Los Angeles City Councilman On City’s Homeless Policy: “Its Not Working” [VIDEO]

Los Angeles City Councilman On City’s Homeless Policy: “Its Not Working” [VIDEO]

Los Angeles City Councilman On City’s Homeless Policy: “Its Not Working” [VIDEO]

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander has to be the king of understatement. In a press conference this week he stated simply that Southern California cities’ approach to addressing homelessness is not working. It seems that across the West Coast cities are grappling with the same scourge: homelessness. I have often mused as to why that is? One thing that is undeniable is that many of the West Coast states, where policies have contributed to home prices skyrocketing, are run by Democrat governors. California has Jerry Brown, Oregon has Kate Brown, and Washington has Jay Inslee. All of these areas also have policies in place that limit growth, which causes the price of homes to rise. This, in turn, creates more homelessness when people cannot afford housing and are eventually forced onto the streets.

According to Councilman Englander, cities in the San Fernando Valley, just north of the greater LA area, cannot ignore the problem anymore. Everyone is affected. Businesses, homeowners, and visitors alike. According to Englander, it is also monopolizing public discourse. According to an article on the Daily News website:

“There’s not a conversation I have — whether it’s fixing a street, trimming a tree, walking to school or going to a grocery store — where we don’t talk about homelessness,” he said.”

His colleagues in Los Angeles Proper agree wholeheartedly. Many Southern California cities are grappling with the same kinds of issues that we in the PNW are dealing with in our own homeless crisis. Zombie RV’s that are littering neighborhoods, tents blocking public sidewalks, homeless begging on the highway on and off ramps. Seattle FINALLY decided to break up an area known as “The Jungle” due to the murder of a citizen by a homeless person who lived there last summer.

Business leaders in some of the communities in the San Fernando Valley have taken matters into their own hands. One attorney has taken to sending a daily email about the state of the city he lives and works in to city leaders:

“Robert Nizich, an attorney with offices inside San Pedro’s main post office, sends out a round-robin email featuring daily photos of the sidewalk and park scene outside his office windows.

“The condition grows worse daily, and nothing is done to permanently solve the issue,” he wrote in a recent email. “New faces pop up just like their tents. Whack a mole does not work. A consistent and sustained effort on a daily basis is required.

His intent with the emails, which go out to city and business leaders every day, is to keep the issue front-and-center until authorities find a permanent solution to a situation he and others say is ruining the town.

“Basically, they occupy the street,” Nizich told the Daily Breeze in a January 2016 interview. “If they’re told to move, they move to the park (across the street), then back again — it’s an ebb and flow, like the ocean.”

It seems that city leaders in the San Pedro area are much like the “leaders” we have here in the PNW. They, too, ignore the laws that their cities have on the books that prevent the erection of illegal encampments, causing all kinds of issues like sanitation and crime, just to name two. Englander seems to take the situation seriously at least since he is now calling for the area to treat homelessness in their communities as a crisis. One thing seems to separate Mitch Englander from his brethren in suits and ivory towers, though. His mother died when he was a young child after trying to raise three children alone with three jobs. When his family was evicted from their home, they moved in with his uncle. Tragedy would follow his family for a number of years, it seemed. His uncle was murdered in a botched robbery resulting from a gang initiation and so young Mitch was inspired to become a police officer. On the beat, he realized that many people out there need serious help, and so he decided to run for office after he left the force in the hopes of helping the people in his community.

It seems that Englander has decided to turn his efforts to clean up the Southern California cities that are being ravaged by homelessness. He is preparing to review the areas current policies, determine where the breakdowns are happening, and work with city and state government to fix them. Policies under review are sanitation and law enforcement. He is asking government bureaus to look at what has worked well and what has not worked and to devise plans to improve the state of the area for all citizens. He is also looking to the HOPE program that is being pioneered by the LAPD, which is a joint effort between sanitation workers and LAPD officers to remove and clean up homeless encampments with good results. Surely this will be a long and arduous process. But I, for one, applaud Councilman Englander’s efforts and hope that he inspires others in government to join his cause.

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