Wednesday, February 22, 2012

F20: Occupy Skid Row Los Angeles

I must preface by saying that I am not educated about Skid Row. I have only visited, recently, and can only repeat what I have heard. I am not a satisfactory representative regarding being able to discuss it, yet I will attempt to, from my admittedly limited perspective.

Please see a recent update as police are now attacking the Row, and we know who is behind it. June 22, 2012:

Los Angeles is the homeless capital of the world.

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Downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row is the last stop for many hit by addiction and even simple chronic unemployment, and the issues of foreclosure scams, and mainly, the sad, disturbing overall lack of opportunity and support in the inner city. There are an estimated 5,000 people living on the streets in this area, in abject poverty. You can easily walk to the Los Angeles City Hall from Skid Row. (Passing City Hall today, I saw several homeless people living in the "park" kitty-corner to City Hall, in plain view of any looking out their window on that side of the building.)

This is not the entirety of the issue.  When I was in college in the mid 1980s, my psychology professor told of Reagan destroying national funding for mental health care. Many in the institutes had no family and no ability to care for themselves. Winter would kill them. Many in charge took the remaining care monies and purchased bus tickets to Los Angeles (specifically, Santa Monica, Regean's home town), so that at minimum, the ill would not freeze to death.

There are an estimated 40,000 total homeless in all of LA County.

What do our elected officials do about this? It is said that you may judge a society by how it treats its weak.

Watch "The Soloist" for one example of how the homeless were forced out of one downtown area so that developers could create lofts and housing for the ritzy. It is a true story.

Look at this link as well:

Villaraigosa quietly plans to hand Gensler $1 million meant for the poor 

"Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has decided to spend $1 million in federal grants — money that had been avidly sought by residents of Skid Row — to instead help out San Francisco–based Gensler, a 2,800-employee giant that enjoyed $463 million in revenue last year."

In other words, Skid Row is to them, both an obstacle and an opportunity to siphon monies. The human element does not enter into the equation. Apparently, not at all. And it gets even worse.

To add insult to injury, legislation far too loosely based upon the "broken window" theory, that a single broken window is like an invitation to rabble-rousers to destroy even more, has been enacted in the form of the "Safer City Initiative". What happens is that police drive past all residents at 6-ish AM and inform them that they must tear down any tents and neither sit nor lay on the sidewalk until the end of the day's curfew.

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(Suffice to say, any "clean-up" would only be of homeless persons' property; I did not take any photos of the urine and fecal stains on the sidewalk near these signs, but obviously, they are both old and new and are most definitely not "cleaned-up". As evidenced by the overall aroma. This is not a knock against the homeless, this is a hit against the city, which provided porta-potties for Occupy; why can they not provide the same for those in horrible, desperate need? Hmm? There is plenty of money to pay for police in the area...)

And what happens to your property if you are seeing a social worker, eating, finding a bathroom, etc.? It can be confiscated and thrown away. Even your ID and medication.

You will be arrested if you do not comply with the tent take-down morning order. Occupy the Hood Los Angeles member Bilal Ali was arrested two days ago for just this (he and others have been camping on Skid Row, battling this "law"). And please note that few if any Skid Row residents actually completely pack up and leave each day, at least to this novice's experience; they flatten their tents and stay in place.

This law does nothing to "remove" any supposedly damaging influences or people; all it accomplishes is to demonize and inconvenience those already suffering too much. It removes dignity and human comfort and is unacceptable.

A "No tent take-down day" was declared and Occupy Los Angeles moved into Skid Row, joining Occupy the Hood LA, LA Community Action Network, and others against the SCI.

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Per the observations in the Shadowmedia video, a call was put out for attendance from Occupiers and supporters with cameras and video equipment.

Police passed through to rouse everybody:

And they crept by twice an hour or more after that:

Police did at least five passes to observe before sending in the "redskirts", who are evidently hired by the local rich as a private security force. Meaning, they call the cops when they see anything they don't like. Basically, they are corporate enforcers. Corporations and business making law...

TC tells the truth about them to their faces:

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The above video also explains about something interesting: a group called Catholic Workers give shopping carts to the homeless and there is law that they be left alone. Thank you Catholic Workers! What you are doing is the real deal! (Click the photos twice for larger versions, then your browser's "Back" button twice to return to this page.)

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The Catholic Workers

Offensive presence grew to four redskirts and two police:

When about six redskirts were gathered at the site, police finally left their vehicles to personally address "our leader" (we laughed, as whenever we are asked that question). "Hidden" in a mass of meaningless questions was the kicker: "How long are you considering staying?"

So TC and Jojo explain the situation on Skid Row, and the inner city:

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The campaign to rescind LAPD Special Order 11:

Please note that the homeless on this street DID comply with the take-down order; what goes on when there are no cameras? 

Later in the day, there was a march to the "Twin Towers" incarceration facility to protest inhuman treatment of inmates:

It was not all tension; Occupy Los Angeles demands to have fun:

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A little rock and roll air guitar to accompany the boom box:

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Kicking back:

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A group of students from Canada dropped by to learn:

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And of course:

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Check out Occupy the Hood, Occupy the Hood LA, and more on Facebook.

Check the occupyshadowmediala channel on youtube for reports:

Photo slideshow of all pics, more than posted here, mainly of OLA people:

And here is a far deeper article than my own, thanks Dan!

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