June 7, 2012
Who is the angry guy at 46:31?
June 16, 2009
October 25, 2010
Are the laws being enforced or not?
Linda says that they are and that the proposal would be telling the police what to do. Other members present are just as certain that the laws are not being enforced. The people opposing the proposal asserted that the proposal would criminalize the poor and that unjust laws should not be enforced. So the people against the proposal are against having the laws enforced because that would unjustly oppress the poor. Mark presented evidence that the homeless are blocking access to a building, nightly, so in that case the police are not enforcing the laws. It would not seem that Linda's assertion is supported by what was presented at the meeting.
What about the concerns about people living on the street verses shelters?
There were concerns that because of where the shelters are located it is a problem. Most are not close to Venice, so the homeless there would have to relocate across the basin and even into the valleys. This will determine where they will receive services, also. There was the complaint that shelters are unsafe, with a story of a child being fatally stung by a black widow spider. People spit on the sidewalks of Venice frequently and dogs defecate, too. The sidewalks have many kinds of dormant bacteria and viruses in the dust including tuberculosis and other microbes that become active when the surfaces become wet. As a result, people who lie upon those surfaces run the risk of infections. Should Venice offer shelters for homeless people? Would shelter resistant homeless change their ways? People who live outside must find places to sleep where they will not be victimized. Single individuals find isolated places where they can sleep undetected or they sleep where people can watch over them. So sleeping on the sidewalks is no safer that in cots in shelters. Yet, many of those opposing the proposal seemed to project an attitude that sleeping on the street was a right, a natural right, that laws against sleeping on public thoroughfares unconstitutionally criminalized that right. We largely do have the right to go where we wish but there are limits. We cannot act in a manner that converts other peoples' property to our own uses, and we cannot go where doing so creates public safety problems, as the Supreme Court has allowed. So despite the emotions expressed, ordinances about where people can and cannot do things do not necessarily deprive people of their rights.
Three members of the council made proposals that would delay acting upon the proposal or encumber it with so many additional items to enforce that it would not be possible for the police to meet the requests being made. They obviously were amongst the ones who opposed the proposal.
I am convinced that enforcement of quality of life issues, the concerns of the City's ordinances, are prioritized to consider the limited time police have to do their work, the resistance of the courts or the public to enforce certain ordinances, and of the concerns of the community expressed through the local Council District offices. So a proposal like this can be seen as suggestions from the community about setting priorities concerning enforcement of City ordinances.
In Venice, there seems to be a lot of pressure to not enforce laws that would tend to drive the homeless out of Venice. Since people who avail themselves of social services tend not to remain homeless the assertions by some that a social service mafia is to blame is not an explanation that I can buy. Rather, I think it goes to something more basic. The people who are so opposed want to slow down the changes that they wish would stop. They are mostly not affluent and see the increasing property values squeezing them out. But they are also people who want the kind of freedom where they can do as they wish and not to worry about the consequences. Greater law enforcement is likely to infringe upon their personal freedoms to do what they want. I wonder whether they see the presence of the homeless as something of a hedge against the changes that are taking place.
In any case, the proposal did not pass. I do think that passing such a proposal would have forced the Council person to take a stand which would have been interesting.
June 16, 2009
The conclusion of many VNC members seems to be that only laws that they personally feel are "good" ought to be enforced. One could argue that this is inviting lawbreaking and its consequernces.
LL feels that the Police are already enforcing the laws (She doesn't quite specify which laws) and she shouldn't be " micromanaging " the Police. But it's quite all right to intimidate the Police into not enforcing the laws.
Jane Usher appears to have said something, nobody quite knows what, but the folks against the proposal refer to it as if it were gospel.
Bravo to Mark and Ira and the rest of the sane people on the board for hanging in there in the face of this horde of zealots.
And yes, this decision will follow them and Jane Usher closely throughout their careers.