Toilets, Because s#!+ Happens

Los Angeles has self cleaning toilets for the public to use. What this really means is that there are self-cleaning toilets out there that homeless people can use because the general public can use a toilet inside a restaurant or a store that their patronizing has homeless people are often turned away by signs that say for “customers only”.

Andy Bales of the Union Rescue Mission, and one of my personal heroes, recently stated that there are just 5 self cleaning toilets in use for the homeless.

I did some math, and it breaks down to LAS homeless using the toilets at a ratio of 360 bladders and bowels per toilet. You would almost have to stand in line to use the restroom again as soon as you were done in order to have access to it by the time you needed it again. That is assuming that you only went pee 4 times today. A well hydrated human should be urinating at least 7 times a day. (That last statement was more of a factoid  my father likes to throw around than a scientific fact that I’ve researched, but  I find it to be accurate.)

LA Times article in the toilets from 2013

I have been saying for a long time that Skid Row is not a place or a feeling, it is a smell. It is the fetid putrid smell of human waste period excrement is smeared on the sidewalk and urine stains building walls.

As you drive down the streets you see people hunched between cars with their pants down trying to poop as fast as they possibly can to avoid detection, to be as helpless and exposed for a short amount of time as possible, and to retain as much dignity as possible while doing the most human of bodily functions.
It is unfair that the Mounted Police Officers can take the horses down San Pedro and have the horse’s poop on the street but they will arrest a human who does the same.i have McDonald’s toilet tokens in the cup holder of my car to hand out to people I know who live there.

Yes, there are places like laugh community that runs a public toilets and showers where people can come inside and use the toilet with running water and soap. But the doors closed at night and people need to urinate in the middle of the night. I know so many people who have kept the five gallon buckets by their boxes or 10 because that’s what they had to pee and and in the morning they try to find a gutter to pour it down. In an era where we’re already costing people their health insurance, I don’t think that pouring feces and urine and public places is the wisest of health decisions, now more than ever.



I was taking a walk around my local park today and realized that there are far more open Toilet stalls there than there are the entire downtown area of Los Angeles. Nobody likes being reminded that people are homeless. Nobody likes seeing homeless people. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could see them and treat them with respect. Wouldn’t  it be nice for people to be seen and not smelled?

The Ugly Truth of Obama Care Users

The woman was on her knees, holding my hands and openly weeping. Her son sat at the desk looking a pale shade of green, his deep eye hollows shading the tears forming there. They were thankful, grateful, relieved and so overwhelmed by the Cancer diagnosis that they could not formulate a reasonable reaction to being approved for health insurance.

A young girl of 16 came spoke in whispers while huddling in the corner. Her high schoocryl guidance counselor sat in the other corner, quietly, patiently, and letting the young woman answer the questions. She had been raped ( I did not ask nor need to know ) and now she was pregnant. She could not tell her parents yet which meant she could not use their insurance. She did not yet know what her choices would be but she knew she needed the health insurance to be able to make them, and pay for therapy for herself either way.

Liver spotted, hunched over, deaf and living on Social Security, the $104.90 deducted from her Social Security payment was the difference between having electricity and heating or going without. Medicaid picked up that small bill and the elderly man seemed to grow inches taller as he sat straighter without that burden.

Young families working multiple part time jobs but drugsnothing full time that offered health insurance came in to apply for Medicaid for their children and were delighted and shocked to find that they could have health coverage as well.dr

Hate Obama Care and the Affordable Care Act and Medi-Cal and Medicaid all you want, then sit in the lobby of the DPSS office where people shuffle in, feeling ashamed, hopeless and rejected by all other means of assistance and survival, and tell me again why this program is evil.

7 Steps to Prevent Child Abuse Reporting – Because I HATE It.

In and out of the office, I am a Mandated Child Abuse Reporter. This sucks. I see many questionable things in and out of the office and I feel terrible reporting parents – but occasionally I feel worse for the kids.

Last week I met a little girl who had no teeth. Correction, she had stubs of teeth but the rest looked like they had literally rotted out of her mouth and broken off. It was painful to look at her.

