphetamine. The entire operation, the generator, the welding torch, the hammering in the middle of the night, is hazardous and disturbing. But despite hundreds of calls to the LAPD, this man continues to ply his trade.

Police Undermined by Progressive Prosecutors

What the City of Los Angeles needs to do is challenge the 2006 Jones ruling in federal court. They need to join with other California cities to put initiatives before California’s voters that will repeal Prop. 47 and Prop. 57. But under pressure from progressive billionaires and BLM activists, they are moving in the opposite direction.

The currently serving Los Angeles District Attorney is Jackie Lacey, an black woman who by most accounts would be considered light on crime. But not light enough. Running against Lacey in November is George Gascon, formerly the D.A. for San Francisco. Gascon is endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter, and his campaign has already benefit from over $1 million spent by George Soros to defeat his rival. To say Gascon would not restore the ability of law enforcement to restore order to the streets of Los Angeles is an understatement.

One would think that a liberal black woman serving as the Los Angeles District Attorney would at least earn a respectful opposition from radical activists, but not Jackie Lacey. In March, Black Lives Matters protesters showed up at Lacey’s house, banging drums, pounding on their front door, and demanding a “community meeting.” In response, Lacey’s husband opened the door, pointed a gun at the protesters, and demanded they get off the porch. A Los Angeles judge has just ruled that California’s liberal attorney general, Xavier Becerra, should file charges against him, just in time for the November election.

Not long ago, Rudy Giuliani characterized places like Los Angeles as “criminal friendly cities.” This is an accurate description. On top of everything else, California’s state legislature passed SB 10 in 2018, designed to make California the first state to end the use of cash bail for all detained suspects awaiting trials.” The legislation would replace the state’s cash bail system with “risk assessments.” This legislation was successfully challenged through a referendum petition, so this November California’s voters will decide if they want jails to release suspects without the hook of bail to improve the chances they’ll ever show up in court.

What is happening in Los Angeles is typical for California, and is part of larger and related policy failures. Everything California’s government has done for over 30 years, ever since the progressive grip on the state and local governments became nearly absolute, has made life more difficult for its once thriving middle class. Excessive regulations for the law-abiding small businesses, which big business takes in stride and the underground economy ignores. Urban containment, draconian building codes, and punitive permit fees that have made housing unaffordable.

California has become a feudal economy, and if entire cities are turned into fetid, ungovernable swamps, so what, as long as the right slogans are uttered, and fists are raised in solidarity with the oppressed?

“Black Lives Matter.” “All Cops Are Bastards.” Let’s hear you say it, if you want to have a political career. On your knees. Raise your fist. Say what we tell you to say, because “silence is violence.” Has it come to that? Is this all it takes to remain a successful politician?

But it isn’t just politicians who have brought Los Angeles and other progressive cities to the brink of complete chaos. Activist judges, activist prosecutors, and well funded activist attorneys have all played a role. In some respects the legal obstacles to common sense governance outweigh the political obstacles. The City of Los Angeles should just round up the homeless and put them into supervised tent encampments in inexpensive areas, but the lawsuits would stop that in its tracks. But in feudal California, there’s an innovative workaround.

Instead of solving the problem for pennies on the dollar, homeless advocates build “permanent supportive housing” for $500,000 per unit, using taxpayers money, and for every unit they build, hundreds of homeless remain on the streets. This utterly futile scheme has cost California’s taxpayers billions while the numbers of homeless have only increased.

The next step California’s progressive policymakers envision, well under way, is to erase zoning restrictions and allow investors and developers to collect subsidies and tax incentives to build rent-subsidized multi-family dwellings, randomly dropped onto the sites of demolished single-family homes. Imagine the feeling, when next door to the home you’ve worked for all your life, one of your many new neighbors, living for free in a looming six-plex, is a welder who works all night for methamphetamine.

Police in Los Angeles, like in all cities ran by progressive liberals, are up against a system that is failing. It makes their jobs nearly impossible. The only way their lot will be improved, along with that of residents in Venice Beach and other besieged communities across all of California’s urban landscape, will be through a sustained realignment by voters that categorically rejects progressive politics.

On the other hand, California’s cities offer the example that will be America’s fate if Biden wins in November.

This article originally appeared on the website American Greatness.

Comments

  1. Read, or read again, Ayn Rand’s tome, Atlas Shrugged. And weep for the destruction of our country and civilization. It’s all coming to pass because the hard leftists assume the sheeple are too intimidated, too afraid to lose their jobs, to cross them. If George Soros is responsible for inciting riots, funding Antifa and BLM which advocates overthrow of this government why isn’t he prosecuted and put in jail?

