September 30, 1996 - From the September, 1996 issue

Letter to TPR Editor: Roundtable on Homeless Unbalanced

To TPR Editor:

It was irresponsible to hold and publish the round table discussion “Commerce & Homelessness Meet Uneasily on Los Angeles St.” with no one present to represent the homeless population. However, it is likely that including such a representative would have stifled the expression of your panelists and we might never have known their true attitudes on the topic.

One participant lists as ‘nuisance-type crimes.’ “People trying to wash your windows.” This is a person trying to eke out a living, not committing a crime… 

Another example—“The drunks, the transients, and the beggars.” Your participants see these people as crimes. Their existence is criminal… Your panel seems to feel that recognizing the homeless population in the area as people with rights is standing in the way of commerce.

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The City of Los Angeles made a decision to concentrate homeless people in the eastern part of downtown, rather than let them find their way in the pretty parts of downtown. How can anyone now complain about what that looks like? The toy industry moved into the area because space is cheap there. Of course it’s cheap—it’s skid row. Another participant complains about the homeless and the service providers, who were there first.

All of this sounds to me like a new effort to displace the homeless population and their service providers again. The Planning Report should have no part in it.

Kayne Doumani Los Angeles

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