Los Angeles Homeless Crisis is Disaster Waiting To Happen

The year is 2015; I have just moved to Venice, California as a writer and researcher of extraordinary ability (ie: a tax-paying, job creating immigrant). The streets are clean, save for a few V13 gang signs and the fucking bunnies graffiti (that I kinda love). Rents are on the rise without any quality improvements to property, Abbot Kinney is the hottest street on the west coast, and even the schools seem to be improving. Every evening, I cycle down the boardwalk and around the side streets, the scent of jasmine and fig trees reminding me of continental Europe during my youth. Most Wednesdays and Thursdays I walk the half-mile alone to Winston House or RAW Acting Studio; I wear high heels, purse dangling at my side, and then return home alone after dark. My only real concerns when leaving my home on Venice and Dell are earthquakes and the LAPD. 

Three years later, and I wouldn’t live in Venice unless I was a billionaire and could afford the appropriate security and constant protection necessary to defend one’s home in the open-air mental health institution it has become. I have been assaulted twice in the last year, once in Santa Monica, on Centinela Avenue at three o’clock in the afternoon, and once in Venice, on the Boardwalk. My neighbors have been attacked. You can’t leave a locked bicycle unattended. If you go away on vacation, you have to get a housesitter, and hope that they don’t get beaten to death walking into your home one evening, but you’ll almost certainly get burgled. 

Call me crazy, but I much preferred Venice when it was a gangland nightmare, because at least then they were just killing each other. My parents and I used to holiday in Venice when it was like that. Now I tell them I’ll meet them in other parts of the country so they don’t have to deal with the hellscape that Los Angeles has become, particularly the Westside. 

As a social scientist, tracking the gradual collapse of humanity has become my day job. In the process of completing my first book on the matter, my personal life has been waylaid by the sudden and violent change in the socio-demographic makeup of my home, which has rendered it unlivable. Yet, I can’t move, it is socially and financially impractical for me at this time, like it is for almost everyone, most of the time. Tax-paying immigrants (like me) and citizens alike are sick and tired of our quality of life being destroyed by local leadership’s inability to appreciate that this is a new problem, therefore demanding innovative solutions. 

For this article, and potentially more I’ll write into the future (maybe), I asked the local populations, thought leaders, officials, and voters of all backgrounds, for their take on the various problems associated with homelessness. The general approach is one of either ignorance to the realities of the issue, or hard-nosed policy change, with little in the middle. The former was of most concern, and when I posted to Nextdoor to garner a feeling for the homeless issue, I was faced with a polarized range of demographics. The important ones are the families, the want-to-be-homeless, and tax-paying residents having their property and way of life destroyed by Bonin and Garcetti’s inability to act. These demographics represent those most affected by this issue. 

The unimportant opinions on this crisis are the slit-your-throat-but-don’t-have-an-original-thought Liberals* who assume that any critique of this issue is definitely Trump-ist masturbating - sorry - messaging. My message to these individuals, who should really be paying me for this information, is that if we don’t tackle the “homeless” issue in Los Angeles, and California in general, tax-payers can expect the entire state to turn into something resembling Flint, Michigan, except instead of lead poisoning, it’ll be civilian anarchy for social safety. You’ll all be the first to die. 

There have already been calls to declare Los Angeles and other parts of California under a state of emergency, and with whole swathes of the grid being shut off to tackle the recent storm of wildfires, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some type of emergency situation declared should things continue to devolve socially. Imagine that something like Fox’s 9-1-1 Season 3 scenario happened tomorrow (for the philistine television viewers, the first three episodes of this season were dominated by the storyline of a tsunami hitting Los Angeles, devastating the westside; it was some of the best programming I’ve ever seen, ever). Most of us can’t comprehend the magnitude of such an event, and the aftermath is totally unpredictable, even to the most qualified data researchers.

What could be guaranteed, besides the obvious death toll, disease, and debris, the displacement of people would quite quickly ignite a rapid macro-behavioral shift to one of mania. If any major catastrophe were to strike Los Angeles at this moment, the speed at which our streets would turn into a dystopian nightmare (or more so than it is now) would give federal and state law enforcement whiplash that could last generations. There is seemingly nothing being done to mitigate such a disaster, and the threat of other, far more insidious calamities are growing with each passing day of ignorance on the part of our leadership.

As drug addiction and other substance-induced and dependent mental health disorders are the norm for a majority of those dwelling on the sidewalk, it would be fairly easy for an organized crime syndicate - or any nasty bastard - to quickly and efficiently kill off mass swathes of the population with a few spiked batches and shipments. It may not have to come in the form of fentanyl and other scheduled drugs; poisoning our streets could easily be achieved by introducing tampered narcotics. The chemistry to introduce a strain of some awful virus or bacteria, any biohazard really, is a terrorist’s wet dream, and Bonin and Garcetti are too worried about lining their pockets to do a damn thing about preventing any such scenario, and we are definitely at risk of one.  

Sure, my work pushes me to go in the darkest direction, which turns a lot of people off to the validity of the data. The chances of such a catastrophe occurring would have seemed hilarious just four years ago, but look where we are politically and socially today; when was the last time you had a conversation with someone where the future seemed positively predictable? Also, you’re not qualified to be this ignorant to the magnitude of this problem. 

Ignorance lies at the core of destruction in the homeless crisis in Los Angeles. Human beings are at risk of genocide, and our leadership are spending millions of dollars they don’t need to on *not* fixing the problem. Those who post on sites like Nextdoor and various Facebook groups, or who write op-eds for YO!Venice and other such publications are sick and tired of this issue being treated the same way that Rick Snyder treated the citizens of Flint. The “homeless” and citizens alike are being polarized against each other, when we should really be united in order to get these guys to act, or you could be kicking them out of office and replacing them with anyone willing to take positive action. 

Complexities aside, it is clear that this is not a short-term problem, but there are some short-term solutions in the way of realigning the thought leadership in approaching this issue. Ascertaining the extent of the issue is easy. If you live in Los Angeles, particularly if you live on the Westside, your way of life has been drastically changed for the worse as a result of this issue, and as a member of this community, you have a right to demand change. 

So, what are you plans, LA? What are y’all doing to deal with this issue? How do you want to deal with it? Tell me. I’m here to tell everyone else what you’re doing.