SKID ROW WILL LET YOU KNOW

too much more

You got to watch yourself on Skid Row.

Because Skid Row will let you know.

You’ll be down in the dumps before you know.

LETTING YOU KNOW

Before you know how to stay a flow.

Stay strong in spirit, body and mind.

spiritKeep the mind clean with positive thoughts. 

It starts with the spirit, the indwelling being.

thinking

The indwelling spirit will guide you on your

journey through the physical material world.

If you listen !!!

led by spirits

After the spirit comes the body.

It is the temple for the spirit.

Modest cloths to cover the body.

boys

A place you can call home.

Home is your space as you travel throughout

the physical material world.  mini home

 If you want these things.

Then want them for others.

Real love is wanting for others what you

want for yourself.

Help yourself by helping others.

Give and you will receive.

gift

That is why Skid Row will let you know that

this is just a temporary condition.i was here

A twist in time.

Make you strong in spirit and mind.

strong spirit

Skid Row don’t you know?

A depression is right at the door.

Let them know Skid Row.

now

What are you trying to do.

ishmael

Adjust to this madness.

Or are you just marking time.

Waiting on the madness to adjust.adjusting to madness

 Skid Row will let you know.

A spotlight turned on history.

The legend of uncontrolled greed.i want more

At the expense of those in need.

U.S.A.

Skid Row will let you know.

 dont drink

Religion on the run.

Robbers without guns.

 greedyman

Skid Row will let you know.

 ignore me

Get up off the ground.

The next generation is still around.

They need you.

Ask them for plans that are sound.

Get up off the ground and help the next

generation save a falling nation.

 he is watching you

 Things are hard and money is tight.

I don’t even know where I am going to

sleep tonight. hope is gone

Well there is one thing for sure.

There is a message on Skid Row.

And the message is Skid Row will let you know.

 hope for work

 From the play, Surviving the Nickel

            by Melvin Ishmael Johnson

 

 

VA’s Double “State of Emergency”

I Care Logo

By Robert L. Rosebrock

LOS ANGELES –  America’s capital for homeless Veterans is not only in a state-of-emergency to house and care for thousands upon thousands of war-injured and impoverished Veterans, but it’s also in a state-of-emergency for trusting and caring VA leadership to end this crisis — NOW — not months and  months, or quite possibly, years from now.

 

Man in Wheelchair

Stop the inhumane treatment of disabled homeless Veterans in Los Angeles

A small child could tell you that the homeless Veteran problem in Los Angeles is beyond “state of emergency” status.  In comparison, downtown Skid Row makes the most poverty-ravaged communities of Third World countries seem safe and beautiful.  What’s going on in Los Angeles is disgraceful beyond comparison or comprehension.

Moreover, lethargic don’t-care VA bureaucrats and listless politicians continue to deny there’s a crisis here as they slumber along year-after-year parroting their feeble promise of “we will end Veteran homelessness by the end of the year” while Veteran homeless continues to escalate.

Man Sitting at VA Fence

To underscore the Los Angeles VA’s main priorities, this Sunday, 26,000 able-bodied runners participating in the LA Marathon will charge through the main thoroughfare of the VA while 20,000 disabled and destitute Veterans remain homeless and hungry, some living right outside the locked front gates to the VA.

Runners

On November 3, 2009 at the “VA National Summit: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans” in Washington, D.C.,   then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki unveiled a five-year plan to end veteran homelessness nationwide.  In conjunction, President Obama repeatedly asserted that his Administration would do everything in its power to end Veteran homelessness within the five-year goal.

Well, it’s March 2015, five years and three months later and the homeless Veteran population continues to grow and Los Angeles is still our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans.  Even worse, the Los Angeles VA is the most misused and abused facility in the nation, in addition to being the most corrupt.

Fallen-Stars-600x405

On July 21, 2010, the Los Angeles Times ran an Editorial titled “Helping Homeless Vets” and criticized the VA for its indifferent attitude toward solving the problem. In it’s opening paragraph the Times condemned VA Secretary Eric Shinseki by proclaiming “what’s missing is a sense of urgency.”

