Facing a deepening quagmire over homeless encampments, Los Angeles elected officials are increasingly looking to sweeping statewide initiatives to shake loose solutions. The latest proposal from Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Joe Buscaino would have the governor declare a state of emergency on homelessness in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom has not taken a stand on the current request for a state of emergency declaration.
by Geoffrey Grider September 30, 2019
“We have a tacit public policy it’s OK to live outdoors,” Steinberg said. “I am strongly pushing for a clear public policy that says as a matter of right people should be living under a roof.”
What happens when you have a state that wants to live without rules and laws, and declare everything to be a ‘right’? You have lawlessness, chaos, and a broken system that creates of dependent entitlement class of sick people instead of instead of a healthy working class of healthy people. This is the real price to pay for having a ‘sanctuary city’ in California, New York City and in other places around the country.
The 2020 Democrats say that health care is a ‘human right’, and that all Americans are entitled to it. They also say that all illegal immigrants are entitled to it as well. Democrats also say that college should be free for anyone who want s to go. Who pays for all these things? Taxpayers, that’s who. But when you are funding the ‘rights’ of people who are not contributing to the funding, you very quickly run out of money and solutions as more and more people stop working and opt for all the ‘free stuff’ you told them they are entitled to.
Take a long, hard look at California right now, look at the teeming homeless camps that line block after block of Los Angeles, and then watch as those camps spread all the way 7-hours up towards San Francisco. This is what Democratic leadership is offering you in 2020, this is what you will get on a national level if you elect them.
There are so many homeless camps, LA area leaders want Newsom to issue a state of emergency
FROM HERALD MEDIA: Facing a deepening quagmire over homeless encampments, Los Angeles elected officials are increasingly looking to sweeping statewide initiatives to shake loose solutions. The latest proposal from Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Joe Buscaino would have the governor declare a state of emergency on homelessness in California.
Supporters view such a declaration as a novel strategy to free up state and federal funding typically reserved for natural disasters, such as earthquakes or wildfires, and to suspend or streamline the regulatory hurdles that often slow down shelter and housing development.
It also could block NIMBY opponents from using environmental reviews to sue and delay or block homeless facilities from opening. But some question whether an emergency declaration would be merely symbolic, given President Donald Trump’s rejections of more federal funding and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s commitment of $1 billion for local homeless programs and support for more regulatory relief.
Last week, Newsom signed a package of legislation that, among other things, exempts from environmental review supportive housing and shelter projects in the city of L.A. that receive funding from certain public sources, including the $1.2 billion Proposition HHH housing bond that voters approved in 2016.
Another new law allows cities in Alameda and Orange counties, in addition to the city of San Jose, to declare a shelter crisis so those local governments can eventually bypass some planning and zoning regulations to expedite construction.
“The governor should not sign a declaration of emergency until the proponents identify the specific laws and regulations they want to get around, and the resources they believe the declaration would free up,” said Gary Blasi, a retired law professor who specializes in homelessness issues. “The state statutes regarding emergencies were not designed to respond to long-standing political, leadership and moral disasters.”
Newsom has not taken a stand on the current request for a state of emergency declaration. Alex Comisar, spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, said it was “a choice for the governor to make.”
“There are more questions that need to be worked through before he could support something like that,” Newsom spokesman Nathan Click said. In 2015, City Council members and Garcetti announced that they would declare an emergency locally, but then dropped the idea as the mayor sought a statewide declaration from then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who turned him down.
Then in 2018, Los Angeles declared a shelter crisis, which, along with a legislative change, triggered streamlining of red tape around developing emergency beds on public land. Many in L.A. have been frustrated by the sluggish pace of construction of new shelters and housing for the estimated 44,000 residents in the county, including 27,000 in the city, who live outdoors in tents, cars or lean-tos, as opposed to shelters or other temporary housing.
Only 477 emergency shelter beds have been added in the last 2 1/2 years for households without children, which form the bulk of the homeless population, according to an inventory released in September. Buscaino said he has grown particularly frustrated that even temporary tent shelters on public land have become bogged down in approval processes.
“We’re stopping for every red light, instead of treating this like an emergency,” Buscaino said. Before a meeting Friday of the governor’s task force on homelessness, headed by Ridley-Thomas and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Newsom, in a letter, asked members to prioritize getting people off the streets.
He underscored that local communities must “fully enforce” public safety and health laws, touching on the controversial issue of sanitation sweeps of encampments and other police enforcement. He also asked the task force for proposals to break down barriers to building housing and to get more homeless people into treatment.
Steinberg and Ridley-Thomas are championing a legal right to shelter for California, which would require local governments to provide a bed to every homeless person who wants to move indoors. Steinberg also wants to require homeless people to accept shelter if offered, although how that would be enforced is a question mark.
Separately, local governments — including the city and county of L.A. — and business groups also are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to a federal appeals court ruling out of Boise, Idaho, that has stopped authorities in Western states from arresting homeless people for sleeping in public when shelter space is unavailable.
“We have a tacit public policy it’s OK to live outdoors,” Steinberg said. “I am strongly pushing for a clear public policy that says as a matter of right people should be living under a roof.” Newsom has said he is not ready to endorse a legal right to shelter. “What the governor has said is it’s urgent, let’s get started,” Ridley-Thomas said. “I don’t think anything is dead.”
Before the meeting in Los Angeles County’s Willowbrook section on Friday, Ridley-Thomas and Steinberg insisted they were not backing off. But Steinberg repeatedly emphasized that he preferred that people be placed in permanent housing, not a vast shelter system, which critics say could blow the state’s budget without ending homelessness.
“The hard reality is that the governor has already done most of what would be done if a state of emergency was to be called,” said Philip Mangano, the former federal homelessness czar in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations and a member of the governor’s task force. “The governor is the homelessness czar in California, and the task force’s job is to give him big ideas to make a difference.”