Patterico's Pontifications

5/12/2019

Brace Yourselves for the Radical Idea That Throwing Money at Social Problems Is Ineffective

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:22 am



[guest post by JVW]

The Los Angeles Times (today they deserve their official name rather than the derisive Dog Trainer that we typically use here) prepares us for a depressing report due to be released at the end of this month:

Los Angeles officials are bracing for the release of a report that’s likely to show little or no progress in reining in homelessness, despite the $619 million they spent last year to grapple with the crisis.

The gloomy prognosis on one of Southern California’s top political issues emerged during two recent briefings on homelessness and the 2019 point-in-time count, the results of which are due to be released May 31.

[. . . ]

Last year, officials credited new money flowing into the homeless services system with a slight drop in the homelessness count. The city has Proposition HHH, a $1.2-billion voter-approved bond to build homeless housing, while the county funds homeless services through Measure H, including rent subsidies, shelter beds, drug and mental health counseling and other services.

The county, in a recent report, said 27,000 homeless people had been placed into permanent housing in 18 months.

But advocates question whether some of those people may be back on the streets. The homeless services authority’s tracking system registers only those who have left their housing placements if they seek more aid. Those who return to a tent or RV without appealing for additional help fly under the radar.

The city spent $442 million from Proposition HHH last year developing homeless and affordable apartments, but none of the projects have opened yet and the wait for permanent housing has stretched to an average of 215 days. Thus far, the city’s $77-million shelter expansion plan has produced two facilities, with room for 147 people.

Entirely predictable, this idea that empowering an already rancid city/county bureaucracy by showering it with money and expecting it to do many wondrous things should turn out to be so naïve and foolish, but the progressive imagination and their desire to believe in the beneficence of big government is virtually limitless. You may recall that this past fall I mentioned in passing that the city of Los Angeles folks in charge of administering $1.2 billion in funding raised via a tax initiative passed in 2016 now admit that they are likely to only build about 60% of the new units originally promised before they run out of money. When will the voters of this region learn the lesson about trusting bureaucrats who make lavish promises with respect to solving seemingly intractable social problems?

Well-intentioned progressives (and freeloading public sector stooges) would have us believe that the homeless issue in the Los Angeles area is dominated by laid off Boeing engineers and factory employees who have seen their jobs shipped to China (or, more likely, to Nevada), and would quickly get back on their feet if they had some habitat security. But it doesn’t really take a whole lot of digging to uncover the fact that a huge share of the homeless population struggles with substance abuse problems and psychological disorders, and I would willingly wager that those individuals make up the majority of homeless residents who camp out in public places and bring with them a variety of attendant sanitary and safety issues. Until the city and county have come up with a method for getting help for drug addicts and the mentally ill, finding them indoor beds for the night or even building new housing is not going to accomplish all that much. In the meantime, don’t get fooled into believing that this issue is easily solved by paying government to build more housing units.

– JVW

58 Responses to “Brace Yourselves for the Radical Idea That Throwing Money at Social Problems Is Ineffective”

  1. Another part of this too, of course, is that through the years we have weakened the ability to have people with psychological issues forced into treatment, and we are now decriminalizing drug usage. Both of these tie the hands of law enforcement in terms of dealing with some of the hardest cases among the homeless population. If we really want to solve the problem, we also need to rethink our very tolerant attitude and be willing to question if it hasn’t made things substantially worse.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  2. I wonder how much of that bond money found its way into the city’s payments into CalPERS. After all, it’s part of the bureaucratic costs.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  3. I do know one working person in L.A. who was technically homeless earlier this year due to her $600 rent being hiked to $2400, after a family squabble over who got to live in the family house after the owner died. But she found private assistance through her church and connected with a roommate the same way.

    If the city money was aimed at such people, it would be fine by me, but it isn’t. They’re just the beard. The money goes to feed the long-term homeless (i.e. “bums”), to pay politically-connected contractors build homeless housing at huge cost in inappropriate places (e.g. Pacific & Sunset, a block from Venice Beach), and to attract as many homeless as possible to Los Angeles.

