Ah yes, Heather Mac Donald... this brings back memories.
Many exchanges with her of the Manhattan Institute-cousin to the Hoover Institute and Heritage Foundation, institutions that seem to have knee jerk reactions to anything that questions their skewed view of justice and their sense of entitlement for totalitarianism.
Let's talk about Skid Row. I lived in Skid Row from Feb.7, 2007 to December 29, 2009. I worked there from March 2008 to May 2010. I was neither a loftee nor a homeless individual. Yet, I knew both. I was a survivor. And yes, I am an Ivy Leaguer. I was ordered by a judge to live there while fighting a ridiculous criminal case. I know everyone in Skid Row.
I count LAPD commander Andy Smith, formerly of the Central Division as a friend. Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph will attest to my fairness and objectivity. I was invited on numerous occasions by Sgt Kevin Royce and Commander Smith to speak to the officers at morning roll call. Why? As the Firemen from Station 9 on Seventh St, the busiest paramedic team in the City, stated in bright red letters on their landing page,"If you want to learn about Skid Row, read Scribeskidrow. He will tell you the truth about Skidrow like no one else can!!!.". Scribeskidrow is critically acclaimed by the New Yorker and law enforcement officers around the country. It continues to be on the blog roll of Blogdowntown, the premiere news source for the downtown Denizens. I am Scribeskidrow.
Racial profiling was not the case for Skid Row. Class profiling was rampant. Under that homeless umbrella was the certainty that those on the street were defenseless to protect themselves from brutality. Yes, felons live in Skid Row but but so do the mentally ill. Yes, you have your schemers but you have your cruelly disabled. Yes you have those who scam the government with Red, White and Blue medi-caid fraud while many others would die if they received no care. Yes, 90% of the residents of Skid Row receive Public Assistance, and Disability. Those Government transfer payments that amount to approximately $5,000,000/month formed the flooring that sustained downtown merchants during the recession. And I am not even calculating the multiplier effect.
I know that during the Triumvirate of the City Attorney's office, LAPD and the Mayor's Office, great strides were made to reach out to that community and restore a bit of humaneness. Work was done to establish cordial relations between LAPD and the community. Mutual respect, programs etc. Skid Row 3 on 3 basketball league was formed. The City Attorney office paid for uniforms. Games between the Skid Row All Stars and the LAPD continue to this day. Further evidence of the outreach police extended was Sargent Royce inviting me to his home for Thanksgiving and Christmas while I was there. I can't tell you how much that helped me survive. We are great friends to this day. We argue about politics because he is to the right of Attila the Hun. But I would give my life to save his. And Sargent Royce and all those officers would never agree with Heather Mac Donald. I know because I talked to them. Much more progress would have been made had it not been for the obstructionist tactics of that idiotic mayor Villaraigosa who was not pleased that Rocky Delgadillo was receiving much more press than he. Delgadillo was no angel but he was a friend to that community.And Skid Row is a community to be respected like any other. People live there are concerned about crime just like anywhere else.
So, I suggest that we not use the broad stroke of brush complete with ad hominem splashes on canvas to support claims to justify untenable behavior. I support the LAPD; But I know bullshit when I see it and I observed more than I care to remember after Andy Smith, Captain Kathy McDonald and that entire regime left. It reverted back to Gestapo ways.
Racial profiling had nothing to do with it. Homeless, class profiling had everything to do with it.
GM, your statements reveal complexity containing the unique dichotomy of insight and bias. (as mine probably do). I shall ponder all that you share.Certainly you are forcing me to go to the mental gymnasium pulling out this and that book from my library. I both curse you and thank you.
6th and Gladys, the most notorious drug corner in Skid Row where activity was squashed during the Andy Smith era only to return to business as usual after he left. Drug dealers sell with impunity while, if anyone that could be characterized by an LAPD officer as a Skid Row resident even looked like they wanted to cross Los Angeles Street, they were pulled over and shaken down. I know it because I saw it. Never happened to me because I did not look like a Skid Row resident. I lived there but looked like what we be characterized as a typical Ivy Leaguer. And Yes, I am black. So race had nothing to do with any of it. When I crossed Los Angeles streets and hung out in the Loft district, I was never eyed. Now, had it been 1940's, and if blacks were seen crossing Western Ave by officers posted at the Western Ave intersections, then that would have been racial profiling. My father and his peers shared those stories with me.
And yes, I was on Wall Street for quite some time. I note here that I often chuckled at the irony that Wall Street is also a main street in Skid Row on which the LA Central Division sits.
Let's talk about Hollywood tomorrow. But Hollywood has elements of Skid Row in it. And many of those transient residents living in SRO's are white. They commit crimes throughout the area. It is just plain wrong attribute the predominant source of crimes to those only in attention grabbing scenarios.
Once I heard Former Chief Bratton make a statement that stunned me. He walked so smugly in front of the cameras. Paraphrasing, he proclaimed , the minorities are committing more than 50% of the crimes in the city. So nobody should get their panties bunched up because he said minorities are committing all the crimes.most of the crimes in the city.
Chief Bratton left out a very salient point. In Los Angeles, so called minorities comprise (and I may be wrong about this number and I am too tired to research out the exact figure for that year) more than 50% of the population for the city. So, If that is the case, the minorities are no longer minorities. They are the majority. And that difference in perspective is subtle, distinct and can be used to influence thinking.