LA restaurant owner Angela Marsden asks: ‘Where are our tax dollars going?’ amid homeless crisis

Third homeless person is found dead in a week in upscale LA neighborhood as residents slam ‘third world’ city – but mayor claims affluent residents ‘don’t care’ about rough sleepers and just want the police to arrest them

  • A third homeless person was found dead in an affluent LA area Thursday 
  • It prompted a local resident to ask: ‘Where are our tax dollars going?’
  • There are 70,000 homeless people in LA and 100,000 in California 
  • On Thursday, another $50 million was approved for LA mayor’s homeless fund
  • Mayor Karen Bass said Thursday that affluent people in her city don’t care about what happens to homeless people 

After a third homeless person was found dead on the streets of an affluent LA community, one exasperated resident said the area has become a ‘third world city’ and asked California’s Democratic leadership: ‘Where are our tax dollars going?’

Angela Marsden, the owner of the Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill in affluent Sherman Oaks, told Fox Los Angeles: ‘How do we normalize this? This isn’t normal to me, this is a woman, this is somebody’s daughter, sister, dead on the street.’ The woman’s death was the third this week of a homeless person in the area. 

An estimated 40,000 people are homeless in Los Angeles, a city of nearly 4 million. In Los Angeles County, the number is closer to 70,000 and is up four percent since 2020.

On the same day that the woman was found dead, LA Mayor Karen Bass told a conference that affluent residents in her city don’t care about homeless people and just want to see them moved on or arrested. Last year, Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness. 

Controversial programs initiated to tackle the issues included giving hotel and motel rooms to homeless people, spending millions on real estate in which to house the homeless and rerouting taxpayer money in Bass’s emergency fund. 

An estimated 40,000 people are homeless in Los Angeles, a city of nearly 4 million. In Los Angeles County, the number is closer to 70,000

An estimated 40,000 people are homeless in Los Angeles, a city of nearly 4 million. In Los Angeles County, the number is closer to 70,000

In total, there are around 100,000 unhoused people in California, with around 8,000 of those located in San Francisco

In total, there are around 100,000 unhoused people in California, with around 8,000 of those located in San Francisco

In total, there are around 100,000 unhoused people in California. With other high concentrations in the northern part of the state in cities such as San Francisco where nearly 8,000 people are sleeping on the streets. 

Homelessness is hugely visible throughout California with people living in tents and cars and sleeping outdoors on sidewalks and under highway overpasses. 

Marsden went on to describe her neighborhood, where the median income is more than $200,000 per person and the average house price is over $1 million, as a ‘third world country’ and described the area as hitting ‘critical mass.’

She continued: ‘This is supposed to be an exclusive area, of LA. We’ve had three dead bodies, three dead bodies in a week, and we’re still dealing with all the other stuff, the robberies, drug use, the mentally ill wandering around.’  

Bass, a Democrat and former congresswoman, has said she intends to get over 17,000 homeless people into housing in her first year through a mix of interim and permanent facilities. 

Mayor Karen Bass said Thursday that affluent people in her city don't care about what happens to homeless people

Mayor Karen Bass said Thursday that affluent people in her city don’t care about what happens to homeless people

Over the past two years, overall violent crime in LA is up 8.3 percent

Over the past two years, overall violent crime in LA is up 8.3 percent

The woman is the third homeless person to be found dead in the Sherman Oaks area this week

The woman is the third homeless person to be found dead in the Sherman Oaks area this week

On the same day that the woman was found dead, LA Mayor Karen Bass told a conference in DC that affluent residents in her city don't care about homeless people

On the same day that the woman was found dead, LA Mayor Karen Bass told a conference in DC that affluent residents in her city don’t care about homeless people

On her first day as mayor of Los Angeles, Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness

On her first day as mayor of Los Angeles, Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness

Just this Thursday, Los Angeles’ City Council voted to transfer $50 million to the mayor’s homeless emergency fund. 

Bass vowed to get people housed and more housing built so that residents can see a real difference, which hasn’t been visible despite billions spent on programs to curb homelessness, including $1.2 billion in the current city budget.

Bass tweeted about the Sherman Oaks’ woman’s death writing: ‘This is exactly why I’ve declared a state of emergency. Successfully confronting the homelessness crisis is a matter of life and death.’ The woman’s cause of death has not been disclosed. 

The leading cause of death among homeless people in Los Angeles is drug overdoses, other leading causes include murder and suicide. 

Between 2016 and 2021, fentanyl overdose deaths in Los Angeles County increased a whopping 1280 percent, between 2019 and 2020, they increased 149 percent from 462 to 1,149, and were up 31 percent in 2021 to 1,504.  

Speaking about the homeless deaths in Sherman Oaks, Ken Craft of advocacy group Hope of the Valley, told ABC Los Angeles: ‘What we do see, unfortunately, is an increase in fentanyl on our streets which has caused a higher level of overdoses. As the weather turns cold and hypothermia sets and we do see people dying.’

As homelessness is on the rise across the nation, last November New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that he wanted police and city medics to more aggressively get severely mentally ill individuals off the streets and subways and into treatment. 

Angela Marsden told Fox LA: 'How do we normalize this? This isn’t normal to me, this is a woman, this is somebody’s daughter, sister, dead on the street'

Angela Marsden told Fox LA: ‘How do we normalize this? This isn’t normal to me, this is a woman, this is somebody’s daughter, sister, dead on the street’

Marsden wants to see that plan initiated in her community. She said: ‘We need to start committing people whether they like it or not.’ 