    After all, if you were living out of doors, Venice Beach beats the doors off of Detroit.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  4. Another part of this too, of course, is that through the years we have weakened the ability to have people with psychological issues forced into treatment, and we are now decriminalizing drug usage.

    So do you want more taxpayer-bankrolled government intervention or less?

    Doesn’t “forced into treatment” mean we not only pay to give them a place to live, but also pay to give them free health care?

    And doesn’t putting someone in jail for marijuana possession amount to an even costlier variation of the same thing?

    This is a difficult problem all around. There are some fraction of the homeless who, even if they are not laid-off Boeing engineers, are not mentally-ill drug addicts either; giving them the opportunity to escape into a better life seems like a worthwhile project, even if it means also wasting money on people who won’t take advantage of the opportunity.

    It sounds like lack of follow-up contact and tracking of outcomes (usually something social workers and public health types are big on, since it means job security for them) is a major flaw in this program.

    Dave (1bb933)

  5. I do know one working person in L.A. who was technically homeless earlier this year due to her $600 rent being hiked to $2400, after a family squabble over who got to live in the family house after the owner died. But she found private assistance through her church and connected with a roommate the same way.

    Yes, my understanding of how homelessness is counted is that if you leave your dwelling place and spend a few weeks sleeping on your friend’s couch, you are officially counted as homeless during that period. That seems a little bit off, but since you don’t have your own dwelling you are marked down in the homeless column. I mention that because when we talk about the homeless in this county and throw around big numbers, we need to keep in mind that not everyone who is homeless is living in a tent on Los Angeles Street or somewhere under the 405 Freeway. But I think these temporarily displaced people are the low-hanging fruit and it is relatively easy to find them a solution, as it is to help teenage runaways and the like. The real intractable problem are the substance abuse and psychological disorder people, and of course they are the most visible and obvious manifestation of the homeless situation here.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  6. Most working people who find themselves “homeless” due to bad luck don’t stay homeless for very long, and almost never long enough to get the system to help them. They couch-surf for a few weeks until they find a new place, or they move to a town where they can find work and afford to live.

    Example: One can rent a luxury low-density 2-bedroom apartment in a nice part of Albuquerque, with a pool, gym and parking for $1200/month, and thousands of units are less. Hell, you can BUY a new-construction 2000sf house for $1500/month. Plenty of work, too, if you have any skills. And no traffic; 20 miles is 20 minutes almost always.

    Lots of other places in the country where you don’t have to pay $3K to live near work. So, the engineer-out-of-work thing is completely bogus. People who want to live indoors will find a way.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  7. So do you want more taxpayer-bankrolled government intervention or less?

    Doesn’t “forced into treatment” mean we not only pay to give them a place to live, but also pay to give them free health care?

    People with substance abuse issues need to be required to do something about it. Treat the homeless the same way that you treat people who are, for example, busted for possession of meth or heroin. Allow them a diversionary program to get them clean, but then arrest and, if necessary, incarcerate those who refuse to do so. I know that means that the taxpayer has to foot the bill for the incarceration, but at least we remove the problem from our city streets. But you are right that there is no perfect solution. The money that we have devoted to this through LA City’s Measure HHH and LA County’s Measure H allegedly included the money to provide the homeless with treatment and health care.

    The people with mental issues are even a more difficult case. Again, getting them into treatment — forcing them into treatment even — is almost certainly important, even if that means rethinking the expansion of civil liberties over the past half-century. But beyond that, one step that ought to be taken is to find ways of preventing people with psychological issues from congregating together. I don’t have any data on this, but my intuition and the observations I have leads me to believe that allowing a whole colony of people with psychological issues to live together without any sort of formal structure is just asking for trouble.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  8. When will the voters of this region learn the lesson about trusting bureaucrats who make lavish promises with respect to solving seemingly intractable social problems When conservatives start making that case – and make that case also with infrastructure, and in factt, literally anything

    It might take about 5 to 10 to 15 yeas but eventally it might become conventional wisdom.

