As much as I want to go, I also slightly dread returning to Los Angeles next February. I have more than four months to plan my trip, in order to accomplish what I intend to do while there. It will be a vacation of sorts, with only limited professional obligations. There are a few touristy follies that I have somehow always neglected, which I will now prioritize. I should be completely pleased with anticipation. I almost am.
However, I do not want to observe the situation with the unhoused Community there. It has become so prevalent. It can be oppressively saddening to see so many people in such unpleasant conditions. Although most other social conditions of many regions of Los Angeles have improved since I first visited in about 1986, homelessness has increased substantially. It can not be ignored.
Some encampments of the unhoused have become somewhat perennial within their respective situations. Some have been established long enough for vegetable gardens to produce vegetables for more than a single season. Although most encampments are reasonably neat, some that are inhabited by those afflicted with severe mental illness are deplorable and hazardous. People should not live like that.
Furthermore, those who work and inhabit residential buildings (such as houses and apartments) in regions where homeless encampments are established should not need to contend with such hazardous and unsightly conditions, especially since living there requires such significant expenditure.
As difficult as homelessness seems to be in our Community, it is overwhelming in more populous Communities. There are no simple solutions.
That is the source of the slight dread associated with my return to Los Angeles. I intend to enjoy my vacation, but I also expect to be somewhat saddened at times. Society should have evolved enough by now to remedy such problems.
This is becoming too much like a miniseries. To disrupt the monotony, we could consider the alternative to choosing to living in fear. After all, that is what most people prefer to do. They appreciate the Community in which we live. The climate and scenery are certainly assets also. Actually, there are many reasons why we live where we do. There are a few unpleasantries that occasionally instill major fear, such as the CZU Fire, the Loma Prieta Earthquake and the Love Creek Mudslide; but most of us prefer to fear them only when justified.
Society is certainly not perfect. That applies everywhere. There is always some degree of social problems such as crime, mental illness and homelessness. Few choose to live in fear of these imperfections. Most prefer to enjoy their particular society, and contend with social problems only as necessary. Precautionary measures, such as home security systems, are not necessarily indications of irrational fear, but are generally employed by those who prefer to be less concerned with undeniably present social problems.
Society certainly should not be completely derided for its innate imperfections. It is more than redeemed by its assets. Otherwise, people would not want to live in societies or Communities such as ours. To the contrary, most people in most Communities believe that their respective Community is the best of all, simply because they would prefer no other. That is likely how it should be, in a Community in which most choose to not live in fear.
Those with the least, particularly those lacking a domestic situation (the unhoused), can attest to how exemplary our local Community is. The graciousness and generosity exhibited here is astounding. It is understandable that so many of us believe that this is the best Community in which to live and participate.
As mentioned last week, “Those who choose to live in unrealistic or unjustified fear seem to be rather deficient of common logic.” This is exacerbated by their ignorance of such deficiency, or worse, by their innate but unfounded belief that they are somehow more logical than others of the Community.
For example, many of those who choose to live in unrealistic or unjustified fear want all homeless encampments to be demolished without a plan for those who would be displaced by such demolition. They simply do not understand how important planning is, or that a lack of planning is contrary to the intended results of the unplanned demolition that they want.
No one wants homeless encampments within the Community. Those who inhabit such encampments, including the few who do not require domestic situations, would prefer more stable lifestyles. Neighbors understandably dislike the unsightliness. In some regions, the associated fire hazard is a major concern.
Logical people realize that the unplanned demolition of homeless encampments will not help any of the inhabitants of such encampments be any less homeless than they already were. They understand that the expensive process merely relocates the unsightliness of homelessness, but does not eliminate it. Logical people who are truly concerned about the fire hazard associated with homeless encampments would prefer to confine such hazard to less combustible and relatively manageable regions, rather than relocating such hazards to more combustible forested regions outside of town.
There are no simple remedies for all homelessness. Logical people understand that. Those who choose to live in unrealistic or unjustified fear do not, and some seem to be intent on preserving the very same dysfunction that they choose to fear with such dedication. Perhaps that is quite sensible. What would they do without the unrealistic or unjustified fear that they choose to live in?
“Bars on windows are a sign that I am in the wrong neighborhood.” I heard that a few times when I was a kid, mostly from people of my parents’ generation. It was not intended as disparagement of any particular neighborhood. It meant that relocation was a better option than installation of bars on windows.
I do not remember that anyone who said that actually relocated. Situations just never got that bad. Bars appeared on windows of a few businesses in some neighborhoods, but were eventually removed as people realized that the neighborhoods were not so bad.
