The Right to Rest Act: John Tronson Says Arresting Homeless is Good for Them, Kerry Morrison Huffs and Puffs at Idea that Homeless People Have Rights at All

John Tronson, striking a weirdly skeptical pose at the March 19, 2015 meeting of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID Board meeting, just prior to lying about everything
Look and listen as the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance discusses SB608, known as the “Right to Rest Act,” introduced by the saintly, incomparable Senator Carol Liu. You can read a reasonable summary of what this law would do here: “The Right to Rest Act of 2015 seeks to protect the basic human rights of people to rest by outlawing municipal laws that criminalize homelessness and the acts of resting, sharing food and practicing religion in public.”

You can read a transcription of the whole discussion after the break. One salient bit spewed forth from John Tronson, erstwhile president of the HPOA, who ranted thusly:


You know, I mean, it, the, the, the reality, the LAPD or the BID Patrol, nobody is gonna ask anybody to move who’s just resting for a couple minutes cause they need to rest. This is just another vehicle to, you know, allow permanent, facilitate, the living on the sidewalk

Kerry Morrison and John Tronson at the Joint Security Committee meeting on March 12, 2015, conspiring telepathically to arrest EVERYONE for violating LAMC 41.18(d)
Kerry Morrison and John Tronson at the Joint Security Committee meeting on March 12, 2015, conspiring telepathically to arrest EVERYONE for violating LAMC 41.18(d)

There are so many problems with this. First of all, John, you’re just wrong when you say “nobody is gonna ask anybody to move who’s just resting for a couple minutes cause they need to rest.” In fact, your own BID Patrol will arrest people for violating LAMC 41.18(d) when they’re just resting on the sidewalk, let alone ask them to move on for merely sitting down. People, both homeless and not, are harassed every day in the BID for sitting on the sidewalk, forget about actually camping. You were formerly president of the board, and thus in charge of the BID patrol, and if you don’t know this happens it’s willful ignorance. You either know or have reason to know you’re wrong. You’re a liar. But that’s not all (it never is).

Next John’s gotta tell us that not arresting people for sitting on the sidewalk is actually bad for them. Contrapositively, it is good for homeless people to arrest them for sitting on the sidewalk. To fail to arrest them is contrary to what the experts say is best for them, according to John:

And, in, you know, the best part on the letter you wrote before was, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s the direction, that’s the opposite direction of where, really, the authorities on homelessness are, are telling us that we should go. You know, and permanently ending homelessness is the solution. And, and, uh, facilitating, um, you know, living on the, the sidewalk is not, it doesn’t help.

See, the authorities on homelessness say that people need a place to live, because it’s bad to live on the sidewalk. No one denies this, John. If there were enough places for people to live, this wouldn’t be an issue. But right now there are not. So the question isn’t whether it’s better to live in an apartment than on the sidewalk, which the experts you’re quoting say it is. The question is whether it’s better to live on a sidewalk than to be arrested for living on the sidewalk, cited out, fined a bunch of money, go back to living on the sidewalk, be arrested again, and so on in an endless cycle. People don’t get long sentences for living on the sidewalk, they get cited out and go back to the sidewalk but now with fines and court appearances to deal with, and all the while THEY ARE STILL LIVING ON THE SIDEWALK. See the difference? People will live on the sidewalk in LA in the foreseeable future. The choice is between making their lives worse by arresting them for doing it or leaving them alone given that they have no choice but to do it. Again, this is willful ignorance. You either know or have reason to know you’re wrong. You’re a liar.

Kerry Morrison setting her chin in defiance of the very idea that trespassing merely for the purpose of sleeping might be “only” a misdemeanor, as it is and would remain under this law

And Kerry Morrison, she hates this bill so much she can’t even use her words:


Um, I thought it was interesting, uh, it says, “a person who lodges in any building, structure, vehicle, or place without the permission of owner or person entitled to possession or in control of it,” that is a misdemeanor for squatting it looks like. So if you’re in a property or in a car that doesn’t belong to you, it would be a misdemeanor. [Inarticulate expression of disgust] I don’t even know where to begin with this…

Matthew 25:34-37, 40, AKA why the whole BID board would be going to Hell if there were such a thing as Hell.
Matthew 25:34-37, 40, AKA why the whole BID board would be going to Hell if there were such a thing as Hell. (click to embiggen)

