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Tag Archives: homelessness

Concrete Hole Dwellers

Will the indignity never end?

I like to call the hole in the ground next door, the concrete garden. It’s a play on the novel by Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden. It was later made into a movie. He never wrote anything very good after that first tour de force, but his books do sell, and win awards as well. The women in the video got rather violent after I turned off the camera. They began to break bottles against western wall of their hole. It is the wall that abuts our building, so it got loud in here where the non-homeless dwell. The contractors in the upper left hand of the screen did little to fix the gate. See for yourself. That picture was taken five minutes before it was just posted.

Doesn't look promising

Was that the best these guys could do? And they wanted to put a building up on that spot? My God! That thing would have tumbled, all five floors, right all over the Pointe (my building). These half-assed developers won’t rest until they buy up my building and the one next to it and the one across the street from us. We’re the last pieces of rental property that are governed by rent control regulations on this stretch of the Yucca Street cooridor.

The number of rent controlled units decrease every year, yet the L.A. Times published an op/ed piece last May that called for the end of rent control. Trust me Paul Habibi and Eric Sussman (who authored said op/ed) there are no high-priced lawyers living in my building. It’s composition is mainly immigrant families and young people starting up with their lives as grown ups. It also seems to provide student housing for the Musicians Institute. The developers are tearing down all the rent controlled units anyway, so your arguments are unwelcome. Why don’t you weigh in on another issue, such as Ayn Rand and how great she is? Paul Habibi is a real estate entrepreneur, according to Wikipedia. (It’s too easy) Eric Sussman lectures at UCLA. When he isn’t playing teacher, he’s “president of Amber Capital, Inc., a 15-person real estate investment company, which has acquired, rehabilitated, developed, and managed over 1,575,000 square feet of commercial real estate since its founding in 1993.” Just another fucking developer! L.A. Times is not unbiased. It is a tool of the real estate investors, in the grand tradition of old man Mulholland, who has a beautiful two-lane highway named after him. It’s hard not to think that everything is a fix. But that’s how they do things in Los Angeles.
The Jefferson Project is all finished and they’ve hung out their For Rent sign. At three thousand a pop, I wonder how fast they are renting apartments? Now they have twenty seven units set aside for people with low income. This is out of two hundred and seventy units- a measly ten percent. I wonder what the income requirements are for these units? Who decides who gets them? There are a lot of working poor families in this neighborhood. Will the recipients be from this neighborhood? I bet it’s a lottery system, and the only people who got invited to play were friends of the family, if you will- nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

So let us agree that the development company that owns this lot on the corner of Yucca Street and Las Palmas Avenue is irresponsible in the way it is conducting the disposition of said lot. They are not making it a secure site. Anyone can camp out there, and now they do. The people who camp on their lot are not nice people. They are mean, ugly and probably drug addicted people. Would you want them setting up shop in the concrete hole next door to your home?

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Life amongst the ruins

 

Welcome to the Yucca Street corridor!

Existence is probably a better noun to use. The word life connotes a certain joy, a spark of hope, a glimpse of a dream, and at least a shred of dignity. But for the people who live in the Concrete Garden, there is only despair. In addition, for the people around them, there are daily confrontations with fear, vulgarity, hatred, dirtiness. The dream of Hollywood is a tiny diamond amongst a whole beach of plain sand. For the majority, some kind of life is put together – acting classes, camaraderie, the occasional part in a play in one of those tiny theaters on Santa Monica Blvd., or even a part in a commercial! Then there’s the waiting of tables, or being a barísta at a she-she coffee house. One out of thousands gets a lucky break, most just end up going back to school, others find niches all of their own – after all, actors are creative people and some of them are actually talented, at acting and other things as well. It’s a tough life, but as the saying states, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The people you will meeting in today’s post aren’t tough. They are idiots.

Some of us Hollywoodlians, I daresay, the majority don’t even think about a career in the business, as it is called here in Los Angeles. These people just call Hollywood home. They live in crappy apartments; they live in really nice apartments; a few even live in just okay apartments. I’m a bit of a snob. I like being from Hollywood, despite the reputation that it has of flop-houses and crack heads. Sometimes the reputation is well earned, and tonight was one of those nights when the reality of the dangers of Hollywood hit home, too close to home for comfort.

I call this first video, “The party begins.” Earlier in the day, cops came and rousted two young men from the abandoned lot at the northwest corner of Yucca and Las Palmas. The night before a group of six (5 males and 1 girl) slept in the lot. There are mattresses and couches that provide ample sleeping accommodations for the none-too-picky. The two who remained were late sleepers, I guess, but they were told to shove off, and off they went. This is the whole pack returning. They know I’m recording them from up above, so they move their party furniture against the western wall of the lot in hopes of avoiding my camera. Nice try, idiots.

