If you’ve wondered why homelessness in California seems so much worse than in other states, Siyamak Khorrami’s interview with El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson for California Insider provides some answers:
- “According to the latest report, California alone has one third of the U.S homeless population today.”
- “What we have is you can be arrested or cited did over and over and over and over again, and there’s no consequences. And it’s just getting worse and worse.”
- The same transients sprawling unconscious on city streets in LA and San Francisco are now found in San Diego.
- “If you look at the people and look in their eyes, you see a lost [soul], almost like a post-apocalyptic look. It’s not somebody who’s lost their job or lost their housing, it’s someone who is addicted to drugs. In large part have fried their brains. They’re suffering from mental illness.”
- “Stanford recently looked at it last year, their school of economics looked at it, and they found were over the last 10 years, most of the United States homelessness dropped by roughly 9%. In the same period here in the state of California, it went up by 43%.”
- He says that other blue states aren’t having the same problem California is, but that’s slightly misleading. There are blue cities that are starting to see some of the same problems (Seattle, Portland, Austin) that are starting to have the same problems because they follow the same playbook. But they do touch on Seattle at the end of the interview.
- “The most notable, unique difference is our decriminalizing hardcore drug use, and decriminalizing large or low-level property crimes.”
- You can’t trust crime statistics, because people have just stopped reporting things. Auto thefts are still reported for insurance purposes. “Vehicle thefts here in the state of California have gone up significantly, so much so that on a per capita basis we are double the State of Florida.”
- One Target accurately reporting thefts for a month doubled San Francisco theft statistics.
- “Employees that don’t want to come to work and be exposed to that, because of being told don’t contact anyone.”
- “Shoppers stop coming to stores. You just had Nordstrom’s in San Francisco close after 35 years. They’re one of their hallmark stores. That is a huge store in San Francisco closed because theft.”
- “Every year more people leaving than are coming to the state because of poor public policy decisions.”
- “The single dividing line between us and everywhere else in that regard is the legalization of hardcore drug use, or the decriminalization of hardcore drug use.”
- “Harm reduction centers” just prevent people from dying on that particular day, and do nothing to keep drug users from gradually killing themselves over months and years. Those non-profits are “simply enabling them to continue to that that addiction and to use those drugs, knowing it will kill them.”
Pierson: HUD, uh, in 2015, 2016 decided…”Hey, we’re a housing entity. Why are we spending 60%, 70% percent of our resources on rehab for people? And so let’s get out of that business and go and do this other one.” I think that happened at a time which was critical in for California, to where we were already going down this housing housing first, or type in harm reduction type philosophy.
Khorrami: Then you exacerbate it by giving the homeless housing, and then you give them, let them use the drugs, and then you’re not really thinking about dealing with their addiction, right?
Pierson: Yeah, it’s absurd.
- “We have based all of our policy on the slogan called ‘Housing First.’ What it says is, if you provide them housing and you provide this, provide some services to him, the person will stop using drugs.”
- New York (which I personally would not point to as a model, it’s simply less of an obvious failure) has a ratio of one social worker to eight homeless people. California has a ratio of one to thirty-two.
- “Compassion isn’t enough.”
- “Compassion isn’t letting someone die in a ditch somewhere. Compassion isn’t letting someone lay on the street with a needle in their arm. That’s not compassion.”
- “Enough is enough. You’ve tried this grand social experiment over the last eight or ten years. It didn’t work. We need a course correction, and we need to do something about it now.”
Seattle is an extreme example of what’s happening here in California. Everybody, the businesses are fleeing. The people who are living there that can leave are leaving. And it is very similar to what we’re doing, where open rampant hardcore drug use, little or no consequence for property crimes, and they also have a horrendous problem with law enforcement staffing. They simply can’t hire law enforcement officers because, frankly, the way they’ve treated them. It is a handful of really bad policy decisions that created this problem.
- No one wants to work at Nordstrom’s because they know their car will be broken into while they work.
One flaw with the interview is that they did not discuss the role of the Homeless Industrial Complex in creating the situation. My working theory is that the appalling decisions we see being made on homelessness and crime are because the hard left is actively benefiting from the situation because it provides myriad ways to rake off graft and fraud. Ditto the lunacy of defunding the police.