A major effort to relocate the homeless people from Venice Beach's famed boardwalk is underway. While claims are made that all 200-300 distressed people living on this troubled tourist attraction will be offered housing and supportive services, trust is low and controversy continues.
Citing the 'success' of a much-debated project to house another large and unruly encampment in the center of a residential neighborhood, Los Angeles' City Councilperson Mike Bonin has touted this plan as superior to the work of the LA County Sheriff. Flyers have gone up along the Boardwalk telling folks to get ready to be ejected.
Councilperson Bonin is embroiled in a recall attempt due to citizens angry at his apparent inaction and looking for some sort of accountability. His office is making things a lot worse for him.
LA Sheriff Villanueva has his own raft of problems, related to an unwillingness to mitigate organized gangs and thuggery inside the Sheriff's department, amongst other things. Protestors claim he is using the homeless as a political tool to distract the public.
Cleaning up the boardwalk, which may be Los Angeles' most visible encampment, will be welcome but there are thousands of people scattered all over Venice and Los Angeles unable to maintain a home in our current economy. While problems of addiction and a lack of health care, mental or otherwise, are certainly impactful — we have a much larger problem as we continue to expect every individual to be able to participate in an economy that pits humans against one another in a desperate grab for dollars.
While hopeful for a great outcome for everyone, the unhoused, the residents, the tourists, and the local business people, no one has much trust left for the local leadership.
I live in the neighborhood where this is going on. As I was writing this post, a Godsmack fan tried to hop over my front fence. I then watched the music lover jump over the fence of the yard across the walk-street (my desk faces all this) and so I called 911 to be told this is not urgent. I hollered at the guy but certainly wasn't running out there. The non-emergency line says they are sending some officers to check out my neighbor's place after I held on for 15 minutes.