On behalf of a critical segment of residents in East Hollywood, this office can now keep for its records that the level of abandonment towards unhoused residents in the 13th district in the years leading up to COVID-19, and then during the year of stay-at-home orders, has gone from derelict to criminal and back again.
As if to add further injury to insult of the principles that CD-13’s office should stand for, actions taken in Echo Park this week at Mitch O’Farrell’s and homeowners’ direction to forcibly remove unhoused residents and housing-insecure residents, as well as their supporters, are fascistic at their core, and obvious as such to all but this office and the homeowners whose wealth and property values they seek to protect by so doing; O’Farrell’s decision to undermine unhoused bodies at Echo Park also mirrors what real estate appraisers sought to do in the 1940s when they redlined property values against Negroes and “foreign families.”
In the 1940s, explicit prohibitions against homeownership by non-whites were legal, but neither right nor humane. When racial covenants were banned by the Supreme Court in 1948, it was largely due to pressure by African-American civil rights organizing in our cities, as well as because of a need for the U.S. judicial system to distinguish the U.S. from “[Soviet] communism,” that is, at least on paper. But today, while deploying police officers paid for by tax dollars extracted from a city that’s 3/4ths non-white against unsheltered bodies, 3/4ths of whom are non-white, remains legal, it is as wrong and inhumane as previous removal policies in Los Angeles and California; a special rapporteur for the United Nations, Philip Alston, as much as noted this in 2017.
These issues are not just temporarily emotional or online issues for us, either, but issues we live with each day as we walk through our avenues, open up our shops, and make our way to and from work inside of the 13th district; many of us preceded Mitch O’Farrell’s term here–and also Garcetti’s from 2001 – 2012–and will outlast O’Farrell’s tenure, but make no mistake about it: the damage wrought on our community by O’Farrell’s and Garcetti’s dedication to Business Improvement Districts, hotel and condominium developers, and entitled home “owners” will take our community generations to recover from.
We also know the office is fond of sending newsletters to constituents noting their “clean-ups.” But until June 7, 2022, the only clean-up we’d like to see is of Mitch O’Farrell’s office on Sunset boulevard. The “flight” of white supremacy and its proponents in the 13th district, who regard our unhoused residents only as “blight” on our streets–truly the pots calling kettles black, given that these streets belong most of all to the renters and workers who share them–will also be a welcome reprieve.
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