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Westlake Legal Group > homelessness

Jonathan Glanz: Allowing tents on the public highway is the wrong way to help rough sleepers

Cllr Jonathan Glanz represents West End Ward on Westminster City Council and is the Council’s Lead Member for Broadband and Connectivity

If somebody pitched a tent on the front lawn of your home, you would be within your rights to remove them from your property immediately as they would be trespassing. If somebody pitches a tent on the Public Highway, as we have seen examples on Regent Street, Piccadilly and Whitehall, the Local Authority has no power to remove them without first serving 30 days’ notice on the occupants. That is the minimum requirement, and it is only then that a Court Order can be made to remove the tent. The process therefore often takes considerably longer.

The Court Order applies not to the individual within the tent, nor to the tent itself, but to the specific location of the tent at the time. If the tent has been moved, even by just a metre or so, the Order is invalid, and even when a valid Order is obtained, the recipients, fully wise to the current law, can move the tent and the whole process starts again.

The tents provide immediate shelter for rough sleepers, but they also provide a space where they can undertake activities unseen from the prying eyes of neighbours or law-enforcement officers.

Tents pitched in Soho have frequently been used as drugs dealing points, for drug consumption, prostitution and other crimes. As they amount to a private space or dwelling, neither the police nor the Council can require the occupants to open the tent flap and reveal the activity within without a warrant.

Those occupying the tents often use the nearby street for dumping, as a lavatory and a queue for drug users or prostitutes’ punters. You can imagine the frustration of living above or besides such activity and having no effective remedy.

This is part of the increasing challenges faced by Local Authorities and police with rough sleeping in our city centres. Westminster spends over £7 million per year reaching out to rough sleepers in an attempt to bring those living on the streets indoors where they can receive medical attention and help to start rebuilding their lives.

Westminster has always had more than its fair share of people living on the streets. Historically, it was Meths drinkers in and around the Strand, many of whom suffered from substance misuse or mental health, who lived (and in many cases prematurely died) on our streets.

However, the new tent-dwelling cohort are part of significant Roma population who have come to London simply to beg and indulge the generosity of the resident and visitor population. Whilst many visitors salve their conscience by thinking they are helping the individual concerned, those who understand the problems know that these people, often victims themselves, are part of sophisticated organised crime.

Literally, millions of pounds per year are taken out of the West End economy by such activity. Unfortunately, little if any of this goes to help the individuals concerned, who are merely pawns in the organised crime game. They themselves are the victims of modern slavery as they are forced to beg on the streets, and then account for their monies to their gang masters. Those giving money believe they are helping the individuals concerned to buy a sandwich because their piece of cardboard, provided to them at the beginning of their shift, says “I’m hungry”. In fact, they are providing money which is more likely to go to fund the next Range Rover for Mr Big back in Romania.

The agencies involved in seeking to help rough sleepers and the police will tell you that it is not unusual for these beggars to take £500 or £600 cash per session in central London. Indeed, a Senior Police Officer told me that he recently arrested one who had £6,500 in cash on them.

Roma beggars now live in our parks, squares, subways and doorways. Men and (even heavily pregnant) women often spend their nights on the streets and then await their gangmaster who will allocate spots to them and organise their shifts and arrange to collect their monies afterwards. They are extremely well-organised.

This behaviour has now has become further entrenched with the tents. Last week saw a huge operation to clear 15 tents from the central reservation of Park Lane and a similar number from Hanover Square, where Crossrail is building one of its Bond Street Stations. Needless to say, they are already back. Residents and businesses are at their wits’ end, complaining that neither the police nor the Council have sufficient resource to undertake the necessary enforcement, but the fundamental problem lies elsewhere.

As Romania is in the European Union, its citizens are free to travel, and free to work in the UK. They claim to be here exercising their Treaty Rights, and the Courts have decided that they have a right to be here, even when they have no intention of seeking work (presumably decided by a judge who does not live in the West End). Consequently, there have been further emboldened by this process, and we must now, as we leave the European Union, revisit the Legislation, so that we can have appropriate enforcement action coordinated between UK Borders Authority and with the full support of the Council, police and Home Office to ensure that this arrangement, facilitating and providing monies for organised crime comes to a swift end.

