California is the place where nearly 50% of the nation’s homeless population have congregated to kick back, live on the beach, collect a check, and use and abuse drugs with impunity.
Citizens from San Diego, where the homeless were hit especially hard by Hepatitis A, to Los Angeles, where typhoid is making a comeback, to San Francisco, where there are visible urine lines on buildings in The Tenderloin, Californians have begged, pleaded, demanded that something be done about the filthy conditions, which threaten everyone’s health. But progressive politicians have done nothing but make such behavior easier. People like former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon decriminalized anti-social behaviors – open-air drugging, urinating and pooping on the streets. He refused to enforce the law and, indeed, wrote Proposition 47 – passed by voters – that has made the homeless problem even worse. Gascon is now running for Los Angeles district attorney.
Despite these pleas from the public, little to nothing has been done to get people off the streets and enforce the law to discourage even more from coming. Californians are being told, in effect, that they’re mean and nasty for wanting the drugging, sleeping, pooping, peeing homeless to shove off. Elected officials claim that they have no way to do this because of a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision. By enforcing few if any laws, they entice more to come.
But in Sunday’s news conference on the coronavirus, COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom gave away the game. In announcing that people 65 and over should stay home and ordering bars, wineries, and breweries to be closed, Newsom also had a word about the homeless and the virus.
We’re working in real time to secure hotels, motels, and trailers to house our homeless safely and protect our communities and the spread of #COVIDー19.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 15, 2020
Newsom told reporters, “We’re working in real-time to secure hotels, motels, and trailers to house our homeless safely and protect our communities and the spread of COVID-19.”
But when asked what would happen if the people in homeless encampments refused to be put in a motel or hotel and if he would consider forcing them into housing, here’s what Newsom said: “All of these things are hypotheticals and we’ll meet the moment. And we have the capacity to encourage people off the streets. We have existing rules and regulations.”
“We have existing rules and regulations” to force people off the streets? That’s right, the California governor admitted to having the authority to do this the entire time, but he just hasn’t done it.
He didn’t say that emergency declarations at the state and national levels give him more latitude to force people off the streets and riverbeds. He said they “have existing rules and regulations” to get people off the street.
In fact, when he was asked by a reporter if he could force people with state police powers to move off the street and into a shelter, he declared, “I’m not ratcheting up a mindset of an enforcement police state.”
While some people do worry about Newsom’s police-state proclivities in this health emergency, such as commandeering private hotels to house possible coronavirus patients, invoking it to clear an obvious health hazard in filthy homeless encampments isn’t one of them … because he has “existing rules and regulations” to do that.
Good to know.
Someone should ask him why doesn’t use them.