    But for that you’d have to dispute every single vague bond issue or spending program, whatever the cause, be it education, drug treatment, cleaning up the environment, highway repair, national defense, whatever the cause de jour. Anytime anybody talks in terms of how much money they want to allocate.

    There’s too many people with a vested interest in pretending these kind of “throwing money at the problem” proposals would be spen wisely.

    the progressive imagination and their desire to believe in the beneficence of big government is virtually limitless

    Progressives believe that markets are not efficient – except when the government is spending the money. Or they act as if they believed that – you can’t actually say that with a straight face.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  9. Sorry abut the italics.

    Until the city and county have come up with a method for getting help for drug addicts and the mentally ill, finding them indoor beds for the night or even building new housing is not going to accomplish all that much.

    I think it has been shown that it is not necessary to give any people “treatment” – which by teh way is just another way of throwing money at a problem – to keep them off the streets.

    You just give each one of them a private, locked place to live, to which they alone, or people they trust, if any, have the key or the combination, which the recipient is satisfied with, in exchange for not sleeping or defacating in the streets.

    You don’t need to solve their drug problem first.

    You’d get 95% of them off the streets. Well, actually you’d get 160% of them, because some people would go on the streets just to get the place. 160% say, not infinity.

    And it would be cheap if they could use prefrabricated housing. Even a hut and a shopping cart would be better than what they’re doing.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  10. When tackling the question of “how much and what kind of government intervention should we accept,” it can not be overemphasized that an important factor in the current problem with homelessness (an indeed mental illness writ-large) has been the deinstitutionalization movement that was very fashionable in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. I have no doubt that many people locked up did not belong in state institutions, but I also have no doubt that many of those released should not have been as well. Things aren’t going to get any better unless people in power — especially at the municipal level — start asking the hard questions. But don’t hold your breath; homeless individuals are always handy political pawns when Republicans are in the Oval Office.

    Gryph (08c844)

  11. JVW (54fd0b) — 5/12/2019 @ 10:03 am

    People with substance abuse issues need to be required to do something about it.

    People with opioid addixtion problems need a safe, reliable supply of some opiods, and nothing more complicated. Other drugs cause more problems but with opods the problem is just availability.

    The people with mental issues are even a more difficult case. Again, getting them into treatment — forcing them into treatment

    All such treatment is quackery, and the people you would enlist in this effort, don’t believe in it themselves, and most don’t pretend to.

    And remember the categories in the DSM are there for billing purposes, nothing else. They’re not real. They’re just consistent from person to person who is pigeonholng them. Every person involved knows this.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  12. Your weather or, better, its lack thereof, is the problem.

    nk (dbc370)

  13. Perhaps it’s time to revisit Moynihan’s book – Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding.

    John B Boddie (66f464)

  14. The main cause of homelessness is that the rent is too d*** high.

    And it is too high because government pushes it up, what with zoning regulations, and building and fire codes, and minimum wages, and unionization, and union wages and work rules, ad with trying to maintain high property values because so much money has been loaned on housing that they are afraid the economy will collapse if thw cost of housing is allowed to drop.

    There is no other consumer good where the goal of government policy is keeping the price high. It happens also woth education and medical care but that;s not the goal.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  15. People with substance abuse issues need to be required to do something about it. Treat the homeless the same way that you treat people who are, for example, busted for possession of meth or heroin. Allow them a diversionary program to get them clean, but then arrest and, if necessary, incarcerate those who refuse to do so.

    It’s too bad that forced treatment usually doesn’t work, and “getting clean” does not solve addiction (not even close). The real problem of addiction is not the physical withdrawal, it’s the mental reliance on drugs as a THE coping tool. Getting out of that mental state (“insanity” is not too strong a word) takes a profound change in one’s thinking, and that only happens with the individual’s focused attention and desire. Which “force” usually doesn’t inspire. Even long periods of forced abstinence (e.g. jail) don’t work, as the first or second thing an addict does after being released is to go score.

