Homeless Camp On La Cienega/Olympic Blvds

Comments: * Has anyone seen the homeless encampment on La Cienga and Olympic northeast corner? any suggestions on how this can be addressed?

* I’ve seen it. Is there a reason it’s bothering you? Or did you have some type of run-in with the individual(s) living there? I personally found it impressive and strategic. I was thinking of going by with some water and snacks and batteries for a handheld fan — it’s so hot these days, imagine living on the street and getting no relief.

* Some homeless individuals are mentally ill, some are criminals. Residential crime escalates where they reside. Businesses are affected as well. Rats and mice often multiply unchecked.

* We had a year of homeless people coming around our building because one of the residents who had issues befriended them and it just caused chaos. All of them had serious drug issues and things began to disappear. It was a nightmare. (Eric, quality of life diminished greatly) The resident has finally gone and so have our problems. I’m sure you can understand this simple logic.

I also feel for their plight but camping out on public property is not the solution. It just brings more issues to those who have to live in their vicinity who don’t want to see the trash, drugs, human excrement, arguments and bizarre behavior.

If any of you want to witness this on a daily basis, I am serious, feel free to invite these folks to your property and see first-hand how terrible life can become.

* Hey, if they bring the trash, drugs, human excrement, arguments and bizarre behavior, I’ll supply the music and finger food. Party at my place!

* Clearly there is a difference in perspective between those who own vs those who rent. I agree with you protecting the integrity of the neighborhood only secures the value of your investment. Not doing so is like opening a checking account in a check cashing establishment.

* How would you feel if it was time to sell your home while there was a tent city just one block from your house? A friend of mine keeps telling me to leave Southern California and move back up north. When we get in these arguments, he always trumps me by saying, “Michael, your million-dollar-plus neighborhood is the only place I have ever seen a woman squat over a garbage can in broad daylight and take a sh*t!” We have families living in this neighborhood. The situation needs to be dealt with in a sympathetic yet firm manner. We need to continue to pressure the City to deal with this as opposed to letting it spiral out of control – which it has.

* Because I honestly can’t imagine anyone who is willing to shell out $1.8 million to own property in this neighborhood who would readily support tenting, crapping and drugs all in the comfort of your front lawn.

* I agree that long term we need a comprehensive solution. The recent homeless tax that was just passed in Los Angeles is evidence that people are willing to pay to solve this problem. I’m not sure simply building housing is the solution, not without directly addressing the mental health issues. However, short term we have a problem that the city is not dealing with well – these tents that are blocking the sidewalks. BTW, people in wheel chairs and the blind often cannot get around these tents. They have rights too.

I’ve often heard this argument that rising rents are a problem. I have yet to meet a homeless person who pitched a tent on the sidewalk because their landlord simply raised their rent – after all we do have strict rent control. Let me share with you the profiles of the small encampment that nestled on the corner of La Jolla and Pico. There were two tents there. One of the tents was occupied by a man who had a criminal record and at one point had to abandon his tent because of a bench warrant. Yes, he was arrested. He also happened to have a rotating stash of bicycles. This stash seemed to grow and ebb. Why does one homeless person need five bikes? Cars and trucks often pulled up and there seemed to be a trading of personal property. The second individual was a man and his pregnant girlfriend. We were told by the authorities that dealt with them that they both had a history of drug abuse, and this was the reason they were on the street. Neighbors noticed what appeared to be drug activity and behavior that could be related to drug use. After much pressure from neighbors, the city somehow moved the guy with the criminal record and talked the other two into some sort of program that could help them. The result was that they were moved – for the better of the community and in the instance of the pregnant woman – better for her since we were assured she was offered assistance related to her pregnancy. Had the neighbors not pressured the city in this instance, I’m sure they would still be there plus one or two more tents. Her baby may have even been born in that tent.
Do you think that allowing them to simply stay there would have been the best, short-term solution?

* In regards to the homeless couple with the pregnant woman that Michael mentioned was camped at La Jolla & Pico. They were in the alley between S. Crescent Heights & Stearns by Pico for a while. Unfortunately there was definitely mental illness involved with the pregnant woman, but it wasn’t as bad as to necessitate her being committed and put under a 72 hr watch, or so I was told. Officer Green would go by there every day. She was offered help when she was here, and refused it again and again. She was violent towards a neighbor and myself on separate occasions to the point the police had to be called, and the police came out 4 or 5 times in a day at one point because of her erratic and volatile behavior. The boyfriend was stealing electricity from one of the buildings (and was given multiple warnings that it was illegal and he could be arrested for it, and he continued) and apparently also managed to set something on fire as well. Honestly no one would want a woman who is 8 months pregnant on the streets, but there is nothing you can do to force them to accept the help offered. It is their choice. Her boyfriend wanted the help, but they were coming to help her and she didn’t seem to want it. Eventually they moved on after a while, apparently over to La Jolla & Pico (which I just became aware of). But I can’t imagine any renter, nor any owner, would be ok with their building almost going up in smokes. I think it all boils down to mutual respect, and that includes respecting our neighborhoods as well. I think had they not caused such noise disturbances in the middle of the night (lots of yelling and fighting), stolen electricity, almost set a building on fire, brought in hoards of trash, and not attacked various neighbors there would have been a different reception towards them, potentially of wanting to do more to help, rather than just “get rid of them.” I came at it as this is a horrible situation for all involved, how can we help these people find a better solution/situation, but the moment I was verbally attacked and pursued by her I was done. It’s not fair to have to feel unsafe in your own home. I think that just goes to show that every situation is different.

About Luke Ford

Raised a Seventh-Day Adventist at Avondale College in Australia, Luke Ford moved to California in 1977. He graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA, was largely bedridden by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six years, and converted to Judaism in 1993. From 1997-2007, Luke made his living from blogging. Living by Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com), he now teaches the Alexander Technique (moving the way the body likes to move). Lessons cost $100 each and last about 45 minutes. In 2011, Luke completed a three-year teaching course at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles. His personal Alexander Technique website is Alexander90210.com. Luke is the author of five books, including: » The Producers: Profiles in Frustration » Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism
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