Category Archives: Poverty

February 5, 2018

Vacant lots, empty homes and dying orchards on bullet train route attract squatters, vandals and thieves

One veteran rail designer who works on the high-speed rail project said it has created “a linear ghetto.”

Charlene Hook cherished her home of 30 years north of Corcoran, where pomegranate and pistachio orchards stretched for miles. So choosing to burn it down last year was a difficult decision.

She and her husband had no plans to leave their 2½ acres until the day the state bullet train authority said its rails would go through their bedroom.

Not long after the couple moved out, thieves broke into the house and stripped almost everything of value — even taking the doors off her husband’s shop where he restored classic cars. Soon her former longtime neighbor’s homes were being burglarized and vandalized.

After all the frustration of losing her home and indignation of it attracting criminals to her old neighborhood, she convinced her brother-in-law, a battalion chief in the city fire department, to burn it down for firefighting practice — and to let her light the match.

“It was hard to burn down,” she said. “I thought it would bring me closure.”

What happened to Hook is a part of a painful spectacle up and down the Central Valley. The California High-Speed Rail Authority now owns more than 1,272 parcels stretching from Madera to south of Wasco, a 119-mile corridor of abandoned commercial buildings, vacant lots, dying orchards, boarded up homes and construction sites.

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February 2, 2018

L.A.’s homelessness surged 75% in six years. Here’s why the crisis has been decades in the making (Video)

People in Koreatown step outside their fancy condos to find tents, rotting food and human feces at their doorsteps. Buses and trains have become de facto shelters, and thousands of people sleep in fear and degradation.

Some of the poorest people in the city spend their days in the shadow of Los Angeles City Hall, napping on flattened cardboard boxes.

On any given day, as many as 20 people take to the City Hall lawn, across the street from LAPD headquarters. They’re there to “escape the madness” in downtown streets, a 53-year-old homeless man named Lazarus said last week. At night, they fan out to doorways or deserted plazas to wait for daybreak.

The growth of a homeless day camp at the halls of civic power speaks to the breadth of Los Angeles’ burgeoning homelessness problem.

The number of those living in the streets and shelters of the city of L.A. and most of the county surged 75% — to roughly 55,000 from about 32,000 — in the last six years. (Including Glendale, Pasadena and Long Beach, which conduct their own homeless counts, the total is nearly 58,000.)

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January 20, 2018

Left Coast Dilemma: Why California Ranks #1 In Poverty – Ron Paul (Video)

Government creates nothing, but it does destroy. The Left Coast is famous for its reverence for government interference into all aspects of life. The results should surprise no one. California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. Why? What’s the way out? And what are the chances that Californians will choose the way out?

December 28, 2017

Shocking scale of homelessness in downtown LA is exposed in footage showing sidewalks lined with dozens of tents in deprived area where 20,000 people live on the streets

Three-minute LiveLeak clip shows the brutal reality of Christmas Day in the underbelly of Downtown LA. Shot on 5th Street, 6th Steet and San Pedro in the Skid Row district, it captures life in one of the city’s most notorious homeless hotspots. Rubbish bags litter the streets and tents have been erected to shelter residents – including women and children. Rising cost of living in California is also forcing middle class residents to live in their cars in affluent areas.

Rubbish bags piled up by the pavements and littered across streets.

Tents erected in clusters where people have camped down for the night.

Dozens of directionless residents congregating by the roadside and wandering into the road.

This is what Christmas Day looked like for thousands of homeless people in the dark and dingy underbelly of Downtown Los Angeles this year.

The shocking footage – captured using a car dash camera – shows the brutal reality of life on the street for some 20,000 people in the notorious Skid Row district.

Shot on 5th Street, 6th Street and San Pedro Street, it is a stark glimpse into the day-to-day existence of some of the country’s poorest citizens – including women and children.

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December 17, 2017

As Venezuela Collapses, Children are Dying of Hunger

For five months, The New York Times tracked 21 public hospitals in Venezuela. Doctors are seeing record numbers of children with severe malnutrition. Hundreds have died.

Kenyerber Aquino Merchán was 17 months old when he starved to death.

His father left before dawn to bring him home from the hospital morgue. He carried Kenyerber’s skeletal frame into the kitchen and handed it to a mortuary worker who makes house calls for Venezuelan families with no money for funerals.

Kenyerber’s spine and rib cage protruded as the embalming chemicals were injected. Aunts shooed away curious young cousins, mourners arrived with wildflowers from the hills, and relatives cut out a pair of cardboard wings from one of the empty white ration boxes that families increasingly depend on amid the food shortages and soaring food prices throttling the nation. They gently placed the tiny wings on top of Kenyerber’s coffin to help his soul reach heaven — a tradition when a baby dies in Venezuela.

When Kenyerber’s body was finally ready for viewing, his father, Carlos Aquino, a 37-year-old construction worker, began to weep uncontrollably. “How can this be?” he cried, hugging the coffin and speaking softly, as if to comfort his son in death. “Your papá will never see you again.”

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November 12, 2017

For many Palm Springs homeless, heroin comes before food and water. The problem is getting worse

Far away from the worst of a national crisis, heroin is still taking hold of people living on the streets.