On September 28, 2012 the New York Times ran an Editorial titled, “Veterans in Los Angeles, Still in the Cold,” and questioned:  “When is the Veterans Affairs Department going to meet its responsibility to house chronically homeless veterans in Los Angeles on the large tract of government-owned land that should have been put to this use long ago? ”

On October 8, 2012, the New York Times featured another Editorial about the VA’s neglect in caring for homeless Veterans in Los Angeles, this one titled:  “Homeless Veterans: Whose Responsibility?”

The Editorial proclaimed: “Veterans and their advocates in southern California, the epicenter of veterans’ homelessness, are angry that President Obama and the Veterans Affairs Department have not built a single bed for homeless disabled veterans on the 400 acres the government owns in West Los Angeles, property that was deeded to the federal government for that very purpose in 1888.”

The VA’s land abuse and homeless Veteran problem is such a major issue in Los Angeles that even the New York Times attacked it twice within little more than one week.

On June 4, 2014,  at the ritzy Hyatt Regency Hotel in LA’s fashionable Century City, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a speech about Veteran homelessness and declared it to be “a moral outrage.”

michelle3

Her outrage would’ve been more convincing if she’d given her speech at the Los Angeles VA and questioned why there’s so much misused land and vacant rat-infested buildings at the largest VA in our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans.

Nevertheless, last year Secretary Shinseki resigned in disgrace and the VA failed to deliver on its promise to end Veteran homelessness by the end of 2014, but the First Lady appointed Mayor Eric Garcetti to end Veteran homelessness in Los Angeles by the end of 2015.

Ho-hum, another promise and another year added onto the five-year failed promise. This new promise is also a hoax as we can expect more of the same failure because Mayor Garcetti has never mentioned the Los Angeles VA property as a solution to house and care for disabled homeless Veterans.

That’s because the City of Los Angeles has a squatter’s lease (no signed agreement and no rent payment) and illegally occupies 12 acres of multi-million dollar VA property for a public dog park, public baseball diamonds, public soccer fields and a public parking lot — all to accommodate the neighboring Brentwood residents.

OldVeteransGuard

On November 4, 2014, the Los Angeles Times featured another Editorial titled, “The VA’s Urgent Problem,” and boldly decried: “The VA has an urgent problem that it has yet to treat urgently.”

In another paragraph of the same Editorial, the Times repeated: “The VA still has an urgent problem — homeless veterans — that it has yet to treat urgently.”

On January 1, 2015, the LA Times Editorial published its “wish list” for 2105 that included ending Veteran homelessness “by the end of the year.”

Three days later on January 3, 2015, Rafer Johnson, America’s legendary Olympic decathlon champion and civil rights icon who marched with Dr. King, Bobby Kennedy and Cesar Chavez, delivered a message of responsibility and urgency when he spoke before the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition (LANCC), representing 96 communities.

Rafer Johnson

Rafer steadfastly proclaimed: “Los Angeles is in a state of emergency for homeless Veterans and when there is an emergency, it is imperative to respond immediately. Why aren’t we using the nearly 400 acres of land at the West LA Veterans property to immediately provide temporary and or permanent housing for our homeless veterans?”

His profound message prompted the following Motion that was presented and unanimously passed at the LANCC meeting:

  •  Los Angeles has the largest Homeless Veteran population in the Nation.           Paradoxically, Los Angeles also has the largest VA Veterans Home property in the Nation.
  •  Mayor Garcetti has pledged to end Veteran homelessness in Los Angeles by the end of 2015 without ever mentioning the utilization of nearly 400 acres of land at the West LA VA property as a solution.
  •  The challenge to end Veteran homelessness in less than 12 months must require immediate provisional, temporary and permanent supportive housing and healthcare and that will only happen at the Los Angeles VA property where there’s plenty of space and an existing VA Hospital.
  •  The Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition (LANCC) recognizes Los Angeles to be in a “state of emergency” for homeless Veterans and hereby requests that the Los Angeles City Council direct the City of Los Angeles with all of its resources and the Veterans Administration to unify and open a large-scale Crisis Humanitarian Relief Project on this land to immediately house and care for thousands upon thousands of disabled homeless Veterans

In just four sentences, humanitarian Rafer Johnson and 96 communities representing the citizenry of Los Angeles summarized and put forth the solution toward ending Veteran homelessness, while the VA bureaucrats and politicians refuse to acknowledge the same problem as urgent, a crisis, or an emergency.

an army of one

Three weeks later on January 28, 2015, Robert A. McDonald, the newly appointed Secretary of the VA arrived in Los Angeles and called an impromptu press conference to announce the settlement of the landmark lawsuit against the VA.

