Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Obamaville Olympics?

 

I live near Los Angeles’s most infamous green space, the titular grounds of what may be the strangest hit in pop song history (the original hit № 2 on the charts in 1968 for Richard Harris — yes, the actor Richard Harris — while the more famous rendition by Donna Summer topped the charts a decade later). MacArthur Park has seen a lot of problems in the 15 years I’ve lived near it. In that time, it has gone from a No Man’s Land where gangs — notably the 18th Street Gang and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), two infamous international criminal organizations with roots in the area — would sell drugs and dump bodies in the lake, to the vital heart of the mostly densely populated area of the country west of the Mississippi River. The area, known as Westlake (because the lake was on Los Angeles’s western periphery about a century ago), is home to Central American immigrants, many of them illegals, though also some Koreans priced-out of neighboring Koreatown.

Many groups have sought to rehabilitate MacArthur Park, making the area a safer, more livable place for some of Los Angeles’s poorest residents by encouraging families, especially mothers, to use the park en masse. The strategy worked: The presence of moms, kids, and even intact families in the park and on the adjacent streets has gone a long way toward reducing crime and changing the neighborhood for the better. But, in the last year or so, a new problem has shown up in MacArthur Park and the surrounding streets that has beaten back the families and made the streets more dangerous: the tents. In the past few years, homeless encampments and tent villages have proliferated across Los Angeles. The city has always has a massive homelessness problem, so much so that it even became the ultimate punchline of the 2007 South Park episode “Night of the Living Homeless.”

In most cities, “skid row” is a euphemism for a particularly destitute part of town. In Los Angeles, Skid Row is a specific place. Its boundaries stretch from Main Street on the west, to Alameda Street on the east, to Third Street on the north, to Seventh Street on the south. It borders trendy areas such as Little Tokyo, the Old Bank District, the Historic Core, the Fashion District, and the Arts District, all home to some of the city’s hottest restaurants, bars, and boutiques, as well as some very expensive real estate. Expensive, trendy brands such as Acne Studios, Aēsop, A.P.C., Mykita, and Shinola all have stores within spitting distance of the nation’s largest concentration of homeless people.

Starting in the 1970s, the city made a conscious effort to concentrate its homeless in one place rather than have them spread around the enormous metropolitan area. The idea was that this would make it easier to provide services to the homeless, but it also concentrated crime, drug use, diseases, and various other problems. Other cities around Los Angeles would drop off their homeless and (notoriously) mentally-ill in Skid Row, sometimes from as faw away as Nevada. This got liberal do-badders — most notably, that menace to society known as the ACLU — to spring into action and launch a series of lawsuits against the City of Los Angeles, the LAPD, etc.

Jones v. The City of Los Angeles (2007): The lawsuit that really started the ball rolling, the Ninth Circus [sic] Court of Appeals ruled that city ordinances banning sleeping on sidewalks essentially made homelessness illegal and ruled it unconstitutional, citing the Eighth Amendment. The city finally agreed to a settlement that allowed people to sleep on sidewalks from 9 PM to 6 AM, so long as they remained ten feet from the doors of building or entrances of driveways. Afterwards, charities began handing out tents to the homeless.

Desertrain v. City of Los Angeles (2014): The Ninth Circus [sic] Court of Appeals returns again, this time striking down a law making it illegal to sleep overnight in one’s automobile, on a public street, or in a parking lot on the grounds that it “opens the door to discriminatory enforcement against the homeless and the poor,” and that it “violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as an unconstitutionally vague statute.” The 1983 statute had gotten renewed enforcement after the seaside neighborhood of Venice saw an influx of homeless rush onto its streets, where they would live in vans, recreational vehicles, or just cars, causing havoc for the people of this gentrified, largely residential area by dumping trash and excrement into streets, etc. (California Coastal Commission regulations about coast access limits the city’s ability to put street parking restrictions in much of that area.)

Lavan v. The City of Los Angeles (2012): Finally rejected for review by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, letting stand the ruling that city officials could not confiscate the belongings of homeless people as abandoned property. Therefore, the police and sanitation crews must leave the trains of (stolen) grocery carts full of miscellaneous junk laying about the city’s sidewalks alone, even if unattended. Since the homeless did not have to guard their trash wagons as intently as before, they were more free to move about the city, colonizing new areas; and because they could roam further from their hoards in search of stuff, their piles of junk have been steadily increasing.

