Federal solutions are needed to address nation’s growing homeless populations By Dr. Coley M. King After living on the streets of Venice for many months, Morris celebrated his 77th birthday in a motel room, thanks to the dedication of outreach workers at St. Joseph Center and a room made available through Project Roomkey. This state and county program, aimed at reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission among people experiencing homelessness, relies on federal funds to provide motel rooms and supportive services to many of our patients, like Morris, who receive health care from myself and other members of Venice Family Clinic’s nine street medicine teams. The COVID-19 pandemic removed many bureaucratic obstacles, including opportunities for opponents to halt such projects, that have impeded other homeless housing programs. While falling short of its goals, this pandemic-inspired program homeless housing programs. While falling short of its goals, this pandemic-inspired program validated that with the infusion of federal funds and a real sense of urgency, we can house our homeless neighbors. This seems an insurmountable goal with an estimated 568,000 people experiencing homelessness across the country. But the rapid creation of Project Roomkey in California, a new president and a Democratically controlled Congress provide new hope that the nation can – in addition to battling COVID-19 – address the national emergency of homelessness with comprehensive and effective solutions. President Biden has already vowed to develop a national...Read More
Could This End Differently? Editor: The Main Street outdoor dining al fresco layout we now have has proven far less than the effective rescue plan it promised to be. The good news is that efforts are afoot to experiment with modifications in hopes of moving toward success — becoming a popular social and business district anchored by a thriving restaurant/bar customer base. The bad news is that these efforts are moving at a glacial pace. Let me declare my own bias — I objected to the center traffic corridor with scattered parking lane parklet seating for socially distanced outdoor dining when it first hatched nearly a year ago. My primary reason was that rather than spreading out serving areas to provide space for enough outdoor socially distanced diners to pay the rent and the employees, it presented choke points where the sidewalk was funneled between store fronts and small corrals of parklet customers with their crowds overflowing or folks just waiting for their place at one of the few parklet seats for service. Near equal in importance was my sense that bike lane and vehicle traffic close by made outdoor dining far less enticing than eating in an open-air piazza should be. I certainly wouldn’t want bicyclists sneezing on my guacamole as they wheeled by two feet from my table. I felt all the stakeholders for Main Street not becoming a semi-wasteland,...Read More
Re: Medicare for All Editor: Mr. Tarabour’s letter regarding “Medicare for All” is somewhat misleading in that he does not define it. Medicare for All can mean something like Medicare Advantage, which is negotiated by CMMS but insured and managed by private insurers such as Aetna, SCAN, Blue Shield, etc. This type is favored by over 50% of seniors in California. However, it can also mean a plan under total government control such as original Medicare. In my opinion, the former offers broader coverage at a lower cost than the latter. Just think about the EDD or DMV running your health care. Kevin Minihan Ballona Wetlands Editor: I am ever so appreciative of Argonaut’s bringing this to the attention of Angelenos. Truly…destroying the village (uh, Wetlands) in order to save it…where have we heard that before and how did it work out?! Am I showing my sixties roots? Grr! Lisa Edmondson Los Angeles Anti-Gay Hate Speech Editor: I am writing to complain of a very disturbing situation. At the Santa Monica Pavilions, pier and Venice Beach Ocean Walk, I have numerous times witnessed groups of Christians gathered. They have microphones and speakers, and hold up large signs proclaiming that Jesus is the only way and all others repent or burn in hell. They also yell loudly into their microphones about exactly who they feel are damned and much of their vitriol is aimed at...Read More
Let’s end the game of ‘political ping-pong’ by assigning guilt to only those that deserve it By Eric Rittmeyer In the Marine Corps we had daily formations. This is where all Marines within our company would come together. We’d hold formations in the morning before PT (physical training), before/after chow (eating), and in the evening before hitting the rack (going to bed). They were used for many reasons, but one of the most important was to get a head count and make sure everyone was present and accounted for. The formations during the daytime hours weren’t normally a problem with getting everyone mustered (gathered) together. It was the early morning formations prior to PT that would normally pose the biggest problem. A normal formation might be at 0430 (4:30 a.m.) At exactly 0430, roll call started. If every single Marine wasn’t there, the whole platoon would be punished. This was a reminder to everyone that we all rely on each other and any one person not following orders could result in failure of the mission – which would most certainly translate into lives lost. Although it was just one person out of maybe 60 or 70 Marines who didn’t follow instructions, the whole platoon paid the price. It’s a necessity in the military where every action can have catastrophic effects on the mission, and quite often, can be the...Read More
Let’s fix Main Street Editor: I think it will better to modify Main Street now so it can survive the present and thrive in the future. That would be better than to let it fail altogether, then afterward try to resurrect the “Good Old Main Street” from the ashes after a complete crash. We could make it easier to decide what must be done if we focused on accurately modeling the details of the various plans and projecting their futures. Imagine if before the present alfresco was laid out, the designers had polled the individual restaurant bars to ask what would be the minimum number of outside seats they each would need to continue service without losing money. Easily noticed, the parklet areas arranged with conforming social distancing could not come close to serving that number. (The city is mum on how many seats they think their plan will provide. I’ve looked everywhere for a seating layout chart as evidence they did this calculation.) One potential model for what we want is what we have: pedestrians and folks waiting in lines on the sidewalks during busy periods, with waiters shuttling back and forth through the sidewalk passersby while scurrying from the parklets to the kitchens and bars inside. Traffic lanes run through the center, bifurcating the piazza and spoiling the gentle outdoor ambience. A different model would barricade all...Read More
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