This is just a quick post to announce the availability of tons of new records (with more to come this weekend, I hope!) These are available both on Archive.Org and locally through the menu structure above or directly from our document storage.
I recently obtained a 2013 list of people most arrested by the BID Patrol beginning in 2007. Since Kerry Morrison has told me1 that neither the HPOA nor Andrews International tracks outcomes of arrests made by the BID Patrol, I asked the City Attorney to run a report on all cases involving these people sent to them for prosecution.2 I subsequently tallied up the arrests and the referrals for the time period by hand3 and it turns out that the vast majority of cases involving BID Patrol arrests are not even referred for prosecution, and among those that are, over half are rejected. The data is incomplete and subject to some interpretation, but it appears that less than 20% of these cases are actually prosecuted.4 In particular, there are 1144 arrests of these 44 people between 2007 and 2013. Of these, no more than 407 (35.6%) were referred for prosecution. Of those cases, 222 were rejected for various reasons and the rest seem to have been prosecuted.
This is an astonishingly low rate if one thinks that the purpose of arresting people is to stop them from breaking the law, and it’s harmful both to the people arrested and to society at large. The incomparable Alexandra Napatoff, writing about misdemeanor convictions (although her argument is as strong regarding the arrests themselves, and even more so if the conviction rate is so very low), puts it like this;
People often ask us what the hardest thing about writing this blog is. It’s not pestering unwilling politicos for documents the publication of which will, if such a thing were possible, shame them before the world. It’s not attending and filming the public meetings of the BIDs and watching angry white people spitting and hissing at the world they think has done them so very wrong. It’s not thinking of nasty things to say about them. Lord, it’s not even resisting the temptation to say all the very, very nasty things we think of when confronted with them.
No, none of these. Right at this very moment, the hardest thing about writing this blog is stopping ourselves, all three of us, from running out onto the street, grabbing random people by the collar, and forcing them to read Kerry Morrison’s latest blog post on Hollywood homeless people, to subsequently acknowledge just how completely freaking batshit insane it is, and finally to join us in drinking ourselves rapidly into a stupor sufficiently deep to erase the last traces of this febrile outpouring of dangerous delusions from our long-suffering minds. We’re not doing any of that because we’re writing this essay instead, but we make neither promises nor representations concerning what we might do when we’re done with it.
Anyway, as usual, we’re going to mock this nonsense one piece at a time, with Kerry’s words in blue. The links are Kerry’s. As we inch toward Labor Day, I realize that this summer will be characterized by the one issue that has dominated my attention: the increased evidence of homelessness in our city. Every day has involved phone calls with stakeholders, ad-hoc community meetings, or city and coalition task forces evaluating the factors at work and the solutions in play. So many people have suggested that we are in the midst of a new trend – a sea change of sorts – because what we are seeing does not resemble the face of homelessness five or ten years ago.