Sofa by Kardiel

They live in trash camps beside the freeways, under bridges, or along the train tracks. You know they are around when fire trucks speed down the street to put out their fires. Perhaps you’ve seen their gardening, the charred acres of blackened trees in Woodley Park?

But you are happy because you work from home, perhaps in your condo in Studio City, or in a rented house in the Hollywood Hills, earning $85,000 a year to assist a non-profit in expediting relief programs for unhoused individuals.

Flush with money from Mayor Garbageciti, (now in his seventh year of misadministration) blessed by the kind intentions of Washington, applauded by those who imagine that a city and state that allows vagrancy of 100,000 people, is somehow going to end the blight and destruction of the Golden City; this is the shining hour when, at last, the absolute desecration of urban life by filth, trash, feces, squalor, crime and disorder ends. 

For the erection of storage sheds behind high fences on freeway offramps will persuade those who have fallen into drug and alcohol abuse to move their dozens of trash filled carts and begin reform!  

To perpetuate the madness of a declining civilization, there are now many executive positions in a new industry that will keep you; college educated, highly skilled, they/them/he/she; comfortably employed with benefits for years to come.

The homeless crisis is now a permanent industry, as real as the movie studios and oil wells once were. It is the new future of California. And it fits in perfectly with performance virtue signaling, to pretend to be doing socially beneficial acts while skimming public money into private pockets. 

Common sense would have once required all homeless persons to register with the police. Then they would have been monitored. The sick ones would be sent to mental hospitals or treatment centers. The bad ones would be sent to jail. The single ones would be sent back to Kansas. The ones who refused help would be arrested.  

And nobody would sleep on the sidewalk. 

But to maintain law and order, a special type of government worker, with a blue uniform, badge and gun is required. And they, my friend, are not welcome.

For now, the word police itself is toxic, a derogatory word to describe beasts. Let us, try then, to live in a nation without any law enforcement, to erect a new country where 400 million people are self-policing.

The experiment in lite, invisible policing is well underway in Los Angeles, and we lucky ones who live here in 2021 are now under strict rules as to how we may express ourselves, and what words we may not use. But those who wreck, defile, and implode in their own life are invited to perform in public to bring down the rest of us to live inside their mental and physical hell. 

In this modern era, private words are punishable but public acts that endanger life, health and security are permissible. It’s enough to make housed people want to set their own houses afire. 

But don’t fret about it. There are high paying executive jobs, working from home, snuggled up on your couch, in the air-conditioning, attending Zoom meetings and sending out memos to government entities who are earnestly working to end the very thing that keeps them employed. 

As they say on Instagram, it’s so amazing!

4 thoughts on “Work From Home, Help the Homeless

  1. There is of course a wider story about the un-gentrification of neighbourhoods that is not terribly relevant to people who think just “Not In My BackYard”:

    * In the USA there have been many example of decaying and abandoned towns and cities, once whichever “gold rush” made them boom begins to fade. Not so many decades ago places like Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, … and before that places like Potosí or Manaus in South America, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. (“sic transit gloria mundi”). It is now reaching “magic” California too.
    * In all these places once the “gold rush” ends the number of the homeless poor increases, and the shrinking number of remaining middle residents have made over the centuries exactly the same desperate arguments that our blogger is making about Van Nuys and Sunset Boulevard. Their attitude is always that if only the increasing numbers of the poor and the slums were shifted to someone else’s backyard, decay (or rather its appearance) would not touch them.
    * In the USA especially after reaganism and “Proposition 13” nobody wants to pay to solve someone else’s neighbourhood’s problems. Winners must win, losers must lose (or rather win the race to the bottom). Because the remaining residents of once middle class areas are getting squeezed too, they don’t want to pay to solve their own neighbourhood’s problems either, each of them thinks that they can hold tight in their own property, and when “the devil take the hindmost” happens, it won’t be them.

    What is somewhat new is that in the USA is not just about moving from old decaying town and areas (“Grapes of wrath” style) to new boom areas, but that the number of decaying towns and cities is not being compensated by the rise of a greater number of new boom areas inn the USA.
    For every decaying slummified ex-middle class neighbourhood in the USA, two slums in Vietnam, China, India, Singapore, Mexico, Taiwan, become (lower) middle class.

    USA investors know very well that the worldwide wage for semi-skilled workers is around $1-$2 per hour, and they feel viciously exploited by USA workers who demand $10-$15 “just because” and work less hard and are less obedient. So the level of poverty and the extent of slums in the USA have to increase until that level of USA wages becomes “competitive”.