Here’s the deal with that, Kerry: PC 647 is going to stay the same except that the words “whether public or private” are struck from paragraph (e). The point being that it has been and will remain a misdemeanor to sleep in someone else’s car but just not on the public sidewalk. They can’t have it be legal under one part of the law and illegal under another. That’s just not cool in the U. S. of A., eh? Even if you don’t like the law, you have to admit that that change to the PC is necessary to make it well-drafted. And we’re sorry to hear that you don’t know where to begin with this. Why don’t you begin, as we do, with Matthew 25:34-46?

Transcription:

Kerry Morrison: Yeah, so, uh, last week we were at the California Downtown Association and heard about a brand-new bill that’s been introduced, um, SB608, there’s a fact-sheet here. Uh, this is kind of like a resurrection of a bill that we took a position on, uh, a couple years ago, which was Assembly Bill 5, a Homeless Bill of Rights. And now this has been rebranded and recrafted, um, Matthew actually did a little side-by-side comparison, um, to call it the “Right to Rest Act,” and it is essentially, um, going to make it fairly easy for people to lay out on our public right-of-way for almost any reason. And the bill specifically, uh, and this, this happened the first time around, precludes agents of a business improvement district from um, uh, in their words “harassing” uh, uh, people who are resting in the public right of way. Um, this, uh, we have a conference call scheduled next week with a number of BIDs from throughout the state who are concerned about this. Um, I, uh, there’s an editorial that appears in the LA Times, Mark Ryavec is actually on the Venice community, uh, whatta ya call it, Neighborhood Council,1 uh, and they’re concerned about in Venice, so that’s the article, you can take a look at. And there’s a letter that I had written two years ago, um, to the Assembly Judiciary Committee when we had taken an official position to oppose, to oppose, the Homeless Bill of Rights, which was ultimately defeated. But…

John Tronson (interrupting): That was a good letter.

Kerry Morrison: Thank you. But they have taken a lot of those kind of previous objectionable dimensions out of the Assembly bill, and, um, you can see from what Matthew did here a lot of this stuff is missing, but now there’s a buncha new stuff, which I’m not too sure what, what the implications are, amending the penal code, um, which would turn a number of these activities into misdemeanors. Um, I thought it was interesting, uh, it says, “a person who lodges in any building, structure, vehicle, or place without the permission of owner or person entitled to possession or in control of it,” that is a misdemeanor for squatting it looks like. So if you’re in a property or in a car that doesn’t belong to you, it would be a misdemeanor. [Inarticulate expression of disgust] I don’t even know where to begin with this…

John Tronson (interrupting): I do, it’s, it’s, it’s the same place that we, we began and finished with the last bill. You know, I mean, it, the, the, the reality, the LAPD or the BID Patrol, nobody is gonna ask anybody to move who’s just resting for a couple minutes cause they need to rest. This is just another vehicle to, you know, allow permanent, facilitate, the living on the sidewalk. And, in, you know, the best part on the letter you wrote before was, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s the direction, that’s the opposite direction of where, really, the authorities on homelessness are, are telling us that we should go. You know, and permanently ending homelessness is the solution. And, and, uh, facilitating, um, you know, living on the, the sidewalk is not, it doesn’t help.

Monica Yamada: I need a, little board action to [unintelligible] a motion by opposing it [unintelligible] a letter?

Kerry Morrison: Well, first of all, it would be to write a letter to, um, Senator Liu, I actually know her? And, um, she’s a [unintelligible], [privileged white chuckling] and I know the folks in downtown are thinking of taking her on a walk through Skid Row [privileged white chuckling] just to kinda say, this is what happened [unintelligible] ordinance, um, but I’m gonna reach out to her as well, um, and I need to write a letter and this probably won’t [unintelligible] committee hearings but we’ll need to submit letters to [unintelligible]

  1. Actually, Mark Ryavec is president of the Venice Stakeholders Association. And here’s a link to his despicable, nasty little op-ed if you want something to hate-read.

Images of John Tronson and Kerry Morrison are ©2015 MichaelKohlhaas.org. Image of bible stuff is via Wikimedia and is, according to them, in the public domain.

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