Starting in 2013, LA’s homeless population began to grow. By 2015, the increase was noticeable: The homeless — who used to be just around Skid Row, Santa Monica, and a few other far Westside locations — were suddenly everywhere. And where one used to just see a single homeless person, one now encounters his or her encampment. They travel with piles of stuff with them, taking up several seats on the subway, or parked like a smelly little kiosk in the middle of the sidewalk. And while this is purely anecdotal, my experience and those of my friends agree: The homeless have become much more aggressive.

Just as Downtown LA hit its stride as the new center for civic life, the fetid decadence once neatly contained east of Main Street has exploded all over Downtown, accosting office ladies and conventioneers, and threatening to return Downtown’s scary’s reputation. Some places have chained-off huge sections of sidewalk to prevent encampments. “That’s what they do in South Africa,” an exasperated friend of mine told me. Even on the well-heeled Westside, I had a scary moment walking past an encampment under a freeway between Rancho Park and Sawtelle: a little pocket of a Mad Max movie right between two upper-middle-class enclaves.

When the Great Depression began, the shantytowns in the middle of cities were dubbed “Hoovervilles.” Why aren’t we calling the mass tent cities in the parks of America’s second largest city “Obamavilles”?

* * *

This coming September, the International Olympic Committee will gather in Lima, Peru to decide which city will host the 2024 Summer Olympics. After Rome dropped out of the running in October, three cities are left: Paris, Budapest, and Los Angeles. If either Paris or Los Angeles win, it would be each city’s third time hosting; it would be the centenary of the last Paris games and the fortieth anniversary of the last Los Angeles games. Hungary is the only of the top ten medals-winning nations of all time never to have hosted an Olympics. The terrorism incidents that have struck France may be a concern, while there is a push in Hungary for a referendum on the Budapest bid. While some may argue that the IOC may dislike America’s choice of a president, France has its own controversial election coming up. Besides, when Barack Obama — golden calf of the international élite — stumped for Chicago’s 2016 bid, it was the first city to be eliminated.

But when the IOC members land in sunny LA and see homeless tents on every street corner… what will they think? When they see an encampment of schizophrenia sufferers with mangy dogs and piles of old clothes and housewares in front of the Memorial Coliseum that was the showpiece of the 1984 Olympics — and would surely play the same role in 2024 — what will they think? Especially when LA is competing against the ne plus ultra of tourist destinations, a city that knows how to charm and dazzle? Will Parisian hosts drive the IOC down streets full of tent cities? As the Paris 2024 Olympic Committee might say: Je crois que non.

And so the contradictory goals of the Leftists who control Los Angeles and California are on a collision course, with their bleeding hearts charging one way and their love of grandiose civic spectacle heading the other. And because they have been unable to say “No,” someone else is almost certainly going to tell them “No” instead.

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  1. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Not Obamavilles, Obama is not President but now that Trump, a Republican is in office such things as the homeless can be discussed and blamed on him. Thus maybe they will be called Trumpvilles.

    • #1
    • January 24, 2017, at 4:01 PM PST
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  2. Elephas Americanus Inactive
    Elephas Americanus

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Not Obamavilles, Obama is not President but now that Trump, a Republican is in office such things as the homeless can be discussed and blamed on him. Thus maybe they will be called Trumpvilles.

    Yeah, I know. (¬︿¬) Even though the homeless population began increasing in 2013 (I wonder what happened in that year?), they didn’t exist until January 20, 2017. Then suddenly, they’re everywhere!

    • #2
    • January 24, 2017, at 4:08 PM PST
    • Like
  3. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Elephas Americanus (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Not Obamavilles, Obama is not President but now that Trump, a Republican is in office such things as the homeless can be discussed and blamed on him. Thus maybe they will be called Trumpvilles.

    Yeah, I know. (¬︿¬) Even though the homeless population began increasing in 2013 (I wonder what happened in that year?), they didn’t exist until January 20, 2017. Then suddenly, they’re everywhere!

    Maybe they can be trained to march and talk about how nasty they are. That seems to be popular at the moment. Press just loves that sort of thing.

    • #3
    • January 24, 2017, at 4:12 PM PST
    • Like
  4. Boss Mongo Member

    Great post. Thanks.

    • #4
    • January 24, 2017, at 4:13 PM PST
    • Like
  5. Elephas Americanus Inactive
    Elephas Americanus

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Elephas Americanus (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Not Obamavilles, Obama is not President but now that Trump, a Republican is in office such things as the homeless can be discussed and blamed on him. Thus maybe they will be called Trumpvilles.

