Tag Archives: Homeless Encampments

How I Finally — For Only The Second Freaking Time Ever — Got Advance Notice Of Some Homeless Encampment Sweeps From LA Sanitation Via The Public Records Act After Three Long Years Of Fighting With Them About It — And How They Told Me That I Couldn’t Look At The Next Day’s Schedule But Only Today’s — So I Showed Up At The Public Works Building This Morning At 7 AM And Eventually Did Get To See The Schedule — Which Is A Huge Breakthrough! — But It Also Became Clear That They Have Not Been Fully Honest In Their Claim That The Schedules Aren’t Produced In Advance — So The Next Phase Is To Get The Next Day’s Schedules Each Afternoon

I have been trying to use the California Public Records Act to get advance notice of homeless encampment sweeps for three years now. After a few months of arguing with LA Sanitation, in 2016 I actually managed to get a schedule one day in advance. I went out and filmed the whole thing, but then the City went back into full metal obstructionism and refused to hand over another advance schedule.

So I’ve been pushing them on it since then without making much progress. I did, however, get them to agree in principal that some of the records containing advance info about scheduled sweeps was not exempt from production. However, and frustratingly, this did not lead to my actually gaining access to schedules in advance. But in June of this year a lawyer, Michael Risher, agreed to help me out, and he evidently acted as a catalyst.

He wrote them a demand letter and they dragged their feet and dragged their feet but eventually did make various concessions, although still did not produce. One thing led to another, and we came to the conclusion that I would need to go to the Public Works Building in person and demand to see the schedule. I gave Sanitation notice that I would show up this morning at 7 am to look at today’s confirmation sheet.1 I showed up as promised, and after about 15 minutes of confusion with the guard, she let me go upstairs.
Continue reading How I Finally — For Only The Second Freaking Time Ever — Got Advance Notice Of Some Homeless Encampment Sweeps From LA Sanitation Via The Public Records Act After Three Long Years Of Fighting With Them About It — And How They Told Me That I Couldn’t Look At The Next Day’s Schedule But Only Today’s — So I Showed Up At The Public Works Building This Morning At 7 AM And Eventually Did Get To See The Schedule — Which Is A Huge Breakthrough! — But It Also Became Clear That They Have Not Been Fully Honest In Their Claim That The Schedules Aren’t Produced In Advance — So The Next Phase Is To Get The Next Day’s Schedules Each Afternoon

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Emails From The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Reveal The Existence Of Pilot Programs To Handle Homeless Encampments — Known As Operation Please Follow The Rules — (Not Making That Up) — That Literally Condition Provision Of Social Services On Taking Tents Down During The Day — Featuring The Direct Participation And Complicity Of Private Social Service Providers — Cornerstone And The People Concern — In This Project — Actually Agreeing To Withhold Services From Noncompliant Homeless People — And To Tell LAPD Who’s Compliant And Who’s Not — So That LAPD Can Arrest Noncompliers — And These People Wonder Why Everyone Lies To Them — Why Nobody Trusts Them — It’s Pretty Obvious Why

Services Not Sweeps is a coalition of dozens of Los Angeles area community organizations who are working for, among other things, the removal of LAPD from all City street cleaning initiatives. There are many reasons for excluding law enforcement officers from encampment cleanups. Police arrest people or do worse to them. The threat they represent, the linking of that threat with the service providers present, cannot help but discourage homeless residents from cooperating in the cleaning process, from taking advantage of the offered services.

Arresting people who are already suffering by being forced to live on the streets destroys any trust the arrestees, their families, their neighbors, might have had in the good intentions of the system. It destroys what might be left of their dignity. It is a bad, bad thing. These encampment sweep teams include not only LAPD, but LA Sanitation workers and other City officials, and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is tasked with pre-sweep outreach. Outreach, at least ideally, consists of offering various social services to the encampment residents and, in theory, helping them take advantage of whatever help is available to them.

And I wasn’t previously aware of this fact, but it turns out that at least sometimes the City invites private social services organizations to be part of the encampment sweep process. Two such groups are Cornerstone and The People Concern. These organizations’ websites, well, they hit all the right notes. E.g Cornerstone talks up “clients develop[ing] trusting relationships with counselors” and TPC is all about “build[ing] self-sufficiency, restor[ing] dignity and help[ing] our vulnerable neighbors become contributing members of the community”.

But these laudable ideals are belied by the fact that at least on some occasions both of these groups have been complicit in pilot programs, organized by the City Attorney’s office, that attempt to coerce people living in encampments into taking their tents down during the day by actually “making services dependent on following this rule” and, with the blessing of the LAPD, immunizing them from arrest if they complied by taking down tents when told to do so.

These programs were evidently started because, in the thoroughly idiotic and offensive words of Assistant City Attorney Tamar Galatzan, “everyone was getting frustrated that the homeless people were telling outreach one thing and LAPD another”. And in its inimitably totalitarian style the City Attorney seems to have called these programs “Operation Please Follow The Rules”.