Besides, some believed that bars on windows just informed potential burglars that there was something worth stealing within. Others believed that there was not much within their homes that burglars would be interested in. I believed that if a burglar wanted something within my isolated home, that bars would not stop him or her from taking it.
Most of us choose to not live in fear. We happen to live in an excellent place, and intend to enjoy it. It is certainly not perfect, and burglaries sometimes happen. We just do not allow such unpleasantries to dictate our lifestyles.
Those who choose to live in fear have the option of relocating to someplace where they do not need to live in fear. If they fear crime, they can go someplace where there is no crime. If they fear drugs, they can go someplace where there are none. If they fear houseless people, and believe that houseless people migrate to this region, they can relocate to someplace that is unpopular with the migratory houseless people whom they fear. Surely, there must be a place like that for them to go to. It is more practical than expecting those they fear to relocate for them.
There are more people who lack domestic situations in California than in any other state. Well, that should be obvious. There are more people in California than in any other state. 12% of all Americans live here. Even if the rate of houselessness were the same here as it is in other states, 12% of those who are houseless in American would live here. That is a significant number!
Since the rate of houselessness here is approximately double that of the rest of America, approximately 24% of those who are houseless in American should reside in California, although the actual ratio is approximately 22%.
This is not because houseless people migrate to California. More of the unhoused live in or near their hometowns than those who live within homes. Although the primary causes of houselessness are similar, albeit to various degrees, for most regions of America, the main difference is the cost of housing.
Homes and rents are ridiculously expensive here. It is extremely difficult for those who lose a home to procure another. If houselessness is the result of unemployment, it is very difficult for someone who lacks a domestic situation to procure new employment in order to procure a new domestic situation!
Recovery from houselessness is not nearly as difficult in other regions, even with significantly less income. Furthermore, since mortgages and rents are more affordable, it is not nearly as difficult to maintain a stable domestic situation in order to avoid becoming houseless. Many who live in poverty here can afford to directly purchase a home in other regions.
Not many houseless people migrate to California. More migrate from California to live in homes elsewhere. Unfortunately, they are replaced by more Californians who become houseless. Many prefer to stay in their respective home regions rather than migrate.
Derived from a misspelling and bad grammar, it is a fictitious place of the Peanuts comics. According to Charlie Brown, ‘Chateau du Mal Voisin’ translates from French into ‘Chateau of the Bad Neighbor’. Regardless of questionable syntax, it, in one form or another, is something that most of us can identify with.
The Chateau du Mal Voisin of the illustration here is fortunately not local. It is at the southeastern corner of the interchange of South Cochran Avenue and Venice Boulevard, just west of the Mid City district of Los Angeles. The picture was taken last December. The Chateau has been expanded extensively since then. Not only is it now larger than some of the two bedroom apartments on West Cologne Street in the background, but it has a spacious yard, a parking space for the occupant’s sedan, an ornate wrought iron security door, and, of all things, a mailbox. No building permits were issued. The resident pays neither a mortgage nor rent to live in this expensive neighborhood.
Those who do pay either a mortgage or rent to live here pay too much to contend with this in their neighborhood. Locally generated tax revenue is more than adequate to prevent this from happening, even if such prevention were to involve assuming the expense of providing more socially acceptable accommodations for the houseless. To be brutally blunt, this is unacceptable.
This certainly should not imply that the Community is not concerned for their houseless members. Like our local Community, the Mid City Los Angeles Community is remarkably generous and gracious in regard to helping their houseless neighbors improve their respective situations. In fact, that is what makes this Chateau du Mal Voisin so intolerable. It expresses a complete lack of appreciation for the graciousness of the Community.
Technically, people should not inhabit public spaces. The houseless do so only because they lack other options. Most attempt to be discrete and respectful of the Community, just as most of the Community is so respectfully accommodating and tolerant.
A Chateau du Mal Voisin such as this certainly confounds tolerance.
Many people lost their homes to the CZU Fire last summer.
A few homes were damaged or destroyed by trees and debris that were blown down by strong winds early last week.
Before all the damage could be repaired, and all the mess and clogged drainage could be mitigated, the rain started.
Now, an evacuation warning has been issued because wind and rain predicted for Tuesday night is likely to cause debris flows and perhaps flooding within or downstream from areas affected by the CZU Fire.
It seems to be so unfair that homes, which we expect to be reasonably safe and secure, can be so vulnerable.
We all know the risks associated with living here, but such risks do not often affect so many within such a short time.
In fact, the CZU Fire was the most destructive fire in local history, and involved the most significant evacuations.
