Readers React

Unlawful dumping isn't just a problem with the homeless

To the editor: I thank The Times for opposing this ill-considered measure by the city of Los Angeles to allow homeless people's belongings to be seized after 24 hours. ("Council proposal to declutter L.A. should be rejected," editorial, Feb. 26)

It's important to remember that despite the highly visible homeless encampments downtown and elsewhere, L.A.'s street-trash problem is by no means localized. A great deal of it is due to residents dumping furniture and large appliances without arranging for pickup.

It's a fundamental matter of fairness that the city use its limited trash collection resources in such a way that all residents are equally impacted. The police and other city agents evidently don't have the resources to enforce existing laws against dumpers, and by passing this law, the City Council would be giving private security forces paid by business improvement districts yet another weapon in their campaign of social cleansing against the homeless without doing anything to clean the streets in most of the city.

Adrian Riskin, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The editorial board states, "One of the jobs of the city is to balance the rights of the homeless against Los Angeles' other needs."

I notice that when the phrase "rights of the homeless" is used, it is rarely followed by "rights of property owners" or "rights of others." This keeps us focused on violations of rights of the homeless, as if the rest of us had no rights that also might be violated.

Let's be clear: We all have rights, homeless or not. I am finding that the "rights" of the homeless often are protected more than my rights are — and this is just not right.

Catherine Cate, Santa Ana

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