In The Next year's Mayoral Election, City Hall's Politicians Need Not Apply

Chamba SanchezBy Chamba SanchezAugust 30, 2021
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Voters in LA will have a chance to vote for a new mayor next year.  Whoever wins must be courageous enough to confront the rich liberals who oppose housing for the poor in their communities and environmental groups. The latter makes it difficult to build housing. All developments dealing with housing for the poor should be exempt from California Environmental Quality Act.

According to LAHSA, there are 66,436 homeless people in Los Angeles County and 41,290 in Los Angeles. The 50-block area in Downtown Los Angeles known as Skid Row has been branching out through many neighborhoods in Los Angeles. It is not unusual to see sidewalks crammed with tents of homeless people throughout many communities in Los Angeles.  We also need to shed light on large swaths of Angelenos who are one paycheck away from becoming homeless. Some of them lost their jobs during the pandemic and were lucky and grateful for the eviction protections that will end soon.

It is no hyperbole to say that the Los Angeles government is corrupt and broken and that paralysis rules city hall. City politicians have betrayed the public trust. Not too long ago, two councilmen resigned because they were charged with serious crimes by the FBI.

In mayoral candidates’ forums next year, these mayoral candidates need to be asked one central question: How will you solve the homeless problem? That is it! Then, they should debate the question for the next two hours. Any politician who has been presiding over the paralysis at city hall need not apply. Yes, City Attorney Mike Feuer and Councilman Joe Buscaino, Council President Nury Martinez, and Councilman Kevin de Leon have been spectators of this city’s decline and decay.

The Homeless problem in this city is frustrating, pervasive, and expensive. Rare is the Angelino who has not seen homeless people walking around naked screaming obscenities, shooting up, or having sex in broad daylight.  This human degradation taking place in many communities in Los Angeles is grotesquely sad.

Business people tell us that their bottom lines hinge on clean, unoccupied, and safe streets. These small business owners fret that these homeless people might destroy their ability to make a living. Also, residents who live near homeless people with their children don’t want to hear about compassion or the collective moral obligation this city might have with homeless people. They want the city to exercise its civic duty and remove these people from their communities’ sidewalks.

Residents agreed to pay more taxes so the city could have resources to at the very least make some progress. In March 2017, voters approved Measure H, a 1/4 percent increase to the County’s sales tax provides $355 million per year for ten years. In 2016, In Los Angeles, voters approved another Proposition HHH, $1.2 billion, that would subsidize some 10,000 units.

Mayor Garcetti has been such of disappointment. He promised, people waited, and swift and decisive actions never came. Now he is being promoted, and he will probably become the next Ambassador to India. Garcetti wasted many of the city’s resources, hired incompetent people in his administration, and lacked ideas to solve this homeless problem.

Los Angeles is in desperate need of strong, clear-eyed leaders. The new candidates running for office lack wisdom and a basic understanding of the complexity of residents’ problems. The political machine that controls Los Angeles today is not interested in electing thoughtful leaders.

We have structural problems that require structural solutions.  Local newspapers reported that approximately 1,400 homeless people died in 2020, translating to four to five homeless individuals dying every day through many neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Residents have been asked to make sacrifices, and they have approved measures and propositions that provided resources to use in dealing with this homeless problem.

So much money has been spent, and the progress is either slim or none. We need a deeper level of thinking in tackling this issue. That is unlikely to happen with leaders who lack independence or clear thinking.

City Controller Ron Galperin audited the city’s progress and concluded that the city was building small studios or large studios that cost over half a million dollars. The cost of these units “exceeded the median sale price of a market-rate condominium in the City of Los Angeles and a single-family home in Los Angeles County,” the controller’s audit argues. And then there were articles published in various papers that reported that a restroom for homeless people, yes those you see in Echo park or McArthur Park, cost $339,000.00. What a waste!

There are different types of homeless people with various challenges.  It is also vital to realize that solely focusing on building housing will only relieve some homeless individuals. A significant number of homeless people need not only housing but hey also need medical care. The poor, sleeping in their cars or on the sidewalks because they cannot pay rent-housing and job training will solve all their problems. These people should be housed immediately.  Nevertheless, for the mentally ill or even the drug addicts, things get complicated. Housing for these people dealing with these challenges will not do much if such housing is not connected to comprehensive medical services.

It might be time to reach out to the private sector to help us with this homeless problem. The innovation in the private sector might find a better and cheaper solution to this dispiriting problem.

For all the platitudes that Garcetti and other politicians like to eloquently say in speeches about Los Angeles being on the cutting edge of social justice, the facts on the ground are far grimmer. Power and money are in the hands of very selected few individuals in this city. And poverty and inequality are the byproducts of low-wage jobs and expensive housing.

Our leaders dragged their feet on this crisis for too long that it might now be impossible to find feasible solutions. It is very challenging to revive neighborhoods with abject poverty. LA needs bold and innovative civic leaders who can imagine a better future. This city’s current status is not sustainable.

Mayoral candidates take note.

Thank you for reading.,


Chamba Sanchez



Photo Credit: The picture was purchased from Bigstock

Sources consulted.
Chou, Elizabeth.  “Bass, though undecided, still generating mayoral race buzz.”  Los Angeles Daily News 29 Aug. 2021.
Galperin, Ron.  “High Cost of Homeless Housing: Review of Proposition HHH.”  8 October 2019.
“Handout #4: History of the Presidential Debates.” PBS NewsHour, 2021. Web.29 Aug. 2021.
Goodheart, Jessica. “Homeless Deaths in Los Angeles Rose by More than 30% in 2020.” Capital & Main 2 Feb. 2021.
Kotkin, Joel. “The City of Los Angeles goes to hell.” City Journal Summer 2011.
Melley, Bryan. “Los Angeles passes measure limiting homeless encampments.” AP News 1, July 2021.
O’Connell, Jonathan.  “Fast but uneven spate of evictions loom after Supreme Court frees landlords to oust tenants.” The Washington Post 28 August 2021.
Reyes, Emely Alpert. “$339,000 for a restroom? L.A. politicians balk at the cost of toilets for homeless people.” Los Angeles Times 10 June 2019.




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