    Things that do work: religious conversion or experience via a church, the 12 Step method of engendering catharsis/spiritual experience, or intense psychological help. Of these only the first two are within the budgets (i.e. free) of the typical addict. All of these require the intense co-operation of the addict.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  16. You just give each one of them a private, locked place to live, to which they alone, or people they trust, if any, have the key or the combination, which the recipient is satisfied with, in exchange for not sleeping or defacating in the streets.

    And what do you do when that private space is so full of their piss and sh1t that they don’t like it anymore?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  17. 5. The main problem with some people is that they ahev no family ir close friends who will help them, or they have on;y thoe whose conditions they don’t want to meet.

    By the way, we’ve got people institutionlized in nursing homes who shouldn’t be. It costs more than anything else, but there is often government aid for that but not other things. But they are afriad to fund cheaper things because nursing home case is so unpleasant a prospect for most peole, that people avoid it.

    It’s the ame thing like paying enormous amounts of money for rent for temporary quarters for hmmeless people rather than a monthly rent that is much cheaper. They are too afraid they’ll spend some money unnecessarily.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  18. Sammy, I think that if you analyze what the bureaucracy does on the basis of what is easiest (not cheapest, easiest) for the bureaucracy you will see why they do what they do. Finding actual apartments for housing that can be afforded, and landlords willing to rent to such a dodgy prospect, isn’t easy. But it’s really easy to find an SRO hotel that will rent to anyone for $150/night.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  19. 16. Kevin M (21ca15) — 5/12/2019 @ 10:40 am

    And what do you do when that private space is so full of their piss and sh1t that they don’t like it anymore?

    First, you atke into account that some might do that, and you arrange for the kind of housing where ruining one place doesn’t impact another, and/or yuo try to separate the ones that will do that from those that will not (most of them)

    You try to match people with what they will or can maintain AND beg them to be honest about iit., or maybe somebody who knows them to be honest about it. Don’t expect them to change more than they seem inclined to.

    You try to find some accomodations that both the people getting it and the people providing it will be satisfied with.

    Maybe they’d like an Indian toilet, or a commode or an outhouse, or Depends, or maybe just an toilet that flushes more easily – and waive the environmental or water conservation laws..

    Very very few people grew up doing things the way they are doing it.

    If they don’t know how to clean, maybe you provide someone to come in nce a day or two. It won’t ne necessary too often, but when it is it is certainly cheaper than the alternatives,

    In this way, you can narrow this down to the really hard cases, and maybe even they will accept some place they can camp out in.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  20. Here’s an example of L.A. using their homeless funds:

    https://la.curbed.com/2018/12/11/18136648/venice-homeless-shelter-bonin-bridge-housing-mta
    “City Council signs off on contested Venice homeless shelter”

    Amid both jeers and applause, the Los Angeles City Council gave the green light on Tuesday to a temporary homeless shelter in Venice.

    The 154-bed shelter will be built on a former bus yard owned by Metro at Sunset and Pacific avenues. With the council’s approval, it’s set to open next year.

    The site is in the center of a residential neighborhood of multi-million dollar homes, which will take a substantial value beating as a result. The lefter-than-left city councilman (he supported Kucinich and Bernie in the past) thinks it’s wonderful. I think he’s due for another recall attempt.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  21. 18. Of course. And this is a management problem.

    Probably nobody has either the incentive, or the operational freedom, to do things any other way.

    But there are some kind of “cost savings” or budget reasons why this goes on year after year, plus the fact that goverrnment is the slowest of all institutions to react to changing circumstances.

    The VA, for instance, can be bad bad bad year after year. Ambulances can be slow to
    arrive. Schools can be ineffective. Crime can get out of hand. You could name a lot of other exaoples.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  22. Sammy, you’d fit in just fine on the LA City Council. I really like the idea of a cleaning lady for the homeless. I’d not ever heard that suggestion before.

    You really have no experience here, and it shows.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  23. 20. 21. The logic is impeccable:

    They’re not going to stereotype homeless people and say that homeless people, as a group, are not as good as any other. And if they were to accept they are worse people, then putting them just in (mostly minority) neighborhoods that already have problems is a form of racism.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  24. “And what do you do when that private space is so full of their piss and sh1t that they don’t like it anymore?”

