In this troubled time, perhaps to be known to future history as the early days of fully formed American fascism, sane people have legitimate reasons to worry about the President of the United States adding homeless human beings to the already too-long list of people he’s willing to intern in camps, torture, and kill in order to further his political purposes.1
Meanwhile our local politicians keep up their characteristically hypocritical performance of opposition to Trump and empathy towards the unhoused2 while continuing to call down sweeps on their encampments, displacing them, endangering them, occasionally killing them. Endangering, sacrificing, just as Donald Trump does, the lives of actual human beings for no better reason than to please their bloodthirsty constituents, who demand visible action in lieu of actual solutions.
Of course, that’s not how these politicians frame their activities. They go on and on and on about how police-attended encampment sweeps are necessary to help homeless residents, to disincentivize them from living on the street and encourage them to accept shelter, et cetera. But that’s not a reason the City of Los Angeles has sweeps, not at all. And whatever all the reasons might be, political expedience is certainly one of them.
Just for instance, take a look at this December 2017 email from Taylor Bazley, formerly on CD11 repster Mike Bonin’s staff, to LAPD senior lead Adrian Maxwell, asking him to “focus resources” a homeless encampment on Hampton Avenue in Venice. Bazley was communicating Bonin’s concerns which had nothing to do with helping the inhabitants in any way at all. No, Bazley’s stated reason for focusing resources on this “particularly disadvantageous” encampment were that:
… across the street is the primary homeless serving organization for the SPA (St. Joseph Center) – people will think that the encampment is due to the organization and the Councilmember is concerned that this will make projects we all want to move forward, more difficult with an already skeptical neighborhood.
And we’re familiar with what Bazley means by “an already skeptical neighborhood.” He’s talking about the housedwelling Venice psychopaths who oppose all efforts to house the houseless in Venice with their potty-mouthed racist rage rants, their calls for firebombing vehicle dwellers, shooting homeless human beings with military-grade acoustic pain rays, and so on.
These are the people Mike Bonin tries to placate with his encampment sweeps. These are the people for the sake of whose approval Bonin puts the lives of encampment dwellers at risk by subjecting them to police attention. Keep this in mind the next time some clueless out-of-towner says something about left-wing Los Angeles. Keep it in mind the next time Mike Bonin hypocritically insults homeless advocates by comparing them to Donald Trump.
Subject: Hampton Ave – Venice
From: Taylor Bazley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 12/12/17, 5:02 PM
Hi Sgt. Maxwell,
We haven’t had the pleasure of meeting – I wanted to flag a location I know you might already be familiar, Hampton between Marine and Rose ave. in Venice.
An encampment is hardening there which is particularly disadvantageous because across the street is the primary homeless serving organization for the SPA (St. Joseph Center) – people will think that the encampment is due to the organization and the Councilmember is concerned that this will make projects we all want to move forward, more difficult with an already skeptical neighborhood.
To the extent that you can focus resources on this location would be appreciated.
Field Deputy – Venice, OFW, Silver Strand, Marina Peninsula
Councilmember Mike Bonin
City of Los Angeles
Image of Mike Bonin is ©2019 MichaelKohlhaas.Org and evidently once dreamed a little dream or two with this Mike Bonin over here.
- H/T for drawing my unified attention to these references to Los Angeles City Council District 4 candidate Nithya Raman in this Twitter thread. Please consider giving her a ton of money and/or volunteer time and then if you live in CD4 voting for her!
- A word they’ve enthusiastically adopted while ignoring all the humanitarian nuance embedded in it.