Posts Tagged ‘Michael Blaze Films’

The Skid Row Super Mural with General Jeff

jeff by toni anthony

jeff t shirtDSC_0057


skid row street life by Michael Blaze

May 12, 2013
Ms. Usher,
On behalf of the Skid Row community’s residents, we “Thank You” as Deputy City Attorney for representing your office and meeting with the “Skid Row Public Space Task Force” last Friday to discuss the Lavan Injunction as it pertains to private property on Skid Row’s sidewalks.
Of the 21 people we “hand-picked” to attend this most important meeting, we had a strong showing of 16 members of the Skid Row community with a widely-diverse demographic, which included Blacks, Whites, sidewalk tent sleepers, Skid Row loft owners, males, females, senior citizen’s and more!! We believe we hit the desired mark that your office requested prior to the meeting.street living morning by Michael Blaze Skid Row Streets
Throughout the entire duration of the nearly 2 1/2 hour meeting, The Skid Row community collectively shared our thoughts and opinions in a highly intelligent and articulate manner, which in and of itself is worthy of noting simply because of Skid Row’s long stereotypical history as being a place that is only lived in by drunks, addicts and homeless persons that collectively are too inebriated to formulate their thoughts. We believe that this stereotype is what led to the Skid Row non-profits being allowed, supported and encouraged to act and speak on behalf of the residents in Skid Row. The philosophy of more authority being given to the Skid Row non-profits, which includes the missions, SRO landlords and social service providers, also automatically includes the justification of the reasoning why any and all funding is channelled directly to said Skid Row non-profits on our behalf, instead of to the “unqualified” residents directly. (To be clear, the previous observation does not mean the Skid Row resident’s are not qualified as in “not capable”, but not qualified as in “wrongfully defined”.Skid Row space by Michael Blaze
Our meeting with you Friday is further proof that the Skid Row resident’s are now in a position to not only speak for ourselves, but also DO for ourselves, as substantiated with our resident-led “positive movement” which began in 2007 and can be proven through many historic events and/or documents established through numerous social media outlets and also mainstream media outlets, as well.
Highlights of our historic meeting with you included, Manuel “OG” Compito’s powerful question “So basically you’re saying that when it’s settled, the Lavan Injunction will be an agreement with 9 people (Lavan, et al.) that will automatically affect the rest of our community without us having a say-so in our own community’s affairs?” He then followed with the quick observation “So that means those 9 people are holding our community hostage?” (implying that 9 people that he does not know, even with him being a Skid Row community leader, will have the utmost power to possibly decide to agree to a “policy” that will affect him and the rest of our community’s residents without any proof that they are competent and/or qualified to do so and/or fully aware of any and all possible parameters associated with a landmark decision such as this). Also, a Skid Row tent sleeper known as “General T.C.” noted that even as he was attending this most important meeting he was taking a SERIOUS risk of losing everything he owns by “abandoning his property” which is directly related to the subject at hand even though he is handling business in meeting with you and has declared that his property is indeed NOT abandoned. General T.C. also suggested as a solution that the City of Los Angeles could provide an official sign for the homeless to put on their property that includes language to the point of “this is not abandoned property”.
DISCLAIMER: Even though Attorney Carol Sobel has done a wonderful and competent job representing the Skid Row community resident’s in various legal issues in the past, I personally have NEVER spoken directly with her, nor have many members of this task force ever even met her. To be clear, she has not been given the “green light” by us to include our collective position in these Lavan Injunction settlement talks. Therefore (as “OG” implies above), it is not possible for her to represent all of us through her efforts to represent 9 of us. This indicates the need for separate negotiations between the City of Los Angeles and the Skid Row community’s residents as it relates to the issues involved in the Lavan Injunction and more. Please keep in mind that how these 9 plantiff’s choose to settle may be entirely different from how the rest of the Skid Row residents decide on the same issues which therefore indicates the possibility for a conjoining lawsuit and possibly more settlement discussions also related to the same issues in said Lavan Injunction, which would ultimately cost taxpayer’s that much more in the City of Los Angeles’ already volatile financial environment/budget crisis.
 SKid Row Street Life by Michael Blaze