Those of us who lack homes must contend with the risks associated with living here as well. Just as rain is a problem for anyone who can not repair a damaged roof in a timely manner, it is a problem for anyone who lacks a roof. The current evacuation warning is unlikely to affect locations inhabited by those who lack homes, but flooding of creeks or the San Lorenzo River might.
Most of those who had recently been deprived of their homes have fortunately procured residency elsewhere, even if just temporarily. Very few lack adequate shelter here. Of those who do, some inhabit sites that are close to water. Those who are in situations that will likely be inundated as creeks and the San Lorenzo River rise need to relocate. This will not be easy in the rain.
Fortunately, rain is not predicted for tomorrow (Monday).
(Apologies for the delay of posting this recycled article from last year. It could not be reblogged, so got reposted, . . . . or whatever happened.)
Michael Savage wrote the book. It is supposed to be well worth reading. I have never done so. Nor do I intend to. I know I would not enjoy it. My prejudice is not based on what I believe the book to be about. It is derived more from the expectation of an objectionably straightforward presentation of accurate but unpleasant information that really should be common knowledge.
Conservatism is not perfect either. If extremist liberals could compose more than a few coherent sentences, one might write a book about it. Neither conservatism nor liberalism is the worst of the many social complications that those who identify with one but most definitely not the vilified other should be concerned about though. Extremism is what enhances the worst of both.
Homelessness and all the problems associated with it are social problems. They affect all of society. They are neither liberal nor conservative. Yet, extremists so readily blame politicians for causing such problems or allowing them to continue, as if they do so intentionally. Conservative extremist blame liberal politicians just like liberal extremists blame conservative politicians.
How many of those who blame others for homelessness actually do anything about it? Do any of them help the homeless procure domestic situations? Do any of them help the unemployed procure employment? Do they donate food or clothing to those who are in need of such resources? It seems that most are pleased to continue to complain about what others are not doing.
Fortunately, there are many within our Community who are very supportive in regard to helping the homeless, unemployed and needy. We do not hear much from them because they are not so unconstructively outspoken. They do not so blatantly blame others for problems that they are not willing to help out with.
It is good to be hopeful. It is also good to be realistic.
So many seem to be overly pleased that 2020 is over and done with, and expect 2021 to be so much better. It very well could be. However, there are no guarantees. Fire Season is over, but only until next fire season. After all, it is an annual event. The president that so many here despised will be replaced soon enough, but the nicer replacement is not exactly exemplary either.
The Pandemic, or whatever it is known as, was the major news last year that everyone wants to leave in the past. Unfortunately, the new year means nothing to the virus. Progress has been made, but did not eradicate the virus precisely at the stroke of midnight between 2020 and 2021. No one really knows how much worse the situation will get before it significantly improves.
Furthermore, the associated repercussions continue to evolve. While many are enjoying more outdoor activities and gardening, many more are unable to work to earn revenue to pay for the most basic of necessities. Some have procured other employment, but for less compensation. Those who have managed to continue with their employment may have found business lacking.
The eviction moratorium expires at the end of the month. No one really knows what will happen at that time. Some people who can not afford their rent or mortgage could become homeless. Those who rely on rental income may have been lacking some or all of such income for quite a while and may continue to do so. They may consequently be unable to pay their mortgages too.
The local homelessness rate, which had been decreasing for a while, only recently began increasing, and, sadly, has potential to get significantly worse.
Other obligations have prevented me from writing here at a time when there is so much to write about. Even now, I must be brief. I do not yet know when I will be able to resume writing weekly as did I prior to about a month ago.
Coronavirus, or whatever it is known as, necessitated the closure of the Conference Center where I work a few days weekly. The facilities are maintained, but, until recently, unused. Most of us who work there needed to find employment elsewhere. It has been financially difficult for many of us, as well as countless others all over the World.
Then, about a month ago, the entire region was evacuated ahead of the migration of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. Many in the region lost their homes to the Fire, and essentially became homeless. The Community has been as generous and accommodating as it has always been.
As firefighters arrived from so many distant regions, some were accommodated in the otherwise unused lodges of the Conference Center. It was a practical arrangement. They had use for such lodging. Such lodging just happened to be vacant because of the coronavirus.
As firefighters started to vacate the Conference Center and return home, residents of the region also started to return home after evacuation. Some of those who had no homes to return to procured temporary homes from the otherwise unused cabins of the Conference Center. Again, it is a practical arrangement. They had use for cabins that just happen to be vacant.
Also, volunteers who came to the region to assist those who lost their homes as a result of the Fire now reside in some of the lodges that were formerly occupied by the firefighters.
It is unfortunate that there are not sufficient accommodations at the Conference Center for everyone who lost their homes. So much about the situation is unfortunate. The Community will do what it can. Somehow, it always does.