It’s certainly difficult enough to gain the trust of people who, forced by circumstances beyond their control to live in encampments on public sidewalks, have seen their lives devalued by society, have been repeatedly abused and betrayed, criminalized and infantilized. And yet without gaining their trust it’s impossible to help anyone, no matter what their housing circumstance.

It’s easy to see what the City gets from the complicity of these private agencies, but it’s impossible for me to understand what the agencies get from it. Which is why I don’t explain these stories, I just tell them. And this one is told through a bunch of emails I got recently from the City Attorney’s office. Read on for details and transcriptions!
Continue reading Emails From The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Reveal The Existence Of Pilot Programs To Handle Homeless Encampments — Known As Operation Please Follow The Rules — (Not Making That Up) — That Literally Condition Provision Of Social Services On Taking Tents Down During The Day — Featuring The Direct Participation And Complicity Of Private Social Service Providers — Cornerstone And The People Concern — In This Project — Actually Agreeing To Withhold Services From Noncompliant Homeless People — And To Tell LAPD Who’s Compliant And Who’s Not — So That LAPD Can Arrest Noncompliers — And These People Wonder Why Everyone Lies To Them — Why Nobody Trusts Them — It’s Pretty Obvious Why

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Public Records Newly Obtained From LAHSA Shed Some Light On Homeless Encampment Cleanup Process — And LAHSA’s Role In It — Including Training Powerpoint By LAHSA Administrator Matthew Tenchavez — Organizational Chart Of LAHSA Outreach Personnel — And More Than 8K Entries From The Encampment Tracking Database — Showing Very Specific Information About Each Encampment Worked In 2019

I recently received a small but crucial set of records from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority relating to that organization’s role in the process of homeless encampment sweeps. LAHSA outreach workers are required to contact encampment residents and offer them services before LA City Sanitation and the LAPD come in and throw away all their stuff.

These records shed some light on the practical aspects of that requirement. How they’re organized across Los Angeles County, who the outreach workers are, how LAHSA characterizes the controlling policies in its training materials, and so on. These documents provide essential but fairly technical information about local government’s response to the crisis of homelessness. There’s nothing lurid here, just a mass of crucial details. You can browse through them here on Archive.Org and here are links, descriptions, and some samples of this material:

★ Org chart for LAHSA encampment outreach workers — XLSXPDF — LAHSA is a joint powers authority rather than a department of the City of Los Angeles. It therefore operates across the entire county, which they have divided into Service Planning Areas, or SPAs. This chart gives names and funding sources for outreach workers and supervisors for each SPA. The XLSX file is the original and I also exported it as a PDF for utility.

★ 2019 encampment tracker entries — XLSX — This is a crucial document.1 It contains short descriptions of almost 9,000 encampment outreach instances, including date, location, names of LAHSA outreach workers, number of residents, and brief notes from the outreach staff. Here’s a sample of what’s in there, click to enlarge:

★ CSLA Training Powerpoint — PDF — This is a powerpoint presentation prepared by LAHSA administrator Matthew Tenchavez about the Clean Streets Los Angeles program, which is one of at least two City of LA encampment sweeping initiatives. This is essential information for understanding how LAHSA sees its role in the process, the rules they believe they are meant to follow, and so on. It also explains various software tools used in planning encampment sweeps, with some screenshots. If PDFs aren’t convenient, I have images of the 11 pages below.
Continue reading Public Records Newly Obtained From LAHSA Shed Some Light On Homeless Encampment Cleanup Process — And LAHSA’s Role In It — Including Training Powerpoint By LAHSA Administrator Matthew Tenchavez — Organizational Chart Of LAHSA Outreach Personnel — And More Than 8K Entries From The Encampment Tracking Database — Showing Very Specific Information About Each Encampment Worked In 2019

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The True History Of The Frederick Passageway Anti-Homeless Hostile Landscaping Project — Guided By Angry Self-Proclaimed Lawyer And Housedweller Saul Janson — And Revanchist Housedwelling Coffee Confectioner Allison Altschuler — And Housedwelling Zillionaire NBC News Producer Richard Adams — (Not The Guy With The Damn Bunnies But A Different One) — And Famous But Shockingly Untalented Cartoonist Rick Detorie — Assisted At Every Stage By Freaky Little Lying Former CD11 Field Deputy Taylor Bazley — Who Explicitly Told Jansen To Exclude Shade Trees Because Homeless People Like Sitting Under Them — And Told Altschuler To Collect Bullshit CYA Letters From Neighbors In Case The City Got Sued — All Of This Done At The Express Orders Of Little Man Behind The Curtain Mike Bonin — Revealed In Emails Released In Response To My CPRA Lawsuit Against CD11 — And This Is Just The Start Of The Releases, Friends!

I’ve been spending some time looking into the ways in which City Council offices materially support housedweller aggression against homeless residents of Los Angeles, including especially by facilitating illegal hostile architecture. Venice is one of the main theaters in which this drama is currently being performed, what with the proliferation of illegal planters and other, more idiosyncratic projects like for instance the Frederick Passageway, just west of the Penmar Golf Course. So naturally I’m spending a great deal of time sending requests to CD11 under the California Public Records Act.

