It’s Time to Move Forward

Re: “Homeless Plan Faces Pushback,” News, Sept. 22

In a recent Argonaut article about Councilmember Bonin’s plan to use the Westminster Senior center as a facility to store belongings and provide services for the homeless, I was quoted correctly as supporting that location.

I went on to say something incorrect: that “it was a betrayal of public process not to bring other choices to the community.”

In fact, the Venice Neighborhood Council had considered several other locations way back in December 2013 — including the boardwalk, the First Baptist Church in Oakwood, St. Joseph Center, Centennial Park, and the MTA yard.

They voted overwhelmingly in favor of Westminster.

Of course, that was then.

Bonin is right to say that the only thing worse than action is inaction. In the three years since that VNC meeting, opposition to any location has grown, while the need has grown even greater.

To end the inaction, he needs to demonstrate a real engagement with the adjacent neighborhood that’s more than a sales job. He needs to have their backs. And he needs to move forward.

David Ewing, Venice

Don’t Let Emotion Cloud Reason

Re: Letters to the Editor, Aug. 25

While eating lunch at a Chinese restaurant in West L.A., I chanced upon a copy of the Aug. 25 edition of The Argonaut. I saw that you are being inundated by letters from Jews angry that someone had attempted to defend the Palestinians. You will have noticed that among some Jews, such an attempt is unthinkable.

I am Jewish, and I know I will be called self-hating for saying that the Palestinians have a point of view that should be heard. I applaud the courage of both the writer of the original opinion and of The Argonaut
for printing it.

It is hard to fault Jews for having an emotional reaction to the trauma of the Holocaust or for being both vigilant and aggressive in their determination that such a crime against humanity never be allowed to happen again (which begs the question of how some of the most vocal can support the neo-Hitler Donald Trump, but that is another discussion).

Yet these same people should not allow their emotions to cloud their reason. Protecting one’s own ethnic group’s rights cannot be allowed to be used as a justification to repress another’s.

Indeed, the most-demeaning thing you can do to a group of people may be to steal their dignity by not listening to them.

This does not mean that one must believe everything one hears from every member of that group. But it is clear to anyone who will look that, in the name of Israel’s self-preservation, the Palestinians are being woefully mistreated by the current Israeli government — and, by extension, the United States, which supports such treatment. U.S. tax dollars have directly and indirectly supported the bulldozing of the homes of Palestinian parents whose children have been accused of attacking the Israeli state. That is simply wrong, and there is no possible sane justification.

Past wrongs cannot be allowed to justify present and future wrongs. The emotional response that leads people to an ends-justify-means equation fails to see the great harm done on the ground under the cover of good intentions.

Israel’s right to exist does not trump (pun intended) human decency.

Gary Karasik, Los Angeles

Help the Homeless, Don’t Hate Them

I have continued to see negative rhetoric on social media about the homelessness crisis in our area and had to speak up for the vast majority of citizens that are supportive of the efforts being made to address the situation.

We recognize the human element of this crisis and do not advocate arresting and running out the people who are suffering on our streets, only to see them displaced to another part of our city where people are not so entitled.

We know many of these folks by name and know of their struggles. I am outraged when I read the hateful speech condemning the efforts of L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin and social services. This is a humanitarian crisis right in our midst.

I am 100% in favor of increasing the mental health services, substance abuse treatment and housing.

The very angry and vocal minority does not represent the majority of citizens who simply want to help and trust the efforts of the experts.

What is it that makes Venice or the Westside exempt from doing our part to address this crisis?

What makes people think that the answer is shipping everyone off to South L.A. so our property values aren’t affected by a housing project?

We are in this together, and I for one support Bonin and his thoughtful approach to finding the best solutions for everyone and for this beloved community.

The angry voices should consider talking to those going through your trash and hear their stories. Get to know your less fortunate neighbors.

Pete Niva, Venice