‘They don’t need a fancy condo. They need beds with therapists with doctors and tough love, caring love, meaning you’re committed until you get clean, you’re committed until you’re taking your meds and then we transition you into a safe space of housing,’ the business owner said. 

She continued: ‘You see a dog in the street, people are willing to risk their life to save that dog and the city puts them in a shelter where they care for them, but human beings are left on the street like this.’ 

Earlier this month, officials at Los Angeles International Airport approved a plan to allow homeless people who have cars to sleep overnight in one of LAX’s parking lot. 

Bass, a Democrat and former congresswoman, has said she intends to get over 17,000 homeless people into housing in her first year

Bass, a Democrat and former congresswoman, has said she intends to get over 17,000 homeless people into housing in her first year 

The leading cause of death among homeless people in Los Angeles is drug overdoses, other leading causes include murder and suicide

The leading cause of death among homeless people in Los Angeles is drug overdoses, other leading causes include murder and suicide

Bass has vowed to get people housed and more housing built so that residents can see a real difference

Bass has vowed to get people housed and more housing built so that residents can see a real difference

Those availing of the offer must leave during the day, sign a code of conduct agreement and enroll in a program designed to help them find a more permanent home. 

Another initiative which has proved somewhat successful is Bass’s Inside Safe program which seeks to get homeless people into motels and temporary accommodation.  

While this week, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles paid $9.5 million for an apartment building in the Tujunga section of the city with an eye towards making it available for homeless people. 

In her speech at the United States Conference of Mayors in Washington DC, Bass warned other mayors to get a handle on their homeless problem before it gets out of control. 

She said: ‘Your population of unhoused might not be as massive as 67,000 people, but let me just tell you, if you don’t get a handle on it, it will be.’

Earlier this month, officials at Los Angeles International Airport approved a plan to allow homeless people who have cars to sleep overnight in one of LAX's parking lot

Earlier this month, officials at Los Angeles International Airport approved a plan to allow homeless people who have cars to sleep overnight in one of LAX’s parking lot

This week, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles paid $9.5 million for an apartment building in the Tujunga section of the city with an eye towards making it available for homeless people

This week, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles paid $9.5 million for an apartment building in the Tujunga section of the city with an eye towards making it available for homeless people

During the speech, Bass said that affluent areas in Los Angeles had  ‘absolutely no tolerance’ for homeless people in their communities and that residents in the those areas don’t care about what happens to the homeless. 

She told the conference: ‘You can arrest somebody, you can give them a ticket. But they are going to be out in a few days, right back on your street and it doesn’t solve the problem.’  

Bass spoke about the culture surrounding homeless saying: ‘The fact that our society has reached a point where we accept people living on the street and living anywhere, it’s like, “What has happened to us?” It is completely unacceptable.’

Bass told NBC’s Meet the Press host, Chuck Todd, in December, that her plan to move homeless people into rooms immediately will not ‘address everybody, but it is going to address, hopefully, a significant number.’ 

She said people will not be forced to move, but that sanitation crews will stand by to clean up areas after people have left. 

Bass said outreach workers will try to coax people indoors. People are homeless for a variety of reasons, including mental illness, addiction and job loss.

Bass told NBC’s Meet the Press host, Chuck Todd, in December, that her plan to move homeless people into rooms immediately will not 'address everybody, but it is going to address, hopefully, a significant number'

Bass told NBC’s Meet the Press host, Chuck Todd, in December, that her plan to move homeless people into rooms immediately will not ‘address everybody, but it is going to address, hopefully, a significant number’

People are homeless for a variety of reasons, including mental illness, addiction and job loss

People are homeless for a variety of reasons, including mental illness, addiction and job loss

California Gov. Gavin Newsom first launched the idea of placing homeless people in motel and hotel rooms at the start of the pandemic in 2020. He has since encouraged cities and counties to convert motels and other buildings into housing for homeless people.

Advocates for the homeless have welcomed the use of motel rooms, where people can have their own bathroom far away from the clutter of congregated shelters. 

But they have criticized what they call ‘sweeps’ of encampments that force people to move and separate them from their belongings in the absence of a firm motel room offer.

Todd asked Bass how to judge her success on eliminating homelessness.

‘Encampments should be significantly down if not eliminated, and there should be housing being built, underway, at a much more rapid pace,’ she said. ‘And there should not be 40,000 people who are unhoused, that’s for sure.’ 

In the northern part of the state, in San Francisco, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has come under fire in recent months for implementing some soft-on-crime policies in a city experiencing crime and homeless rates not seen since the 90s.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed is beginning to take some of the blame for the homeless crisis engulfing her city

San Francisco Mayor London Breed is beginning to take some of the blame for the homeless crisis engulfing her city

Major crimes in San Francisco are up 7.4 percent so far this year from the same period in 2021, with assault up 11.1 percent and robbery up 5.2 percent.

Amid scenes of misery on city streets, where drug use is brazen and homelessness is rampant, a recent poll found that a majority of San Franciscans believe their city is going down hill, and a third plan to leave the city within three years.

Some residents blame Mayor London Breed, whose earlier popularity for steering the city through the pandemic appears to have waned amid rising crime, the fentanyl epidemic and other woes.

The video comes amid a growing homelessness crisis in the city. The number of homeless people in San Francisco was tallied in February at almost 8,000, the second highest figure of any year since 2005, according to the official government count which takes place every three years.

Business owners in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood have threatened to stop paying taxes if politicians don’t start cleaning up streets of litter and stopping people from openly taking drugs.

In a letter to city officials in August, The Castro Merchants Association said some of the homeless people in the streets outside their stores had been harassing customers and needed help.

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