California is all about mismanagement. But it’s all on them now as they ruined their chance to get better leadership with the recall. So it was surprising when L.A. decided to clean up its act and get rid of homeless villages in their parks. The city had intentions to relocate the homeless into shelters and housing. But hit a snag when they were working on MacArthur Park. Turns out MS-13 also claimed the park.
“In the fight to reclaim Los Angeles’ public spaces, a new battleground is about to open just west of downtown. MacArthur Park, where homeless tents lie scattered among jacarandas, crape myrtles and palms, will be closed starting Oct. 15.”
“Billed by the city as a “rehabilitation,” the closure is limited to the portion of the park south of Wilshire Boulevard and will last for about 10 weeks, said L.A. City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, whose district includes the park. The city’s Department of Recreation and Parks will use the time to catch up on maintenance that had been deferred due to COVID-19 limitations.”
But it’s not that simple, MacArthur Park is also the territory of a hostile gang.
“Outreach efforts in MacArthur Park have been complicated by the presence of MS-13, a street gang that has long considered the park critical territory, Rodriguez said. Through extortion and violence, gang members intimidate regular visitors to the park, who are among the city’s poorest and most marginalized residents. Especially brutal attacks have targeted transgender women who visit the park.”
“Throughout Los Angeles, rising crime and a rash of tent fires in encampments earlier this year have brought new urgency to the tragedy of homelessness that has only gotten worse during the pandemic. Homeless agencies estimate that a little more than 41,000 individuals are living on the streets of the city, a number that is expected to rise as eviction moratoriums end.
By giving homeless individuals living in MacArthur Park two weeks to prepare to leave, the city hopes to soften the trauma of relocation.”
The park likely wouldn’t have been claimed by MS-13 if had California handled their homeless problem better. So whereas it’s great that L.A. is finally cleaning up its parks, they still have a long way to go in fixing their homeless problems.