So – to save us all some trouble…

1. Wash your children before you take them in public. This includes their hair, teeth and nails and especially ears.

2. The same goes for their clothing. Try to make their outfits seasonably appropriate and clean (as clean as they can be on dirt loving rug rat – I know, I know)

3. Feed your children before you bring them to the Welfare office or anywhere, really. Try to pack snacks and a drink as well. I have had kids cry when they walked past my lunchroom because they were starving while smelling food. (I keep food at my desk, just for this reason).

4. Don’t leave children in the car on hot days – even with another child or adult with them. Bring them into the building you are visiting.

5. Do not hit your children or threaten them within eyesight or my earshot. I have dialed the child abuse hotline and just handed the phone to the kid while Mom or Dad sat looking bewildered. Seriously.

6. Parent. Wild kids running down the halls and drawing on walls and begging for attention from other adults is always a clear give away that you are not shaping people, you are raising a wild animal. Get this parenting in before you bring them out. We all know when you are trying discipline for the first time because both you and your child betray you. I am not the parent here, I will let your child lick the electrical outlet – but first I will alert you to the danger your kid is in. You cannot pass your job off onto other folks.

7. Love your children and appear concerned for their present and future.

Healthcare for the poor – is it quality or user friendly?

Full disclosure – this is going to be gross. Also, I have permission to share this with you.
Yesterday a very nice man sat at my desk and cried. Tears were mixed with blood. BLOOD!  Dripping from his eye where his tear duct used to be – but now a three-headed cancerous nodule sat growing across his face – was blood.

Doesn’t he have health insurance? Why yes, yes he has Medi-cal which is California’s version of Medicade.

But, he did not know which insurance card is the current card, did not know who his doctor is, and he can not walk into the emergency room again because apparently they do know which card is correct and have told him that it is all “charged out”  for the month. Then they told him to go to his primary doctor – but no one seemed to know who that was.

So here he sat. Unable to go to accept his job offer because he is a walking biohazard, this man sat mired in poverty with no easily solvable way out.  How would he get the Cancer treated and removed – or at least placed in a non weeping state if the good folks at Olive View in Sylmar could not do it? They did take biopsies months ago, but he does not know what they plan to do with the information since the results have not been shared with him.

—- Hi, my name is Sonya and I am a social worker in the GAIN program. My job is to help others prepare for and find employment. —-

Clearly fixing the river of blood now dripping on my desk was necessary as preparing him for employment. I have a college degree and over 15 years of experience – and it still took me 45 minutes to find out who his doctor was and another 30 minutes to change the physician to a health care provider closer to him – (read in the same county). I called the DPSS Cash Aid office,  MEND Medical Clinic – Meet Each Need with Dignity, I called 211, and I called every number on the cards.

So here is the answer on how to do this. Call this number:
(800)430-4260 for Health Care Options. Know your address , and your birthday,  and have any and all cards in front of you. You will be reading account numbers over the phone.

Bandaid for his face, Advil for my headache and hand santizier for everyone even after the blood was wiped away. that's right, I have 5 bottles of sanitizer at my desk. Deal with it.They were able to tell me which card is current and if there were sub-plans. They were able to tell me who his doctor was and how to get ahold of the parent company for his insurance to transfer his case to someone more local. His provider was in Santa Ana in ORange County. We only moved his doctor – his wife and child will have to call to move the rest of the family to another provider.

The change is effective immediately – he has a new location and physician and after the first of the month new charges to his health insurance can be made. I am sincerely hoping the doctor gathers the biopsy results and other tests from Olive View (so no one is paying for these twice – and it could be faster) and fixes this dudes face.

band-aid for his face, Advil for my headache and hand sanitizer for everyone even after the blood was wiped away. that’s right, I have 5 bottles of sanitizer at my desk. Deal with it.

He wants to work. I want him to work. He is desperate to be self-sufficient and financially supporting of his family and this is the biggest obstacle.