And for a long time they completely ignored me, but then, by pure good fortune, in response to a request to LAPD, I received a stunning and unexpected email conversation between (now former) CD11 field deputy Taylor Bazley and various worthies proving conclusively that, despite many, many explicit denials from Mike Bonin’s flacks that there was any coordination at all between Bonin’s office and the outlaw planter-placers, Bazley was in fact directly involved in the process, even to the extent of calling in a sweep of a homeless encampment specifically so that illegal planters could be placed.

This discovery magnified the importance of the emails I’d requested from CD11 to the point where we all put on our hustle-hats and filed a petition splickety splat! And, as it turns out the City is wont to do, they pretty quickly started handing over records.1 You can take a look at the first batch here on Archive.Org. And these are all interesting, certainly, but the most interesting of all is this spool of emails between Taylor Bazley and various folks about the Frederick Passageway. There are two threads to the conversation here.

First there’s Bazley coordinating with angry housedwellers to ruin this public passageway by planting crap all over it to thwart the efforts of homeless human beings to survive, mostly because the housedwellers find them unaesthetic. Some of the identities of these housedwellers are known. For instance, there is ringleader Saul C. Janson, who claims to be some kind of lawyer. You can reach Saul at sacoja@aol.com and his phone number seems to be (310) 452-7978.

There is also self-proclaimed coffee confectioner Allison Altschuler, who can be contacted at allisonaltschuler@gmail.com. And shockingly untalented and shockingly well-known cartoonist Rick Detorie, who you can email at rdetorie@yahoo.com. Last but never ever ever least is zillionaire NBC news producer Richard Adams. Get in touch with Adams at Richard.Adams@nbcuni.com or via phone at his office, (818) 684-2873, or, for that more direct and personal touch, on his cell at (818) 391-7508.

Bazley spends months, years, encouraging them. He suggests places they can find funding for their aggressive anti-human project. Listens sympathetically to their crazed rants. Really gets into the details of hostile landscaping, e.g. suggesting that they avoid shade trees because the homeless will enjoy sitting under them. Accompanies them in person to City offices to help them obtain permits. Helps them collect astroturf letters of support for submission to the Bureau of Engineering, telling them they don’t have to be sincere or even have much content as the only purpose is ass-covering in the event that someone sues the City.

And so on, all done in the inimitably sycophantic and cynical Bazleyian manner. This material is an important addition to the history of anti-homeless landscaping in Venice. To date we didn’t really know who was behind the appropriation and destruction of this public street, and we certainly did not know the extent to which Bazley and CD11 were involved in coordinating it.2

But in addition to that conversation, which is new and important but at the same time fairly predictable, familiar in tone and content if not in specifics, there are also a bunch of emails between Bazley, Mike Bonin himself, who repeatedly orders Bazley to cater to the whims of the housedwellers, and Debbie Dyner Harris, at that time a district director for Bonin, also ordering Bazley to please get to work and please please the housedwellers.

This is a side of the process we very rarely get to see. Councilmembers either only send very few emails or else their offices routinely and illegally withhold them. And these few emails are terse. The staff knows what to do, they don’t need to be told explicitly. Records, after all, will end up on the Internet. Best, then, not to generate any. This material, while actually less sensational than the other, is equally if not more important for shining light on the internal processes of Bonin’s office.

Another fact, revealed for the first time by these newly released records, is that the housedwellers were looking to this project not just as a way to exclude some unaesthetic human beings by installing plants on a public street. They were actually looking to literally privatize the street by annexing parts of it and adjoining them to their lots, thereby increasing their property values. This unexpected but ultimately not surprising development demonstrates in a pretty stark way that most if not all anti-homeless housedweller rage is actually about money.

Usually, possibly, the financial gains from hostile architecture are framed as about how aesthetics and perceptions of homeless neighbors affect property values but, at least in this case, it’s about actual annexation of publicly owned land. Thus spake Taylor Bazley: “a lot of the adjacent property owners are looking to assume ten more feet of property through the process of street vacation.” Taylor doesn’t go along with this plan, but not because he sees anything wrong with it. It’s just, he assures his boss, that it takes too long.

But as much as is revealed by these emails, one of the central mysteries remains unexplained. You’ll see, if you read on to the transcripts below, that the complaints that initiated the multi-year process of installing hostile landscaping on the Frederick Passageway are so stupid as to be incoherent. Saul Janson is angry, e.g., that the homeless people in the encampment laugh, eat food from takeout containers, own cell phones, and so on. He compares homeless people’s possessions to cancer, saying that their “stuff metastasizes daily”>.

He thinks single women are more particularly vulnerable to the unspecified predations of the homeless than, I guess, men and non-single women? The man is a slime-oozing braindead ball of enraged emotional putrefaction, certainly no one to be taken seriously. Oh, I forgot to mention! Janson and his neighbors “are mostly caring and socially responsible people.” Just ask them! If he weren’t a housedweller the best he could hope for out of City officials would be to be ignored. The worst would involve throwing away his tent or his insulin, tasing him, jailing him, 5150ing him into oblivion, leaving him to die on the pavement in the rain.