I am therefore calling on Priti Patel to ensure that Local Authorities be given the necessary powers to deal with such problems. Whilst this problem is by no means confined to the West End or indeed London, without the necessary powers both the police and the Council struggle to make any effective progress.

The idea that tents on the Public Highway require 30 days’ notice for their removal is nonsensical, and, in the same way, as you would be entitled to remove a tent from your front lawn with immediate effect, Local Authorities must be given the same power to deal with tents on the Public Highway.

I am also calling on her to prioritise the necessary legislation to ensure that people who come to the UK as part of an organised begging gang can be swiftly and effectively repatriated.

Without such powers, our city centres, already blighted by begging, antisocial behaviour and criminality will become no-go areas for residents, law-abiding citizens and visitors.

 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Great News for L.A.’s Homeless Population: ‘Second Phase’ of City’s Plastic Straw Ban Now Underway

Westlake Legal Group LosAngelesHomeless2-620x357 Great News for L.A.’s Homeless Population: ‘Second Phase’ of City’s Plastic Straw Ban Now Underway Straw ban progressives priorities Politics North Carolina los angeles Human Rights homelessness homeless Government Gavin Newsom Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture California Allow Media Exception

A homeless encampment in Los Angeles, CA. Screen grab via Fox News.

The long-running housing crisis and homeless problems in California’s big Democrat-run cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco have been well-documented. But the tens of thousands of those living on the streets in L.A. can rest a little easier this week as the ‘second phase’ of the city’s straw ban has gone into effect.

KABC reports:

The first phase of the “Straws on Request” initiative went into effect in April on Earth Day, and applied to restaurants with more than 26 employees. The second phase expands the ordinance to include restaurants of all sizes, including fast food and sit down businesses.

Under the city ordinance, restaurants can only provide plastic straws if a patron asks for one.

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and the city’s Bureau of Sanitation held a press conference Monday morning in Echo Park to remind restaurants of the law.

O’Farrell said the law seeks to reduce “single-use plastic waste from littering our beaches and waterways.”

Per the L.A. County website, “non-compliance may result in notices of violation and $25 fines for each day the business is in violation, not to exceed $300 annually.”

CBS Los Angeles notes that the L.A. version of the straw ban goes even further than a similar law already in place at the state level:

The Los Angeles ordinance is more restrictive than a state law that bars full-service restaurants from automatically giving out single-use plastic straws because it applies to fast food restaurants and is the latest in a series of moves to by several other cities and organizations to cut down the use of plastic straws.

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell (D), who led the effort to get the straw ban in place, told a journalist during a news conference this week that in his opinion people didn’t really need straws to drink with anyway. He also provided smoothie drinkers with some helpful advice:

Twitter users had a some thoughts and questions after reading the news about Phase Two of the straw ban and O’Farrell’s suggestion:

Fox News took an in-depth look at the homeless crisis in Los Angeles back in August. Watch their report below to find out just how bad it is, and what L.A. is (not) doing about it:

Infuriating.

(Hat tip: Twitchy)

Flashback –>> Disabled Woman Tweets Epic Thread Demonstrating the Absurdity of Plastic Straw Bans – and Her Rant Goes Viral

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Great News for L.A.’s Homeless Population: ‘Second Phase’ of City’s Plastic Straw Ban Now Underway appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group LosAngelesHomeless2-300x173 Great News for L.A.’s Homeless Population: ‘Second Phase’ of City’s Plastic Straw Ban Now Underway Straw ban progressives priorities Politics North Carolina los angeles Human Rights homelessness homeless Government Gavin Newsom Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture California Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Can Trump tackle L.A.’s homeless problem?

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As the President continues to get into scraps with the Governor of California and the mayors of several major cities on the left coast, add Los Angeles to the list. But this time, rather than just seeing accusations coming from both sides, there might be a workable solution to a very real problem in the offing. We’ve already spent considerable time covering the exploding homelessness problem in the City of Angels, and asking if there’s nothing to be done about it. But what if there was?

On the outskirts of L.A. sits the abandoned Hawthorne Federal Building, formerly the west coast home of the Federal Aviation Administration. Homeless advocates had previously asked if the facility might be repurposed to house displaced citizens, but they were turned away. Now, however, Donald Trump’s team on the ground is talking about using the building for just that purpose. (Government Executive)

One option under discussion is to use a former government building just outside Los Angeles to house (or detain) people now living in Skid Row in downtown L.A., where some 8,000 to 11,000 people are typically living on the streets. Federal officials have already reportedly toured the facility, the former West Coast headquarters of the Federal Aviation Administration, located 20 miles away in Hawthorne, California.

