There probably was homelessness when I was a kid. Maybe a lot. But if there was, I never saw it. Then Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States. His stated goal was to reduce government and social services to the point of extinction. In the case of mental health and homelessness, President Reagan’s success was complete. The streets of Los Angeles have been covered with homeless people ever since he was President. Most of the 180 international visitors I’ve hosted in the last 2 years have commented on the shocking levels of homelessness they see in Los Angeles.
Now we have Measure H: Los Angeles County Plan to Prevent and Combat Homelessness.
Here’s the wording on your ballot:
To fund mental health, substance abuse treatment, health care, education, job training, rental subsidies, emergency and affordable housing, transportation, outreach, prevention, and supportive services for homeless children, families, foster youth, veterans, battered women, seniors, disabled individuals, and other homeless adults; shall voters authorize Ordinance No. 2017-0001 to levy a 1/4 cent sales tax for ten years, with independent annual audits and citizen’s oversight?
Every time I see homelessness, whether it’s far above me on the overpass as I speed across a Los Angeles freeway, or at my window as I wait for a traffic light, I wonder what should I do? There’s a real problem with real people all around me and I’m not part of the solution. Is anyone? What do you do?
In Measure H we have the easiest, most painless way to be part of a real solution for the 10.02 million people who call Los Angeles County home. To help the homeless. To help the mentally ill. To make our streets safer and more attractive. It’s a better Los Angeles for everyone, whether homeless or ridiculously affluent.
I’m disappointed that Hillary Rodham Clinton was not elected President. I really believed in her platform of social justice. On the other hand, most of my family is elated that Donald Trump was elected President. They really believe in his platform of making America great again. Even though my family and I disagree on many things, at core we share the same Christian values. And it’s inconceivable to me that Christ could walk through the Los Angeles of 2017 without stopping to helping the homeless. We can disagree on many things, but ignoring the needs of the least among us can’t be one of those things. Especially when Measure H makes it so simple and painless.
2/3 Yes Vote Required
This is small election. My tiny sample ballot only has 2 things to vote on: Measure H, and 3 Members of the Board of Trustees for the Los Angeles Community College District. No doubt voter turnout will be very low. Measure H requires a 2/3 Yes vote to pass. I urge you to take the time to vote. Members of the Community College Board of Trustees are very important. But even if you don’t want to take the time to research the 8 candidates for those 3 seats, fine, skip them, but please vote Yes on Measure H on March 7th.
- The Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative: homeless.lacounty.gov