    • Chris Renner says

      Who is John Galt? indeed. You are so right. If you don’t think things can get any worse than 2020, wait until 2021 (if Biden is elected) or late 2022 / early 2023 (if Trump is re-elected).

  2. If you’re already crazy and something happens that under ordinary circumstances would make you go crazy, but you’re already crazy, where do you go??
    PS: The MSM got a head start on the trip.

  3. And the elected, voted in by the progressive liberal left, really don’t know what they are doing or even how to do it! Moron voters electing morons.
    Props 47 and 57 were followed by the voters approving seven, yes seven, proposition to raise their taxes. Stupid is as stupid does. California citizens who vote like idiots will get idiots to govern them.
    And that is where we find ourselves today, being governed, in a dictatorial manner, by idiots!

  4. Shane Conway says

    We all need to discuss the role that the Hungarian billionaire, George Soros, is playing in our local politics. Why is he allowed to give millions of dollars to elect radical extremists to become leading prosecutors’ offices throughout the United States. He could be prosecuted, himself, for being an unregistered foreign agent. Do we not have election laws that limit how much money someone can contribute to elections?

  5. Atlas Shrugged is a great book Carrie and you are right we are unfortunately a product of Anti-American, progressive leftists and Marxist agitators. I think if you read the Giver, we too are living in an age of dystopia just like the poor slugs in this book. Rand lived through the horrors of communism and you would think from history we would learn and not repeat the unpleasantness of communism and how it does not work for “the good of the people” but rather for the Pelosi’s, Newsom’s, the Biden’s and Clintons and of course the Hungarian who is not allowed into Hungary because he decimated their stock market by shorting them and making a ton for himself. This evil leech has preyed upon America for too long he needs to be deported because he certainly was not born here.

  6. America, you are constantly told is a democracy.

    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” –John Adams

    “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.” –Article IV, Section 4

  7. David Freeman says

    Do a search for “Turtle on a Post”
    While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old Virginia farmer, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man.
    Eventually the topic got around to Biden and his possible role as our president. The old farmer said, ‘Well, ya know, Biden is a ‘Post Turtle”. Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him, what a ‘post turtle’ was. The old rancher said, ‘When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a ‘post turtle’.

    The old farmer saw the puzzled look on the doctor’s face so he continued to explain. “You know he didn’t get up there by himself, he doesn’t belong up there, he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, he’s elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put him up there to begin with.”
    Best explanation I’ve heard yet.

  8. Richard Giddens says

    Good luck trying to gain control over your Marxist welfare police state known as “Califmexifornistan”. And no, the police dont know how to do their jobs.

  9. Dad but true us stupid Californian voters paid $1/2 million per homeless person to house them. Only Long Beach built & put them into homes & still growing.

  10. No government can survive when there are two systems of justice; and this is not just a racial difference. It is when vagrants can defy every single public nuisance law, common decency law, private property law, anti-pollution law, every zoning law and get a free pass; that no other group could begin to get away with.

    The most protected class we have recently created is the scofflaw vagrant class with nothing offered in return. Why did Democrats allow this vagrant class to take over our streets, parks, creeks, beaches, libraries, RR trans, freeway access corridors and destroy downtown commercial vitality through out our state? Time to throw all the bums out and that means the Demcorats along with the armies of free loading vagrants.

    No, they are not the most vulnerable amongst us – they a grifters and manipulative exploiters of common decency. Triage them – the have nots; the can nots; and the will nots. Start with the will nots and boot them out – no excuse, no more enabling, no exceptions. Place the can nots in state care facilities and the have nots are already covered by our very generous social safety net.

    Stop using the term “homeless” – totally meaningless – distorts both arguments and solutions. get rid of the will-nots – those also called “service resistant” who refuse to participate in their own rehabilitation and chose to let us fund their free-loading lives of drug and alcohol additions, petty crime and environmental degredation. They are con artists.

  11. Steve Bridges says

    In California, the Producers leave while the Takers move in for their free housing. Pathetic and unsustainable.

  12. It’s amazing to watch corruption steal California from it’s citizens, and no one cares. It’s so bad, even the Sacramento Bee, a commie pinko rag if there ever was one, can’t find an advertising demographic to support it because the former liberals all retired with fat state pensions and medical plans. Yup. They they moved to other states because they have “responsibilities and grandkids to raise”!

    Where is our tidal wave when we need it?

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