But a review of public records shows that the government previously rejected two efforts by advocacy groups to use the former Federal Aviation Administration building to serve the homeless.

Repurposing federal properties to provide homeless services isn’t a new or unprecedented idea: In fact, federal law already requires the government to make unused properties available to advocacy organizations that provide shelter or services to the homeless.

Could this building provide housing for all of the homeless in the Skid Row area? (Estimated to be between eight and eleven thousand.) No. Not even close. But it could hold a lot of them. You can take a look at the building here. It’s six stories tall and as long as a city block. It would require some work, most likely in the form of adding more bathrooms and lots of showers, but other than that it might be quite serviceable.

There are, unfortunately, complicating factors. First of all, the site has been named a historic landmark because of its period architectural style. That doesn’t mean it can’t be sold, but it does throw a wrench in the works.

Perhaps the bigger barrier comes from the politics involved. Even if both the federal and municipal governments want to do this, there remain questions of who will handle the logistics and (probably more importantly) who will get the credit. The President would like Washington to tackle the conversion and have federal agents rounding up the homeless and transferring them to the new facility. The city would obviously rather handle it themselves in cooperation with advocacy groups. We might be setting up for a stalemate here that shuts down a potentially viable answer to a significant challenge.

On that note, even if the Hawthorne Building can’t be made to work, the government is still sitting on a vast number of properties, both government and military in nature, that are collecting dust. Finding some way to get them back on the tax rolls, or at least serving some useful purpose, should be an obvious choice. And I’m not talking about only in Los Angeles. There are abandoned military bases and other facilities around the country, some with track housing that’s ready to be refurbished and put to use just sitting there. If the President is willing to go along with this, why not make it happen?

The post Can Trump tackle L.A.’s homeless problem? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Will the EPA fine San Francisco over homelessness?

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This was probably the strangest bit of news coming out of President Trump’s fundraising swing through California. On his way out the door, he suggested that the homeless problem in San Francisco was so bad that it was creating an environmental disaster and the Environmental Protection Agency might have to step in and take action. The homeless camps are clearly creating a mess with human waste and used needles from drug addicts littering the streets. But does it add up to a matter the EPA needs to step in on? (NY Times)

President Trump said late Wednesday that his administration would issue a notice of environmental violation against the city of San Francisco because of what he described as its homelessness problem.

Traveling aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington from a three-day trip to California and New Mexico, Mr. Trump told reporters that San Francisco was in “total violation” of environmental rules because of used needles that were ending up in the ocean.

“They’re in total violation — we’re going to be giving them a notice very soon,” the president said, indicating that the city could be put on notice by the Environmental Protection Agency within a week that its homelessness problem was causing environmental damage.

London Breed, the Mayor of San Francisco, is pretty much laughing off this threat of EPA action. She insists that the city’s sewer and water treatment systems are up to the job and no “debris” (presumably including used hypodermic needles) is discharged into the bay or the ocean. And she might be right. After doing some digging around this morning, I’m not seeing any reports of such contamination in the bay or previous complaints of environmental hazards.

They definitely get some plastic refuse, but that’s unlikely to be coming through the sewers. They also get the occasional oil or gas spillage, but that’s coming from shipping traffic, not the water treatment facilities.

I suppose it’s possible that the EPA was already engaged in an investigation of needles in the ocean, but if so I’m not seeing any records of it. And they can’t just lash out and hit San Francisco with a fine unless they can document the contamination. Or if they tried to, they’d probably run into an immediate appeal that would be tied up in the courts for years.

I’m just going on a hunch here, but I think that threat from the President was just a throwaway line allowing him to take another swing at California before leaving. Either that or someone else has looked into this and is giving the President some (probably) bad advice. I’m guessing that Mayor Breed isn’t losing much sleep over it, at least yet.

The post Will the EPA fine San Francisco over homelessness? appeared first on Hot Air.

