God bless Vancouver. Californians were once like this. Now they’re in Texas. Not all of them, praise the lord. Some of us are still around. We keep the memory of liberty with us like a beloved and well-worn pair of work boots we can’t throw away. Rise and shine now, from our stony sleep.
With regard to homeless encampments, the City of Los Angeles pretends to be constrained by the Boise decision, and specifically its local variant, the Jones agreement, from enforcing laws against sleeping on the street.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that as long as the homeless population exceeds the number of shelter beds available in a city, the ordinance cannot be enforced during sleeping hours.
But….what you are not told by the people and corporations feeding off Shantytown, Inc., Boise was limited in scope, and only applied to the night hours, specifically to sleeping. It did not create a right to camp on the sidewalk and was very opaque about shelter.
In other words, if the City created enough shelter spaces, it could put an end to the encampments inside of a week.
What does Los Angeles have in abundance? Space. Empty lots. Unused, undesirable slivers of ground, off the well-trod paths, under freeways, in the brownfields. It also has ample funding, through Props H and HHH, for yurts, tents, geodesic domes, fifth-wheel trailers, and tiny houses on wheels. The crucial elements being temporary and mobile.
We have soldiers and airmen billeted across the globe in these very spartan arrangements for months at a time. Years. If it’s good enough for the military, it’s damn well good enough for crackheads. (hat tip, JayDee)
As long as there is running water on-site, access to sanitary facilities, both of which can be trucked in and out, it qualifies. Small mobile solar panels can provide reading light and phone charging.
What isn’t required? Air conditioning. WiFi. Concrete footings. Sewer lines.
When we landed in Van Nuys our house had NO air-conditioning.
No attic ventilation.
Single pane clear glass windows from the 1970s.
After we closed escrow, we had no money to do anything about it.
Not for the first summer.
We would take refuge at the mall, come home at 9 pm, open the door and step into a sauna. We actually camped in the yard during a prolonged heatwave.
There is nothing quite so permanent as a temporary solution, to quote a friend of mine.
Ad hoc structures sprout like fungi across the cityscape, cobbled together by the People of the Favela from found materials. Kiewit/Shea and the Army Corps of Engineers have nothing on the 77th MethHead Mobile Assembly Brigade. They get it done overnight.
These domiciles cost the public nothing except sanitation, aesthetics, fire safety, petty crime, our collective dignity and quality of life, i.e., property values.
So what would we pay to rid ourselves of eyesores?
How would you feel about $8,600? That’s the price of a two-person Pallet house in a Tiny Home Village. Considering the alternative: $700,000 “transitional housing” apartments with granite countertops and a ten-year horizon line, this a bargain. Sounds good to me.
On Monday the first Tiny House hamlet in L.A. opened on Chandler Blvd in NoHo. Forty 8×8 cabins, each with its own A/C unit and WiFi. Communal showers and support services for 75 people. A second Village is due to open this spring, adjacent to the 170 freeway near Valley Plaza.
There are numerous publically-owned slivers of ground like this, many tucked in enticingly out of the way locations across the county. The Pallet houses can be trucked in and carted away as needed, allowing for flexibility and, crucially, impermanence. Call it Ad Hoc Plus.
You knew this was coming, right?
You’re living in Mayor Garbageciti’s City.
Where the public trough has no bottom.
Where Shantyown, Inc. is King.
The true price of these Pallet houses, to the taxpayer: $130,000.
Scratching your head on this one? Let the Times summarize for us:
A breakdown provided by the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering shows that the contract provides $1.5 million just to prepare the site.
It also includes $122,000 for underground utilities, $253,000 for concrete pads (one for each shelter), $312,000 for an administrative office and staff restroom, $1.1 million for mechanical, electrical and fire alarms and $280,000 for permits and fees.
Additionally, the city has budgeted $651,000 to connect to the street sewer line and $546,000 in design, project management and inspection costs.
The key phrase is concrete pad. The houses were designed to be dropped off on pallets, or any manner of wooden support, and relocated when circumstances desired, much like a job site Porta-Potty. Impermanence is their nature. Anchoring it to concrete is making a temporary solution an ever-lasting one.
I have the calculator out, running the numbers, and coming up with $73,446 per unit. Into whose pocket is the other $56,554 going? The Times is incurious on this point.
The City of Riverside erected an identical village in December, same manufacturer, for $21,ooo a house. In Washington and Oregon, they’re getting them up for $12,000.
The journey from $12K to $130K is the distance between necessity and avarice, between a city that works and one that doesn’t.
Suppose we were to have a civil war in L.A. Suppose the breakaway provinces north of Mulholland Drive declared a sovereign city. Suppose the armies assembled in the Sepulveda Basin for the first pitched battle, Blackwater vs. the Valley Militia. Suppose after sustaining heavy losses to sniper fire Mayor Garcetti called in a napalm strike from the air to give his Hessians cover to retreat.
My question is: would the result look different than what the homeless army has done to the Basin this summer?
If I want to camp in a state park, I have to purchase a space and obey a long list of prudential diktats. Squatting in dry brush with a gas grill and a crack pipe would be at the top of the NO list.
The line between civilization and a state of nature is drawn with butane.
And unlimited EBT cards.
And the right to shit on the pavement forever.
And loot store shelves.
And break windows.
And step off a bus from Ohio with a heroin habit, a bedroll, and an incontestable claim to residency.
All this is de facto legal now.
In fact, it’s a billion-dollar-a-year business.
Want to guess the budget for the Valley Audubon Society?
Enough gloom. Let’s take a peek on the other side of the dam. Something seems to be happening on the spillway. Some kind of roller skating party. A clandestine meetup of photographers and models and dance troupes. That’s not allowed! No one is supposed to be there.
Breaking the rules, all of them. Until the park police chase them away, it’s all spinning girls and illicit smiles and the possibility of the city reclaimed from those who stole it from us.
A masked brigade of thugs descended on a Van Nuys homeless encampment Saturday and administered an indiscriminate, day-long beatdown on garbage.
Wielding shovels and white uniforms they laid waste to waste, detritus of all forms: syringes, month old sweet and sour pork, used batteries and piss jugs fattened by sunlight.
No one invited them. Some brazenly wore MAGA hats, in defiance of local codes.
“I figured if I was ever going wear mine in LA, this would be the day”, said a woman from Santa Clarita.
Patrick, a self-described “red-pilled black man” drove from Loma Linda to get in on the action.
Looking at moments like a post-apocalyptic religious cult, they shamelessly swarmed the garbage field in plain view of its creators, the people of the tent favela a short distance away.
By afternoon, eight tons of garbage were dispatched into two giant containers. The field was scraped down to the gravel.
As their eco-system shrank by the minute, newly homeless rats burst from bags and scampered in circles in search of safety. Fresh dank dark places were in short supply.
Looming over the fascistic process of cleanliness was a mysterious leader named Scott who exerted a Svengali-like hold on the garbage beaters. “Thank you for helping out”, he would tell them as they removed their hazmat suits. “Thank you, Scott, for organizing this”, they would reply.
Then they touched elbows in lieu of shaking hands, as though speaking in code.