    You clean up their mess, charge it to the taxpayers and blame white people, western civilization and capitalism. Then you make sure they’ll get a new space w food stamps and clean needles and oh yeah you make sure you’ve got their signed absentee ballot.

    harkin (58d012)

  25. Sammy, the problem is that the bureaucracy DOES NOT CARE. It was captured long ago by the Iron Law:

    In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.

    Agency Boss: “We have $1 million to help homeless in our area. Any ideas?”
    Agency employee: “We might benefit from the ‘Ideas to Help the Homeless’ symposium in Maui next month.”
    Agency Boss: “Good idea. Who wants to go?”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  26. Just gonna leave this here……

    ‘There’s needles on the beach and poo all over the sand': Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten rails against homeless anarchy in LA

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6966735/Sex-Pistols-Johnny-Rotten-complains-homeless-crisis-LA-neighborhood.html

    harkin (58d012)

  27. Sammy, assuming that you really think that the homeless are just some down-on-their-luck workers, you put their shelter in a place near public transit, and preferably within walking distance of employment and groceries. This part of Venice isn’t that, and the people there are not going to be welcomed or employed.

    The lot they are using there is worth about $100 million, give or take. It’s about an acre in a place where land goes for over $1000/sf.

    They are going to put a $5 million structure on it to house 154 people. Not counting the structure, the cost is $650,000 per bed.

    But they have got the virtue signalling right, so there’s that.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  28. 23. Kevin M (21ca15) — 5/12/2019 @ 11:04 am

    23.Sammy, you’d fit in just fine on the LA City Council. I really like the idea of a cleaning lady for the homeless. I’d not ever heard that suggestion before.

    Because they don’t think. And tehy won’t acknowledge a possibkle problem.

    Now this solve the problem for some people, but not others, but still some. It’s probably mostly mothers who don’t know how to take care of children.

    Now at $15 an hour, even five days a week, that’s something like $150 a week, if you assume some traveling time between places, and that’s being generous. So $650 a month and the rent subsidy is probably more. You can deduct a small amount, say, a co-payment of $40 a month, from whatever they are getting to, or add that amount to their rent, to make sure it is not oversubscribed.

    Informal arrangements, of course, could be much cheaper. Or they could be on call for emergencies, wtha $5 or $10 co-payment, (not so high so they won’t try to avoid it) with the money to accounted for later.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  29. harkin,

    A generation ago, ultra-liberal Santa Monica threw open its public areas to the homeless. The city attorney was vigilant against any fascist businessman who objected to a homeless tent in from of his building. The libraries were homeless centers by day, the parks were campgrounds by night. Sandwiches were available on the city hall lawn.

    Eventually it dawned on the good people of Santa Monica that they deserved to be able to use their parks, libraries, etc, to walk down the street without being accosted for “spare change” and that the filth on the sidewalks and streets was unacceptable, and they routed the city government.

    For sure they replaced them with other liberals, but not ones that welcomed the homeless. Now, as you enter the city, there are notices about the city-wide anti-camping and anti-RV laws.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  30. Progressives always place more value on good intentions than results… especially if they are spending other people’s money on those good intentions, which is nearly always the case.

    Time to open up more city streets to camping.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  31. 28, 28. Kevin M (21ca15) — 5/12/2019 @ 11:17 am

    Sammy, assuming that you really think that the homeless are just some down-on-their-luck workers, you put their shelter in a place near public transit, and preferably within walking distance of employment and groceries.

    That’s right. You find some place near some transit (a former bus depot isn’t it?) off to the edge of a business district, with nothing on one side.

    And you try to not include people won’t live in peace with other people. You could let the people there maybe vote other people off the place by a 2/3 majority. Then you have to find some other place for that person. But, as I said, a shelter is not a good structure.

    This part of Venice isn’t that, and the people there are not going to be welcomed or employed.