The day started off lucky for Blake Pricer. Overnight, he had locked himself in a laundry room at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and slept a few hours in relative safety. After waking up to the sound of pounding on the door from hotel staff wanting to reclaim the territory, Pricer was back on the street and back to his relentless quest.

The one thing Pricer needed was heroin, which meant the first thing he needed was cash. Good fortune came through when he began opening mailboxes and quickly found $13 and some checks he hoped to sell later.

With that small amount of money in his hand, Pricer, who is 26, thin and tattooed with shorts hanging past his knees, easily found someone to sell him the drug. He then rode a stolen bicycle downtown to a cooling center where homeless people like him could rest, eat and take a shower. He parked the bike and walked inside to a bathroom where he clandestinely injected heroin into his arm. It wasn’t quite 9 a.m.

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November 7, 2017

Jerry Brown and the state Democrats’ legacy is crime and homelessness

Mass release of criminals combined with the decriminalization of petty crime has led to encampments full of the desperate and dangerous. This mess is so bad that the Santa Ana River is now known by local residents as “Skid River.”

There’s not much the state of California does efficiently. If you need to get your license plates in the mail, want your tax refund, or God forbid need Sacramento to fix a clerical error, you need the patience of a saint — the bureaucrats will do things in their own sweet time, whether you like it or not.

But when it comes to the wholesale emptying of the prisons, they’re Johnny-on-the-spot.

Whether it’s Assembly Bill 109, Proposition 47 or Proposition 57, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrat-controlled state Legislature seemingly can’t put violent criminals on the streets fast enough.

Just think of them as being the O.J. Simpson jury with term limits.

Recently, I wrote a column about Senate Bill 620 — which would strip mandatory sentencing enhancements for criminals convicted of committing a felony with a gun — and noted that legislation like this has resulted in a ballooning crime rate and homeless population.

I made this claim based on various conversations I’ve had with local law enforcement, city officials and litigators, but was having a tough time finding hard data.

And as it turns out, I’m not the only one.

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September 28, 2017

California leads the nation — in poverty

Unsurprisingly, California is perennially ranked as one of the worst states in the country in terms of perceived business friendliness. This year, the state again ranked dead last — as it has for the past 13 years — in a survey of hundreds of CEOs by Chief Executive magazine on measures of business friendliness, with the state ranked the worst in the taxation and regulation category.

One in five Californians live in poverty, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report.

Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for regional cost-of-living, the average poverty rate in California from 2014 through 2016 stood at 20.4 percent, the highest among the states and second only to the District of Columbia’s 21 percent average. The national average over that period of time was 14.7 percent.

Despite boasting one of the largest economies in the world, California has consistently topped national rankings of poverty. While the state only accounts for about 12 percent of the national population, for example, Californians comprise one-third of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families beneficiaries.

One of the largest factors driving California’s shamefully high poverty rates is the high cost of housing.

According to a draft report on the housing crisis by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, “production averaged less than 80,000 new homes annually over the last 10 years, and ongoing production continues to fall far below the projected need of 180,000 additional homes annually.”

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August 14, 2017

Why does California have the nation’s highest poverty level?

Another indicator of California’s impoverishment is that more than a third of its 39 million residents are enrolled in Medi-Cal, the state-federal program of medical care for the poor.

With all the recent hoopla about California’s record-low unemployment rate and the heady prospect of its becoming No. 5 in global economic rankings, it is easy to lose sight of another salient fact: It is the nation’s most poverty-stricken state.

So says the U.S. Census Bureau in its “supplemental measure” of poverty, which is more accurate than the traditional measure because it takes into account not only income, but living costs.

By that measure, just over 20 percent of Californians are living in poverty. The Public Policy Institute of California has devised its own measure, similar to the Census Bureau’s, that not only validates the 20 percent figure, but tells us that another 20 percent of Californians are in “near-poverty,” which means they struggle to pay for food, shelter and other necessities of life.

Another indicator of California’s impoverishment is that more than a third of its 39 million residents are enrolled in Medi-Cal, the state-federal program of medical care for the poor. And that doesn’t count a few million more who cannot legally obtain Medi-Cal coverage because they are undocumented immigrants.

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June 27, 2017

Starving Venezuelans Risk 60 Miles of Open Ocean to Barter for Food

The Marxist Maduro regime is being propped up by neigboring countries that continue to support and do business with it, despite the atrocities. Wall Street is involved as well, with Goldman Sachs coming under fire for buying $2.8 billion worth of bonds (now named “hunger bonds”) for pennies on the dollar.

The end stages of socialism in Venezuela are forcing citizens to do anything they can to obtain food for themselves and their families, including risking their lives. Mariana Revilla, a medical doctor reduced to making midnight excursions over 60 miles of open ocean to feed her family, was making her fifth trip to Trinidad when her boat capsized, costing her her life and the lives of two others assisting her.

Her boat contained seven tons of flour, sugar, and cooking oil that she had obtained through barter at one of the west coast towns of Trinidad, exchanging them for the tons of fresh shrimp she had brought with her. Others making the midnight trips would take with them anything of value to exchange for food and basic necessities, making the boats look like a floating garage sale: plastic chairs, house doors, ceramic cooking pots, and even exotic animals such as iguanas and macaws to trade for food.

Socialists promise that such things could never happen in the “paradise” they are determined to build.

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