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California doesn’t want Trump’s help with their homelessness crisis

Westlake Legal Group newsom-campaign California doesn’t want Trump’s help with their homelessness crisis The Blog San Francisco los angeles homelessness Gavin Newsom donald trump California

As has been discussed here on multiple occasions, the state of California is in the midst of an epic homelessness crisis. This is particularly true in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, but it’s gotten bad in other coastal cities as well. There’s been plenty of discussion and media coverage of this debacle, but little action has been taken toward a permanent solution.

With that in mind, the White House sent some officials out to the west coast to investigate the matter and see if the federal government had any programs and resources available to help with the situation. So the California state and municipal government leaders warmly and gratefully greeted them with open arms to see if any significant progress could be made.

Naw, I’m just kidding. They told President Trump to mind his own business. (USA Today)

Trump administration officials confirmed Tuesday they are on the ground in California looking at ways to intervene in the state’s mounting homelessness issue, which President Donald Trump has criticized as “disgusting” and a “disgrace to our country.”

But many elected officials and homelessness experts in the Golden State said any White House assistance would be disingenuous given federal housing cuts have helped exacerbate the problem. Some also accused Trump of using the homelessness issue to win over conservative supporters ahead of the 2020 election.

“We need federal support and resources to build more housing for people living on the streets,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “But simply cracking down on homelessness without providing the housing people need is not a real solution.”

State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) was quoted as saying, “Trump needs to back off and focus on his own mess of an administration.”

Well, isn’t that just lovely? What’s more amazing is that these officials are criticizing a proposal that hasn’t even been made yet. Thus far there have only been suggestions of possible courses of action, including federal funding to build or renovate more federal housing dedicated to providing temporary housing for the homeless. They’ve also discussed additional funding for law enforcement to help get those people off the streets and support for mental health initiatives.

What sort of horrible monster would propose things like that???

It’s difficult to imagine what California’s leaders are thinking here. They are making almost no progress on their own and their own citizens don’t even want to cooperate. When San Francisco drafted a proposal to cordon off part of a large municipal parking lot so the homeless living in cars and RVs could park (and sleep) there safely, homeowners in the neighborhood came out to protest and quashed the plan.

Meanwhile, the streets are still being covered in feces and urine. Crime levels in areas where the homeless are camping are surging. The homeless are dying in droves, averaging more than three per day in Los Angeles.In San Francisco people are afraid to ride the trains because there’s so much crime taking place.

And you don’t want help from Washington just because it would have President Trump’s name attached to it and it might look like he was getting things done? (That’s the obvious reason, let’s be honest.) Fine, ingrates. Sink or swim on your own. I’m sure there are plenty of other cities that will be grateful for the help.

The post California doesn’t want Trump’s help with their homelessness crisis appeared first on Hot Air.

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Curing Spokane: A look at drug addiction and crime in the city

Westlake Legal Group Spokane-homeless Curing Spokane: A look at drug addiction and crime in the city Washington The Blog spokane homelessness

Here’s another video which was clearly influenced by KOMO News’ “Seattle is Dying” report from earlier this year. This one is based in Spokane, Washington and wasn’t put together by a news outlet but by a developer named Larry Stone who is board member of something called the Downtown Spokane Partnership. Like “Seattle is Dying” this video features a lot of unflattering video of homeless people who appear high or drunk in the streets. But the video claims upfront that it’s purpose is not to demonize the homeless but to talk specifically about crime, i.e. drug use, theft, vandalism, etc.

What’s effective about this clip, despite the fact that’s it wasn’t produced by a news outlet, are the interviews with named residents and business people who describe no longer feeling safe or comfortable downtown in their own city. One young woman describes the scene on the street as “screaming and yelling, I don’t know what’s going on.” She adds, “It kind of scares the crap out of me…I don’t know what to do in regard to this.” These are real people and this problem is costing them something.

The center of the clip involves a comparison between Spokane and nearby Boise, Idaho. Both cities are about the same size and have nearly identical demographics and levels of education. And yet, both property crime and violent crime are significantly higher in Spokane.

The second half of the video proposes four solutions to the problem of Spokane’s crime, starting with building more jail facilities and having more police walk a beat. Both of these suggestions make sense in the context of trying to reduce crime closer to the level of Boise.

The last two recommendations involve public transportation and public parking. The justification for a plan to move the bus station underground is that the bus station is currently a hotbed for calls to the police.