He offered to let me take a picture of his face and eye. You can thank me for declining.

start an application for aid on-line

CalWORKS, FoodStamps, Medi-cal applications can be begun on-line. Here is the link. I tried it out for you: pretty simple until you get to the part where you explain the relationships

It’s HOT

 LA COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH Alert  @LAPublicHealth says: 

Heat Alert: High Temps Forecasted for the LA Basin and the San Fernando, San Gabriel, Santa Clarita, and Antelope Valleys

– Triple-digit temperatures are forecasted for Saturday through Tuesday for the San Fernando Valley, with high temperatures also forecasted for the Los Angeles Basin, San Gabriel Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, and Antelope Valley for Sunday through Tuesday. The Los Angeles County Health Officer would like to remind everyone that precautions should be taken, especially by those people sensitive to the heat. ANGELESLOS


“While people don’t need to be told it’s hot outside, they do need to be reminded to take care of themselves, children, the elderly, and pets when the weather gets hotter,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “When temperatures are high, prolonged sun exposure may cause dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Never leave children, elderly people, or pets unattended in vehicles, even with the windows ‘cracked or opened,’ because temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels and California Law makes it illegal to leave children alone in a car.”  

For a list of cooling centers and additional information on heat-related illnesses and prevention, please visit the Public Health website at, or call the LA County Information line at 2-1-1 from any landline or cell phone within the county.  

Heat may worsen the affects of poor air quality in areas of heavy smog. If you plan to be outdoors, take precautions to protect yourself from the heat. Symptoms of dehydration and heat cramps include dizziness, fatigue, faintness, headaches, muscle cramps, and increased thirst. Individuals with these symptoms should be moved to a cooler, shaded place and given water or sport drinks. More severe symptoms such as diminished judgment, disorientation, pale and clammy skin, a rapid and weak pulse, and/or fast and shallow breathing may indicate heat exhaustion or impending heat stroke and requires immediate medical attention. 


Several tips for beating the heat include: 

  • Wear light, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. 
  •  Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often (do not wait until you are thirsty), and avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol. 
  • Offer help to those in your neighborhood with limited access to air conditioning and transportation, such as seniors or those who are ill. Check on them frequently or take them to a location with air conditioning. 
    • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you don’t have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool. 

Heat-Related Illnesses  

Heat Cramps:  

Symptoms include muscular pains and spasms, usually in the stomach, arms or leg muscles. 

Usually results from heavy exertion, such as exercise, during extreme heat.  

Although heat cramps are the least severe of all heat-related problems, they are usually the first signal that the body is having trouble coping with hot temperatures. Heat cramps should be treated immediately with rest, fluids and getting out of the heat.  

Seek medical attention if pain is severe or nausea occurs.  

Heat Exhaustion:  

Symptoms include heavy sweating, pale and clammy moist skin, extreme weakness or fatigue, muscle cramps, headache, dizziness or confusion, nausea or vomiting, fast and shallow breathing, or fainting.  

First Aid: Heat exhaustion should be treated immediately with rest in a cool area, sipping water or a sports drink, applying cool and wet cloths and elevating the feet 12 inches. 

If left untreated, victims may go into heat stroke.  

Seek medical attention if the person does not respond to the above, basic treatment.  

Heat Stroke:  

Symptoms include flushed, hot and dry skin (no sweating), high body temperature (above 103F), confusion or dizziness, unconsciousness, throbbing headache, rapid, or strong pulse.  

Heat stroke is the most severe heat-related illness and occurs when a person’s temperature control system, which produces sweat, stops working. Heat stroke may lead to brain damage and death.  

First Aid: Call 911. Move victim to a cool shaded area. Fan the body, spray body with water.  

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit, visit our YouTube channel at, or follow us on Twitter: LAPublicHealth.   

@BreathLA – I fixed your hand out #fb

Asthma Camp on November 3rd

Asthma Camp starts happens on November 3rd at 4:30 pm this year. Unfortunately the flyer that was mailed to every County of LA worker said it was  on November 00, 2010 from 00pm-oopm. OOPS! I called Mildred and she gave me the correct info. Feel free to copy and paste at will. I am a big fan of your work and two of your board members (But especially Andrea Caster)

FRAUD! How to See it and Report it …

Welfare, CalWORKs, SSI, Child Support, IHSS all run on tax dollars and any money that is misspent or stolen from these programs leaves fewer resources for those who really need the help. 

