January 5, 2020

Written Comments in Lieu of Public Comments at City Council meeting Jan 7 2020 Agenda item: 20-0019 2020 Affordable Housing Assessment

Long Beach City Council
Stacy Mungo (5th Dist) district5@longbeach.gov, stacy.mungo@longbeach.gov
The Mayor  mayor@longbeach.gov
City Manager  CityManager@longbeach.gov, Tom.Modica@longbeach.gov
City Clerk  CityClerk@longbeach.gov

Date submitted: January 5, 2020

Re:      Written Comments in Lieu of Public Comments at City Council meeting
            Meeting Date: Jan 7, 2020
            Agenda item: 20-0019  2020 Affordable Housing Assessment

Dear City Council and Mayor:

Due to the fact that my time is valuable and public comments were limited to 90 seconds by the council in August 2019 I am submitting my written comments below regarding the above matter to be inserted into the written record as if made in person at the meeting.

This proposed tax and related ballot measure is totally unacceptable. Property taxes go up yearly, as do the direct assessments and the “voted indebtedness” and on top of that Proposition 13 may soon be abolished in the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has put $500 million into his January 2020 budget proposal to shore up financially struggling board and care homes. https://ktla.com/2019/12/31/500m-from-gov-newsoms-ca-budget-could-keep-l-a-s-most-vulnerable-from-becoming-homeless/

Homeless issues are issues that are statewide and the budget pain needs to be shared by all statewide. We can’t have a tax just on property tax in one city. As this is a statewide issue this needs to be paid for by everyone in the state. NOT just property owners. Otherwise this is sure to pass as renters will see this as no cost to them. Use “other people’s money” to solve my perceived problems.

We also have the county wide measure HHH passed in Nov 2016 and now the expenditure of that money is already being scrutinized as likely wasted. https://laist.com/2019/10/08/prop_hhh_homeless_housing_audit.php
County officials also estimated the average property tax rate required to repay these HHH bonds to be $9.64 per $100,000 in assessed property value It is not clear at all what percentage of those HHH funds are provided to Long beach each year (for Long Beach to spend as it wishes) or what percentage of those finds are spent on or in Long beach each year with respect to the homeless.

LA City also passed its own separate Measure H in March 2016 (authorizing a 0.25 percent county sales tax for 10 years in order to fund homeless services and prevention.) just before HHH was passed. Again same effect. 

There is no accounting of all the NGO, Federal, State and county money currently spent or directed to the city of LB that impact homeless, drug addicted etc. There is also no accounting as to what Long Beach’s current level of spending it on these and related issues. This needs to be clearly presented to taxpayers. No mention of it in the memo from Councilmember Rex Richardson, or any staff report. And Im sure it will not mentioned clearly in the ballot measure as government entities do all they can to obfuscate the real costs to taxpayers in these bond measures.

We can’t force people to take free housing. Even when we do they can’t stay in it. See LA Times article  https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-29/street-within-broadway-place-homeless-los-angeles  This is really not a housing issue. It’s a crime/bail issue (helped along with things like proposition 47). It’s a mental illness problem. (see proposition 63) It’s lack of healthcare. It s drug problem. It’s a human nature problem. Some people clearly like living on the river bed and other places as they have all been offered help and housing by the city numerous times and refused it (that’s why I’m told the city “won’t” “move” them from their tents). Why? They don’t want to follow rules. This just goes on and on.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/09/12/why-california-keeps-making-homelessness-worse/#60a587825a61  A tax or bond in Long Beach will do NOTHING but make existing fixed income homeowners more unable to stay in their homes or perform upgrades to their homes.

Half our (general fund) budget now is for police. Half!! So that roughly $557 million dollars each year is really spent on homeless when you think about it. So we need to put more onus on the police to dial in this problem.

As I recall LB was not even part of the Supreme court amicus challenge to Martin v. City of Boise, 902 F. 3d 1031 - Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit 2018. https://www.lbreport.com/news/sept19/martin2.htm  Either way it does not matter. You are over extending the holding of the case and using it to defend non police action in all circumstances. You are also using it as an excuse to build very costly free homes for homeless people. https://www.lbreport.com/news/dec19/boiseprice.htm

The law that was attacked by the ACLU in Boise was an “anti camping” law. That is all it addressed. The holding was narrow. Its states in full:

“Our holding is a narrow one. … "we in no way dictate to the City that it must provide sufficient shelter for the homeless, or allow anyone who wishes to sit, lie, or sleep on the streets... at any time and at any place." Id. at 1138. We hold only that "so long as there is a greater number of homeless individuals in [a jurisdiction] than the number of available beds [in shelters]," the jurisdiction cannot prosecute homeless individuals for "involuntarily sitting, lying, and sleeping in public.”  Martin v. City of Boise, 902 F. 3d 1031, 1049.

It does not say "no trespassing" signs cannot be enforced in areas where humans should not be like in the Eldorado nature center or under bridges crossing the river where we have public safety issues. Re do the signs like Lakewood did here at Carson St. and SG River  https://photos.app.goo.gl/dgZaJc7cN2ACRvSB7  The Boise case does not say you cant arrest or cite or move people due to other crimes like drugs or theft. Its specifically says you can. Also the informal policy of leaving people in posted “no trespassing” areas if they don’t want to go to an available bed is a failed policy. How can that ever work? What constitutes a "bed" under case law? A 500k home or a tent in a lot? No trespassing means NO trespassing by ANYONE homeless or not. This is why the fires were started by the homeless in the nature center. No trespassing laws were NOT enforced with predictable results.

Since Long Beach failed to get the Boise case taken up by Supreme court just create a new case with news fact that the ACLU can loose!. Start rousting people in trespassing areas and let the ACLU sue again then you can revisit the limited ruling in the Boise case. Stop being so passive. We will never have enough beds in LA county to solve this problem. Ever.

Look at how Utah avoided running afoul of the Boise case: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-22/homeless-salt-lake-city-utah-shelter

This is a bottomless pit. It’s a regional and statewide issue. The more money LB gives out the more homeless will come to Long Beach. This is documented. Its that simple. In the years since Measure HHH and H have passed homelessness has increased. I think you have a cause and effect problem. But if your goal is to add more city employees to the payroll (Richardson’s memo says at p. 3: “It would also likely require significant additional investment in staffing and programs to effectively manage the resulting expanded affordable housing program”) and reward NGO campaign contributors them by all means add more taxes onto the backs for struggling homeowners. The exodus from CA is starting to become apparent and is going accelerate for the next 20 years. That’s for sure. The middle class will be gone. It will be elites, high income people, overpaid government workers and homeless or zero income (read not paying taxes) people.

Speaking of homelessness and NGO’s Katie Hill the U.S. Representative for California's 25th congressional district from January to November 2019, was the former executive director of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH). Word on the street is that Hill was making 150k a year at PATH where she made the contacts to get her seat. PATH pays 52% of the (tax) money it gets as payroll. This is at the heart of the problem with homeless funding. Its an emorphoes problem with many causes and many solutions. Exactly the kind of problem where money is thrown at it wil very little success. Just look at PATH as an example. https://www.guidestar.org/profile/95-3950196 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Hill_(politician)

I am also attaching a copy of the entire thread (226 comments as of today) on this subject from nextdoor.com regarding this issue and as you can see all of the comments were negative. The direct link to the thread (login required) is https://nextdoor.com/news_feed/?post=133260938&comment=325958381

Please vote against adding this Affordable Housing Assessment to the ballot.


5th District Property Owner
Registered Voter

Cc: mail@LBreport.com, editor@gazettes.com

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