Save the Homeless … Demand Results from Politicos Who Raise Our Taxes

RANTZ AND RAVEZ-The Homeless situation in Los Angeles is getting worse each and every day. More and more people are living on the streets of LA and local government officials are doing little other than talk and raise taxes and fees to address the situation. 

In the areas surrounding LA City Hall, all over downtown, along the Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley and on the streets of Hollywood, Central LA, and in the West and South LA areas, the situation continues to worsen. Many people, including young students, are forced to walk to school stumbling over the homeless with their collection of various items lying on sidewalks. They are sleeping on bus benches and generally flopping anywhere and everywhere they choose to plant themselves on private and public property.

It is not that I am heartless and don’t care about my fellow human beings. For whatever reason -- be it drugs or mental illness or a number of other factors -- homelessness has become a lifestyle for many people living on the streets. It is totally out of control and not reducing in numbers. 

Throwing money at the problem has not worked; the newly established bond measure to build 10,000 residential units -- supported by an increase in the property tax -- is not going to improve things. No community wants the homeless in its neighborhood. Additionally, the ¼ cent sales tax to assist the homeless, voted into law in the County of Los Angeles, is not going to do much to rectify the situation either. How can it have any impact when a select group of 50 people are attempting to find ways to spend the money that will be generated by the new tax? Imagine how 50 people working together are going to establish any solution as to how to spend the money. Just look at our City Council and you can see how elected officials find ways to spend money yet not improve the quality of life in our city.      

I have been a board member of the rescue shelter Hope of the Valley for the past number of years. This organization deals with the homeless in the greater San Fernando Valley by providing a number of services and locations with beds for those left out in the streets. From hospital dumping of patients on the streets to those down on their luck, Hope of the Valley is constantly struggling to find the funds to keep operating in the San Fernando Valley. 

There is also the LA Mission, the Union Rescue Mission, the Fred Jordan mission and a number of other organizations designed to provide food, clothing and shelter to the homeless in and around Los Angeles. Some even help families and children. Unlike years ago when there were mostly homeless men confined to the Skid Row area in downtown LA, the situation has changed with growing numbers of women with children living homeless on the streets and various communities throughout LA.

Missions and existing shelters are all in need of funds to continue to operate and provide services to those in need. I have a novel idea. Why don’t the bureaucrats handling the additional tax revenues provide sufficient funds to the established facilities that are struggling for dollars? This will help them continue providing the valuable services to the homeless. Now, is that such a novel approach to begin and address the growing homeless population in Los Angeles? 

Gordon Murley should be remembered for all the passion and dedication he displayed for the South West San Fernando Valley and, in particular, Woodland Hills.  

With the death of Gordon Murley a few months ago, there are those in the Woodland Hills community who want to remember all the good work he did for the community for many years. From community meetings to development to being a protector of neighborhoods, Gordon was there year after year speaking, arguing and supporting community pride and success in any and all developments. When Gordon did not like a project, he would gather his posse together and fight to make sure it became a benefit for the community and not just another building occupying space. 

Love, commitment and dedication to the community are what Gordon was all about. There are those in the community who want to name a monument or facility in Gordon’s memory. Johnny Walker, a friend, local resident and community organizer is gaining support from various organizations in Woodland Hills to name the currently under construction Shoup Park in honor of Gordon. 

I will be the first to admit that naming a city facility in particular a park in honor of Gordon is most appropriate. The tribute is an honor and I am sure Gordon’s family and friends will appreciate it. While I appropriated the funds to renovate the park when I was the councilman for the district, the current councilman, Councilman Bob Blumenfield will have to approve naming the park in honor of Gordon. I know that he and his staff worked with Gordon during the past years on various developments in the council district. 

Gordon was the president of the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization, Founder of the Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council, South Valley Planning Commissioner and a proud Military Veteran. A man of distinction, commitment and honor deserves a community facility or a monument in his name. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms 

I would like to wish all Mothers a Happy Mother’s Day. While my Mom passed several years ago, I remember the good times we shared with my Mom, Alice, and the family over the years. Show love and appreciation to your Mom, Grandmother and Godmother on Mother’s Day and every day. As we age, we come to appreciate more and more what our Moms do and have done to frame, encourage and strengthen our lives. As I remember and pray for my Mom, I urge you to demonstrate your love and appreciation for the Moms in your family. Will it be roses or candy or jewelry for her? 

Whatever it is make sure it is delivered with lots of love and appreciation.     

I welcome your thoughts and comments at [email protected].


(Dennis P. Zine is a retired LAPD Sergeant, Former Elected Charter Reform Commissioner, Retired Los Angeles City Councilman; and the current Honorary Mayor of Woodland Hills and General Manager of Bell Canyon’s Community Services District in Ventura County.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.