Not So Clean Streets: LA City Controller Tells Us What We Already Knew

RANTZ AND RAVEZ-Another expensive audit recently released by the City Controller informed us all of what most of us already knew. The City of LA is not sweeping most of the streets in Los Angeles.  In fact, 66% of the city streets are being ignored and not swept at all. That means that only 34% of the streets are being swept by street sweeper machines operated by city crews on any type of a regular schedule. 

You can spot the streets in question by looking for the No Parking Street Sweeping signs located in the selected neighborhoods. The Bureau of Street Services has requested additional personnel during the last two budget cycles. As usual, the LA City Council has turned down that request and life goes on as usual in the city with more and more streets filled with all sorts of trash and debris. Will this audit bring about a change in the future? Most likely not. Just another expenditure of your tax dollars to complete an audit that let you know what you already knew.        

Personal responsibility and respect for others a thing of the past - for many, I have some issues to review regarding the homeless population in our region.  

The homeless problem in LA is certainly not new to most of you, your families or your neighbors. We have all witnessed the homeless walking in our neighborhoods, visiting stores where they do what they want, sleeping here and there, pushing their stolen shopping carts loaded with collected items. 

City leaders are selling too many of you a bill of goods. They convinced you to pass a property tax increase to address the homeless “emergency” in Los Angeles – raising more and more funds to throw at the problem with no improvements yet to be seen. The homeless situation is expanding every day. 

Just look along the Orange Line and in the Sepulveda basin and other gathering spots in the San Fernando Valley and throughout Los Angeles and you will find them camped out in their tents. The problem is compounded by the trash they throw everywhere, along with other debris including human waste. You can understand how Hepatitis-A is spreading in the region and is directly connected to the homeless population. The situation is so serious that there is a move afoot to protect our public safety personnel with a Hepatitis-A vaccine. At least one Los Angeles public safety officer has already been infected with the deadly illness. 

People have asked me if there is there a solution to the problem. I believe it will take the combined resources of the state, county and municipal governments to bring about any significant change to the current and growing homeless situation in our region and throughout California. First, the courts need to permit the public safety personnel to do their job in protecting and serving all the people and communities of California. 

Recent reports show that 38% of homeless individuals are alcoholics, 25% suffer from mental illness and 26% are addicted to drugs and other substances. That is a total of 89% of this specific population. Even with compassion and understanding, it’s useless to provide housing to this population without supportive services – it’s just a waste of time and money. 

There needs to be a means to provide services to address the causes of homelessness before housing can ever be considered. Building housing or providing residential facilities, while ignoring the root causes that send people into this negative, wandering way of life is a waste. I have a humane and simple plan that will ultimately bring an end to the exploding homeless population in our region.  To this date, nothing that the city has tried has worked. Just look around your neighborhood. I will share my plan with you in my next RantZ and RaveZ. Stay tuned… 

On November 11, we will honor our veterans on Veteran’s Day, a day that was once called Armistice Day. Please remember those who have given their lives and those who are now serving around the world to protect our freedom and liberty. May God Bless all our Veterans.     


(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.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.