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Hijacked by the Homeless

Has West Hollywood's homeless taken us hostage?

West Hollywood is a haven for the homeless. Does this make us a good city toward them or have we become a patsy?

With recent news of the serial killer homeless guy who killed two women in Culver City and then came back to his part-time home—his alley here in West Hollywood, it puts us all on home alert.

There was a TV special on A&E one time called “Homeless in Paradise” and it followed the masses of homeless that live in Santa Monica. Where the homeless there can bask in the sunshine in one of the nicest Southern California cities. Santa Monica’s population is almost 100,000, which is much larger then West Hollywood’s 37,000 population, but leaves us in a particular quarry.

At times, it appears we as a city just roll over for the homeless. Back in 1999 when the steering committee for the Rehab of Santa Monica Boulevard was happening, there was supposed to be really nice new benches and seats along the boulevard for us all to use and sit upon.

Today, none of those benches exist because like Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, if we put down nice new benches and seats, the homeless will take eminent domain upon them 24/7.  And whenever I am in on 3rd Street Promenade, it is packed with homeless that have taken up shop on every seat and bench. 

Forget about waiting them out for any of them to get up, because you and I do not have all day and night to outlast their sitting powers. At sundown on that promenade, the rest of the homeless come out and it’s a bit like “Thriller” as they fit into every nook and cranny of every storefront and doorway.

I was meeting a friend near Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente and I had two bags in my hand and I was also walking my dog. And when I was on the south side of the sidewalk between San Vicente Boulevard and Robertson, I kept thinking how nice it would be if there were some benches so someone or I could sit down for few minutes. And then one of our local homeless walks toward me as a reminder of how we have to be punished as city to accommodate the homeless, which means no seats or benches for the residents or visitors.

Many times as the homeless cross my path, I have to hold my breath as I walk Santa Monica Boulevard to avoid the downwind of putrid nastiness so I don’t barf.

There was a bus bench in front of Coffee Bean on Sunset Boulevard that always had a homeless guy passed out on it and he was black with filth. That bench was finally taken away as it was a real bad site to see in front of a business, because it was the first thing and last thing you saw at this location.

There are solutions to help like the Los Angeles County phone number of 211 to find out that day at the minute of the closest shelter, shower and food for the homeless.

But many of the homeless I have offered things to are a bit the finicky Morris type cat as when I offered a Powerbar to one homeless guy outside of Gelson’s, he countered with after taking the food item from me, “I hope there’s not honey in this.” Yes, that’s what he said. He either had a food allergy or was trying to keep his blood sugar down or was on an all protein homeless person’s diet to get more cut up.

Another time I was coming out of “Tango Grill,” now called “Bite,” and a homeless woman was standing near the trash can, so I offered my leftovers to her in the bag I had and she asked what it was and I said “fish” and she said "What kind?” and I said “salmon” and then she scrunched up her nose and said “no.” I guess she was waiting for some filet mignion or lobster.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

jimmy May 09, 2011 at 05:24 PM
How about if in places of where the nice benches once were, the City posted signs that said something like "Nice public bench removed; Homeless: please contact City Hall for suggestions for nearby homeless shelters". It might be a little more honest and it might get taxpayers to set some priorities. Also, you indicated two instances where you tried to give a handout to a homeless person. These handouts only encourage more homeless to come to the area. Instead of giving food or cash, why not handout cards to direct the homeless for free care, so the public aren't constantly harassed and begged upon. And to the argument of "oh, the homeless won't go to shelters, they don't like shelters": when they get hungry enough, they will go to a shelter for free food.
HOODLMMBOY May 30, 2011 at 10:47 PM
You really don't understand these Human Beings that are homeless, for lots of real reasons! You forget so easily that they were once just like you, particular in many of life endeavors, from eating, movies, etc. The homeless situation will become very massive in years to come. The political system that we as Americans tolerate, & love to the extreme believes that it's better to have people homeless than to provide them with affordable apartments, houses, etc. They would rather have 10 landlords who are filthy rich, than to provide affordable apartments to 1,000 people who are blind, & disabled. The bottom line is that the people that run this country, just don't care about the poor, but they forgot something, you can't kill them off, even if starving them to death doesn't & hasn't worked. In the thousands they will continue to cram Santa Monica Beach & Venice Beach. You will consistently see them using the side walks as their personal bath rooms to do whatever, in front of whoever. They will constantly beg you for money while you're outside that really nice restaurant sitting in the patio believing that the world is fine. No, she wasn't waiting for some filet fish or lobster, she still remembers that she is just like you particular in many of life endeavors! HOODLMMBOY 2011-May
Jerome Cleary May 30, 2011 at 11:18 PM
yes HOODLMMBOY, but why would a homeless person turn down free food when offered to them? I'm not the only one offering food as other people I know have too and well as my blog post says dial 211 to find a shelter and food given to the homeless. I'm not hear to give cash for drugs, booze and cigarettes for the homeless.
Insider May 31, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Why do bums hang around West Hollywood? They're not harassed by cops, and they get money from people on the street. (What a deal!) I've talked with bums that have asked me for money, and asked them why they've not taken advantage of taxpayer funded shelters or programs. The answer each time: The shelter has rules about alcohol, drugs and curfew. One woman I talked with travels all over the west coast and gave a detailed history of cities that are either homeless friendly/homeless unfriendly. West Hollywood? Homeless friendly. (Whatever you support,you get more of.) The political system that HOODLMMBOY speaks of? Democratic US President and Senate. Democratic California Governor, House and Assembly. Los Angeles County Supervisors - Democrats, LA City Mayor and City Council - Democrats, West Hollywood City Council - Democrats. I understand his need to invoke class warfare, but be careful of rhetoric that doesn't support your position.
Joseph Berdeen December 20, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Remember we all can become homeless at anytime, many I have I countered and have personally known at one time were upper middle class who gave lost all because of economy, and have found it if not impossibly or difficult even if working and homeless hard to make ends meat, what ever happens to helping are fellow man women out?????? In west Hollywood we are supposed to bann together for we know discrimination more then most, I Speak from personnel experience! Shame on all who look down on those who aren't like us are going through difficult times!!! Not all people who are in these position are bad people! people places and things only last so long, and I have had and lost and had again, for I have come to realize not to rely on any of it! I rely only what my heart and soul speaks to me!!!! We have lost this as a community and I am ashamed of my community for this!!

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