Monday, July 15, 2013

Homeless People, not Belongings, Deserve Attention, Congressman

According to the ruling in Lavan vs. City of Los Angeles, upheld by two federal court injunctions, Los Angeles retains the authority to remove abandoned belongings on public thoroughfares, but cannot remove goods which clearly belong to a homeless person just because they remain unattended for a period of time. Property owners still wonder about the blight of homelessness in their communities, while civic activists either celebrate homeless persons or worry about the plight of poverty which afflicts them. Lawyers merely litigate the property rights of the homeless persons. Instead of arguing about the homeless man's belongings, why don't city leaders, civic activists, and lawyers attend to a more important issue: why are there so many homeless in Los Angeles?

First of all, the individual may be a veteran who has not received proper care from the Veterans Administration. The Brentwood VA has turned into a private club for pet owners, laundromats, and solar panels, yet tens of thousands of wounded warriors still wander the streets. Instead of discussing gun violence and mental health in a Santa Monica City Council open forum on July 15, Congressman Henry Waxman should have discussed the neglected transient homeless veterans.

Second, the growing problem of mental illness has not been addressed effectively. The gradual expansion of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual has catalogued more diseases, yet has provided no solutions. The governmental expansion into health insurance has decreased quality care and access for practitioners and patients. Waxman's signature legislation, Obamacare, has only exacerbated this problem.

Then there are those who are struggling to find a job and get back on their feet in this anemic economy. A government which taxed less, spent less, did less (that we would see less of altogether), would help ensure more business, more commerce, more opportunities, and less homelessness.

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