The Washington Post reported recently that representatives from the White House and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have arrived in Los Angeles to help the city deal with their homeless crisis. But, since it is a crisis largely created by a slew of progressive policies and initiatives fed to a non-engaged public over the past decade will the Los Angeles enlighted population allow for new thought, new ideas and new procedures to be implemented or will they refuse to admit their philosophy-driven polices have failed?
Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed a Homeless Task Force to work on just this issue. The problem is that it is chaired by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who are two of the strongest progressives in the state and who helped move the needle to where we are today. And, where we are today – thanks to Assembly Bill 109, the jail realignment act; Proposition 47, which re-categorized felonies into misdemeanors, and Proposition 57, which released nonviolent offenders – is in a complete breakdown of civilization as we know it. This outcome is presented to us by the progressives as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.
These policies helped force previously incarcerated individuals out into our neighborhoods. And, without behavioral health and substance abuse alternatives they descended back into what would have previously been criminal acts. since they weren’t rehabilitated, and now they have been allowed to populate our public spaces on a full-time basis. With our current state regulations restricting home building, with frivolous, nonstop CEQA challenges driving the price of affordable homes up and with the requirements for publicly sponsored housing to meet the prevailing wage standard – driving the cost up even further – there is no way under our current set of laws that we can build, treat or incarcerate ourselves out of this self-induced dilemma.
Xavier Becerra, the state’s attorney general, has filed 57 lawsuits against the Trump administration, fighting to preserve what he and his fellow progressives see as state’s rights, mainly the sanctuary state law. So, what on earth would lead us to believe that he would allow the Trump administration to come in and implement changes that would run contrary to the thinking of the educated elite who have thus far refused to wave the white flag of surrender even as our streets, rivers and lakes fill up with tents, needles and human excrement?
So if Los Angeles – and Sacramento by extension – won’t accept the help from the Trump administration, how about throwing some of those federal dollars out here to the Inland Empire? In Lake Elsinore, we have adopted a policy of “Responsible Compassion: A hand up not a hand out.” We would gladly accept help for those in our community that need behavioral health care, substance abuse treatment or bridge housing. And if they warranted incarceration in a penal facility, we would welcome their help with that too.
As the progressives twist themselves into a pretzel not wanting to admit defeat and not wanting to accept anything from the Trump administration, they should stop and remember who they serve. The people who are most vulnerable, most in need and truly deserving of the public safety net are being done a disservice by the current situation. Let’s hope they get the help they truly need regardless of who gets to take credit for it.
Robert “Bob” Magee
Lake Elsinore City Councilmember