21st Century Hooverville

There are places in Los Angeles where, although the sun always shines, they haven’t seen a ray of light in over 100-years.  There’s a half square mile of urban decay centered on the Union Rescue Mission at 545 South San Pedro Street, where depravity, chaos, addiction, insanity and archaic diseases multiply and ricochet about like metastatic cancer.


One of LA’s modern-day Hoovervilles in San Pedro Street…  In 2015 it was reported that Union Rescue Mission CEO Reverend Andy Bales had caught three different bacterial infections from merely walking around in the area. One of the infections rendered him unable to ever walk again (doctors eventually had to amputate his foot, which had fallen prey to flesh-eating bacteria). In short, this is not exactly the most hygienic and healthy environment. [PT]

Photo credit: Mike Blake / REUTERS


Here, at Skid Row, some 10,000 zombies live within massive homeless encampments among spoils of garbage, feces, rats, and rot.  With little reprieve, they roll around on a filthy ground cover composed of fragmented concrete, glass, stone, and gravel. Diseases that flourished in the Middle Ages, like typhus and flesh eating bacteria, infect these street dwellers – and those who try and help them – with remarkable efficiency.

Take Reverend Andy Bales, CEO of the Union Rescue Mission.  He’s a man with a big heart and a personal commitment to action.  His late father and grandfather lived homeless in a tent for many years.

Awhile back, while passing out water bottles to those he serves, Rev. Bales contracted three different deadly bacteria – E. coli, strep, and staph.  Sadly, this cocktail of toxic microorganisms relentlessly attacked his body, consuming his flesh. For Rev. Bales, his encounter brought him to an important choice: Your leg or your life?

Most days he now gets around in his wheelchair… propelling it up and down the street wearing bike gloves. Occasionally, he wears a prosthetic.  Still, with a warm heart and special wisdom, Rev. Bales continues on his rescue mission. Earlier this year, and after much field research, he offered the following insight:


“This place is like a Petri dish for disease.”



Reverend Andy Bales today, minus his right foot. [PT]

Photo credit: Danny Liao


We suppose District 14 council member José Huizar, the city official representing Skid Row, would agree. However, since a throng of FBI agents raided his office late last year, he has been fairly distracted. Go figure!


Gold old District 14 council member José Huizar (D), reportedly the “richest politician in downtown LA”, currently under investigation for corruption (along with other City Hall dwellers), harassment and assorted other allegations is no stranger to controversy – back in 2010 he was already hard-pressed to “explain the disappearance of $1.5 million from the Eastside pollution control fund”. Considering the degree of pollution in and around skid row, it definitely seems the fund didn’t keep it under control much. [PT]

Photo via Los Angeles Downtown News


Giant Shams

Skid Row, however, is merely the center of LA’s burgeoning homeless population.  Spanning to the east through the San Gabriel Valley and south to Long Beach, cities you have never heard of and would never go to, are jumbled together like shipping containers on Terminal Island…

East LA, Temple City, El Monte, South El Monte, La Puente, Pomona, Vernon, Maywood, Commerce, Huntington Park, Bell, Cudahy, Bell Gardens, South Gate, Lynwood, Paramount, Compton, Gardena, Lawndale, Hawthorne, and many, many more. Mass homelessness, crime, and degeneracy prevail throughout these cities.  At last count, per the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, LA County was home to precisely 58,936 homeless people.

This army of indigents, roaming about the LA LA land paradise, has become a significant embarrassment for local and state leaders.  But rather than unwinding restrictive development codes and stifling business policies, which have tied developers and small businesses in knots for decades, officials are attacking homelessness the only way they know how. With big programs and big dollars – piled on the backs of taxpayers and businesses, as they flee the state.


Skid row city limit, population “too many” – we agree. [PT]

Photo credit: Stephen Zeigler


For example, LA County’s $460 million Measure H budget for fiscal year 2019-20 (a $58 million increase over FY 2018-19) has been apportioned for the intended purpose “of addressing the crisis head on.”  Governor Gavin Newsom’s May budget revision also added $650 million in one-time funding.

Measure H is funded by a 0.25 percent increase to the County sales tax – now 9.5 percent.  Tack on city sales taxes, which varies by city, and many County residents are paying over 10 percent every time they make a purchase.  In Compton, for example, the sales tax is 10.25 percent.

Plus, there are countless other taxes and exactions that pick people’s pockets as they go about their day. The gas tax in California is now over $0.47 a gallon. Add on the over $0.18 a gallon gas tax the feds take, and you’re at over $0.65 a gallon in taxes.

The point is Measure H funds and other centrally planned homeless relief programs are not really about helping the homeless at all.  Rather, they are about exorcising the malady.  These ballot measures create a massive cash cow that the ‘public servants’ can churn about in their coffers.

From there, they get to dole it out and redistribute it to their preferred non-profit foundations.  Alas, these programs are a giant sham.


LA skid row mural [PT]

Photo credit: David McNew / Getty Images


Elizabeth Warren’s Plans to MAGA

Wealth redistribution and corruption are two of the fundamental canons of progressive socialism.  The destruction and failure of these policies in California and Los Angeles are spectacular.  Moreover, a vote for Elizabeth Warren, the woman with a plan, will roll out the devastation at a national level. You can take it to the bank.

On Thursday (Oct 03), Warren announced her new labor plan. It is called  Empowering American Workers and Raising Wages.  Under this plan, Warren intends to use:


“…bold executive action, and leverage the federal procurement process to pursue the most progressive agenda for workers since the New Deal.”


A case of tribal confusion [PT]


As far as we can tell, this is a good strategy for disappearing jobs. Yet this plan, if you haven’t been keeping up, is but one of  48 plans Warren has developed to date. These inter alia include:


Ultra-Millionaire Tax, Leveling the Playing Field for America’s Family Farmers, A New Farm Economy, Our Military Can Help Lead The Fight In Combating Climate Change, Affordable Higher Education for All, A New Approach to Trade, Empowering Workers Through Accountable Capitalism, Tackling the Climate Crisis Head On, Comprehensive Debt Relief to Puerto Rico, 100% Clean Energy for America, Fighting for an Accessible & Inclusive America, Expanding Social Security, Accelerating the Transition to Clean Energy, Leading in Green Manufacturing, Health Care Is A Basic Human Right, Defend & Create American Jobs, Safe and Affordable Housing, Universal Child Care, among others…


Do you buy that all of these plans ginned up by Warren can MAGA?  Are you captivated by the lure of progressive socialism?

If so, take a stroll down San Pedro Street, through Skid Row, on a weekday evening when the Union Rescue Mission serves dinner.  Hordes of people flood the streets; the local government perpetuates insanity and chaos. According to Rev. Bales:


“Skid Row is the worst man-made disaster in the United States. By far.”


Maybe so. But why stop with Los Angeles? If Warren gets her way, she will bring Skid Row to a city or town near you.


She’s baaaad – and she plans to be bad and nation-wide… [PT]


Image captions by PT


MN Gordon is President and Founder of Direct Expressions LLC, an independent publishing company. He is the Editorial Director and Publisher of the Economic Prism – an E-Newsletter that tries to bring clarity to the muddy waters of economic policy and discusses interesting investment opportunities.




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