By Polo Munoz, Managing Editor/Publisher
Homelessness is a difficult issue to address because there are no easy solutions and there are many complex situations that need to be considered and addressed. As you drive through Los Angeles, you see the difficulties many people are dealing with because they have fallen through the cracks of the neoliberal political decisions made in the past decades. As the liberal progressives take over the political establishments of California and the populace votes in favor of bills like A.B. 1197, which streamlines housing construction in the city of Los Angeles, the challenge is more of moral fortitude than political. Leaders need to face the small influential individuals and groups that are now focused on the “not in my neighborhood” strategy.
These groups of passionate, fearful and organized folks need someone to lead them to their compassion. The people of California and Los Angeles in particular have decided that we do want to do something for our brothers and sisters who are hurting, freezing and dying in the streets of this country and in specific this city. There is no reason why we should see all the tents going up in an environment where the voters have decided that we want to act, rather than just think about it. Except for some spaces, Los Angeles County is a haven for liberal ideas, ideas that include the uplifting of all of us, and a true commitment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These ideas have now even expanded to former-conservative strongholds such as Orange County.
Making sacrifices for the benefit of all, has proven to be the most difficult choice that we make as humans. We tend to focus on how to mitigate our conscience rather than how to truly respond to a crisis that makes us shiver in fear because we are all close to that situation. Many folks are just one paycheck away from being in the streets, and we all know it. The conscious effort to make it difficult for the homeless shelters to be built must be challenged aggressively and the political leaders need to put aside their fear on not being reelected in check so that they can do the humane, moral choice to shelter the people who need it so that then we can then address the issues of mental health and other health issues that have plagued these folks for years before they found themselves wondering the streets.
Although there are charities that do their best, they are not equipped to handle all the necessities these folks have. We as a community have made a decision that we are okay investing the financial resources needed to begin addressing the challenge and the passing of the bill also gives weight to those leaders that are up to the challenge to tackle it. As the LA County Supervisors race intensifies we need the political candidates like Jan Perry, Herb Wesson and grassroots activist Jorge Nuno to tell us how they will address the problem with the financial resources the people have voted to provide as a part of the solution, we know they care, we need to know that they can.