The final recommendation about additional parking strikes me as having more to do with the developer’s urban planning goals than directly dealing with crime. The video claims more parking will mean more people downtown and that will somehow push the crime out of the area. I’m not convinced on that point. More people and cars might attract more criminals.

If you want to know more about the person behind this clip, they set up a website with and FAQ here. The Spokesman-Review has already released an opinion piece criticizing the clip as inaccurate and shallow here.

The post Curing Spokane: A look at drug addiction and crime in the city appeared first on Hot Air.

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Homeless Man Burned to Death on LA’s Skid Row; Advocate Again Calls for Federal Intervention

Earlier this month, as reported at RedState, longtime Los Angeles homeless advocate Rev. Andy Bales said that the scope of the public health and humanitarian crisis in Los Angeles is now beyond what the state and local government can handle and that only a FEMA-type intervention can solve it now.

(Note, readers, that the paragraph states “FEMA-type” and not FEMA. There seemed to be some confusion in the prior article.)

Bales is sounding the alarm again after a Skid Row fixture, Dwayne Fields, was killed Monday night – burned to death when his tent was set on fire. According to the LA Times:

“Fields, 62, was inside his tent around 11:30 p.m. when, prosecutors allege, another man set his living quarters ablaze. Responding officers found Fields walking down 6th street, his body still burning, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the case candidly.”

Deon Joseph witnessed the horrific scene.

In reply to Deon Joseph’s tweet, Bales said that “gang control” of Skid Row has gone on for too long and that more help is needed.

According to an LA Times report, there has been a recent spate of violence around Skid Row.

Four people, including a social worker and a security guard, were shot in San Julian Park last week after a dispute erupted on the sidewalk. Earlier this month, a 59-year-old homeless man was beaten to death with a pipe during a robbery.

Fields’ chronic homelessness exposed flaws in the current bureaucratic response to homelessness in Los Angeles, according to Pete White, Executive Director of Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN). Fields had found a home multiple time over the last five years, but wanted to stay with his partner, who had “mobility issues.”

“The problem was his partner who was still out there. They could never find accommodations for a couple, which is one of the big problems with our … system of providing services,” White said. “There are very limited opportunities for single individuals and even less so for partners.”

Another homeless advocate, Gen. Jeff Page, said:

“You’ve got a lot of families that are stuck on the sidewalk because they want to stay together,” he said. “There’s situations like this where, to me, the skid row infrastructure is to blame, because it’s not accommodating the needs of human beings and natural human family systems.”

Fields, a street musician, had a large network of friends in the Skid Row area, and they gathered Wednesday night to celebrate his life and to comfort Valerie Wertlow, the partner he left behind.

The group held a candlelight vigil, walking from LACAN’s office to the corner of Sixth and San Pedro streets, where Wertlow and Fields’ tent had stood.

“What two nights earlier was a crime scene became a living memorial to Fields.

“Alongside Wertlow’s belongings were three pictures of her companion of two decades. Paper printouts of Fields’ smiling face were attached with paper clips to the chain link fence that backstopped her home.

“Speakers were set up. A keyboard was plugged in. And Fields’ friends sang ‘A Change Is Gonna Come,’ ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Amazing Grace.” Wertlow led the group in singing ‘Lean On Me.’

“Wertlow said mutual attraction helped start their relationship, but it was Fields’ kindness that kept them together.

‘If you needed anything … he had it,” she said. “He had you.’

“And now, Wertlow said, she has him.”

Another homeless man, 38-year-old Jonathan Early, has been charged with capital murder in Fields’ death.

What supposedly compassionate progressives don’t understand is that their “compassionate” policies regarding vagrancy, mental health treatment, and homelessness are leading to record numbers of deaths among the homeless population. In 2018, 918 homeless people died on the streets in Los Angeles County. Of course, this is in addition to the public health crisis and increases in crime fueled by the astronomical rise in the homeless population.

When compassion is misguided, it leads to rule by those with no compassion at all.