    Yeah, I know. (¬︿¬) Even though the homeless population began increasing in 2013 (I wonder what happened in that year?), they didn’t exist until January 20, 2017. Then suddenly, they’re everywhere!

    Maybe they can be trained to march and talk about how nasty they are. That seems to be popular at the moment. Press just loves that sort of thing.

    Trained? Not sure about that. But they do plenty of talking to show just how nasty they are.

    Of course, the smell does an even better job.

    • #5
    • January 24, 2017, at 4:14 PM PST
    • Like
  6. tigerlily Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Great post. Thanks.

    Agree.

    • #6
    • January 24, 2017, at 5:17 PM PST
    • Like
  7. Arahant Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Not Obamavilles, Obama is not President but now that Trump, a Republican is in office such things as the homeless can be discussed and blamed on him. Thus maybe they will be called Trumpvilles.

    Trumptowns.

    • #7
    • January 24, 2017, at 8:33 PM PST
    • Like
  8. Mountie Member

    Great post.

    This is sad.

    As a young man I spent my mid-20’s in Long Beach. Arc’s are funny things, in retrospect I can see now that the arc was being set to land where we are today. Housing prices were out of reach for normal guys like me with a wife and kid. Drugs were becoming a big problem, everything was over crowded. The list goes on. If I wanted the American dream I would need to leave LA county and return east.

    It’s funny in retrospect. Prior to living in Long Beach I lived in New York and New Jersey. I developed a love of New York, its crowds, its buzz and tempo that I never found in LA. Yet, there are people that love the place. I’m sad for them. Not for loving LA, because for a certain person it’s probably just what they want. No I’m sad for them for having something you love slip away.

    • #8
    • January 24, 2017, at 8:53 PM PST
    • Like
  9. Nymeria Inactive

    I was told by a homeless outreach volunteer to avoid coming into contact with homeless individuals that are located under bridges and freeway underpasses. It appears that those people can be the most aggressive, violent, and drug addicted of the homeless population. Even the other homeless keep out those places.

    • #9
    • January 24, 2017, at 9:28 PM PST
    • Like
  10. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Rosie (View Comment):
    I was told by a homeless outreach volunteer to avoid coming into contact with homeless individuals that are located under bridges and freeway underpasses. It appears that those people can be the most aggressive, violent, and drug addicted of the homeless population. Even the other homeless keep out those places.

    Whoa, you just can’t say such thing. We all know that the homeless are living a carefree lifestyle of bliss in harmony with the environment. Unless the GOP are in control in which the homeless are helpless victims of GOP greed.

    • #10
    • January 24, 2017, at 10:30 PM PST
    • Like
  11. Zafar Member

    So why does Paris lack these homeless camps? What’s different?

    • #11
    • January 25, 2017, at 6:27 AM PST
    • Like
  12. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Keep Voting Democratic!

    • #12
    • January 25, 2017, at 6:59 AM PST
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  13. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Zafar (View Comment):
    So why does Paris lack these homeless camps? What’s different?

    LOL. It doesn’t with the mass of migrants that have arrived.

    Amusingly this is the “Stalingrad” neighborhood.

    • #13
    • January 25, 2017, at 7:02 AM PST
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  14. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    By the way, does LA have a spare 5 or 10 Billion to piss away on hosting the Olympics?

    • #14
    • January 25, 2017, at 7:07 AM PST
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  15. Kim K. Member
    Kim K. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Great post, and sorry to be a little off topic, but is there really an expensive, trendy brand called Acne Studios?

    • #15
    • January 25, 2017, at 7:16 AM PST
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  16. Bishop Wash Member

    Kozak (View Comment):
    By the way, does LA have a spare 5 or 10 Billion to piss away on hosting the Olympics?

    Didn’t they make money or break even in 1984? I thought it was because they used a lot of infrastructure from 1932, so didn’t have as large expenditures.

    • #16
    • January 25, 2017, at 7:25 AM PST
    • Like
  17. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kim K. (View Comment):
    Great post, and sorry to be a little off topic, but is there really an expensive, trendy brand called Acne Studios?

    Was thinking the same thing…. “Acne” doesn’t seem like a selling point unless you’re curing it.

    • #17
    • January 25, 2017, at 7:41 AM PST
    • Like
  18. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Zafar (View Comment):
    So why does Paris lack these homeless camps? What’s different?

