The Fix is Not In: Broken Sidewalks, Exploding Homelessness, More Promises from City Hall

RANTZ & RAVEZ-The headline reads: “LA lawmaker astonished at holdup in making city sidewalk repairs.” The article goes on to say that Los Angeles leaders planned to spend $27 million on sidewalk repairs this budget year -- much more than the year before.

But so far, more then halfway through the fiscal year, the city has yet to spend any of it. “I’m kind of astonished to learn that we haven’t spent any more today than we did as of the end of the last budget year,” City Councilman Paul Krekorian said at a Monday meeting after being told that none of the money has been used. “I’m astonished and I’m really disappointed, “Krekorian said. 

The interesting part of this story is that it ran in the Los Angeles Times on February 2, 2015…a three plus year old story! Not much has happened since then to correct the situation. 

Just check the sidewalks in your neighborhood to see how they continue to deteriorate while the city continues to ignore them. The Mayor and City Council direct the money for specific projects in the city budget (in this case sidewalk repairs) but it often gets lost in the billions of dollars and bureaucracy that make up the massive city operations where there is not enough oversight and accountability. For instance, millions of dollars are routinely awarded in civil claims for “trip and fall” cases when people are injured due to sidewalks that have been damaged or uprooted by trees. In the coming 2018-2019 fiscal year, we will be waiting to see how the City allocates money from its nearly $10 billion budget to fulfill continuing promises to repair our broken sidewalks and roadways. 

Those irritating campaign signs on private property: Is there anything you can do about it? 

With the June election approaching, there will be many campaign signs posted on private and public property. The signs are designed to draw your attention to certain candidates and ballot propositions, but they deteriorate in the weather and contribute to trash in your neighborhoods. There is something you can do about them. If they are posted on private property without the permission of the property owner, they can be removed. If they are on public property like utility poles and parkways, they are in violation of the Los Angeles Municipal Code; the city can remove them and fine the candidate or proposition organizer. Either way, with all the candidates running for public office and the multiple ballot measures, there will be a large number of illegal signs posted as we approach the June Election. Do your part to keep your community clean. 

Shelter Resistance    

The Homeless situation is not improving in the City of Los Angeles. In fact, it’s getting worse day by day. I believe our local, county, state and federal governments are not doing all they can to remedy the situation and we continue to deal with the problem daily. In discussing the homeless population with a local police officer, I learned a new term: “shelter resistant.” There are homeless people who refuse any of the services offered and provided by local organizations established to assist this exploding population. 

Given the laws and recent court decisions preventing police officers from taking any effective measures to assist the homeless, residents of the community are becoming more and more frustrated and demanding aggressive action. As seen in Orange County, the situation has become more frustrating for residential and business owner taxpayers. With the recent involvement of the court in the Orange County debate, the matter continues to fester with no resolve. 

Patience to find a remedy for addressing the homeless situation is running out, especially when we see incidents like what happened in Oxnard when a husband and wife who were having dinner with their child at a restaurant were approached by a homeless man who killed the husband with no provocation. While the voters have approved tax increases to help the homeless population in our city, little is being done to reduce their numbers and the negative impact the homeless problem has on our communities. Tempers are beginning to run short. People want action. Our Mayor, who is exploring a presidential run, needs to wake up and address the situation in a more aggressive manner.

 

(Dennis P. Zine is a former and retired LAPD Supervisor, former and retired 12-year Los Angeles City Councilman and current General Manager at Bell Canyon in Ventura County. He is a candidate for the upcoming Assembly District 45 election.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.