    They are mostly not workers, but that could be because they are discriminated against. If they’ve got a substance abuse problem they need to be supplied with it in the case of opioids. If it;s alcohol, some people can work with that.

    To get them into the labor force, you’ve got to allow employment at no minimum wage – just that they need to be paid in cash, or by debit card with some cash included, as soon as they leave the place of employment; and if employed a second and third time, their wage goes up at the rate of 5% a week till it reaches the minimum wage. And maybe pay to insure them. That would require changes in federal law. But maybe you could just subsidize employers. Of course then we might get no show jobs with some of the subsidy split with the worker. Even that would start to get them into the private economy.

    Another idea is having them peddle stuff. Stuff that is useful.

    The lot they are using there is worth about $100 million, give or take. It’s about an acre in a place where land goes for over $1000/sf.

    They could sell the place and buy something else. But that would require an extra step. The opposition is probably not proposing this. Because the 154 people are not waiting somewhere.

    They are going to put a $5 million structure on it to house 154 people. Not counting the structure, the cost is $650,000 per bed.
    Put them in some apartment with locks, and get them a cleaning lady! (with a tiny co-payment)
    But they have got the virtue signalling right, so there’s that.

    That’s the problem. It’s just an attempt to pretend to do something, for the mathematically illiterate, that could never be scaled up.

    But then, so is banning plastic bags. Mathematically illiterate I mean.

    What makes it really bad is that this is probably not going to lead to anything good. Such location needs a full time on duty policeman or two (considering that a lot of the people to be living tehre are going to be coming straight out of jail.)

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  32. And time to focus on banning more items like plastic straws and shopping bags.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  33. As more of the people who foot the largest share of taxes retire and leave the state, tthe spending will only increase, along with the welcome mat for the “have nots”and state taxes. The steady decline of what used to be an amazingly beautiful state will continue… and it’s a GD shame.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  34. needles on teh beach
    and excrement in teh sand
    let’s go surfin’ now

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  35. 15… all spot on.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  36. Not only is local government ineffective at combatting homelessness, they compound it by purposely getting in the way of private organizations that wish to help. I think I have told this story before, but my church has been preparing lunch for the local homeless population two days a week for at least the past quarter century. A few years ago, a Los Angeles County health inspector came to inspect the kitchen in our parish hall, where the meals are prepared and served, and bluntly informed us that our facilities weren’t up to code. This is, I remind you, for a group that is distributing free meals to the indigent population. But no matter. We ended up having to open up a wall to create more kitchen space, to install new plumbing (have to have a double-sink, one to be used exclusively for food prep, the other to be used exclusively for dishes and cleaning), purchase a new refrigerator and other appliances, and make several other mandated changes. It set our parish back something like $10,000.

    Fortunately we are committed to helping the community, so we were willing to spend the money and upgrade, but we actually had to petition and go through some rigamarole in order to be allowed to continue serving the meals while we raised money and drew up the plans, then we had to close our kitchen for about a month for the construction work. And naturally in the 20+ years that we served meals with our old set-up, I don’t believe we ever had any reports of food contamination or anyone becoming sick from our meals. But thanks, Los Angeles County, for the roadblocks that you place in front of those trying to help.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  37. 37… they are L.A. County Bureaucrats and they are there to help you!

    Unfortunately, common sense is not so common.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  38. it’s not about solving problems, its about control of key resources and affixing blame, you elect a new people, and you never have to be challenged or that is the theory, there is always a bogeyman,

    narciso (d1f714)

  39. JVW,

    The various drug-related 12 step programs — AA, NA, CA, etc — are constantly sent people who do not want to be there. They come to the meetings, sit in back, get their cards signed and leave. The meetings let them in because their beliefs forbid them to turn any addict or alcoholic away, but 9 out of 10 are loaded before morning.

    The problem here is that it may give these individuals the idea that these meetings are run by the government (nothing could be further from the truth) and when they eventually DO desire help, the well has been poisoned.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  40. The homelessness, mental health, drug abuse issue is complicated and long term and expensive. They do need treatment and therapy and a place to live and a job. Probably a public private partnership would be helpful for the jobs part of things, but most of what can be done to help the homeless is pretty long term and not glorious.