Obviously, there were many more highlights during our meeting, including thought-provoking declarations and also solutions, which should be reflected in your many pages of notes, of which we hope will be shared with us as a form of “follow-up”.
Lowlights include your opening statement (which we realized was a unanimous “task force” consensus upon our “in-house” follow-up meeting), of which included the “highly-insulting” comparison of “possibly abandoned homeless property” to the “backpacks” used in the recent terrorist bombing in Boston during the Boston Marathon. Skid Row’s General T.C. quickly replied “those were terrorist, we’re homeless- that’s two extremely different things!”. For the City of Los Angeles to compare homeless Americans struggling to survive in Skid Row, the homeless capitol of America, (and who’s residents also include homeless veterans that proudly fought for this country’s freedom) with terrorists whose leader wasn’t even born in America, shows the disconnect between this City’s leaders and it’s residents and also suggests the City’s desperate position to justify it’s knowingly inhumane actions that will devastate thousands of homeless lives if said injunction is indeed ruled in their favor.
So where does that leave us Skid Row resident’s? Once again, we are ultimately left to fend for ourselves, seeing that the Skid Row non-profits have forsaken us and are simply “poverty pimping” for the money instead of helping to heal our community- they are part of the problem! Why aren’t they speaking for us now???? Also, the City of Los Angeles is either uninformed, unrealistic with it’s overall ideologies, “bought and paid for”, oblivious to the fact that Human Beings are suffering beyond a state of normality in this City, or even worse, knowingly creating and implementing policies which will cause substantial harm to the weak, the meek and the poor while catering to the rich and well-to-do folks that contribute mightily to campaign contributions, thus giving them power and influence without having any remorse for it’s collective harmful actions under the guise of “protecting the status quo”. Not to mention the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) which are literally the “hired guns” of the City who execute the plans of this City’s decision-makers with ultimate force, if necessary, while being paid handsomely (with benefits and pensions) to overlook their inhumane acts. All of these entities, along with a few more, are the main reason’s why Skid Row is in the total dismay it currently is in. And because NONE of the above “decision-maker’s” actually reside in Skid Row, there is NO true and/or direct connection to “the resident’s” thoughts and/or ideologies for solutions to homelessness and because of this, the City of Los Angeles has (and will continue to) spent above and well beyond the necessary amounts of funding necessary to properly “fix Skid Row” while falling deeper into debt without any signs of resolve. This is unacceptable, yet our collective voice is silenced while we watch our community crumble at the hands of so-called “do-gooders”.
 skid row by Michael Blaze
It is my understanding that as a public servant, ALL members of the public should be represented EQUALLY. How can the City of Los Angeles’ many homeless populations be represented equally when they haven’t even be invited to speak at ANY negotiations tables until now? (On ANY topic, not just the Lavan Injunction) And again, with the Skid Row non-profits no longer representing and/or speaking for the Skid Row residents (in fact, many of them have now joined the business sector and their lobbyist groups), who will speak for us moving forward? There are NO protections in place to secure that our collective voice will be included in any and all decisions related to Skid Row, where we live. And with protection policies currently in place such as the Affordable Housing land-use covenants, we will continue to reside in Skid Row in continuous 55-year increments.
street people by Michael blaze
How, then, can any settlement related to the Lavan Injunction be automatically applied to affect ALL resident’s in the Skid Row community?
Again, we appreciate your time (Happy Mother’s Day) and look forward to further discussions, but not without the expectation of the inclusion of solutions which include the Skid Row resident’s collective voice attached, connected with and implemented into.
Regardless of anyone’s position and/or which side of the table they choose to sit on, it is important to note that we (including you!) are ALL proud citizen’s of America as well as proud citizen’s of the City of Los Angeles!!!!!!
operation facelift last by Michael Blaze Trayvon Martin
General Jeff
Skid Row community activist-
(3-Term) Resident Director- Central City East/ Skid Row
Board of Directors
Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (2008-Present)
Former VP, Outreach and Communications (2011-2012)
Co-Chair- Skid Row Community Advisory Board for the
Department of Mental Health (2012-2013)
Welcome to Skid Row from General Jeff