When leftist politicians wax poetically about “income inequality,” you need only look to large cities in California to know exactly what they’re talking about. For in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, fantastic wealth exists alongside extreme poverty. Hollywood megastars live only blocks from vast homeless encampments. Silicon Valley billionaires exist in the same zip codes where open drug use is rampant. CEOs and movie producers must dodge panhandlers and piles of human excrement on sidewalks.
In Los Angeles County, an estimated 41,000 transient souls currently live on the streets. Once congregated in the Skid Row area of Downtown Los Angeles, homeless encampments have diversified into Hollywood, North Hollywood, and Van Nuys. Even upscale neighborhoods such as Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, and Malibu are reporting an increase in homelessness.
Reverend Andy Bales of the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles is on the front lines of the homeless problem. He has seen the issue devolve from a crisis into a full-blown emergency. “At this point, I’m very concerned about everyone in L.A. because we’ve really passed the tipping point of danger because we’ve left so many people for so many years to be devastated on the streets.”
It’s not just a matter of inconvenience for the citizens of L.A. The homeless on the streets of the city are both dangerous and in danger from those around them. Often, mentally ill persons are living on the streets. Unable to fend for themselves, they often become the perpetrators and the victims of crime, as a body-cam video released by the Los Angeles Police Department illustrates.
“We’ve left far too many people for far too long on the streets: 41,000 in Los Angeles County alone. The longer you leave people on the streets, the more dangerous to the folks who live on the streets, but what we don’t realize is the more dangerous it is to everyone else,” Bales concluded.
As if to illustrate Bales’ point, celebrity Jack Osbourne, the son of Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, was sucker-punched by a random homeless man at a coffee shop on Ventura Boulevard. Osbourne reportedly threw his coffee at the assailant, causing him to run away. Police later caught up to the man, who produced a screwdriver, with which he attempted to stab the officers. The man was ultimately arrested and booked for deadly assault against a police officer. The assault against Osbourne will be a supplementary charge.
During the annual homeless count in Los Angeles, in which volunteers canvass the city just to count the homeless and the number of temporary shelters throughout the city, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), who had been considering a run for president, called on politicians nationwide to do more about the problem. “It’s time for the federal government to step up too,” Garcetti said. “This is something where every government leader needs to put down partisanship and produce results.”
But maybe, like most problems in the world, government (especially the federal government) shouldn’t attempt to “fix” anything. You can always count on government intervention to make a problem worse.
Up I-5 in San Francisco, the actual number of homeless persons may be less than in Los Angeles, but their behavior may be even worse.
In one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, approximately 7,500 people live on the streets. Rampant, out in the open drug use, often with needles being provided by the city, has become commonplace, even in affluent neighborhoods such as Russian Hill, Nob Hill, and Pacific Heights.
But perhaps the most indicative symptom of San Francisco’s homeless problem is the human waste, found in nearly all neighborhoods of the city. An interactive map now documents thousands of reported cases of human waste found on the city’s streets. The city, a tourist destination for some 25 million visitors annually, is knee-deep in human filth.
Shortly after her inauguration last year, new San Francisco Mayor London Breed toured a portion of the city on foot. “I will say there is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen growing up here,” Breed said at the time. “This is a huge problem and we’re not just talking about from dogs — we’re talking about from humans.”
Breed, who was elected in part on her promise to clean up the city (literally), has not yet had much success. Last year, a record 28,084 instances of human waste on public streets were reported. In the first quarter of 2019, more than 6,600 instances have been reported.
Tossing money at the problem doesn’t seem to be helping. San Francisco spends close to $280 million on homelessness each year. Still, since 2011, more than 118,000 instances of human waste were reported on the city’s streets.
It’s disgusting to think about, it’s disgusting to write about, and it must be even more disgusting to live there. Perhaps the reason Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want the president sending thousands of illegal immigrants to her precious “Sanctuary” City by the Bay, is that she’s embarrassed by it. And it would undoubtedly make the problem worse.
It’s not just California. The entire West Coast of America has a homeless problem. Seattle and Portland have similar problems with homelessness as do other American cities. One common denominator seems to be who is running these cities. With very few exceptions, the major cities in America — and definitely those on the West Coast — are all run by leftists. Perhaps as their citizens are dodging attackers and side-stepping piles of excrement, they should think about that.
Photo: AP Images