But none of that happens here. Instead of mocking and ignoring him, Bonin writes to Bazley and Dyner Harris to tell them to take care of the guy’s concerns. We’ve seen this exact phenomenon in CD13, as well as in CD11 with a whole different Klown Kar Krew, so it’s not isolated. What I don’t understand, what I despair of understanding, is why Councilmembers are so solicitous of these housedwellers. They’re not necessarily big donors. For instance, according to the Ethics Commission, none of Janson, Altschuler, or Adams have ever given a penny to Bonin.3

They’re not influential, they’re not going to sway an election. And yet the CMs listen to them, sweep encampments, disrupt lives, at their request. Maybe it’s because they’re asking for something the CMs want to do anyway and so provide political cover? I legitimately don’t get it and nothing in these emails gives even a clue. Perhaps some day this premiere open question will be solved! Meanwhile, read on for transcribed selections with some commentary and links!
Continue reading The True History Of The Frederick Passageway Anti-Homeless Hostile Landscaping Project — Guided By Angry Self-Proclaimed Lawyer And Housedweller Saul Janson — And Revanchist Housedwelling Coffee Confectioner Allison Altschuler — And Housedwelling Zillionaire NBC News Producer Richard Adams — (Not The Guy With The Damn Bunnies But A Different One) — And Famous But Shockingly Untalented Cartoonist Rick Detorie — Assisted At Every Stage By Freaky Little Lying Former CD11 Field Deputy Taylor Bazley — Who Explicitly Told Jansen To Exclude Shade Trees Because Homeless People Like Sitting Under Them — And Told Altschuler To Collect Bullshit CYA Letters From Neighbors In Case The City Got Sued — All Of This Done At The Express Orders Of Little Man Behind The Curtain Mike Bonin — Revealed In Emails Released In Response To My CPRA Lawsuit Against CD11 — And This Is Just The Start Of The Releases, Friends!

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Huge Release Of City Of Los Angeles Homeless Encampment Sweep Scheduling Emails Reveals Crucial Steps Of Planning Process — Including Scouting Reports — Time Estimates — Daily Schedules — Notice Posting — Obtained From LAHSA — This Is Essential And Fundamental Primary Source Material For Understanding The Encampment Sweep Scheduling Process — And Another Incremental Step Toward The Years-Long Struggle To Make Sweep Schedules Public

One of the most egregious ways in which the City of Los Angeles terrorizes and oppresses homeless human beings is with so-called encampment sweeps, in which City officials, guarded by police, swoop in and confiscate and dispose of people’s possessions, including in many cases life-essential materials such as medicine, official papers, tools, tents, bicycles, and so on.

This appalling practice has inspired a long chain of successful federal lawsuits against the City, the most recent one of which1 was filed on July 18, 2019.2 Human rights activists, for instance to name just a couple Streetwatch and Services Not Sweeps, have been trying for years to get advance notice of sweeps for many purposes, not least among which are monitoring and outreach to the victims.

Since 2016 I have also been trying to get the City to cough up advance notice via the California Public Records Act. I had one early success, thus proving that the concept at least could work, but since then the City has mostly ignored me. And even on one occasion worse than ignored me, they illegally denied me entry into the Public Works Building, thus preventing me from seeing advance schedules.3 I wrote about my progress a couple more times, once in October 2016 and again in November of that year. There haven’t been enough new developments since then for a post,4 until today, that is.

One of the key strategies in public records activism is making requests for the same materials from every possible agency that might hold records. This increases the odds of getting a complete set of responsive material in the face of obstruction.5 I have been working on getting access to sweep scheduling materials through LA Sanitation, who has ignored me since 2017, through LAPD, which is slightly better but still routinely takes up to a year to produce material, through various Council offices, the office of the Mayor, and so on.

But for some reason it never occurred to me before May 2019 to request records from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which is also deeply implicated in the process of planning and carrying out sweeps. But request them then I did, and last week they released about 5% of a promised 16GB6 collection of emails between LAHSA operatives involved with sweeps and various complicit parties at the City of Los Angeles, and you can get your copies here on Archive.Org.
Continue reading Huge Release Of City Of Los Angeles Homeless Encampment Sweep Scheduling Emails Reveals Crucial Steps Of Planning Process — Including Scouting Reports — Time Estimates — Daily Schedules — Notice Posting — Obtained From LAHSA — This Is Essential And Fundamental Primary Source Material For Understanding The Encampment Sweep Scheduling Process — And Another Incremental Step Toward The Years-Long Struggle To Make Sweep Schedules Public

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City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD1’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Jose Rodriguez And Two LAPD Officers About Homeless Encampments In CD1 — On The Advice Of The City Attorney Cedillo Staffer Mel Ilomin Claimed A Series Of Bogus And Ever-Shifting Exemptions — But I Got Two Responsive Records From LAPD — Which Show The Utter Implausibility Of The Exemption Claims

As you know, one of my long-term projects is using the public records act to understand how and why the City of Los Angeles schedules sweeps of homeless encampments and related enforcement actions. Emails between Council offices and either LAPD or LA Sanitation have been essential in this effort. For instance, a monumental recent email release from LAPD revealed a number of essential facts.

