Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Homeless Overrun Los Angeles

Anyone who lived or worked in New York City during the 1980s into the mid-1990s knows well about the homeless plague that severely damaged the quality of life.

The left misguidedly blamed the problem on Ronald Reagan without even addressing the pathologies that lead to a person winding up on the street.

Thankfully, Rudy Giuliani began addressing the problem with a crackdown on quality of life issues and things have steadily improved to date under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

However, out west, cities such as San Francisco have now been totally overrun, and just now are realizing something has to be done.

However, down the coast in Los Angeles, the problem is getting worse and there's no hope in sight, apparently.

L.A. Falters Where N.Y.C. Got Smart
FOR years now, on any given evening, downtown Los Angeles has looked like a photo shoot from the Great Depression, with more than 5,000 homeless camped on sidewalks and streets. Some tents are tidy, well kept and seemingly well provisioned; others are filthy and decrepit. And some people are just sleeping on benches or concrete. All are living without bathrooms - or any running water except from hydrants.

This is a huge, dramatic version of the kinds of encampments (72 in all) that Mayor Bloomberg shut down all over New York last summer. It's also a vision of what might have hit this city if our leaders hadn't refused to take the politically correct course on street homelessness.

L.A.'s problems are about to get worse. Thanks to a recent agreement between the city government and the local American Civil Liberties Union branch, the mess will soon expand citywide. Homeless people in Los Angeles will be allowed to sleep on the streets and sidewalks of any neighborhood, from Skid Row to Bel-Air, from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Call it a Bloomberg strategy in reverse.

Before this, police officers could remove anyone who violated L.A.'s overnight sleeping ban, which applied everywhere but downtown. Now, under the settlement, the city can't enforce the ban anywhere, even in residential neighborhoods, until it builds 1,250 units of "supportive housing" - which is at least three years into the future.

It's terrible public policy - a capitulation to the worst ideas of the 1960s and '70s, when street people roamed American cities while advocates and officials told irate citizens that nothing could or should be done.
It gets even more depressing.

Read it all.

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