Jennifer Van Laar is Deputy Managing Editor at RedState and Executive Director of the Save California PAC. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

The post Homeless Man Burned to Death on LA’s Skid Row; Advocate Again Calls for Federal Intervention appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group 3354089944_616ee5074f_o-300x200 Homeless Man Burned to Death on LA’s Skid Row; Advocate Again Calls for Federal Intervention skid row Save California PAC Save California Rev. Andy Bales Pete White murder LACAN Jonathan Early Jennifer Van Laar homelessness Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post California Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pants on Fire: Not Even Politifact Is Buying What Gavin Newsom Is Selling on San Francisco’s Homeless Problem

Westlake Legal Group 02f7c7e0-4bf6-401e-9693-e92c39291877-620x317 Pants on Fire: Not Even Politifact Is Buying What Gavin Newsom Is Selling on San Francisco’s Homeless Problem Social Media San Francisco progressives Politifact Politics North Carolina Media homelessness Gavin Newsom Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post Fact Check democrats Culture California Allow Media Exception

Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at his gubernatorial campaign’s primary night watch party in San Francisco, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

When it comes to addressing serious problems in their own backyards, Democrats typically default to blaming Republicans in an effort to avoid responsibility for the consequences of their own disastrous polices.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) is a prime example of this, especially when it comes to issues he has no one to blame for but himself and his fellow left coast Democrats.

Back in June, Newsom told Axios‘s Jim VandeHei in a wide-ranging interview that the dire homeless problem in San Francisco was primarily due to an influx of homeless people coming to the city from … Texas:

Facing what feels like the first real crisis of his new administration — and in the midst of stalled efforts in Sacramento to do something about it — Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken aim at something new when asked about California’s homelessness problem: Texas.

Specifically, Newsom accused the Republican-led state of sending people to San Francisco.

“The vast majority also come in from — and we know this — from Texas. Just interesting fact,” Newsom said in an interview broadcast on Sunday with “Axios on HBO.”

The comment came after interviewer Jim VandeHei asked Newsom why the net size of San Francisco’s homeless population hadn’t changed much during his tenure as the city’s mayor (although a number of people did find shelter during his administration).

The L.A. Times, not exactly a friend to Republicans and Texans, wrote about Newsom’s claims at the time and easily debunked them, noting that it was actually the reverse that was true:

A spokesman first pointed to a 2016 newspaper story that counted the number of homeless people San Francisco officials put on buses to other communities and states. But the article doesn’t cite any inbound deliveries of people. In fact, it reported that Texas was the top out-of-state destination for San Francisco to send away homeless people. As of late Sunday night, there was no additional information provided to back up the governor’s claim.

Newsom conceded in the broadcast that California has an enormous poverty problem. “We’ve got to get our act together,” he said. Nonetheless, he went on to criticize states led by Republicans that he said have an “intentional” policy to ignore those in need.

Nearly two months later, the geniuses at Politifact finally decided to weigh in. And in a genuine shocker of shockers, they rated Newsom’s claims as “Pants on Fire”:

Politifact isn’t exactly the type of fact checking organization that rushes to defend Republicans or to take Democrats to task, so that they decided to take Newsom to the woodshed is worth mentioning.

They did a detailed analysis of Newsom’s claims, and found them to be sorely lacking. Here’s what they concluded in their ruling:

San Francisco’s own homeless surveys contradict this. They show a large majority reported living in the city before becoming homeless, and just a fraction coming in from out-of-state.

Newsom’s office pointed to data from San Francisco’s bus ticket program for homeless people. But that defense doesn’t hold up. It shows just a small fraction, less than 7 percent, left for Texas, and doesn’t demonstrate that they originally came to San Francisco from that state.

In the end, we found Newsom made a ridiculous claim.

We rated it Pants on Fire.

Just to put an even finer point on how duplicitous, self-serving, and shameless Newsom is on this issue, when asked about comments made by President Trump in early July that the federal government may need to “intercede” in cities with large homeless problems, here’s how Newsom responded:

“If interceding means cutting budgets to support services to get people off the street, (Trump has) been very successful in advancing those provisions,” the governor said. Instead, he argued, the president has been “decreasing the social safety net to address the reasons people are on streets and sidewalks in the first place.”

It’s similar to what he told Axios in June. In other words, Republicans are to blame for this crisis.

It’s baloney. The homeless issues the state of California (and not just in San Francisco but in other big cities like Los Angeles, too) can in large part be laid at the feet of Democrats who have absolutely run the state into the ground, including Newsom.

Newsom was a member of the SF Board of Supervisors from January 8, 1997 to January 8, 2004. He was the Mayor of San Francisco from January 8, 2004 to January 10, 2011. He was the Lt. Gov. from January 10, 2011 to January 7, 2019.