First, that CD11 staffer Taylor Bazley, despite official denials, had been complicit in the illegal placement of anti-homeless planters in Venice. This revelation led, in turn, to my filing a complaint against a list of LAPD officers with the Internal Affairs Division and a complaint with the Ethics Commission against Bazley. These same emails revealed that CD11 itself had been illegally withholding incredibly important records in the face of a number of my pending CPRA requests, which led to my filing another writ petition against the City seeking to compel the release of those materials.

And also, there among these 1,200 pages of stuff, were a couple emails between CD1 staffer Jose Rodriguez and a couple of police officers, Arturo Siguenas and Ruben Arellano, about homeless encampments and sweep scheduling at an encampment on Avenue 61 between Figueroa Street and Piedmont Avenue, one block to the North. Here’s the first one and also the second one. These emails in themselves are fairly innocuous, but since other emails in the release had turned out to be so very consequential, and since CD1 is a particular interest of mine although not, so far, with respect to homelessness, the importance of tracing this thread further was quite clear.

Thus I sent a request for all emails between Rodriguez and these two officers from between January 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019, the day before the date of the request:1
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD1’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Jose Rodriguez And Two LAPD Officers About Homeless Encampments In CD1 — On The Advice Of The City Attorney Cedillo Staffer Mel Ilomin Claimed A Series Of Bogus And Ever-Shifting Exemptions — But I Got Two Responsive Records From LAPD — Which Show The Utter Implausibility Of The Exemption Claims

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MK.Org Exclusive! — On June 7, 2019 Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis Wrote To The City Of Los Angeles Telling Them To Clean Up Their Damn Act With Respect To Illegal Dumping Of Trash And Sanitation Around Homeless Encampments — This Was Duly Reported In The Los Angeles Times On June 8 — But They Did Not Publish The Letter Itself — Because “The County Declined To Release” It — We, However, Have Obtained A Copy! — And It Is Available To You Right Here! — Dear Readers! — For Download!

No one reading this blog needs a recap of the City’s persistent homelessness crisis or the pain, suffering, torment, and disease caused by the City government’s inaction and worse, although this LA Times editorial lays out the basic facts well. And on June 7, 2019, as reported by the Times on June 8, the County of Los Angeles public health officer Muntu Davis wrote a scathing letter to the City memorializing a June 5 meeting about illegal trash dumping in Skid Row, homelessness, associated health dangers, and the City’s utter failure in dealing with these matters.

For as-yet-unknown reasons, the Times did not obtain a copy of the letter itself, offering nothing more by way of explanation than the laconic statement that “[t]he county’s Department of Public Health declined to release the letter”. Well, this aggression will not stand, man, so I asked the County to cough up this essential piece of our City’s history and, yesterday, surprisingly quickly, they actually did! You can get your own copy of the letter here, and there’s a transcription below. They also sent an unasked-for but nevertheless welcome letter from Davis to the City about typhus outbreaks, sent in March 2019, and you can get a copy of that one here.

The June 7 letter is an essential document. Davis essentially lambastes the City for their failure to provide basic tools of sanitation — toilets, sinks, showers, trash receptacles — to people living on the street. He also notes the City’s failure to deal with illegal trash dumping and also notes that encampments are often very wrongly blamed for this severe problem, a fact that I have never seen any evidence that anyone from the City understands.

I don’t know what if any role this letter played in the City’s very recent conversion to many of the essential principles espoused by the heroic Services Not Sweeps Coalition. I suspect that that’s been longer in coming and that relentless and unanswerable pressure from activists is more responsible, although I don’t know. The letter, anyway, certainly didn’t hurt. It’s well worth the time it will take you to read it.
Continue reading MK.Org Exclusive! — On June 7, 2019 Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis Wrote To The City Of Los Angeles Telling Them To Clean Up Their Damn Act With Respect To Illegal Dumping Of Trash And Sanitation Around Homeless Encampments — This Was Duly Reported In The Los Angeles Times On June 8 — But They Did Not Publish The Letter Itself — Because “The County Declined To Release” It — We, However, Have Obtained A Copy! — And It Is Available To You Right Here! — Dear Readers! — For Download!

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It Turns Out That The Los Angeles Department Of Sanitation — Which Is A Key Player In The Raiding And Destruction Of Homeless Encampments — Will Provide “Community Dumpsters” For Housedweller Groups And Events — At The Behest Of Council Districts — And With A Huge Amount Of Attention And Time Devoted By City Staff — But None Of These Players — Not One — Will Provide Dumpsters For Homeless People Living On The Streets — These Are The Very Same Players Who Use Encampment Trash Accumulation To Justify Death-Dealing Sweeps — And It Is Supremely Ironic That Bladimir Campos — Of LA San — Is Involved In Both Activities

It’s well-known that pretty much the entire response of the City government of Los Angeles to our homelessness crisis is criminalization and its subsequent brutality, implemented at the hands of police and weaponized sanitation workers, driven never by sound policy, morality, or basic human decency, but rather by the incessant hateful complaints of psychopathic genocidal housedwellers.

