Saturday, September 24, 2005

Let's hear it for the City of Los Angeles

Police Captain Andrew Smith of Los Angeles ran across an urban legend in the act:
the police dumping the homeless, mentally ill, and criminals in downtown Los Angeles.

From the Los Angeles Times:
Smith said he was out on patrol with his partner about 10 a.m. Tuesday when he noticed a Los Angeles County sheriff's car driving down 6th Street. The cruiser, he said, turned south on San Pedro, then west on 7th Street to San Julian Street. There, Smith watched in disbelief as two deputies "pulled over, took a guy in handcuffs out of the car. They took off the cuffs and handed him a bag," Smith said.

The captain and his partner immediately got out of their car and questioned the man and the deputies. Smith said the deputies told him that the man had been released from the Men's Central Jail and was standing outside on the street when a supervisor ordered them to take the man to a downtown mission.

"But there was no mission nearby," Smith said. "Only a line of guys sitting on milk crates."

Let me interject here that I do not believe this is limited to Los Angeles. I hope to see other newspapers ferret out this despicable practice.

More from the article:
Late last year, after Santa Clarita decided not to reopen a winter shelter it had operated and instead opted to pay a social service provider to bus the homeless to shelters in the San Fernando Valley and downtown,

People suck.

Why is this becoming an issue now? More from the article:

Estimates place downtown's homeless population at 9,000 to 11,000. Most live in skid row, located in the older section of downtown around 5th Street. But in recent years, the area has become an epicenter for a dramatic revitalization of Los Angeles' central core. Many of the long-derelict banking buildings around skid row have been transformed into luxury lofts as a new residential community of upscale urbanites takes hold.

Luxury lofts, of course! These urban interlopers want the character of the neighborhood without the characters. And with property values are at risk, now they are concerned about "police dumping." Not concerned about the humans who are getting dumped, though.

I'm not guessing about the lack of concern - continuing from the article:
"How dare they," said Lopez, of the Central City East Assn. "How dare they take someone with a criminal record of the magnitude this person has, and put him on the streets? … My organization is spending $1 million a year on safety. What disrespect."

But we've got rationalizations:

"A lot of communities are not equipped to handle homeless men and women and children," said Kim Ferraro, vice president of development and community affairs for the Weingart Center near 5th and San Pedro streets. "This is a community known for helping the homeless."

In a related story, the Baltimore Orioles told Rafael Palmiero not to bother returning. No confirmation on whether the Baltimore Police also dump their unwanted in downtown Los Angeles.

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