Vigilant Veteran advocates were expecting him to declare a “state of emergency” and proclaim that the VA would evict the nine illegal occupants and implement immediate crisis housing on the Los Angeles VA grounds.

To the contrary, the Secretary finagled a secret compromise with imprudent officials and attorneys who were entrusted to represent the best interests of the plaintiffs; disabled and homeless Veterans.salute_1

These representatives irresponsibly and irreverently considered it “a good deal” when they agreed to vacate the Federal Judgment and give aid and comfort to the VA co-defendants and nine illegal occupants to continue controlling federal VA property instead of demanding their eviction and building emergency and permanent housing on these sacred grounds.

Yes, it was a state-of-emergency settlement and a good deal for the nine illegal occupants — wealthy and powerful special interest groups — as Veterans were cheated from reclaiming their land that was already stolen through the nine illegal real estate deals.

 

DTLA stand down 3

And there wasn’t any mention of a state-of-emergency and crisis housing at the VA for thousands upon thousands of war-injured and impoverished homeless Veterans.

The reprehensible settlement only hints at ending Veteran homelessness by the end of the year, after the wealthy and powerful dictate a “new master plan” that will essentially vacate the original master plan, i.e., the Deed of 1888.

Thus, the biggest land-fraud scam in American history was trumped by the biggest settlement-fraud scam in American history that was then trumped by the Secretary of the VA’s notorious photo-op trip to Skid Row that shamefully backfired on him when he was looking for a homeless Veteran and then lied about his own military service.

10338257_822674384423325_3516453124115276344_n

What happened in just a couple of days magnifies what has been going on every day over past decades at the largest VA in the nation … lying, cheating and stealing …. compounded by a growing population of homeless Veterans.

vet not homeless vet

The fact that the Secretary of the VA was at the “belly of the beast” — Skid Row — looking for a homeless Veteran photo-opportunity also magnifies the double-edged sword of our state of emergency crisis here in Los Angeles with tens of thousands of homeless Veterans, and a federal bureaucracy that doesn’t care or know how to solve the problem.

On March 4th, I hosted a radio show at Skid Row Studios in downtown Los Angeles, titled “State of Emergency for Homeless Veterans”  and my studio guests were Terrence Gomes and Ted Hayes. …. (Videotaped) http://media.blubrry.com/entrepreneur/p/skidrow-podcasts.s3.amazonaws.com/entrepreneur_131029.mp4

Terrence is a Military Veteran and Chairman of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition (LANCC), representing 96 neighborhood councils that unanimously passed the Motion declaring Los Angeles to be in a “state of emergency.”

He spoke eloquently and passionately about LANCC’s role in stressing the necessity and urgency of taking action now by establishing a large-scale crisis housing facility on VA property.

Ted is a legendary activist for the homeless and major supporter for ending Veteran homelessness in Los Angeles.

Ted Hayes

He also spoke eloquently and passionately about LA’s state of emergency and elaborated on the necessity to build pre-fabricated geodesic domes for immediate housing on VA property like the successful project he built in downtown Los Angeles years ago before his land rent was increased nearly 700%.  See www.DomeVillage.us

Dome Village_LA

 We discussed the need for new thinking toward ending Veteran homelessness by calling upon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately build crisis housing and dining facilities on the VA property and to call upon the National Guard to provide operational assistance, instead of the usual “non-profit” organizations that are unprepared to meet this enormous challenge and in no hurry to end it.

After all, many non-profit organizations profit from the Veteran homelessness situation so why would they ever look at this as being in a state-of-emergency or have any goal to end the problem?

The foregoing notwithstanding, it’s important to point out that the LANCC Motion was presented at the February 10th VA Congressional Investigative Hearing regarding the Los Angeles VA’s gross mismanagement and failure to provide immediate housing and care for homeless Veterans.    sadly...