This policy is manifested most visibly in notoriously savage encampment sweeps, during which tents, medicine, legal papers, and other possessions absolutely necessary for human life, are destroyed by City functionaries and cops. The claim is that sweeps are necessary to keep the streets clean, although the utter cynical falsity of this claim is revealed by two facts.

First, the sweepers often neglect to pick up actual trash while they’re destroying possessions and second, the City refuses to provide people living in encampments with the basic tools they need to keep their homes and neighborhoods clean in the first place, tools enjoyed by every housedweller in the City. Most important among these are trash receptacles and toilets. So crucially needed are toilets and trash cans and so cruel is the City’s refusal to provide them that an entire coalition of activist groups, Services Not Sweeps, exists to demand that the City provide them, among other things.

And not only that, but I recently obtained a big set of emails between staffers in Paul Koretz’s office and Bladimir Campos of LA Sanitation, who’s responsible for, among other things, coordinating encampment sweeps when Council Districts ask him to. I don’t know what excuses the City gives for their refusal to provide trash receptacles to encampments or even if they feel the need to excuse themselves, but one appalling fact I learned from these new emails is that the City actually has a whole system in place to deliver dumpsters to community events and pick them up afterwards.

Like all such perquisites in the City of Los Angeles, these so-called community dumpsters seem to be coordinated through Council offices, and you can read in this conversation and this other conversation exactly how much painstaking effort Koretz staffer Aviv Kleinman and a surprisingly large number of other City officials were willing to put in week after week after week after year after year to make sure that one of these dumpsters was made available by LA San for some community group’s event.

And don’t miss the supremely ironic fact that Kleinman’s correspondent at Sanitation was none other than Bladimir Campos. So not only does the City refuse to provide trash receptacles to people who desperately need them, not only does the City use the entirely predictable consequences that flow from a lack of receptacles, but the City is refusing to provide receptacles when they already have an entire functioning system in place for providing trash receptacles.

Nothing at all needs to be developed, no new funding needs to be put in place. All that has to happen is for City Councilmembers to understand or to be made to understand that the people living in an encampment are of equal value to the people in some other kind of community group with respect to City-provided trash receptacles, no matter what kind of housing situation they’re in. None of which is likely to happen, of course, because our public officials have no shame and no consciences. Read on for transcribed selections.
Continue reading It Turns Out That The Los Angeles Department Of Sanitation — Which Is A Key Player In The Raiding And Destruction Of Homeless Encampments — Will Provide “Community Dumpsters” For Housedweller Groups And Events — At The Behest Of Council Districts — And With A Huge Amount Of Attention And Time Devoted By City Staff — But None Of These Players — Not One — Will Provide Dumpsters For Homeless People Living On The Streets — These Are The Very Same Players Who Use Encampment Trash Accumulation To Justify Death-Dealing Sweeps — And It Is Supremely Ironic That Bladimir Campos — Of LA San — Is Involved In Both Activities

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Los Angeles County Homeless Encampment Policy Is Positively Humane Compared To The City Of Los Angeles — So In December 2018 When The County Found That It Had To Work With The City On An Encampment At Nadeau And Alameda They Said That If The City Was Going To Follow Its Usual Practices With Respect To The Homeless People’s Property The County Would Not Participate — Then Brian Buchner Of The Unified Homeless Response Center Flat-Out Lied About The Nature Of City Policies — If He’s Ashamed Of The True Confiscation Policy It Is Probably Time To Change It To Something That’s Not Shameful — Not Cruel — Not Inhumane — Not Litigation Bait — If We’re Going To Be Purely Practical

The City of Los Angeles is well-known for its particularly cruel policies towards homeless people living in encampments. City workers confiscate and destroy essential property like medicine and legal papers. They pointlessly force people to move by breaking up their encampments without offering alternatives, and so on. The City has been sued often and sued successfully many times for these practices, and they will be sued again and again and again.

And as immersed as I am in municipal politics, it’s easy to forget that there are many, many other local jurisdictions dealing with homelessness, even within the City of Los Angeles itself. There’s CalTrans, Metro, the County, and of course any number of other cities and authorities. And sometimes they have to work together for various reasons, like property administered by one agency that’s within the boundaries of another, and so on.

Last year the City created the Unified Homeless Response Center to implement its policies. The head of the UHRC is Brian Buchner, who’s some kind of staffer in Eric Garcetti’s office. And the other major departments involved with homelessness also have people assigned to the UHRC as well. For instance, LAPD’s Emada Tingirides and others. And I recently obtained a huge set of emails between Buchner and Tingirides, along with attachments.