    They call them “gypsies” in Paris — speaking of aggressive.

    • #18
    • January 25, 2017, at 7:43 AM PST
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  19. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):
    Didn’t they make money or break even in 1984? I thought it was because they used a lot of infrastructure from 1932, so didn’t have as large expenditures.

    That’s certainly not the pattern for recent Olympics. The expenditures have been enormous.

    • #19
    • January 25, 2017, at 7:48 AM PST
    • Like
  20. MichaelHenry Contributor

    Thank you for this post. These L.A. “Obamavilles” are the culmination of these liberal policies, among many others:

    1. The closure of mental institutions and facilities in the sixties and seventies all over the U.S. and the mainstreaming of the severely mentally ill in the name of protecting individual “rights”.
    2. The liberals on the U.S. Supreme Court, during and after CA’s own Earl Warren, declaring vagrancy, loitering, and similar laws unconstitutionally “void for vagueness” or impermissible “status crimes.”
    3. Chronic dependence on government assistance.
    4. Dissolution of the family and extended family.
    5. The restrictions on and antagonism to law enforcement, with liberal legislatures and city councils preventing the police from keeping the public safe and making cities livable.

    A country, state, or city that cannot prevent people from urinating, defecating, and living on public sidewalks and parks has forfeited its authority to govern.

    • #20
    • January 25, 2017, at 8:39 AM PST
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  21. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Kozak (View Comment):
    By the way, does LA have a spare 5 or 10 Billion to piss away on hosting the Olympics?

    I doubt the political elites view it as pissing it away when there is 5 to 10 billion to be stole from. Leaving the tax payer on the hook for the debt just makes the theft that much sweeter.

    • #21
    • January 25, 2017, at 9:31 AM PST
    • Like
  22. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Not Obamavilles, Obama is not President but now that Trump, a Republican is in office such things as the homeless can be discussed and blamed on him. Thus maybe they will be called Trumpvilles.

    Trumptowns.

    I stand corrected. You are right that has a better ring to it and will catch on much quicker. The left does love a good poetic slogan.

    • #22
    • January 25, 2017, at 9:32 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Elephas Americanus Inactive
    Elephas Americanus

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Kim K. (View Comment):
    Great post, and sorry to be a little off topic, but is there really an expensive, trendy brand called Acne Studios?

    Was thinking the same thing…. “Acne” doesn’t seem like a selling point unless you’re curing it.

    The twenty-year-old Swedish brand Acne Studios began as an acronym ACNE, which, according to Wikipedia-sensei, stood for “Ambition to Create Novel Expressions.” Over the years, the name has changed to from “ACNE” to “Acne.” It’s a very edgy, trend-forward brand, sort of the Swedish answer to Comme des Garçons.

    One of the biggest moments that signaled Downtown’s resurrection was when Comme des Garçons opened one of their Guerrilla pop-up stores on Fourth Street, right on the edge of Skid Row. One had to go through a security gate and walk through an alley past a dumpster and into a side door to get in, and inside was a stack of shopping carts – just like the homeless would use.

    • #23
    • January 25, 2017, at 9:35 AM PST
    • Like
  24. Elephas Americanus Inactive
    Elephas Americanus

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):
    By the way, does LA have a spare 5 or 10 Billion to piss away on hosting the Olympics?

    Didn’t they make money or break even in 1984? I thought it was because they used a lot of infrastructure from 1932, so didn’t have as large expenditures.

    Los Angeles is the city that saved the Olympics – twice.

    In 1932, only one city bid for the games – Los Angeles. The 1928 games in Amsterdam was a money loser, like most other games, and cities were beginning to sour on the event. Less than half the attendees of 1928 came to L.A., and even President Hoover skipped it, yet the L.A. Olympics made a $1 million profit – in the middle of the Great Depression. Because of the Depression, many existing venues were used, which kept costs down. Part of the reason for the spectacle of the 1936 Berlin Olympics was Hitler’s determination to outdo Los Angeles.

    After the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the debts of the 1976 Montreal Olympics that nearly bankrupted that city, virtually no one wanted to host the 1984 games. Only two cities bid: Los Angeles and Tehran – and in 1978, Tehran withdrew. Once again, L.A. won the Olympics by default. The organizers tightly controlled costs by once again using existing venues and paying for costs with corporate sponsors and generated a $200 million profit.

