Report From Yesterday’s Historic Core BID Annual Meeting: Huizar Announces Council’s Support For Revision To State Definition Of “Gravely Disabled” But Is Unwilling To Say Explicitly That The Goal Is To Make It Easier To Lock Up Homeless People — BID Board Member Ed Rosenthal Misses The Point And Asks If This Will Make It Easier To Lock Up Homeless People


Well, well, well! The Historic Core BID, third weirdest of the minor Downtown BIDs and the exclusive demesne of batty little fusspot queen Blair Besten,1 held its Annual Meeting yesterday in the crown jewel of Michael Delijani’s Broadway empire, the Los Angeles Theatre. The local zillionaires were blessed by the heavens opening and, well, maybe not the angels of God descending,2 but at least they got José Huizar in all his freaking Councilmanic3 glory.

Of course I taped the whole damn thing, and you can watch it here.4 There are a lot of interesting episodes here, not least these slavering remarks from the meanest woman in BIDlandia, President Tara Devine, who’s handling the Historic Core BID’s ongoing renewal.

Oh, and remember that adenoidal twerp who told the SRNC proponents that they needed to get an education? Well, it turns out that that adenoidal twerp has a name, although I can’t recall it right now and I can’t freaking be bothered to look, but here he is at yesterday’s meeting spewing yet another load of his characteristically adenoidal twerpery all over José Huizar’s new suit.5

However, the very most interestingest bit was José Huizar’s announcement that he and his colleagues had just dropped a motion allowing the City to seek to have the Lanterman Act6 amended so that the the definition of “gravely disabled”7 includes refusing medical services. The whole mess can be found in CF 18-0002-S11.8 You can watch Jose Huizar talking about it and also there’s a transcription and some more snarky discussion after the break.

Everybody knows that the only reason to make a change like this is to make it possible for cops, based on nothing more than their own perceptions and needs, to arrest homeless people merely for being crazy, as if “crazy” means anything more or less to a cop than “irritating or frightening to me or my zillionaire masters.” But, of course, José Huizar is too smart9 to say that kind of thing out loud.

Although he did come closer than I would have thought was prudent, when he said that if this change were made “… we’d see a lot less people exhibiting erratic behavior on our streets here in Downtown L.A.,” as if erratic behavior had anything at all to do with mental illness. But then, during the question time, on-again-off-again HCBID Board member Ed Rosenthal had to go and blow the whole thing by saying out loud what every zillionaire in the room was thinking:10

Councilman Huizar, are you talking about a police officer being able to make a decision on the spot about whether or not a homeless person needs treatment and [unintelligible] leave the sidewalks?

And José Huizar, whether he’s smart or whether he’s wily, knew better than to snap at that bait. He answered with the to-be-expected level of circumlocution,11 basically saying that the lawyers would have to duke it out in the alley and then we’d know what it meant. What it would mean, obviously, is that cops could arrest homeless people just for being homeless, otherwise what’s the point of even having the law. But no one is supposed to say that, Ed Rosenthal!

In any case, my feeling is that something like this doesn’t have much chance of passage at the state level. Sure, yes, it’d be useful for BIDs and police to be able to arrest the homeless for refusing to go to a hospital, but there are powerful other constituencies implicated in this kind of matter. Christian Scientists will be interested, the ACLU will be interested for the establishment clause issues as well as the rights of the mentally ill, and so on.

We’ll see what happens in Sacramento, but I really think that if it were politically possible to use mental illness as a tool for rounding up homeless people and deporting them to concentration camps out in the desert,12 someone would already be doing it. The fact that they’re not suggests it’s not actually doable.

Transcription of Jose Huizar’s remarks on CF 18-0002-S11:

Today the council introduced a motion to support what Mark Ridley-Thomas and Kathryn Barger, the supervisors, are doing in the county, and that is to change the definition of a gravely disabled person, who they are facing mental health issues. And as many of you know about a third of our homeless population have mental health issues and one of the biggest challenges we have is how do we address that population when even if they’re harm to themselves and others we have to be at the extreme before our first responder, is LAPD. It shouldn’t be LAPD, it should be people who are offering social services to them, but that is what we have right now, and they may change the language at the state level that allows us to give those people care if they refuse medical treatment and the people there see that they need medical treatment for their conditions. That’s gonna change the situation quite a bit, cause it would help get people the services they need and we’d see a lot less people exhibiting erratic behavior on our streets here in Downtown L.A. So hopefully we’ll partner again and work with the county and the City to make sure that language is changed at the state level. It sounds easy to us because we see the effects here. We’re probably, of all the state, the one that gets the biggest impact and would benefit most by the change of that language. But it’s gonna be a challenge and a fight up in Sacramento, so please, if you could partner with people, continue
[unintelligible] That’s something that Blair [Besten] brought up in one of her initial reports years ago in the homeless report she gave to us. …

Question by Ed Rosenthal: Councilman Huizar, are you talking about a police officer being able to make a decision on the spot about whether or not a homeless person needs treatment and [unintelligible] leave the sidewalks?


Image of Ed Rosenthal is ©2018 MichaelKohlhaas.Org and was slapped up outta this little guy right here.

  1. From whom we have not heard in some time, because, it seems, she’s been off on a crime spree, thinking the law wasn’t ever gonna catch up with her. But friends, not only will it, but I believe she’s starting to realize that it will, and it’s possible we may be hearing about her again in the near future. Or maybe not; maybe the lure of metaphorically tearing about the metaphorical place in a metaphorical ’53 Chevy metaphorically robbing metaphorical liquor stores is literally too hard for her to resist. Wouldn’t be the first time a girl got herself in all kinds of literal trouble with a metaphorical fast car and a metaphorical wide open road.
  2. Cf. John 1:51.
  3. It turns out that that’s actually a real word, who’d a thunk it? Although of course, here in Los Angeles, our Councilmanic issues are more than balanced out by the Council depressive ones.
  4. If you want to skip straight to the Councilmanic remarks you can click right here.
  5. I didn’t think there was enough assholery in the whole wide world for someone to engage José Huizar with so as to make me feel sorry for the double-dealing little creep, but this twerp proved me wrong. Or maybe I just felt sorry for me because the twerp would not shut the hell up even though he was making significantly less than zero sense.
  6. Found at Welfare and Institutions Code §5000 et seq.
  7. Found at §5008(h).
  8. Of course, destroying everyone’s constitutional rights just to be able to get homeless people out of Los Angeles is also a pet project of Ms. Kerry Morrison, although she wasn’t mentioned in yesterday’s festivities, probably because José Huizar knows just how freakishly inadequate Blair Besten must feel whenever Ms. Kerry Morrison’s name is invoked.
  9. I don’t know if the guy’s actually smart or not. Maybe he’s just wily? My feeling about politicians is that it doesn’t really matter whether or not they’re smart since their successes are determined by their charisma mostly and their policies are determined by their staffs. This isn’t a cynical position on my part. There’s really nothing wrong with choosing our leaders by charisma and having competent staff members do the actual policy work. In fact, it may be the best way to do things. I can’t go into detail here, but if you want to buy me about twenty little espressos we can talk about it for hours. Drop me a line!
  10. As I said, there’s a transcription after the break as well.
  11. Which I’m not going to transcribe, because life is only so long after all.
  12. I’m not making this up. Facebook is literally full of people, many of them living in Downtown Los Angeles, who want to do this. Some of them even want to just have cops on the outside in an Escape From New York kind of scene. And the Facebook warriors who are pushing this jive? Friends with Blair Besten, every last one of ’em. Fucking savages.
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