 

During the Congressional Hearing, U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., questioned VA representative Skye McDougal on the VA’s position regarding the state-of-emergency Motion and Ms. McDougal hem-hawed and dodged the question, stating they’d look into it for the master plan six months away.

Incredulously, a Member of Congress questions a VA representative about a state-of-emergency Motion to end Veteran homelessness that is representative of 96 neighborhood councils, but Ms. McDougal saw no sense of urgency other than D.C. bureaucrats might evaluate it months away.

Think about all this:  The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, two of the largest news publications in the USA, featured Editorials questioning the VA’s lack of urgency to solve the decades-old problem in our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans, and further questioned why the VA property in Los Angeles is not being used as a solution.

A unified coalition of 96 neighborhoods within in our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans unanimously passed a Motion declaring a state-of-emergency and directed the City of Los Angeles to partner with the VA to establish crisis housing on VA property.

A member of our United States Congress then questioned a VA bureaucrat about the misuse of VA property in our nation’s capital for Veterans and wanted to know if the VA agreed with the state-of-emergency Motion and crisis housing.

All of these powerful forces clearly understand that Los Angeles is in a state-of-emergency for homeless Veterans, but the powerful and entrusted force that is responsible to end it — the VA — just doesn’t care.

no hope

 

Albert Einstein rightfully noted that you cannot solve your problems with the same kind of thinking that created them.

In sum, until President Obama admits that the VA is in a state of emergency for new and trusted leadership, Los Angeles will continue to be in a state of emergency for homeless Veterans.

DTLA

State of Emergency Plan http://www.veteranstoday.com/downloads/State_of_Emergency.pdf

God Bless America and the Veterans Revolution!

 

–signing off: 14Mar2015/1:09 p.m.

 

 

 

IS IT STILL IMPORTANT TO VOTE?

Hand-drawn Skid Row Map
Hand-drawn Skid Row Map

Is it still important to vote?

Los Angeles and Skid Row in particular just had an election.

I didn’t vote. I don’t live in DTLA. I do work there (5th & Spring) and I’ve just recently (02.21.2015) created an on-line presence @ www.skidrowstudios.com an online Internet radio & media site.

So Down Town matters to me. Ending homelessness matters. I’m proud of all the cool things, the creative people and trendy events that define DTLA now. It’s just…how do we in fact go about ending the tragedy of homeless people, military veterans, women, families, mentally troubled people who’ve hit rock bottom?

Even before the Iraqi/Afghan war era’s, there were military veterans living w/o shelter all over LA. Now after a dozen years of PTSD-haunted soldiers, men & women, young and younger flocking to the relatively temperate-climated streets of Los Angeles, there doesn’t seem to be a clear victory in sight.

Oh there is a quite-dense Plan.

LA’S PLAN TO END HOMELESS

As far as I can tell, it took at least two years to get the planning team together. It also appears that there were two competing Plans. The conclusions differed in approach. One clearly recommended that The Plan include publicly delegated persons/agencies that should be held responsible for the tasks to be undertaken “to end homelessness”.  Another Plan vociferously omitted any such accountability. One Plan included the need for benchmarks—target “due dates” to keep things moving and to gauge progress. The Other Plan, even when confronted with this omission from their Plan, again publically and loudly refused to acknowledge the usefulness of that recommendation.

With a couple of decades as a nonprofit administrator and special events coordinator who has evolved from harnessing good ideas, as all non-profits have, to a more effective leader able to help turn ideas into plans and then into events, I know now that without “buy-in”, assignment of responsibility and due dates, nothing gets done.  Beyond the buy-in and public acknowledgment of responsibility, LA’s ending homelessness Plan also lacks consequences for tasks left undone.

 

Looking at one ten-year plan to end homelessness dated sometime in 2004,  I count at least 25 broad goals. Sub-sections or “ideas” under those broad goals total about 250 distinct things that should/could be done to eliminate homeless. Some are logical. Some are lofty goals. The length of the “to do” list however makes the task seem impossible before one step is done to move toward plan implementation. The rather stream-of-consciousness approach also makes the Plan seem more like a break-out session at a conference creating ideas rather than an operational plan designed to solve a real issue.

So where does that leave a man or a woman facing homelessness in LA? On the  street. Un-sheltered.