Examples of fraud: 

A father claims that he needs cash aid, food stamps and medical coverage for himself and his children – but – the children live at another address with another adult such as a grandparent, mother, or friend.  Sometimes the mother has a Felony Drug Conviction and can not qualify for public assistance so the father opens the case even though he does not live with the children. He allows the mother to use his portion of the cash aid and food stamps because with her criminal history she will not be able to find work to pay for these items herself. The fraud is that funds are being given to someone who does not qualify for them. 

A mother who has used all five years of CalWORKs eligibility for herself moves to a homeless shelter. The worker at the shelter tells her that she must participate in GAIN in order to be in their housing program. The shelter employee instructs the mother to walk into GAIN and claim that after she left CalWORKS she suffered five years of Domestic Violence and needs another five years of cash aid. Even though this adult has never had an incident of Domestic Violence, she completes the forms at CalWORKs and GAIN requesting time back and it is granted. The fraud is that this person has no real qualification of continued cash assistance but will receive it anyway.  

A family applies for public assistance. They drive to the DPSS office in a new BMW and report living in a large home in an affluent neighborhood. The parents are asking for cash aid, food stamps, Medi-Cal and at the children’s school they are requesting the free lunch program. The family does not have any reported income on their taxes or to social security and is granted full benefits. The fraud is that the family has a business out of the country and is receiving income in a foreign bank account or in a domestic bank account registered to a business and not to a family member.  

A couple of Senior Citizens live together. He is a citizen and she is not. Due to his work history and frail health he qualifies for Social Security and the IHSS program. Because she is not a citizen, she can not be paid to be his care giver. Instead, they have a family member assigned as the care giver and complete the time cards. When the paychecks are issued, the family member cashed the check and gives the cash to the wife as her income. The fraud is that we are paying someone to be a caregiver who is not doing the work and the public funds are being given to someone not qualified to recieve them.  

A doctor sends out people into a homeless shelter or low income neighborhood who offer free rides for a free medical check up and possibly a cash incentive such as $20 per person. The medical office completes intake forms with the “patients” and they are sent home. The doctor’s office then bills Medi-Cal or Social Security for the visit, an exam and occasionally for treatment or medication. The fraud is payment for services that are not rendered. 

A Social Services worker issues funds for clothing or transportation to a client and changes the address in the system to that of themselves or a friend. When the issuance comes as a check, they have it cashed and keep the money. The fraud is that  funds are never given to the actual client for any real services or needs. 

How to report fraud: (800) 349-9970


the following is from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s web page: 

(800) 349-9970
12000 Hawthorne Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA. 90250 

To report any fraud against Los Angeles County,
including welfare fraud. 

(800) 349-9970
12000 Hawthorne Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA. 90250

Investigates allegations of potential welfare fraud in the following
programs: CalWORKs (formerly known as AFDC), Food Stamps,
General Relief, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), and the
GAIN program. 

(800) 87 FRAUD (873-7283)
(800) 78 CRIME (782-7463)
P.O. Box 1296
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91729-1296

To report any criminal activity or fraud. 

(323) 881-5100
5300 Harbor Street
Commerce, CA 90040

Investigators will review major cases to see if suspects
are operating a business or own luxury vehicles. 

Food Stamp Violations
(909) 396-4401
21660 E. Copley Drive
Diamond Bar, CA 91765

Investigates the illegal purchase of food stamps. 

Recipient Fraud: (800) 822-6222
Provider Fraud: (800) 722-0432

To report MediCal and DentiCal fraud. 

WIC Program Integrity Unit
Vendor Fraud: (916) 928-8603 Tom Winder, Manager
Participant Fraud: (916) 928-8606 Emilito Smith, Manager

To report either vendor or participant fraud in the WIC program,
a program that issues food vouchers for the specific purpose of providing
nutrition to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children. 

Child Support Services Department
Office of Ombudsperson
5770 S. Eastern Avenue
Commerce, California  90040
(866) 901-3212

Handles child support issues. 

