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Opinion

Readers React: Why can’t city leaders solve homelessness? Because they’re politicians

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L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti holds a news conference on the corner of 8th Street and Ceres Avenue in Los Angeles on June 6.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Steve Lopez and many other reporters at the Los Angeles Times have detailed the excuses, one after the other, by local politicians for why they failed to understand the magnitude of our homelessness crisis.

Give politicians a problem, and you will get a political answer motivated primarily by protecting their jobs. Lopez describes what is needed now: a bold or even a slightly reckless leader who knocks heads, detests blue-ribbon panels and takes a blowtorch to red tape.

I would add one other qualification: someone who is working on the ground. Lopez mentions Michael Parks of Flyaway Homes or the leaders of the People Concern, with whom I have worked for years as an advocate for the poor and homeless community in Malibu and more recently in Van Nuys. These are the people of vision unclouded by archaic rules.

Big government approaches the problem as if it involves rocket science, when what it needs is on-the-job experience.

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Paul Elder, Malibu

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To the editor: Why do organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union think they are helping homeless people by protecting their rights to restrain city cleanup crews from removing the piles of unsanitary trash?

Protecting the rights of homeless people to sleep on public sidewalks might be justifiable under certain conditions, but what logic or justification could there be to designate piles of trash as personal property that cannot be removed?

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Norman Eagle, Palos Verdes Estates

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To the editor: Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The 16% rise in Los Angeles’ homeless population proves that City Hall and the county should stop spending bond money on housing and services and try something else.

Instead, spend this money on moving homeless people to remote, vacant county land. Fence it, guard it and install bathrooms and dumpsters. Then, power wash the streets and sidewalks.

This might even comply with court orders only allowing removal if “housing” is provided.

Jim Mitchell, Rancho Palos Verdes

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To the editor: No one cares what happens to the poor until it finds its way into the middle class and up. Phooey on L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and all of the rest of his ilk.

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Rats in City Hall? Bummer.

David Dale, Sonoma

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