A local convenience store owner has decided to combat the thieves who plague his establishment by posting security camera stills of them in action.
Since the passage of Prop. 47 in 2014, theft of less than $950 is considered to be a misdemeanor.
With the concurrent passage of AB 109, the state prison system is mandated to transfer much of its population to county jails to ease overcrowding, leaving no room locally to hold those on misdemeanor offenses. Unless you assault someone, you can steal with impunity in Los Angeles. That leaves the store owner defenseless, but for a baseball bat under the counter (no guns!) and the power to shame. Hence, despair.
The white favela, having been forcibly dispersed from its redoubt along Cabrito Road two months ago, re-established itself in small clusters around Van Nuys. The largest of these was adjacent to the Smart and Final, which was, in a hat tip to the Law of Unintended Consequences, a mere hundred feet from the old favela, but ten times as visible from Van Nuys Blvd, or to anyone coming out the Home Depot parking lot. I was there yesterday buying beer for my coolies my friend Marcus, who was helping me terrace the front yard with native succulents. This is was what we saw when we pulled into the parking lot. The cashier told us business had been off 30% in recent weeks. Smart and Final was suing the city and there was a hearing scheduled for the 29th.
This morning we returned to the Depot for more soil, and lo, the blue tarps were gone. The street swept bare of all traces of the encampment. A few police cars were parked at the end of the block. A city vehicle was collecting debris. It was the 28th.
Gone, baby, gone.
But not really. All over Van Nuys, the favela was on the move.
Their barrows heaped with shoddy, temporarily abandoned here and there, while they went back for the rest.
They will circumnavigate the un-policed areas of the Valley until they gather in such numbers as to be a recognized nuisance again. And by recognized, I mean the next time the City receives a notice of legal action on a corporate letterhead.
A smiling purse, a unicorn, a lighthouse in a storm…if you’re living out of your RV, what does it mean? Out of all the detritus of middle-class life one might collect during one’s perambulations through the Valley, why these three items? Why are they facing the outside of the house? Is it a political statement? Are they semaphores for the state of mind of those living within? Are they aspirational?
Perhaps they are offerings left in exchange for generosity to those living in tarp houses nearby.
Like this one.
They’re everywhere. This is the new normal in Van Nuys. This is what Prop. 47 has wrought.
Driving home from Home Depot I saw this guy pushing his cart out of a drainage swale on Raymer Street, huffing with effort. I missed the shot, he’s mostly out of frame, but we can just pretend it was an artistic choice.
These guys are everywhere now. Addiction is a full time job.