    Nic (896fdf)

  41. JVW,

    Also, I heartily recommend the books “The Tragedy of American Compassion” (Olasky) and “The Death of Common Sense” (Howard) which describe the problems with state-run welfare, and the regulatory state, respectively. Both available though our host’s Amazon search box.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  42. In scottsdale they throw bullets at the mentally ill homeless problem. one scottsdale cop has shot and killed 6 mentally ill homeless people.

    lany (cb393c)

  43. By the way I was called out the last time I brought this up for making this up. I didn’t his name is officer james peterson.

    lany (cb393c)

  44. In Seattle, they are so wokedy-woke that the homeless problem is not to be blamed when homeless men rape Seattle women.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  45. It would be cheaper for the state of Cantafordya to buy the homeless one-way tickets to Honolulu.

    mg (8cbc69)

  46. The sober, civic-minded voters left in LA no longer control the city. The LAT is only worried that some sheep might awake if a critical report is issued.

    Since 1980, a large segment of the voters-younger and with faith in politicians, or unalterably stupid, e.g., retired teachers, postal workers, university professors – vote for more homeless taxes, school taxes, etc. They have no idea how tax revenue is absolutely frittered away. Or devoted to pensions far more lucrative than they will ever get.

    Nor do they inform themselves of such things (its boring).

    LAT–read by clueless people needing their latest anti-Trump fix from retread columnists McManus, or Hiltzik–contributes to the civic rot. It cheers on such boondoggles as the bullet train, stem cell bonds, city homeless programs etc. And you all remember the LAT’s stand on Arnold’s Propositions to rein in pension abuse–“not needed.”

    Control of the city was lost long ago: proven by its vote for the “homeless tax” that had undoubtedly helped more union workers than it helped homeless people.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (6b1442)

  47. Harcourt Fenton Mudd @48,

    such boondoggles as….stem cell bonds </blockquote. The stem cell bonds were the crme de la crme of boondoggles.

    The proponents made it a moral issue, where they hoped the majority of voters would decide that destroying human embryos was justified; and the fact that the science behind it was already known to be false got lost. Yes, already known to anyone familiar with the facts. There was no moral issue.

    The opponents tended to argue the moral issue, or that the (existing as of the day he limited it) cell lines that George W. Bush had okayed for federal funding were enough – it was claimed they weren't – or that private organizations were doing it.

    But not that there was no reason to expect this to work.

    The BIG LIE that this made sense was out there, and the State of California was going to make up for what the federal government wasn’t funding.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  48. If people heard that this made no medical sense they probably thought: that’s just a lie by all those evangelicals and Catholics and others who are opposed to embryotic stem cell research for moral reasons.

    This pro-stem cell research propaganda had been going on for a few years, and, as a result, the most useless medical research was heavily funded. Because there was an ethical controversy about it. If it was useless, they wouldn’t be pressing the moral point, people reasoned.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  49. But thanks, Los Angeles County, for the roadblocks that you place in front of those trying to help.

    It looks to me like the code in question is the California Retail Food Code, not specific to LA County.

    And the code has lengthy (partial) exceptions for “Limited Service Charitable Feeding Operations” (Chapter 10.6) and “Nonprofit Charitable Temporary Food Facilities” (Chapter 10.5). So it’s not like the lawmakers just blindly lumped you together with McDonalds.

    Based on a very quick and superficial reading, it looks like most of the exceptions are based on either operating very infrequently (~once per month or less on average) and/or serving or reheating food commercially prepared elsewhere rather than food prepared from scratch on the premises.

