Home > Uncategorized > LAPD Disrespect during Black History Month

LAPD Disrespect during Black History Month

March 1, 2011
SLO Joseph,
Thank you for clearing up this matter regarding my being slighted at LAPD’s African-American Forum in the Tom Bradley room at City Hall recently. Thank you also for the positive and encouraging words regarding my community activism on behalf of the Skid Row community.
It is unfortunate that you personally feel that I am not capable of being civil in a public setting, thus the reason you admit to my being denied an invitation equivalent to that given to other Skid Row community leaders.
In my nearly four years of community activism, I have always questioned the “Skid Row infrastructure” that has been in place in modern-day Skid Row since the mid-1970’s, yet has acheived limited success and has publicly displayed even less attempts to improve and/or change the overall environment by the missions, non-profits and the social service providers. Therefore, to offset this blatant absence, my efforts to address the many issues have been consistent and unwavering. Judging by your comments, you seem to think that my current stance is something new. Over the years, I have had countless meetings with the heads of each of the missions and continue to have a respectable working relationship with each of them. Obviously, they and I will not agree on all of the issues, but we are civil in our communications. Something you obviously are unaware of.
Also, I am outspoken against many of the practices of the Skid Row landlords and have been since day one. Again, this is nothing new. If you need to, you can refer to the ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS’ Year-In-Review’s for 2008, 2009 and 2010 to help give you a better perspective on where I stand on these as well as other issues that continue to prevent our community from truly blossoming into the residential neighborhood it can and should be.( Please advise if you need me to resend them to you). And yes, I don’t have a problem “questioning” any organization that has been in Skid Row longer than five years and has not publicly advocated for change, transparency, accountability and most important of all, stronger federal oversight! These organizations have now become part of the overall problem in our community. My statements are not “verbal attacks”. They are simply community activism with a strong focus, reliable research, confidence and an undeniable track record, not to mention the truth.
My position on the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council states that I represent the residents of Skid Row and have done so since the community first voted for me back in 2008. Actually, I started representing the Skid Row community in an official capacity in September 2007. Since then, everything about my life has been devoted to improving this community for them. We at ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS have humbly done a remarkable job at changing the mindset of the residents and building their collective confidence to where they can begin to meet with public officials and speak for themselves.(Obviously you noticed the enthusiasm and positive turnout at the recent community meeting you referred to). And as our collective voice becomes even louder than it is now, maybe then you will realize that it is not about “verbal attacks” on any individual, but we are “crying out” for change against the entire system. And if you check the internet, the world is beginning to listen.
I’m not sure how you plan on truly “bringing people together” when you can’t even mention the true name of “the group on Main Street”. How divisive is this? It is simply disrespectful and uncivil on your part. I may not agree with everything that LA CAN does, just as they don’t agree with everything that we do. However, we both realize that we have a community that needs our leadership and that is the most important concern at this time. (See, I can say theirs or any other organizations name and still be civil!)
In fact, you also seem to be concerned with my position which is currently against the new “Home for Good” project, for several reasons. I will have you know that I am currently in constant dialogue with both Christine Marge of the United Way and Jerry Neuman of the LA Chamber of Commerce and have been ever since I heard all of you on the Pat Morrison show. Just as I voiced my concerns at the community meeting you mentioned, in which many residents in the audience agreed with most, if not all of my points, I have initiated contact with these organizations in an attempt to improve their formula in order to breed a successful outcome that we all can be proud of. I take the same position with each and every other organization that exists in Skid Row, even the LAPD, which has also conformed to previous concerns I have raised, including how it’s horse division patrols in our community. Even with the many ups and downs, I am hopeful that the LAPD will respect our on-going efforts and recognize our ability to make change, as well as our successful track record.
If my actions are too strong for you or LAPD, I have no problem continuing my focus on the community without your support. BUT, if you and LAPD are truly interested in partnering with the Skid Row community, you must realize that you cannot play both sides of the fence. The missions, non-profits and social service providers are not trying to “end” homelessness, they are trying to “control” homelessness. It is evident by their collective actions(or lack thereof) over the many decades that Skid Row has been suffering from. Their only focus has seemingly and solely been on funding. Remember, it was these same entities that sent “The Letter” to the Mayor asking him to substantially reduce the number of LAPD officers that patrolled in Skid Row. With all the well-known crime in this part of Los Angeles, one has to wonder what their motivation was. Almost immediately, I did not hesitate to publicly refute this request. And again, please note that it was done without “verbal attacks”.  Now, with the potential help and “outside” options that “Home for Good” presents, our community residents can begin to expand our efforts to be heard and bring the true change that has been needed in Skid Row for quite some time.
We at ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS are excited as true change is on the horizon!
I hope that this correspondence will help you to better understand my position in our efforts to improve the Skid Row community.
Kindest regards,
General Jeff
Skid Row community activist-
ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS
Resident Director- Central City East/ Skid Row
Board of Directors
Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council
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