Saturday, April 15, 2006

Economics According to the ACLU

The ACLU's Mark Rosenbaum is crowing about his defeat over the LA City ordinance that forbids people from sitting, lying or sleeping on a public way, that the City put in place to discourage the homeless from taking up residence in LA's Skid Row streets, a 50 block downtown "eyesore." (How's that word for an unfair dismissal in one fell slur of a huge logistic and humanitarian problem?)


[Thanks to weingart.org for the photo.]

I believe all people should have the right to live where they please, but the City should have the right to choose where they cannot do certain things, i.e. sleep in the middle of the street or cohabit in carton shelters under conditions that attract vermin. On the other hand, arresting a homeless and having him spend the night in jail is no solution, either. The City would have to build facilities for 11,000 new "inmates."

That's about as bad as Rosenbaum's suggestion that the City collect our taxes to build shelters and give the homeless free health care and jobs.

" 'I think what community leaders need to do now is deal with the problem, not by criminalizing homelessness, but by developing shelters, mental health programs and jobs ... That's not only humane, it is economically and socially wise. Once they do that, so many other social problems in the community,' will be alleviated, including the high population in the county jail and pressure on emergency health services and foster care..." (Article from the LA Times here.)

How moving the population to as-yet-unbuilt shelters from existing jails will relieve any pressure on government resources is anyone's guess. Another problem with this idea is that if the City does go down this road, as they have in San Francisco, at some point LA will become the Skid Row that the heart of San Francisco is fast becoming. (Have you been there recently? It's heart breaking.)

There must be a more practical solution out there somewhere, and personally I think it should involve private charities and not the very same state government that makes a mess of everything it touches. Furthermore, the Omnipotent State mentality discourages private parties from donating to and creating charities because "we've already given our money to City Hall through taxes, so they will take care of it." They won't, and probably can't if the ACLU has anything to say about it.

In the meantime, there's a potential Supreme Court case brewing here because the ACLU did evoke the 8th Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment. I hope the City has the guts to take this further. And what about New York, where it's illegal to sit on a milk case? Where's the ACLU on that one? On the other hand, having just come back from comparative visits to San Francisco and New York, I know where I'd rather live; and I'm not alone, because the consensus population of San Francisco is now on the decline.


1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rent control is a good beginning, rather than tearing down existing affordable housing, to build expensive condo's that the typical citizen can not afford. Illegal immigration control is another option. Many citizens can't get jobs because they do not speak Spainish, and due to the people dragging the pay rate down to a level where people can not afford rent without 3 jobs, a lot more people are homeless.

Those same souls send their money out of the country, to be spent there, meaning more people losing jobs here. The taxpayers could also stop supporting people who support going to other country's and killing innocent mothers and children, the money could be used here. Do you know how many construction workers---born raised taxpayers---are out of work? Some, homeless. It would help too, to enforce laws, keeping the drug dealers in jail; actually checking to see if homeless are fugitives from other states. A lot can be done, but not putting honest people in jail for sleeping, somewhere, turning them into criminals, when their only crime was not being able to earn enough to keep a roof over their heads.

9:03 AM  

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