 

So, would one vote in the recent 14th District City Council race that included Skid Row have made a difference?  The winner re-claimed his seat with just a few past 11,000 votes. That’s in a District of some two hundred fifty thousand residents (254,600) last public count. Allowing for @ 25% children or unable to vote, that still leaves adult voters at @ 190,000 (190,950).

The actual Number of voters counted: 11,081. Possible eligible voters 190,950. Percentage who decided the election: 6% (5.803%). So would one vote make a difference. Damn Skippy. We think it’s the money. The most $ controls. Of course. The most $ can control the message. Can put up signs. Can pay precinct workers. It makes a huge difference. But come election day, it’s who goes to the polls that directs the final count. Too idealistic? Maybe. Worth taking a look at next time? You tell me.

BRIDGE  I arrived in Atlanta GA to attend Spelman College in fall 1966. Earlier that year, The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), of which Julian Bond was a member and early founding member, issued an anti-war statement which advocated draft-dodging. Bond’s signature appeared on the document as an endorsement of his stand against the Viet Nam War.  The Voting Rights Act had just been fought hard for and won passage the year before. The GA legislature was outraged in general. This anti-war statement that Bond refused to distance himself from was fodder for their hatred and animosity. Black votes had put eleven Black leaders into the Legislature. This was an easy way to get rid of at least one of those Black leaders. The vote: 184 to 12. Bond was un-seated.

When I got to Spelman, I was immediately drawn to the SNCC operations. I became part of the Communications Team that Julian headed. My role; simply find/cutout & paste up every newspaper article about The Struggle. There were many newspapers then plus dozens of left-wing magazines. No social media, no Internet. But lots of articles. I was busy and knew everything that was going on in the South. I read, clipped & archived the news stories.

I eventually was recruited to work on voter registration door-to-door efforts. I was young. I started college @ sixteen plus I had been protected from the real wrath of “being Black in the USA”. I’d been born as far north as geographically possible –Minnesota for God’s sake. Then had lived on Air Force bases that banned any overt racial discrimination. I’d travelled and lived abroad as the daughter of a career officer and never knew the vicious personal nature of Southern whites. So the reactions I got going from house to house in Atlanta from older Black people who had lived with that hatred all their lives was something I couldn’t quite get a handle on. It seemed so logical. We can all vote now. Here’s the form to register; sign please and we’ll move forward.

The distance between Atlanta and Selma, Alabama is only two hundred miles—a three hour drive.

selma_al

Enlightenment did not exist based on state boundary lines. Georgia introduced Lester Maddox to America. Popular amusement park, Six Flags over Georgia sat atop the mountain that had been the primary Klu Klux Klan site for lynchings and cross-burnings since 1915.

StoneMountain

Stone Mountain is carved with images of three heroes of the South: Stonewall Jackson; Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. When I lived in Atlanta, I refused to even consider going to Six Flags.  I hadn’t lived through those events or lost a family member or friend but the threat of violence was easily felt. My conversations on the front porches and doorway’s of those1960’s Black ATL residents informed me without words of the history. It took time for me to understand the reasons why no one was happy to see me and my voter registration forms.

So today what’s the best excuse for not voting?

  1. “My one vote is not going to make a ripple of a difference”
  2. “It’s all rigged anyway”
  3. “What’s the use? Nothing’s gonna change”
  4. “I’m too busy. I have to work. I work P/T & don’t get to take the time off w/o loosing pay or worse yet—losing my job”
  5. “Pick one—they’re all the same”

So for me, knowing all of this …I have to admit…there have been elections when I myself simply did not show up. I do know however that every time I actually go to the polling place and vote and then get that little stick-on decal that says: “I Voted”, I do feel proud. Happy. Hopeful. For many of the last elections, I’ve voted by mail. It’s painless. Any bad weather, unforeseen emergencies don’t interfere. It’s done come Election Day. I’ve stopped voting by mail however. Somewhere I read they only count those if the election is close.

Can we change things by voting. I don’t know. I do know that we get what we deserve and have no grounds to complain when we don’t.

Help end homelessness. Make noise. There were promises made. Promises un-kept. Lots of work still to do.

Skid Row Studios gives each of us a chance to use our voice to make a difference.

be the voice not the echo

JB…Signing off..03/08/2015 11:15 a.m.