    • #24
    • January 25, 2017, at 10:00 AM PST
    • Like
  25. Elephas Americanus Inactive
    Elephas Americanus

    In 2015 dollars, the L.A. Olympics cost $719 million. Compare that to $4.6 billion for Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 games or the London 2012 Olympics at $15 billion, with the average Summer Olympics’ costing $5.2 billion. (Again, thank you, Wikipedia-sensei.) Los Angeles’ successful financial example (combined with Barcelona’s leveraging the 1992 Olympics into turning itself into a world-class tourism magnet) is what led to the rush of cities’ wanting to bid for Olympics. However, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics immediately botched the L.A. corporate sponsorship model, souring the IOC on American hosts and privately-funded games.

    When Athens was having its problems with completing venues in 2004 and the IOC was said to be worried they would not be ready to host the games, it was said that the IOC had two cities in its back pocket that were ready to host an Olympics at any moment: Seoul and Los Angeles. With two major universities (USC and UCLA) that host many of the Olympic athletes from around the world for training in their facilities, and the infrastructure from 1984 still largely in place, not much needs to be built.

    • #25
    • January 25, 2017, at 10:01 AM PST
    • Like
  26. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Not Obamavilles, Obama is not President but now that Trump, a Republican is in office such things as the homeless can be discussed and blamed on him.

    Of course, Hoover wasn’t President when the Hooverville monicker became current either. It’s just that the default media position is to blame the Republican even if you have to lie or obfuscate. IIUC the NYT still stands behind Walter Duranty’s Hoover era Stalinist propaganda to the extent of displaying his Pulitzer.

    • #26
    • January 25, 2017, at 10:10 AM PST
    • Like
  27. Arahant Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Not Obamavilles, Obama is not President but now that Trump, a Republican is in office such things as the homeless can be discussed and blamed on him.

    Of course, Hoover wasn’t President when the Hooverville monicker became current either. It’s just that the default media position is to blame the Republican even if you have to lie or obfuscate. IIUC the NYT still stands behind Walter Duranty’s Hoover era Stalinist propaganda to the extent of displaying his Pulitzer.

    So, you’re saying rather than Obamavilles, they should be Bush Boroughs?

    • #27
    • January 25, 2017, at 10:21 AM PST
    • Like
  28. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Not Obamavilles, Obama is not President but now that Trump, a Republican is in office such things as the homeless can be discussed and blamed on him.

    Of course, Hoover wasn’t President when the Hooverville monicker became current either. It’s just that the default media position is to blame the Republican even if you have to lie or obfuscate. IIUC the NYT still stands behind Walter Duranty’s Hoover era Stalinist propaganda to the extent of displaying his Pulitzer.

    So, you’re saying rather than Obamavilles, they should be Bush Boroughs?

    Not at all. I’m saying that if “Obamaville” is to catch on, it’ll be because somebody with real skilz and some resources will use Twitter to bypass the Progressive propaganda machine. Of course, Trump might not think it’s worth the effort.

    • #28
    • January 25, 2017, at 10:38 AM PST
    • Like
  29. Johnny Dubya Inactive

    Does the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety regulate the tents? Do they make sure that they meet the required building code? Do they issue certificates of occupancy?

    It would be unconscionable for L.A. to enforce compliance from its productive, tax-paying citizens and permit others to live wherever and however they want.

    • #29
    • January 25, 2017, at 10:43 AM PST
    • Like
  30. Profile Photo Member

    Elephas Americanus (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Los Angeles is the city that saved the Olympics – twice.

    In 1932, only one city bid for the games – Los Angeles. The 1928 games in Amsterdam was a money loser, like most other games, and cities were beginning to sour on the event. Less than half the attendees of 1928 came to L.A., and even President Hoover skipped it, yet the L.A. Olympics made a $1 million profit – in the middle of the Great Depression. Because of the Depression, many existing venues were used, which kept costs down. Part of the reason for the spectacle of the 1936 Berlin Olympics was Hitler’s determination to outdo Los Angeles.

    After the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the debts of the 1976 Montreal Olympics that nearly bankrupted that city, virtually no one wanted to host the 1984 games. Only two cities bid: Los Angeles and Tehran – and in 1978, Tehran withdrew. Once again, L.A. won the Olympics by default. The organizers tightly controlled costs by once again using existing venues and paying for costs with corporate sponsors and generated a $200 million profit.

    And in a internet-streaming world, with many sports diversions, a Los Angeles bid for 2024 may just be successful a third time.

    • #30
    • January 25, 2017, at 10:50 AM PST
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