 

 

 

 

The block of Yucca between Las Palmas and Highland has been squirming under the heal of gentrification for three years now. Potholes that look like they were torn by ice glaciers work in concert with the loud noises of construction, and inconvenience of heavy machinery blocking access to everything, to create an atmosphere of fatalism. When will it be our turn to be forced to pack up and move out? In this next video, our revelers get out of hand. The footage is shocking and I’ve given it a PG-13 rating. The rating is for violence. At first the video is a bit unclear and shaky, but be patient and stick with it. You won’t be disappointed. The woman in the foreground is being restrained by two men and in the background, three men are fighting tooth and nail. The woman apparently wants to come to the assistance of somebody, but the other two men explain to her that it’s a “man thing” and she wouldn’t understand, and mustn’t intervene. Please allow me to clarify one thing. It’s not a “man thing.” It’s an “idiot’s thing.” You have to be an idiot to understand their behavior. A drunken, violent idiot at that.

Let me end this post with a few brief words. Of course it is the responsibility of the owner of this lot to secure it in a manner that keeps the riff-raff out. It is the duty of the police, on the other hand, to secure peace and the rule of law. How did they respond to this situation? Poorly, as usual. I called the 9-1-1 dispatcher twice about this situation. The first time, the person I spoke with said that there had been other calls and that units were on the way. I waited over ten minutes then called again. The second person said that nobody else but me had called (a lie). I know she was lying because she read me information that I never gave the first dispatcher that I spoke with. She asked me if I wanted to leave my name and number. I said, “NO!” Because of the last incident, when the cops treated me threateningly, but then I said, “I know you have that information already.” With a curt, “Fine!” she disconnected our conversation. One measly unit finally showed up. It was pitch dark which necessitated the use of flashlights. It looked to me as if they took the drunkest and/or most beat up of the bunch, set him underneath a tree and called an ambulance for him. Job done! Was anybody arrested for trespassing, assault, public intoxication, or anything at all? To my war weary eyes, the answer seems, “No.”

 

 

 

Evicted from the Concrete Garden

Editor’s note : The title of the last post, Only the Homeless are Free is an adaptation of a line in George Orwell’s novel 1984. One of Big Brother’s quotes is that “Only the animals and proles are free.” If you are still confused, then read the book.

Video reveals Hollywood police in action!

Another Editor’s note : Title of this post is a reference to the Cement Garden (1978) by Ian McEwan. Adapted into a film in 1993.

Religiosity on the Boulevard, plus …

I can’t get enough

of the Korean Pentecostals on Hollywood Blvd. They have been making a concerted effort to make their presence known to the summer tourists and locals alike. Take a gander at this lady’s megaphone. She does have a pretty singing voice, but I don’t think she’d make the cut even to get on American Idol.

Then I espied a Scientologist passing out the Free IQ Test handout to all and sundry. One man took it, began to read it and said within earshot, “Oh, Jesus Christ!” I’m surprised he didn’t shred it into a dozen pieces and throw it into the air as a form of exorcism. What him weave his wascally way through the crowds. I had trouble keeping up, but I think he stopped to answer somebody’s question, and that afforded me time to get this shaky footage. I don’t think you can pick the guy out unless you had me standing beside you to tell you who his is.

Oh, Jesus Christ! You've got to be kidding me!

Tammy Report

For the first time ever, Tammy talks directly to the camera. Because I don’t think she’s even competent enough to give her consent to be filmed, before she became too clear in focus, I decided to train the camera on the tree trunk while I spoke with her. Brace yourself as you join me delving into the mind of a mad woman. Is it sad? Yes! For those of a more sensitive nature, don’t listen.

To say that Tammy needs help is the understatement of the Century. But she doesn’t see it that way. First of all, she claims that she’s not on drugs. I’ve seen her with my own two peepers use a crack pipe right on my doorstep. Therein lies the beginning of her downfall. She goes a day or two without sleeping from smoking crack, or crystal meth and that causes her mind to snap. Even the most even-keeled person in the world will start to lose their grip on reality if denied sleep for one or two nights. Take someone whose grasp on reality is already tenuous and give them a stimulant like crack cocaine or crystal meth, and they will go crazy before the night is through. Most social service agencies won’t even talk to you if you fail a urine test. Once Tammy has a taste of the rock, or powder, whatever, she is slamming a dozen doors in her own face. It’s a catch-22 that will lead this woman to an early grave I fear. My dear friend, David G. suffered from the same issues. As his dementia worsened, people wanted less and less to do with him. Because of his inability to live without illicit drugs, he found himself booted out of Mother Teresa’s hospice in Northeast D.C.