    Dave (1bb933)

  50. Here’s a problem:

    https://althouse.blogspot.com/2019/05/should-this-womans-life-be-ruined-which.html

    Some people are all afraid of each other.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  51. From the opening of “The Death of Common Sense” (Philip K Howard, 1994, 2011)

    IN THE WINTER OF 1988, NUNS OF THE MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY were walking through the snow in the South Bronx in their saris and sandals to look for an abandoned building that they might convert into a homeless shelter. Mother Teresa, the Nobel Prize winner and head of the order, had agreed on the plan with Mayor Ed Koch after visiting him in the hospital several years earlier. The nuns came to two fire-gutted buildings on 148th Street and, finding a Madonna among the rubble, thought that perhaps providence itself had ordained the mission. New York City offered the abandoned buildings at one dollar each, and the Missionaries of Charity set aside $500,000 for the reconstruction. The nuns developed a plan to provide temporary care for sixty-four homeless men in a communal setting that included a dining room and kitchen on the first floor, a lounge on the second floor, and small dormitory rooms on the third and fourth floors. The only unusual thing about the plan was that Missionaries of Charity, in addition to their vow of poverty, avoid the routine use of modern conveniences. There would be no dishwashers or other appliances; laundry would be done by hand. For New York City, the proposed homeless facility would be (literally) a godsend.

    Although the city owned the buildings, no official had the authority to transfer them except through an extensive bureaucratic process. For a year and a half the nuns, wanting only to live a life of ascetic service, found themselves instead traveling in their sandals from hearing room to hearing room, presenting the details of the project and then discussing the details again at two higher levels of city government. In September 1989 the city finally approved the plan and the Missionaries of Charity began repairing the fire damage.

    Providence, however, was no match for law. New York’s building code, they were told after almost two years, requires an elevator in every new or renovated multiple-story building. The Missionaries of Charity explained that because of their beliefs they would never use the elevator, which also would add upward of $100,000 to the cost. The nuns were told the law could not be waived even if an elevator didn’t make sense.

    Mother Teresa gave up. She didn’t want to devote that much extra money to something that wouldn’t really help the poor: According to her representative, “The Sisters felt they could use the money much more usefully for soup and sandwiches.” In a polite letter to the city expressing their regrets, the Missionaries of Charity noted that the episode “served to educate us about the law and its many complexities.”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  52. She didn’t want to devote that much extra money to something that wouldn’t really help the poor: According to her representative

    I am not sure the lack of common sense in that episode was on the side of the bureaucrats…
    Didn’t it occur to Mother Teresa that some homeless people are wheelchair-bound and would find walking up three or four flights of stairs, ah, a bit of a challenge?

    Kishnevi (d22255)

  53. The only unusual thing about the plan was that Missionaries of Charity, in addition to their vow of poverty, avoid the routine use of modern conveniences.

    Looks like an example of some people not wanting abundance.

    @kishnevi – There could be some people who wouldn’t be able to use the dormitory. But it is not like that building would house everybody homeless.

    There are many buldings in New York without elvators. The old law alllowed that up to 5 stories.

    I wonder was this the newly passed Americans with Disabilities Act? Or someting idepeddent of that? It could be maybe this requirement went back to the 1960s, bit it obviously wwasn’t well known.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  54. The elephant in the room is the Poverty-Industrial Complex. The leaders of these programs are well compensated and if homelessness vanished, they’d be out of jobs.

    Brooks Goode (0ffb6d)

  55. this idea that empowering an already rancid city/county bureaucracy by showering it with money and expecting it to do many wondrous things should turn out to be so naïve and foolish, but the progressive imagination and their desire to believe in the beneficence of big government is virtually limitless.

    What actually is going on here, is that there’s no memory, except maybe by the people siphoning off the money. *

    And the principle, that unless there is something to make the spending worthwhile, and efficient, it won’t be, and will get worse with time, isn’t taught in schools of public administration.

    ——————-

    * Well, some of the money, since the people distorting the spending ca’t take it all, but only a fraction. There always needs to be ajustification, and they come up with spending plans that let them get some money, as opposed to plans that wouldn’t get them so much money or enjoyment. They can’t collect all of it, and a lot of the spending serves no purpose whatsoever, except to justify some other spending. Less would be diverted if they could make a honest profit, as long as there were some constraints on the amount of the profit.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

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