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If anyone’s gonna cause homeless deaths in this town, it’s gonna be us.


A gunman has been stalking L.A.’s homeless community. In the last week of November the individual shot and killed at least three homeless people in and around downtown. Those three deaths were enough to cause Mayor Karen Bass, LAPD Chief Michael Moore, and the current District Attorney to call an emergency joint press conference. All wore their best frowny faces.

Bass declared, “This is a killer preying on the unhoused,” which is ironic given the already abysmal track record of homeless deaths on her watch. Her crocodile tears should fool no one. If three dead homeless people in a week qualifies as an emergency, her own performance has been nothing less than apocalyptic. So far her record is identical to if not worse than her predecessor, Eric Garcetti, who is generally agreed to have been the worst mayor in modern Los Angeles history. Bass already is giving Garcetti fils a run for his money in that department. She is well on her way to becoming the United States ambassador to Bangladesh.

During the press conference Bass promised, with great pique and plume, “To the person responsible for this, I say this: We will find you, we will catch you and you will be held accountable.” As to her own accountability for the thousands of homeless deaths during the first year of her watch, Her Honor was silent.

The Los Angeles Times, which has played its own central role in the slaughter of homeless people in the city, reported that LAPD has “set up a task force of investigators that is working 24/7 to apprehend the killer.” Perhaps the task force could turn their attentions to the real scourge: L.A.’s political class, who for more than a decade have used the crisis to burnish their careers and funnel billions to ever-expanding, ever more corrupt government entities and well-connected, profiteering nonprofits, while homeless people continued dying in record numbers.

Of course, even the three murders are at the feet of Bass, Moore, and the D.A. Homeless people comprise approximately 1% of the City’s population, yet they account for 24% of murders. That’s every year, including, presumably, 2023. Yet there have been no breathless press conferences, no weeping mayors, no calls for justice. There has been only deafening silence.

In that context, one may reasonably wonder how much these three — oh, let’s call them “leaders” — really care about the recent murders, beyond the optics. Were the 92 homeless murders in 2022 somehow less awful? Were those lives, a majority of whom were black, less valuable, less deserving of breathless press conferences and solemn calls for action? Apparently, yes. The City of Los Angeles’s new slogan could be, “Some Black Lives Matter.”

There’s also the $64,000 Question: Assuming the suspect is captured, how many times will we discover the D.A. and other “reformer” politicians let him go in the past? What is his RAP sheet going to look like?

I think we all know the answer to those questions. It will be someone with a lengthy criminal history who repeatedly was released pursuant to various “criminal justice reform” measures.

[UPDATE 12/2/2023 8:01PM: Confirmed. LAPD arrested a suspect, Jerrid Joseph Powell. It turns out he was already in custody when Bass et al. held their press conference. According to the Times, “Powell has a lengthy criminal history, including felony convictions, according to Moore, who said police are looking for additional victims. Moore said investigators will try to reconstruct Powell’s movements to see if he left ‘a path of destruction behind him that we have not yet determined.'” Again, we all know what that ultimate determination will be: Another violent sociopath whom the L.A. political class decided not to prosecute properly, and the political class playing catch-up to explain a “path of destruction” they should have prevented in the first place.]

The Times reported, “In an effort to ramp up protective measures, the LAPD will deploy additional patrols in areas where unhoused people congregate and increase overtime to ensure they have eyes everywhere…. The LAPD’s community safety bulletin to unhoused residents offered several safety tips, including having a cellphone that is charged and in good working order, recording and reporting any suspicious activity to police and avoiding isolated areas, especially at night.”

Given than a homeless person is murdered an average of every three days in Los Angeles, reasonable people might have assumed the political class had issued that safety bulletin and taken those obvious-as-blue-sky steps years ago. But reasonable people are not in charge of L.A. these days.

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) chief executive Va Lecia Adams Kellum (2023 salary: $430,000 plus benefits and kickbacks), said her organization is “working with partners to help as many of our unsheltered [sic] neighbors as possible sleep safely by making additional resources available and focusing outreach efforts on vulnerable individuals.” Which is, you know, her basic job description. It’s telling that she seems to think these are extraordinary steps in response to a unique crisis. They are not, and it isn’t. But here we are.

Kellum also said that LAHSA activated its “augmented winter shelter program” on Friday, offering motel beds through Monday for individual homeless. That’s the political class’s version of good news: If you’re homeless in L.A. you won’t risk get murdered until at least Tuesday morning (unless you have a spouse or family, in which case, best of luck).

Also, the number of “augmented winter shelter beds” is … wait for it … 41. Enough to serve 0.008% of the City’s homeless population. In a single location.

In fact, those winter beds are an excellent snapshot of the political class’s lethal failures when it comes to the homeless crisis. LAHSA’s budget in 2015 was $125 million. That winter the agency offered 1,432 emergency winter beds. This year, LAHSA’s budget is $730 million — and it is offering a total of 303 beds, in the midst of record-setting rain and cold. For the mathematically inclined that’s a fifth the number of the beds for six times the cost. Moreover, barely half are available to women, who are far more vulnerable to violence, particularly sexual violence, on the streets. Again, the political class has no tears for those women.

That’s more like it….

There are exceptions. Some members of the City Council have taken bold action in their districts, like Traci Park on the Westside (full disclosure: I worked on Park’s 2022 campaign). But too many are content with the deadly status quo, preaching the failed religion of “housing first” as people die by the thousands every year. It’s perverse. Indeed, it is grotesque.

Mayor Bass wrapped up last week’s press conference by declaring, “The city and the region is mobilizing to find this individual.” Strong words.

Then again, when it comes to the hundreds, likely thousands of other murderers, rapists, and other violent sociopaths who stalk the homeless population every day, the political class’s message remains unchanged: Have at it.

If anyone’s gonna cause homeless deaths in this town, it’s gonna be us. (Los Angeles Times file photo)


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