Tag Archives: Unified Homeless Response Center

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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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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Creepy Little Venice Zillionaire George Francisco Wanted A Homeless Man Evicted For The Sake Of His Sign Lighting Event — So He Got Creepy Little Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley To Look Into “Commanding” The Homeless Man To Leave — Mayoral Flunky Brian Buchner Turned Out To Be The Grownup In The Room And Put The Nix On This Plan — So Much For The Theory That Encampment Cleanups Target Health And Safety Problems — Given That Bazley And Francisco Value A “High Profile Event” More Than A Human Being’s Residence

Ask the City’s powerful and you’ll hear a familiar story. That breaking up and cleaning out homeless encampments promotes health, promotes safety, is even good for the people whose homes are being destroyed. Just ask Estela Lopez, the executive director of the Downtown Industrial District BID, who will tell you that these cleanups are good for the very people who are getting cleaned up. Ask famous-on-Facebook homelessness hero Betsy Starman, who’ll tell you that even arresting homeless people is for their own damn good. Ask LAPD’s HOPE team, who will tell you the whole thing is for the benefit of the victims.

Heck, ask zillionaire property owner, serial plagiarist, and erstwhile president of the board of directors of the whole damn Hollywood Property Owners Alliance John Tronson, who will tell you that arresting the homeless isn’t just necessary to help them, but it’s actually good for them. Ask Tronson’s once-upon-a-time BID Patrol minion Mike Coogle, who at one point responded to a social worker’s worries about a man who wasn’t 5150-eligible but who she still wanted to lock up with an offer to arrest him as much as possible so that eventually warrants would issue and she would be able to help him whether he wanted it or not. How’s that for arrests being good for the homeless?!

And this is a good narrative, I guess, or at least a useful one. It lets people who just want the homeless moved out and away and don’t give a damn about the pain and destruction to feel like they’re helping people while helping themselves, to feel like they at least appear that they do give a damn about human suffering. It strains the credulity of the sane, though, to believe that arresting homeless people, that breaking up their camps and destroying their possessions, is actually good for anyone, let alone the people it’s happening to. Or even that anyone actually intends it to be good.

There are just too many episodes like the one about CD13’s scheduling a cleanup because some zillionaire landlord had a property inspection coming up or the one about CD14 arranging a cleanup in advance of a movie company’s planned filming. It sure seems like, no matter what the lies the powerful are telling themselves in the morning mirror, the motives for evicting the homeless are really not humane at all.1

And today I have another example, albeit with a twist this time, which is the involvement of Garcetti homelessness staffer Brian Buchner who, if not humane, at least understands how to manage appearances. The whole story is told in this email conversation between CD11 field deputy Taylor Bazley,2 Brian Buchner, Dominic Choi, Emada Tingirides, and Garcetti’s latest magic bullet, the Unified Homelessness Response Center. The subject is universally-reviled-by-sane-people Venice zillionaire George Francisco and his infernal Venice Sign comma lighting ceremony therefor, scheduled last year for Saturday, December 1, 2018. You can read the special event permit here.

And the problem? Well, there was a human being living on the sidewalk where this very special event was to take place. And George Francisco wasn’t having it. So he had Taylor Bazley email a bunch of LAPDs and ask the eternal burning question, which is how can we get the homeless person out of the way of the zillionaire party? Turn the page for a transcription of this and the rest of the discussion, and don’t ever believe them again when they tell you they’re arresting homeless people for their own damn good.
Continue reading Creepy Little Venice Zillionaire George Francisco Wanted A Homeless Man Evicted For The Sake Of His Sign Lighting Event — So He Got Creepy Little Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley To Look Into “Commanding” The Homeless Man To Leave — Mayoral Flunky Brian Buchner Turned Out To Be The Grownup In The Room And Put The Nix On This Plan — So Much For The Theory That Encampment Cleanups Target Health And Safety Problems — Given That Bazley And Francisco Value A “High Profile Event” More Than A Human Being’s Residence

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