This material is available here on Archive.Org. It’s already proving invaluable in understanding UHRC policies and procedures as well as the software tools they’re using in their responses to homelessness. It is an incredibly rich, incredibly complex set of stuff and I’m going to be analyzing and writing about this material for quite a while, but today’s post is based on a tiny fragment, which is this email conversation between Buchner and Michael Castillo, who’s with the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative.

Here’s the short version of the story, and you can find a complete transcription of the emails below. Castillo was readying his team to dismantle an encampment at Nadeau and Alameda Streets. He’s careful to say that the County does not in fact destroy encampments as a matter of policy. In fact, he says, as a matter of policy they do not:

It is not the practice of Measure H funded teams to “shuffle” our homeless neighbors from one location to another, but instead to work with them where they are.

However, this particular encampment was very close to the train tracks along Alameda and so, he says, the County decided that they had to break it up. This required the involvement of the Alameda Corridor Transit Authority, and ACTA told Castillo that this particular encampment was on property belonging to the City of Los Angeles, which meant that LAMC 56.11 would be in force.

But Castillo wasn’t having it if what he’d heard was true. He was unwilling even to participate in encampment breaking under City of LA rules:

We, myself, Lt. Deedrick, and Measure H outreach supervisors, were informed that the plan under 56.11 would call for tearing down all structures and leaving them on the site for 90 days, i.e., store them on site in the open, which we feel is somewhat inhuman and could lead to a lawsuit. Lt. Deedrick, HOST lead, and I informed the ACTA that if this is the plan Measure H funded outreach teams and the HOST cannot be on site on January 7th.

Castillo was also really worried about the absolute necessity to distinguish between personal items and trash:

In addition, Lt. Deedrick and his team have been talking to the homeless persons on site at Nadeau this week to identify personal items versus trash and they’ve taken record of said conversations. This record will allow the cleaning crew to easily separate trash from personal items on January 7th.

And this kind of concern, this refusal to participate in immoral, inhuman, and liability-inducing activities, is admirable. If no one was willing to carry out the immoral and inhuman policies of the City of Los Angeles then the City of Los Angeles wouldn’t be immoral and inhuman. The only possible reason why things are different in the County is that the County must create an atmosphere where humanity and morality are expected. The opposite is true, obviously, with the City.

And you know, Brian Buchner didn’t have a good answer for this. At least he didn’t have a good true answer. But he had a good and patently false answer, which was that not only did the City not destroy the personal property of the homeless, not only did they store it safely in secure storage, but they would deliver it back to its owner at any time whenever they needed it:

Michael, that is an incorrect understanding or interpretation of the City’s policies and procedures under LAMC 56.11. We do not store people’s property “on site in the open” under any circumstances. We have dedicated storage sites across the City where we store all impounded property. When an individual needs access to their property, we deliver it directly to them within the hour no matter where in the City they are.

And there you have it. Brian Buchner is a liar. The Unified Homeless Response Center of the City of Los Angeles is being run by a liar.1 A liar who implements the inhuman policies of his masters at 200 N. Spring Street even while he’s lying about what those policies are. That’s where this City’s homelessness policy is now. Turn the page for a complete transcription of the conversation.
Continue reading Los Angeles County Homeless Encampment Policy Is Positively Humane Compared To The City Of Los Angeles — So In December 2018 When The County Found That It Had To Work With The City On An Encampment At Nadeau And Alameda They Said That If The City Was Going To Follow Its Usual Practices With Respect To The Homeless People’s Property The County Would Not Participate — Then Brian Buchner Of The Unified Homeless Response Center Flat-Out Lied About The Nature Of City Policies — If He’s Ashamed Of The True Confiscation Policy It Is Probably Time To Change It To Something That’s Not Shameful — Not Cruel — Not Inhumane — Not Litigation Bait — If We’re Going To Be Purely Practical

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Grammy Award Winning Housedwelling Kanye Album Producing Hollywood Landlord Anthony Kilhoffer And His Delusional Demented Psychopathic Anti-Homeless Rants — Addressed Mostly To Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood Minion Dan Halden — Who Listened Sympathetically — And Set Up Meetings For Kilhoffer With Himself — And Neighborhood Prosecutor Steve Houchin — And Supreme Hollywood Cop Commander Cory Palka — And Neighborhood Council People — And So On — Which Goes To Show That Being An Unhinged Lunatic Isn’t A Bar To Being Taken Seriously By The City Of Los Angeles About Homeless Policy — Not If You’re A Housedwelling Property Owner It’s Not — And Six Months Of Kilhoffer’s Screeching Produced A Sweep — And The Encampment Was Back In Less Than Three Months — And The Cycle Begins Again

One of the perennially interesting unsolved questions in the theory of Los Angeles1 is who gets to meet with City officials to express their concerns and how and why they do. Why is it that some people have to rant and wave puppets during open public comment while councilmembers ignore them as they fool with their phones playing candy crush or swiping right on their staffies while others get all the face time they ask for, monthly breakfasts with the field staff, meetings, coffee dates, and so on? As with many such questions I certainly have my suspicions about the answer, but evidence has been hard to come by.

