Do they even count? Should they vote? Are they individuals who matter or are they a collective lump that needs to be disassembled and scattered to other places? The Los Angeles Sheriff race had a debate tonight and not one candidate called this group “people”. This population is referred to as “The Homeless” the way I refer to ‘The Cancer” Or ‘The Trash”. Not one candidate discussed the thousands of citizens who are possibly registered voters as a constituent group with needs worth addressing. Yes, it is ugly to do down Seventh Street from the Wilshire Grand down and out of the financial district until your car slows to a crawl in allowance for the shopping carts and crush of people sleeping on sidewalks and meandering on the street like my kids hang out on the front yard. It smells bad -skid row smells like a 5 day old diaper left to molder under a bed. Businesses find it difficult to get customers in doors blocked by bodies. But Homelessness isn’t a blight -it is a PLIGHT. it is a side effect of failing schools and high school drop outs, low paying entry level jobs, a crazy housing market and domestic violence. What we see and smell are so very rarely life cgoices, they are states of living for human beings who can not see or get to other options.
A bus ticket is not a solution. Los Angeles is a home. A street corner is a valid address to use when registering to vote. Listening and reading about tonight’s debate made me ever more thankful that I live and play where the Foothill Division of the LAPD, Burbank police and Arcadia police have jurisdiction -because if the future leader of the Sheriff Department won’t call an entire class of citizens “people”, I wonder if they will see fit to protect the entire population they are assigned to – or just the people they feel will politically and financially benefit them.