That’s 22 years he alone has had to commit to helping solve the homeless problem that exists in cities like San Francisco and L.A. Him trying to pin the homeless crisis there on Republicans is absurd, and just shows he’d rather conveniently pass the buck rather than take responsibility for his own leadership failures.

(Hat tip: Hot Air’s John Sexton)

————-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Pants on Fire: Not Even Politifact Is Buying What Gavin Newsom Is Selling on San Francisco’s Homeless Problem appeared first on RedState.

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Rosalind Beck: The Government’s war on landlords will only make the housing crisis worse for the lowest-paid.

Dr Rosalind Beck is a doctor of Criminology and a Conservative Party member in South Wales.

The Channel 5 series ‘Nightmare Tenants; Slum Landlords’ shows the devastation nightmare tenants in the private rented sector (PRS) cause to landlords, housemates and neighbours across the country. A wide variety of cases is presented each week.

In a recent episode, a tenant went on the rampage in a rented flat causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage. The programme shows other tenants hurling abuse at neighbours, wrecking properties with cannabis factories and building up thousands in arrears. Those who trusted the tenants with their property are often left in tears, with their finances in tatters, including this week the parents of an autistic child.

On the other hand, the programme-makers seem to have stalled in their quest to find examples of ‘slum landlords,’ and have included none in recent episodes.

Clearly, there are far more rogue tenants than there are rogue landlords. However, one would imagine the inverse to be true, judging by the Government’s determination to go ahead this week with the scrapping of Section 21 notices; something that will play right into the hands of the type of tenants seen in the programme.

For the uninitiated, Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, is the notice for what is widely portrayed as a ‘no-fault eviction.’ The phrase implies that the tenant has done nothing wrong, whilst the truth is that although landlords are unable procedurally to give a reason, in 84 per cent of cases possession is sought for non-payment of rent and in 56 per cent of cases, damage to property is a factor.

In addition, although it is seen as a ‘two month’ notice, in reality it often takes at least six months. A typical timeline is:

  1. Landlord often waits until the tenant has got into at least two months arrears.
  2. Landlord gives tenant two months’ notice.
  3. Tenant doesn’t leave at the end of the notice period.
  4.  Landlord applies to the courts and waits another month or two to get a date.
  5. The judge awards 14-28 days extra time in the property.
  6. Often the tenant remains.
  7. Bailiffs are instructed and depending on workload, another delay of a month or more ensues.
  8. Tenant is evicted by a bailiff.

Invariably, during this process the tenant is not paying rent and often damages the house.

The idea that Section 21 is an easy option for landlords to quickly gain possession on a blameless tenant is therefore pure fantasy.

However, whereas Section 21 typically takes more than six months, the only alternative, ‘Section 8’ can take closer to a year, as spurious defences and counter-claims are allowed (tenants have been known to damage the house and then allege disrepair), which lead to adjournments.

Very worryingly, in addition to scrapping Section 21, another suggestion given to Government has been to ‘port’ over the conditions under which a Section 21 can be served, to an amended Section 8. The Welsh Assembly is also actively considering this. This could mean, for example, that the fact there was no proof a tenant had received a copy of a certificate (even if they had) could give a non-paying tenant a lifetime tenancy in a property owned by someone else who is paying the mortgage and all other costs. This is bizarre, absurd and contrary to all natural justice; and it would not surprise me at all if it slipped through as an ‘unintended consequence.’

This is not only relevant for landlords. A reason why people in general should be concerned about this, is that Section 21 was the key element in the Housing Act which gave landlords and lenders confidence they could get a property back when they needed to.  Abolishing it will take tenancy law back to the last century, when the absence of adequate means of regaining possession caused the PRS to shrink from comprising 90 per cent of all housing to just nine per cent. Housing quality was also poor.

The English Housing Survey, just out, has found that these days 83 per cent of private tenants are satisfied or very satisfied with their housing; compared to 80 per cent in the social sector. Why would the Government interfere with the excellent progress that has been made in housing quantity and quality, by taking this regressive step to shrink the PRS?

An estimated 150,000 more households will be needed in the coming year. Who will provide the homes for them? Not private landlords.

Where is the estimation of the effect this will have on homelessness levels?