(800) 540-4000
TDD ONLY (800) 272-6699
Fax: (213) 617-3574
564 South Matteo Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013-3574
M-F 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

(213) 974-0914
(800) 544-6861
Fax: (213) 621-7718Employee Fraud Hotline
Auditor Controller
320 W. Temple St., Suite #380
Los Angeles, CA 90012To report suspected fraud by Los Angeles County employees only. 

(800) 973-3370 24 hours
(213) 974-1457
Fax: (213) 617-1431
L.A. County Department of Consumer Affairs
Real Estate Fraud and Information Program
500 W. Temple St. Room B96
Los Angeles, CA 90012-0276


(323) 260-2617
Fax: (323) 268-1707
Assisted Housing Authority
P.O. Box 22255
Los Angeles, CA 90022

Provides assistance in obtaining housing for low
income, elderly, and disabled housing assistance. 

(800) 927-HELP (4357)
(323) 278-5000
Fax: (323) 838-0028
323 E. Slauson Ave.
Commerce, CA 90040

Investigates insurance fraud, including worker’s compensation.
Online:  to print out forms to mail in. 

(800) 269-0271
Fax: (410) 597-0118
Social Security Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, Maryland 21235
Social Security Administration
Office of Inspector General
888 S. Figueroa St., Suite 1150
Los Angeles, CA

To report fraud or misuse of a Social Security
number or fraud by a Social Security employee. 

(626) 405-1200
Fax: (626) 405-1207
U.S. Mail Postal Inspectors
P.O. Box 2000
Pasadena, CA 91102

Conducts criminal investigations of suspected
mail fraud, mail theft and mail tampering. 

Abortion as a Basic Right for Homeless Women

Here is where I remind you that this is MY PERSONAL VIEW, and that you are oh, so welcome to comment.  Abortion is one of the few topics EVERYONE has an oppinion on and I remember seeing a bumper sticker on Merry’s jeep when I was in High school that said “An Aborted Baby Will Never Have a Nice Day” with a smiley face on it.

Often, being homeless means being cut off from health care. It means that you get infections that go untreated and neglect basic physical health care and almost never see a gynecologist. When I worked on Skid Row in LA I was thrilled at the rare occasions I could connect someone with a Gyno appt at The Salvation Army Women’s Clinic.

Being Homeless does not mean you are sexless. All the basic urges and needs remain intact. More importantly: women who are poor or homeless are more likely to turn to the sex-trade than other demographics.

Unless you think the idea of poor homeless hookers having babies is a reasonable alternative to offering them birth control and abortions…I don’t see what the drama is.

Of course, not all poor women are homeless, nor are they hookers, but they do deserve the right to see specialists in women’s health and to be able to protect their health via condoms, Nor-Plant, The Pill, IUD’s, and pap-smears, just like their counter-parts with private health insurance have access to.

Women who go to Planned Parenthood are taking the first basic steps to caring for themselves. I have gone to Planned Parenthood for birth control and  had pelvic exams there and they have always asked about and encouraged me to see a general practitioner. 

for the record: Planned Parenthood also provides  general health care services including

  • anemia testing
  • cholesterol screening
  • diabetes screening
  • employment and sports physicals
  • flu vaccination
  • high blood pressure screening
  • physical exams
  • pregnancy planning services
  • smoking cessation
  • tetanus vaccination
  • thyroid screening

Men’s Health Services include :

  • checkups for reproductive or sexual health problems
  • colon cancer screening
  • erectile dysfunction services, including education, exams, treatment, and referral
  • jock itch exam and treatment
  • male infertility screening and referral
  • premature ejaculation services, including education, exams, treatment, and referral
  • routine physical exams
  • testicular cancer screenings
  • prostate cancer screenings
  • urinary tract infections testing and treatment
  • vasectomy

Planned Parenthood also runs Street Smart, a two-year HIV prevention program for at risk youth. Street Smart is recognized by the Center for Disease Control and the Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions (DEBI) as a program that reduces substance use and the number of unprotected sexual acts among homeless youth, thereby reducing the risk of HIV.

Information on Planned Parenthood is from their web site:

the initial article that made me want to write this is :