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Opinion: Garcetti’s desire to ‘end homelessness once and for all’ is wishful thinking

Eric Garcetti tours a new skid row hygiene center, with showers and toilets, on Dec. 4, 2017.
Eric Garcetti tours a new skid row hygiene center, with showers and toilets, on Dec. 4, 2017.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Alexander Nazaryan’s effort to praise Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as a pragmatist is contradicted by his citing Garcetti’s statement, “We are not here to address homelessness, or manage homelessness, or reduce homelessness. We are here to end homelessness once and for all.” (“Let’s compare Eric Garcetti and Bill de Blasio,” Opinion, Jan. 5)

Many chronically homeless people suffer from mental illness, addiction or both, which severely impairs their ability to cooperate with social workers coordinating their treatment or housing. Even for those who end up in housing or a treatment program, their paranoid delusions or inability to resist addiction makes it likely they will end up back on the alleys or beaches.

But let’s say we achieve Garcetti’s vision and in the future, Los Angeles finds a way to stabilize all mentally ill or addicted homeless people and provide housing for everyone. The news that Los Angeles has such a wonderful program would inevitably lead to tens of thousands of homeless people arriving from near and far to receive similar benefits.

Cyril Barnert, MD, Los Angeles

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The writer is a retired clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA.

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To the editor: Garcetti may “radiate the cool competence of a manager confident in government,” but this is not improving the streets of Los Angeles. We’ve been hearing so many grandiose plans for solving the housing crisis, but things seem to be getting worse.

Garcetti says he wants to end homelessness once and for all, but how about cleaning the streets for a start? Sprucing up Silver Lake Boulevard between the 101 Freeway and Virgil Avenue, for example, would help both homeless people and the housed residents of that area. Right now, that neighborhood and others look like third-world slums.

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Yes, homeless people must live somewhere, but why not try to keep those areas clean?

Nazaryan says Garcetti understands that politics is about making people’s lives better. I know my life would be better with cleaner streets and would gladly trade the tables in front of Grand Central Market (one of Garcetti’s accomplishments) to get them.

Julio Emilio Moliné, Glendale

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