    BTW in a previous comment I mentioned two SciFi novels about decaying suburbs and cities, and I should have added a classic, “A life for the stars”:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_in_Flight#A_Life_for_the_Stars

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  2. «a city and state that allows vagrancy of 100,000 people […] Common sense would have once required all homeless persons to register with the police. Then they would have been monitored. The sick ones would be sent to mental hospitals or treatment centers. The bad ones would be sent to jail. The single ones would be sent back to Kansas. The ones who refused help would be arrested. »

    A billionaire resident in San Francisco wrote pretty much the same, a quote that I mentioned on this blog before:

    “The residents of this amazing city no longer feel safe. I know people are frustrated about gentrification happening in the city, but the reality is, we live in a free market society. The wealthy working people have earned their right to live in the city. They went out, got an education, work hard, and earned it. I shouldn’t have to worry about being accosted. I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from my way to work every day.”

    The practical problem with a police approach to homelessness, requiring them to register as “underpeople” so that could easily locked up somewhere else, in asylums or prisons (other words for concentration camps) or put in cattle cars back to Kansas (where they would also be put in concentration camps), is that it is quite expensive, on the scale of one (and probably rather more) hundred thousands of people.

    Why should the upper class, who live in perfectly curated enclaves, and travel by limousine or helicopter, pay higher taxes to curate the public streets of the slums in which their “middle class” servants end up living? Would those “middle class” servants be willing to pay much higher taxes for a “final solution” to the problem of homelessness in their neighbourhood? Obviously not: they want the same level of curation of their environment as the upper classes, but without paying a cent more in taxes, so they end up living in slums.

    The model that the upper classes, with the complicity of the “middle class” have chosen for the USA is the brazilian/nigerian/dixie one, and if you live on the “wrong side of the tracks”, too bad for you.

    PS: Some “utopians” might reckon that one hundred thousand homeless is no longer a police problem, it is a social problem, and one that the upper classes could hardly care less to solve, as it does not affect them, and usefully terrorizes the middle and the working class. There are quite a few SciFi novels from many decades ago foreshadowing the turning of “middle class” suburbs into slums, for example:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladiator-At-Law
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Space_Merchants

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    1. The problem of mass vagrancy is that we look for some complete makeover of society to address a situation that comes from not enforcing the law.

      Everyone agrees there should be more “affordable” housing, but that does not mean that people who are addicted or mentally ill will suddenly move into $12 a month apartments? The idea that trash camps should take over parks, set up accommodations along freeways or rivers, or camp on the public beach in Venice is atrocious public policy. An allegedly environmentally minded government allows the burning down of trees and the killing of wildlife and the pollution of waterways in outdoor areas taken over by trash camps.

      If it is OK to live on public property, then perhaps nothing should be regulated in this city regarding housing. We should not inspect housing or collect property taxes because, hey, anywhere you want to live is nobody’s goddamn business.

      The real story is that 2021 is far less humane, progressive and civilized than the supposedly cruel old days of the 1950s when public behavior was enforced and nobody would consider it proper to allow tent cities in Echo Park.

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      1. «The idea that trash camps should take over parks, set up accommodations along freeways or rivers, or camp on the public beach in Venice is atrocious public policy. »

        I agree with that, even if the real motivation (from previous posts) seems to be property capital gains, but this declamation is just hand-waving and wishful thinking unless someone pays for it: eliminating a problem caused by 100,000 (or rather more) people is expensive, and requires a large budget.
        Do you and your neighbours want to pay for it? Of course not, you want the benefits but not the costs, because it is your inimitable right; you have not at all addressed by previous point “are you going to pay for it?”. My summary of the situation:

        * More poverty results in much more addiction, metal illness, homelessness and slums.
        * This can be solved by either reducing poverty or hiding the poor and their slums in concentration camps somewhere else (prisons, asylums, “Kansas”, …).
        * It so happens that the poor and their slums have contaminated your neighbourhood and its real estate valuations, un-gentrifying it.
        * You want someone else to take responsibility for your problem and pay for your neighbourhood and its real estate valuations to be de-slummified.
        * But every “someone else” is unwilling to pay some extra tax to solve your neighbourhood’s problem with the poor and their slums because they are quite happy that the poor and their slums ended up in your neighbourhood and not in theirs. The American Dream is “F*ck you! I got mine” after all.
        * When you write “sent back to Kansas”, you don’t seem to realize that your own neighbourhood is the “Kansas” (and open air asylum and prison) in the view of those living in other neighbourhoods. The residents of other neighbourhoods are smugly thinking “There would I go too but for the grace of God”.
        * Put another way, your suggested policy for the poor and their slums in your own neighbourhood is simply “Not In My Backyard!”, but the residents of other neighbourhoods think exactly the same, and they like things as they are, with the poor in your neighbourhood but not theirs.

        So who is going to pay to reduce poverty or simply shift the poor and their slums to someone else’s neighbourhood?

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