Dear Carol Sobel,
I applaud your kind-hearted, well-intentioned defense of transients rights in Venice beach. However, the situation here is currently descending into rampant crime as dealer-addict-vagrants have maneuvered through the loopholes to enjoy a relative freedom that now includes daily assaults, dealing, public defecation, OD’s, and prostitution.
(If you take a cursory look through the archives of this blog and on youtube – from one vantage point not even constant - you will see the increase for yourself.)
I have seen outreach programs where an average of 2/100 people have accepted help. So many of these people are not ‘homeless’ only by bad luck. A good number are obviously here because it’s a comfortable lifestyle coddled by the environment that has been created.
I’m all for individual liberties – but not when they interfere with others’ rights to safety and peace. While some of the homeless population here is undoubtedly displaced and needs attention – there is an undeniably large, criminal segment who are manipulating the situation.
This is untenable and, unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an effective ‘2nd half’ of any plan in place after simply defending people’s ‘right’ to reside on public lands.
I would like to know, what is your plan? And how can we address this situation in a way that takes both individual liberties and public safety into account?
If you’re still concerned with what is happening here in Venice, I would love to sit down and discuss ways of moving forward with progressive, non-partisan action. There has been too much divisiveness and polarization of the issue without context – on both ‘sides.’
There has been too much denial, shifting of blame and responsibility, and too many political maneuvers.
The simple question I ask is; who is willing to take action to make a change rather than fulfill any personal or political agenda?
I eagerly await a constructive response.