I miss you, David. I wish you could have done more to save yourself. I wish I could have done more to save you. I’m haunted by this unrealistic guilt. Why did David die? Why am I still alive?

Hollywood & Highland Subway platform

Noise, noise, noise and I chastise the police force!

A video from CBS.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6633405n&tag=api

Oh, how I hate them. How I hate cell phones! Just shut up and watch the game! I am really quite quite shocked that nobody kicked his ass before the ball came along and schmooshed his nose!

October 2007

June 2010 – Day in and Day out!

Now

What do they “plan” on doing in this amazing city of Hollywood? I’ll tell ya! a whole lot of nothing. The amazing city of Jollywood is really the happiest place on Earth. I will tell you why. Because in the United States of America we are blessed with a unique  assembly of liberties and this is ground zero where the clash between liberties and personal freedoms occurs on a daily basis. For ten years I’ve watched it play out between skateboarders and city park staff. Between city employees who are really just trying to do their underpaid jobs, while at the same time, help these same kids develop some kind of personal growth with the backdrop of rampant, unbridled capitalism to misguide these under-parented children whose parents are simply struggling to put food in their mouths [period]. Sometimes I feel honored to be a witness to all this melodrama, while at other times I just feel like a victim!

Well the joke is on me. Neither the parents nor the kids give a hoot. In fact, most Americans don’t realize that this wee patch of land called Hollywood (zip code 90028) is  a big microcosm; or is it a tiny macrocosm of America’s culture clash? Here is where races, genders, belief systems, morals and the kitchen sink, collide, bounce against one another and spew new perspectives, and ideas. The energy and the tension are palpable. Here is where rent controlled properties are being quietly squeezed out by new luxury condos and apartment complexes.

Versus

Social Services? Whu? Police Protection? Huh?

The woman who is the subject of the two videos is a neighborhood fixture. It’s sad because she needs help. Serious help. And so does our neighborhood. In my make-believe world, one would call the police and report that a women is in severe distress and needs psychiatric and social services support. The police would come, and put her in restraints with the help of some kind of Emergency Medical Transport. From there she would be brought in front of a judge. Clearly the woman is incompetent and unable to make rational decisions on her own behalf. The judge would send her to the Los Angeles County Hospital. There she would be admitted for observation and treatment. After about two weeks of psychopharmacological intervention, as well as two or three interviews a week, she would be reassessed and sent to a half-way house transitional care to prepare her for life as productive member of society, or released to her family, in a worst case scenario- hospitalized for a longer period of time and put in the care of the State of California.

The Old County Hospital

Dream on!

Here is what really happens:

  • I call the cops four times on June 25, 2010 (give or take a day).
  • They can’t find the tree she is living under, despite detailed instructions, descriptions and the fact that I am not the only person who has called the police on her.
  • After the second call, I am asked to meet the police in front of my building in order to show them where she is.
    • For one thing, you can hear her from the front of our building.
    • When I hobble down there with my cane, they’ve already left.
  • I call a third time. The dispatcher keeps telling me “Hold on, hold on, hold on” in some weird mantra-like fashion.
    • I ask him, “Why do you keep telling me to “hold on?”
    • Angrily, he replies, “Well, then hang up if you want to.”
    • I want to hang up and I do so.
  • After waiting another 15 to 20 minutes to see if the police are going to respond to my complaint, I conclude that they will not, so I call them again.
  • Again I am asked to meet them in front of my building.
    • This time they are actually in front of the building!
    • I pulled my So-Happy-To-See-You face out of my pocket and insert it in front of my I-Really-Am-Sick-Of-This face.
  • I am then subjected to the kind of creepy and humiliating treatment that borders on the Bad Lieutenant behavior.
    • The passenger says my name three times, “Are you blah blah blah?”
    • I affirm that I am blah blah blah.
    • He responds, “My partner is gonna love this.”
    • They are intrigued that I know her name. I tell them that we’ve both lived here for over ten years.
    • I try to bolster my reputation and standing in the community when I tell them that I operate a blog – ta dah! thehollyblog!
    • While the passenger laughs and repeats the name like it’s a stupid joke. The driver says, “I don’t know what a blog is.”
    • I just laugh and respond, “She’s around the corner, underneath the big tree on your left. Just follow her screaming.”
  • They pull off. I watch from my window as they simply run her off of the property.

After I go to bed, my sleep is interrupted by her screaming and usual carrying on. To quote Shakespeare’s As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage.” Or even more glum, Macbeth’s soliloquy when he states,

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.