Leaving aside the case of zillionaires, who obviously get to meet just because they’re zillionaires, there was this one interesting episode from 2016 where scumbag cat-kicking K-Town slumlord Bryan Kim offered to donate a lot of money to Mitch O’Farrell for having arranged an encampment sweep and then wanted to meet with El Mitch and El Mitch’s consigliere Marisol Rodriguez was all like is he respectful because if so maybe a meeting would be a good idea because it would create the impression that Mitch cares about his constituents.2

This gave me the feeling that in order to meet with these people, in order to have them take one’s concerns seriously, it was at least necessary to be willing to observe some social boundaries, willing to play along, to take a seat at the table, to have concerns the addressing of which would in some way create some direct or indirect political advantage for the council office. This would be disconcerting but, I guess, understandable given the incentives under which City electeds labor.

However, I just recently obtained a string of emails between O’Farrell flunky slash Hollywood button man Dan Halden and a couple of really angry, really unhinged housedwellers which pretty much shoots that theory all to hell. These housedwellers, who are, incidentally, famed Grammy-winning Kanye producer Anthony Kilhoffer and his wife Amy Taylor, want some homeless human beings scraped off the sidewalks on Cole Avenue between Lexington and Santa Monica Boulevard in order to increase the value of their rental property and to soothe their offended aesthetic sensibilities.

Interestingly, once Taylor hears that Dan Halden is going to deal with the matter, she’s very careful to reassure him that she’s a loving human being. This is a super-common trope in this genre. I love all mankind, but I’m scared, so morality no longer applies:

I want you to understand that I empathize with the issues regarding those who cannot afford homes/shelters in Los Angeles. We are not heartless nor.are we blind to the adversities facing low income individuals in these times. But when it becomes an issue of safety, our children’s play spaces, and sanitation -then we need to act quickly and aggressively.

Kilhoffer is not respectful, he’s not willing to play along, he’s not even freaking coherent. He rants about piss, shit, drugs, pimps, how the City encourages encampments in order to drive down property values so they can “redevelop” his property. He insults Mitch O’Farrell’s attention to eliminating Columbus Day in Los Angeles.3 He insists that the people who are upsetting him aren’t even “real” homeless people, whatever that means and they’re not “respectful” like homeless people used to be a few years ago.

But Halden doesn’t ignore Kilhoffer, he doesn’t make cracks about him to his colleagues,4 he doesn’t even tell the guy to calm down and stop making up stories about prostitution rings being run out of tents on the sidewalk. No, he doesn’t do any of that. Instead he talks to the guy on the phone, he introduces the guy to neighborhood prosecutor Steve Houchin and various luminaries from the local Neighborhood Council, he arranges phone calls between the guy and supreme Hollywood cop Commander Cory Palka, and so on.

Most upsetting of all, Halden treats Kilhoffer as if he’s sane. He validates his psychotic concerns as if his ranting makes any freaking sense whatsoever, has any connection, however remote, with actual objective reality. It does not. Kilhoffer’s unhinged anger has obviously driven him to a place almost beyond moral judgment. He’s not competent to stand trial.5 Shunning is almost the only adequate response.6 On the other hand, Halden’s behavior is despicable beyond words and most certainly not beyond moral judgment.

Halden is a professional, his job is ostensibly to serve the people of the City rather than to single out angry dangerous lunatics like Anthony Kilhoffer for special attention and care, to amplify their psychosis and use it to guide policy. We don’t entrust him and his boss and the rest of their damnable ilk with our vast municipal power so they can use it against helpless human beings at the direction of demented psychopaths like Anthony Kilhoffer. He ought to be ashamed of himself, although experience has shown that whether or not he is his behavior won’t be affected by it.

Finally, after six months of Kilhoffer’s abuse and lunatic ravings, Halden finally actually arranges for a sweep of the encampment. In case you were wondering, that’s how encampment sweeps get scheduled in Los Angeles. Oh, and two months later the encampment was back and, I guess, the whole cycle begins again. And what’s the point? I have no idea.7

And, as I said, this episode leaves me utterly without a theory as to who gets these people’s time, in whom they invest their resources, what constituent concerns catch their attention. Anyway, turn the page for a transcription of selections from this utterly off the chain email conversation.
Continue reading Grammy Award Winning Housedwelling Kanye Album Producing Hollywood Landlord Anthony Kilhoffer And His Delusional Demented Psychopathic Anti-Homeless Rants — Addressed Mostly To Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood Minion Dan Halden — Who Listened Sympathetically — And Set Up Meetings For Kilhoffer With Himself — And Neighborhood Prosecutor Steve Houchin — And Supreme Hollywood Cop Commander Cory Palka — And Neighborhood Council People — And So On — Which Goes To Show That Being An Unhinged Lunatic Isn’t A Bar To Being Taken Seriously By The City Of Los Angeles About Homeless Policy — Not If You’re A Housedwelling Property Owner It’s Not — And Six Months Of Kilhoffer’s Screeching Produced A Sweep — And The Encampment Was Back In Less Than Three Months — And The Cycle Begins Again

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