On March 31, a full three years after first implemented, Los Angeles’ COVID-19 state of emergency finally expired.
Officials had used their emergency powers to regulate virtually every aspect of life in L.A.
They closed beaches, parks, and hiking trails. They closed businesses they deemed not to be essential. Churches were closed, but not liquor stores. They closed schools and required that children wear masks upon reopening. They banned family gatherings and funerals, and prevented people from being next to their loved ones in hospitals as they took their last breath.
Thank God it is now over, but many of the measures put in place are now permanent.
Leftists used the mandates to implement policies which would never have been possible otherwise, like universal mail-in balloting, eviction moratoriums, expanded health and welfare benefits, and even student loan debt forgiveness. Many vaccine and masking requirements remain in place.
So, it should be no surprise that the left has made sure that the COVID-19 state of emergency is replaced with a new one. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass declared a state of emergency in December over the homeless crisis. She compared the declaration to the one L.A. declared after the massive 6.7 earthquake in 1994.
A homeless encampment lines a street in the Skid Row community in Los Angeles on Dec. 14, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Emergency declarations after earthquakes and hurricanes are what Americans are used to. They typically remain in place for a number of weeks. But this declaration was clearly inspired by the COVID-19 state of emergency and similarly is likely to be in place for years to come.
What will come this time? Will residents be ordered to take homeless people into their homes? Will parks and beaches be closed to the public to allow for encampments? Will hotels be ordered to make rooms available for the homeless?
During the recent city elections, polls showed that homelessness was the number one issue concerning voters. It polled higher than the economy, gas prices, inflation, and crime. This is because homelessness in L.A. is on a level like no other city in the United States. Los Angeles has about 42,000 homeless people, second only to New York City (but more per capita), and several times that of the next closest city.
The problem is out in the open for all to see. Huge tent encampments are all over the city, including L.A.’s beaches, parks, and sidewalks. It is a humanitarian crisis for those living on the streets, and a quality-of-life crisis for ordinary Angelenos trying to live a normal, safe, and healthy life.
Residents encounter the homeless, most with mental health or addiction issues, on a daily basis. They cannot take their family to their local park or beach without being prepared for uncomfortable encounters. Crime is way up in the city due in part to the homeless explosion.
The problem was created when Los Angeles stopped enforcing its no camping laws. This allowed the encampments to be set up and grow, with tents filled with belongings popping up everywhere. The solution is obvious: start enforcing the law again.
Cities around L.A. which have been enforcing no camping laws have no homeless problem. This is the case even in cities with no affordable housing, like Manhattan Beach which is one of the most expensive zip codes in the state. Clearly it is an enforcement issue. You allow it, they will come. Just like the U.S. border: if you enforce the border laws, you do not get illegal immigrants. If you do not, you get them in droves.
A homeless individual in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan 27, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Los Angeles based its refusal to ban encampments on a 2018 court decision. In Martin v. Boise, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prosecuting people for sleeping in public amounted to cruel and unusual punishment when no shelter beds are available. But the ruling only applies to sleeping at night. Nothing in the ruling prohibits banning encampments during the day. If police were permitted to enforce the day ban, the encampments would go away. Without a tent, the homeless can no longer set up a home in the public space. It is not nearly as comfortable to live a homeless lifestyle if you are not able to maintain a tent with a sofa and all your belongings in it. Other cities figured this out, but L.A. has chosen not to.
Instead, the city’s new mayor, in announcing the state of emergency, focused primarily on addressing the “affordable housing crisis.” That is because Bass and her fellow city leaders are less interested in solving the homeless problem than they are in using it to implement all kinds of progressive dream policies. Yes, L.A. has a shortage of affordable housing on the beach. But there is no shortage of affordable housing if you look 45 minutes from the beach, which is what rational people do.
This allows the city’s leftists to implement policies like rent control, eviction moratoriums, affordable housing projects, free housing projects, and housing vouchers. Los Angeles spends $1.2 billion per year on housing solutions, building units for as much as $848,000 each.
They call enforcing camping bans inhumane. Where will they go if we enforce it? The answer is, to a shelter. L.A. has lots of them. They are not full, because most of the homeless have one reason or another for preferring a tent. If the shelters do become full, it is very cheap to create more compared to the cost of building permanent housing as the city is currently pursuing.
Alternatively, they may connect with friends or family. There are many stories of parents finding lost children when the homeless finally leave the streets.
They could also go to rehab or a mental health facility. Or, if they choose none of the above and continue illegal camping, they could wind up in jail. That is not the worst place to be. Many homeless get sober and turn things around while in jail.
All of this is far more compassionate than leaving them on the streets to be used as political pawns in order to help implement socialism.
By not enforcing the ban they have made Los Angeles the mecca for homeless. They move from the cities which enforce camping bans to L.A., where they are allowed to camp. The city’s residents are then asked to solve the problem by building permanent housing for them. This is all part of the leftist’s plan.
Mon, 04/10/2023 – 21:40