The risk of facing one of the nightmare scenarios described above, with the process of getting rogue tenants out having been made much more difficult or even impossible, will especially deter those with only one rental property – around half of the country’s two million landlords. I have advised my brother, now that he has retired, to leave empty the extra property he purchased when he moved for work. As I told him, when faced with potentially losing control over his asset, it is not worth the extra income of a few hundred pounds a month.

Is this what the Government wants? Empty houses?

Even in terms of gaining votes, the Government is following a reckless agenda. The National Landlords Association found that 85 per cent of landlords – and their families – will vote against parties proposing to remove Section 21. This could be a huge factor in marginal constituencies.

In light of all this, we can only hope that Boris Johnson not only retains Section 21 – to scrap was an ill-considered attempt by Theresa May to establish a legacy – but in fact, improves on it so that landlords can get swifter justice.

One should not forget that although the private and social housing sectors together house nearly half of the population, it is private landlords who now provide the essential safety net for the lowest-income tenants and who house 10 out of 11 homeless people.

If the hostile environment for landlords persists, they won’t for much longer.

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Long-Time LA Union Rescue Mission Leader Calls for ‘FEMA-Style’ Response to Homelessness

For more than 20 years, Rev. Andy Bales has been on the front lines of fighting homelessness in Los Angeles. As the CEO of Union Rescue he’s watched as the city’s homeless population has surged out of control, creating a massive public health crisis.

In the last 18 months multiple cases of typhus have been diagnosed in the downtown area, and two LAPD officers working in the San Fernando Valley were diagnosed with MRSA after interacting with homeless people. Bales himself has suffered physically due to his work – he lost part of his leg after contracting “three different flesh-eating bacterial infections,” including Charcot Foot, which generally affects diabetics, lepers, and people who live on the streets. The infection occurred during the summer of 2014, and Bales “suspects it entered through a wound on his foot after walking through Skid Row one day, handing out water.”

Los Angeles’ inability to deal with its homeless problem and disease control is now nationally known, but Bales has been calling attention to it for years. In a 2015 interview he sounded the alarm about disease in the densely-populated Skid Row environment.

“We need to decentralize Skid Row and get the people away from this environment, and we need to clean up this environment.”

Four years later, Bales is still fighting. More than 1,000 homeless people died on Los Angeles’ streets last year, leading Bales and Dr. Drew Pinsky to ask “how many must die” before officials take action?

Like Pinsky, Bales believes the city’s at serious risk of a bubonic plague outbreak. Bales, however, believes it’s definitely going to happen unless massive federal action takes place immediately. In Pinsky’s interview with Scott Adams last week, he referenced a recent conversation with Bales:

“[Bales] looked at me two weeks ago and said, “It’s over. We can’t handle this. We need a FEMA-style emergency with the RedCross and the National Guard. We need to put up 100…tents that are triage centers. We have to deal with this like the emergency that it is.”

If a national emergency were declared and FEMA and the National Guard were dispatched to Los Angeles, they would have the power to remove homeless camps and send people to drug treatment, mental health hospitals, and more. There are civil rights issues, to be sure, that need to be addressed, but when the (in)actions of elected officials in dealing with people who can’t take care of themselves lead to an imminent threat of a deadly plague in one of the most populous cities in the world, affecting millions of innocent people, the rights of those innocent people need to be taken into account as well.

If an outbreak of bubonic plague occurs, it won’t just affect Los Angeles. Many people who comment on articles here or elsewhere about California seem to think that this is a California problem, and “Screw them, let them deal with it.” If this happens in downtown Los Angeles, people in cities 20, 40, 100 miles away would quickly be infected. Tens of thousands of commuters a day take the train into Los Angeles to work, walking those infected streets and taking bacteria with them. Products from downtown’s Fashion District, Flower Market, and produce markets are shipped to nearby states (or even the East Coast) every day. Business travelers will go through LAX and to their final destinations before they know they’ve been exposed. It wouldn’t take very long at all for the sickness to spread, depending upon how quickly the disease was recognized and how quickly quarantine procedures could be implemented.

Jennifer Van Laar is Deputy Managing Editor at RedState. Follow her on Twitter @jenvanlaar or Facebook. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Save California Political Action Committee.

The post Long-Time LA Union Rescue Mission Leader Calls for ‘FEMA-Style’ Response to Homelessness appeared first on RedState.

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