Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote an open letter to residents, defending the work being done by the city to address the rampant homelessness problem while saying he takes “full responsibility” for the city’s response to the issue. LA resident Felicia Tweedy responds:
Dear Mayor Garcetti,
Wow! It’s good to finally hear from you!
Since you’ve avoided taking interviews and answering questions from reporters lately, I was beginning to think you took a long vacation. Could it be that the growing chants of “Recall! Recall!” have you suddenly interested in chatting?
Mr. Mayor, Los Angeles needs more than nice words and analogies. Los Angeles needs more than just promises and passing the blame hidden under words of fake accountability.
Los Angeles residents are tired of the platitudes and the political speeches. Inaction has spoken louder than words. Your letter didn’t ease the minds of those living here, it didn’t convince us that everything is going to be OK because you plan to do more of the same. It is also not going to silence or appease us either.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I went to college in Los Angeles, and I still live in Los Angeles. My parents moved to Los Angeles from the East Coast when California was still the Golden State, full of opportunities. I have witnessed first hand the tragedy that Los Angeles has become. It is no coincidence that as the number of Democrats in elected office grew in LA and California, so did the problems.
There’s an old saying: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” And all I hear is more of the same thing that got us where we are.
LA’s homeless problem is a reflection of the failure of our leaders and the failure of their policies. You speak about the housing shortages, income inequality and cost of living, yet you and our State leaders tax at one of the highest levels in the Nation, while quality of life is on the decline. You’ve driven businesses out. Even the film industry goes to other States to film for the tax incentives, instead of filming right here in their backyard.
Our once great public schools now rank near the bottom in almost all categories. I’ve watched the once middle class neighborhood I grew up in in the San Fernando Valley become just short of a ghetto, as crime and the issues of the inner city has spread through the valley.
Our politicians have asked for more and more money to underwrite their proposed solutions. They have taxed residents as much as they can and yet nothing changes. We were just asked yet again this month to approve an increase in property taxes as part of Measure EE to solve the mismanagement and misuse of funds that has plagued our school system. Once again throwing good money after bad into the fiscal black hole which is the school system in this city. This time the voters told you No.
The LAPD is understaffed and over worked. They are having to handle mentally ill homeless people on a regular basis, something they are not equipped to do, risking their own health every time they walk through an encampment, yet the government has tied their hands from being able to do their job.
Officers are told to look the other way, and not even enforce some of our laws, because it’s basically a waste of time. There is no punishment, our jails our full, so as a result, people can pee and poop in the street and it’s OK, illicit drug use takes place on city streets right near schools and it’s ignored. Residents complain, they reach out to the police for help and are told there is unfortunately nothing they can do about it.
While we have thousands on the street, our schools and police are “underfunded,” and we are told we need to be taxed more, we seem to have the resources to take care of everyone else. While the homeless problem grew, you were on TV touting LA’s sanctuary city policy, an invitation to bring more people into an already taxed system, people who were breaking our Nation’s laws just to be here, and while doing so, you set an example that people can pick and choose which laws they want to follow in society. That our leaders, whose job it is to uphold our Nation’s laws, can pick and choose which laws they want to enforce based on their political agenda.
When it comes to the health and welfare of the city, should we be surprised by the lack of action when the rat population explodes, and with it, an outbreak of typhus and typhoid fever hits downtown? Considering LA would rather release illegal immigrants, wanted for serious crimes, out onto the streets of LA, rather than hand them over to ICE, it’s obvious the safety of Angelinos isn’t of the utmost importance to our “leaders.”
Speaking of rats, it was recently revealed that unlike other major cities, Los Angeles has no regular maintenance program to keep rat populations in check. Never has and still doesn’t. You recently told NBC that you were working on it. I guess you forgot to include that in your letter? Maybe you could write another one about the spread of flea-borne typhus and the emergence of bubonic plague.
This city’s homeless problem reached an epidemic level under your watch. Residents have been demanding change and action while you were out touting your plans and promoting the 2028 Olympics, or while you were in Iowa testing the waters for a possible Presidential run.
You say you are taking “full responsibility” but like how you’ve blamed the trash issue in the city near encampments on “illegal dumping” and not on the homeless issue, you play down the numbers and emphasize that this issue has been decades in the making. I never had a homeless encampment near my house until the past two years. I didn’t have to worry about stepping in human waste or catching a deadly disease by visiting downtown just a couple years ago. I agree that this has been years in the making – years of Democrat rule and policy that is now reaping what it has sown.
Los Angeles numbers may not have risen percentage-wise as much as some other cities, but considering Los Angeles has the second highest number of homeless in the Country to begin with, any increase elsewhere pales in comparison. Part of the City’s problem is the continual downplaying of the issues the city faces, and the exaggeration what has been done about it.
Los Angeles doesn’t need more of the same efforts, more of the same promises, Los Angeles needs a change — a change in effort, change in policy, a change in how things are done. The homeless issue is simply a symptom of a greater disease known as liberal politics.
Mr. Mayor, you need to come to terms with the fact that it’s not just about doing more and failing bigger; it’s about changing how you address the problem, how you are running this city, and recognizing that your ideology has been fertile soil for these problems to take hold and grow. Without that, your efforts are doomed to failure. You said in your letter you take “full responsibility” for the problem, so don’t be surprised when you are held accountable. Angelinos may not just need a change in direction, they will need a change in leadership.
Felicia Tweedy is a political activist and professional who has served elected officials and campaigns on both sides of the aisle, and an entertainment industry professional.