Los Angeles mayoral candidates push for homelessness in Caruso’s absence

In the final group debate The Los Angeles Mayor’s campaignThree candidates gave a more activist, progressive tone to the issue of homelessness on Friday night than in previous meetings, calling for tighter rent controls, and the transfer of funding from the police to housing and social services.

Leading activist Gina Viola, taking part in her first debate with the most prominent candidates, was largely responsible for pushing the debate to a new level, with her call for money from the police to provide social services, and for the city government to follow suit. boats who: took possession of the houses of El Serenoturning empty buildings into apartments.

But US Congressman Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles)’s city council member, Quinn de Leon, also seemed to intend to make it clear that despite their many years in office, they would not maintain the status quo, with 29,000 people living on the streets. In Los Angeles և more than 41,000 homeless homes.

“I have seen what our government can do when we want to,” Bass said. “We have just completed the construction of all kinds of shelters for Afghan refugees in Qatar. Why can’t we use some of those resources here indoors? … I think we need temporary housing, but we also need to build permanent ancillary housing. ”

De Leon agreed that America had spent billions financing “secret” and “open” wars around the world … but we just could not find money for Americans here in the United States, like in California, where there is zero homelessness. is all over the country. »

The left turn of the debate was partly due to who was not on stage. Board member Joe Buscaino, former police officer was left out of the race earlier this month, taking his focus on implementation. And real estate designer Rick Caruso, who also paid close attention to the responsibilities of the homeless, as well as the need for more housing, turned down a debate sponsored by KCRW և The Times.

As the forum was not televised and did not include one of the leaders, Caruso, it was unclear how much it would affect the outcome of the June 7 election. (If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the two main contenders will meet in the November general election.)

Polls posted Bass և Caruso is far ahead of the fieldwhich has been significantly offended by Buscaino’s departure in recent days then City Atty. Mike Foyer. Buscaino showed his support for Caruso, and Foyer supported Bass.

De Leon is far behind the two leaders. Viola conducted a survey with low one-digit numbers.

Although no new serious initiatives on hunger were mentioned, the candidates had some lively exchanges. One was when De Leon suggested focusing on “inclusive” zoning through the city so that developers would have to build more units accessible to the working class, the poor.

“Market forces were not enough to build affordable housing. It will only appear online if ‘we require a certain number of affordable units in the projects,'” de Leon said. “What I will do is give a mandate for affordable housing. That’s so simple. “

Bass said he agreed that zoning should be one tool, but countered. He said he would work with Washington leaders to increase the distribution of housing subsidy vouchers available to Angeles, and to seek control of the land by the city’s other government agencies, which will be used for housing.

Viola called for more radical solutions, advocating the idea of ​​seizing empty property and handing it over to the homeless. He said the city should use the power of the famous domain to take over such buildings.

“We have all the highways on Highway 710, which have been a disgrace to the state of California for decades, leaving them empty. “I mean, this is just disgusting,” said Viola.

When the epidemic took effect in March 2020, a group of homeless and homeless Angels invaded a part of the house that had been empty for years.

These settlements were confiscated by the state, but were never demolished as A. The now-abandoned 710 highway extension project.

Over the next two years, activists repeatedly tried to seize El Sereno vacant homes in response to the region’s affordable housing crisis. The city responded by renting some of the former vacant homes from the state as temporary housing for people.

There is now a plan to rebuild the lands, some of which are empty, some of which have abandoned houses, some of which are still occupied, to convert 252 new or restored houses or flats into pocket parks or short walkways.

KCRW’s Homelessness correspondent Anna Scott, who co-chaired the debate with Times columnist Gustavo Arellano, said the well-known domain could be a long, costly process, and wondered what more immediate solutions could be found.

Viola also said that the previous discussions on the homeless were not wide enough, as they did not talk enough about the reorganization of the city budget, which, according to him, is a “moral document.”

He said the excessive spending on the police was due to too many other priorities. “This is what the city has given priority to,” said Viola, “from housing, health care, things that really take care of us and protect us.” So that’s something that needs to change. “

Viola, who runs a company that hires temporary workers at other companies, has called for a “People’s Budget” proposed by a coalition of 2020 groups, including Black Lives Matter-LA, Ground Game LA and the Sunrise Movement Los Angeles. :

The plan is to take money from the Police Department, use it to hire more mental health counselors, group intervention staff, and other public servants to discuss trauma and try to prevent violence.

But it was not De Leon who was the activist who once urged Times owner Dr. Patrick Son-Shiong to donate to St. Vincent Medical Center, west of downtown, to help with the famine crisis.

The issue arose when Bass said that there were valuable objects in the city that were not fully utilized, citing St. Vincent as an example. He said unnecessary government regulations limited the facility to 34 beds in a 344-bed facility that could be used for mental health հիվանդ drug abuse patients. He said he knew Son-shiong was willing to “rent” the hospital to be used for that purpose.

“The owner of that facility is the owner of the Los Angeles Times, a multibillionaire who actually has to give that property away.”

Soon-Shiong bought the medical complex in 2020. He was unable to contact immediately Friday night for comment on the exchange. But when? Bass has raised the issue before“Medical care’s mental health services are potential problems in dealing with the homelessness crisis. I’m glad that Congressman Bass is raising these concerns and looking for solutions.”

While Bass focused on his years of work in government, which he said he did to bring people together to find solutions, De Leon spoke about the apartments he helped build in his neighborhood, which is part of the city center.

He quoted, in particular, the opening A. “Small house” institution This is the largest in the country, saying that the project has created safe areas for people on the street.

Viola responded by repeatedly calling the cheap houses “small cottages”, saying that they were smaller than some cells and had sometimes been the scene of sexual harassment.

De Leon objected, saying that small buildings are a huge step for people living on the streets in poverty.

“I would not describe them as cottages,” de Leon said. “The reason I say this is that for a human being who lives on the streets every day for years, if not decades, it is a divine gift.”

If Caruso decided to skip the discussion, he was completely absent.

The online live broadcast of the candidates և moderators was surrounded by advertisements featuring Caruso. When moderator Arellano announced that Caruso preferred to be absent, he mocked. “He’s probably shooting a TV commercial somewhere.”

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