Jun 5 2019
12:10 pm

What we’re looking at now is what happens when city and county officials focus on a festering problem too late, move too slowly, and preside over an evolving catastrophe that may get worse before it gets better, even with thousands more housing units in the pipeline.


michael kaplan's picture

Vagrancy in Vestal

Merchants and customers at Weigel's, Walgreens, Dollar General, Goodwill, Szechuan Garden, Ace Hardware, KARM, Grocery Outlet, Kroger, T-Mobile, and Dollar Tree - all on Chapman Highway - could be in danger. Vagrants armed with knives have been reported. The alleged burglar at Dollar General was armed with a gun, and supposedly caught by police.

Alex_Falk's picture

i would advise

i would advise against following the conservative/reactionary tendency to call attention to problems caused by economic inequality & lack of public health infrastructure by intentionally sensationalizing petty criminality & hyping a supposed "violent threat" posed by poor and infirm.

i live next to vestal, i'm not denying the reality of anything that transpired at these locations but please treat homelessness as a human problem that deserves compassion.

neighborhoods and homeowners are already filled to the brim with heartless reactionaries soaked in outright hostility toward "the least of these" and need no more of the kind of fear-based "encouragement" offered by this genre of post.

michael kaplan's picture

treat homelessness as a human

treat homelessness as a human problem that deserves compassion

In my comment above, I didn't use the term 'homelessness,' I used 'vagrancy.' There's a difference. One could, I suppose, have 'compassion' for armed thieves and drug dealers, but dealing with the problem on a daily basis is another matter ...

Alex_Falk's picture

but what

but what is the solution for crime and violence?

again, a compassionate rather than a carceral one.

bizgrrl's picture

What sort of compassion do

What sort of compassion do you suggest for a person who has committed a crime or has been violent?

Alex_Falk's picture

reforming the carceral state

the justice system we have is not a compassionate one. reforming the carceral state is a huge topic on its own!

my point in being critical of kaplan's post is that fear-mongering about crime and violence associated with failing to solve homelessness directly reinforces some of the same conservative-reactionary modes of thought that prevent collective attempts at attacking the roots of the problem.

michael kaplan's picture

Alex, you might express your

Alex, you might extend your 'compassion' to those expelling the "homeless," as you call them, from their encampments on public land. What you get is what you see in Vestal -- people roaming the streets and neighborhoods. Expulsion is current city policy, so please direct your concern to Mayor Rogero and her staff, as we in the neighborhood have been doing since last October.



Alex_Falk's picture


these are human beings, likely at lowest point of their lives.
did you ask permission to take photos of them and their belongings?

what point are you trying to prove by posting these photos?
that's "my" kroger. i live here.
i drive thru both vestal & the broadway corridor practically every day.
do you think i've never seen a person without a home?
why the scare quotes around "homeless" and why the qualifier "as you call them"?

taking these kind of photos and posting them for shock value is grotesque, intentionally dehumanizing & deeply reactionary.

it is a deliberate appeal to the kind of conservative paranoia that was (is) a large part of the creation of suburbs in the first place.

michael kaplan's picture

do you think i've never seen

do you think i've never seen a person without a home?

These people had homes: tents erected on public property, from which they were expelled by the city.

barker's picture

Living on public property

So I guess that means you're OK with the city allowing people to live in tents in Mary Vestal Park, correct?

bizgrrl's picture

Hmmm... Mary Vestal Park


Mary Vestal Park compared to a parking lot?

barker's picture

public property

I reckon if it's OK for the city to allow people to set up tents on public property, that goes for all public property. I don't know about anybody else, but I'd rather live in Mary Vestal Park than under the interstate on Broadway.

bizgrrl's picture

Great logic, you should run

Great logic, you should run for office.

barker's picture

Ha! If I do, shoot me.


If I do, shoot me.

michael kaplan's picture

Or for someone who shows up

Or for someone who shows up at your doorstep with a knife? We're not talking about Sequoia Hills - or even Colonial Heights - but rather a low-income, working-class neighborhood victimized by the city's inhumane policies.

Alex_Falk's picture


sure, those words don't mean the same thing but maybe check the title of the topic you created yourself and then immediately replied to

michael kaplan's picture

"Homelessness in Los Angeles"

"Homelessness in Los Angeles" was the title of the article.

Midori Barstow's picture

A suburbia for the homeless

A suburbia for the homeless exists and they can live there forever


bizgrrl's picture

That looks like a great idea.

That looks like a great idea.

yellowdog's picture

From the LA Times article

"The one concession I’ll make to local officials is that homelessness is a symptom of a far bigger problem than any city or county official can fix without help.

The news of a robust, booming economy is a fabrication. When nearly a quarter of the students at an elementary school are homeless in Pacoima, a community once surrounded by blue-collar jobs that no longer exist, it speaks to the failures of a job market that works extremely well for a few while pushing so many others deeper into the hole.

That’s true to a lesser degree across the country, as well, where economic hardship and homelessness have grown. The spray-painted con man claimed to have a pocket full of easy answers — the return of manufacturing, cheaper and better healthcare for all, a national infrastructure work program, the rebuilding of the inner city. Not only has he whiffed on all of that, but this blubbering blimp of petulant self-parody is putting a squeeze on housing, environmental safeguards and other social programs to pump up defense spending and tax cuts that have mostly benefited his billionaire pals."

Treehouse's picture


What YD said.

michael kaplan's picture

Trump on Los Angeles


In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Trump laid into West Coast cities run by the “liberal establishment,” speaking in vivid terms about mentally ill homeless people and how residents “have to walk through a scene that nobody would have believed possible.”

Trump suggested homelessness is a new problem of the past two years and didn’t offer any specific proposals to remedy the crisis. Nor did the White House immediately define what a federal intervention on homelessness would look like.

Treehouse's picture

Round ‘em up

Put them in private prisons!

bizgrrl's picture

We do seem to have a problem

We do seem to have a problem treating the less fortunate. It seems to be a growing problem.

Maybe all those 1%'s could help out a little more.

Knoxoasis's picture

Austin is on the job!

Alex_Falk's picture


yup, the first step is decriminalizing poverty & homelessness!

michael kaplan's picture

You're right, but Mayor

You're right, but Mayor Rogero and the city's policy is 'clean-up,' removing the homeless from public encampments. What the city needs are designated camping areas on public property, with toilet and shower facilities available along with appropriate social services.

What is problematic, however, is 'decriminalizing' crime, particularly non-violent crime that is disproportionately affecting poorer neighborhoods. One candidate for city council, for example, has called petty theft 'liberation' of consumer goods.

Alex_Falk's picture

go on

who is the city council candidate?
what is the context of your quote?

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