JOHN DURAN | Don’t surrender Kings Road and Holloway Motel to the homeless

I get it.

Homelessness is a complex issue. Housing. Social services. Addiction. Poverty. And criminality.

But the so called “progressives” in this city have the order of priority upside down. It is as if they have turned Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs on its head. If I get elected to council – it’s going to be public safety and security first on homelessness! Followed by addiction, social services and housing on the homelessness issue. In that order! Let me unpack this a bit. In Los Angeles County, on any one night, there are approximately 60,000 – 70,000 homeless people out on the streets.

No one knows the exact number. Every year, thousands of volunteers head out into the night and physically count people under bridges, in alleys, in cars, on the street and then estimate the number of homeless countywide. One night is a snapshot of the problem in that hour on that day. But there is no getting around the fact that it is literally twice the population of West Hollywood. Weho has about 35,000 people.

There are twice as many homeless on the streets in LA every night. Now, let’s talk geography and population. West Hollywood is 1.9 square miles. The County of Los Angeles is 4,752 square miles. So we are .00042 of the available land mass. The County of Los Angeles has about 10,000,000 people. West Hollywood has 35,000 people. Weho is .0035 of LA County population.

Not even 1%. A mere drop in the population and geography buckets. Not even 1% in either category. So, let’s be practical and use some common sense. There is a limited amount of impact that we can have on the homeless population in LA County.

There are 88 cities in LA County. Let’s be realistic and accept that the lion’s share of the work must be done by the big 3 cities in LA County: Los Angeles City (4 million), Long Beach (half a million) and Santa Clarita (quarter of a million). They each have the land, the resources, and the money to significantly impact the homelessness issues in this County. So, what did the current Weho city council decide to do? They voted to open a homeless facility on Santa Monica Blvd – 3 blocks away from the million dollar Kings Road condominiums and the entrance to the historic Boystown district.

Yes. They bought the Holloway Motel next to IHOP and the Veteran’s Memorial (in front of Barney’s Beanery and the Holloway House (formerly Pali House hotel). Now, granted the Holloway Motel was a vermin infested cheap motel that was a residual leftover from the old Route 66 days. It was not a pleasant place to stay compared to all the other 4 and 5 star hotels in WeHo. It is a small two story One star hotel. It had seen better days – that’s for sure.

So, the City of West Hollywood got a $6 million Homekey grant a few months ago to buy it to offer temporary housing and services for the homeless. I mean – it’s only about 20 rooms. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty! Like the boneheaded idea to reduce Fountain Avenue to only 2 lanes from 4 lanes – there are numerous collateral and unintended consequences that will affect us all. Here’s the general outline of the plan: Buy it. Refurbish it. Clean it up. And then temporarily house about 20 homeless people each week for a period of no more than 3 weeks each until they find permanent housing somewhere else in LA county. Simple, huh?

No. The space is supposed to be a day center with storage space for their belongings. Showers, laundry, offices and meeting rooms for peer support. And people are supposed to stay for just a few weeks before they move on. May I inquire – To where? There is not enough available permanent housing for these homeless people currently. That’s the reason they are on the street in the first place. “So, welcome to the Holloway Motel. Store your stuff in that closet over there. Take a shower. Let’s connect you to services. And then 3 weeks later – OK time to go. To where? Who knows? But we need to make room for the next group to be temporarily housed. So, time to pack up and move on”! You see what’s going to happen? Right? The “temporary” is going to be extended for months and months. And assuming someone does get placement outside of West Hollywood, why choose to live in Lancaster or Bell Gardens or Huntington Park – when there is that great spot back in Weho at the Holloway Motel? “Oh, they don’t have any beds for me? No problem. I will set up an encampment by the Fountain at Veteran’s Memorial. I can clean up and bathe in the Fountain until they open up a room. Or maybe in the parking garage of CVS pharmacy? Or Kings Road Park?

Or somewhere on Olive or Hacienda or Kings Road? The 20 rooms will be full. The overflow will end up in the parking lot and the neighborhoods. Instead of solving a problem – you will make it worse for Weho residents. You will create a magnet that will attract MORE homeless into West Hollywood and will do NOTHING to reduce the number of homeless in the City.

You will make a terrible problem – even worse. It’s a bad idea. And the residents who live on Kings Road, Olive, Holloway, Hacienda and Alta Loma should be outraged! Your immediate area is going to take the brunt of this idea that sounds good on paper – but in practical reality – will only exacerbate the problem. No. The City should take the 20 rooms and create permanent senior housing instead.

Or mixed work force housing with affordable units. Give people a sense of pride to live in that triangular spot with views of the Hollywood Hills, Santa Monica Blvd and the entrance to the Rainbow District. It could be so much more. But it’s as if the council said – “we gotta do something! Let’s grab the Holloway Motel. It’s for sale. Put some lipstick on the sow and hope it looks like we did SOMETHING about homelessness”.

You will have done little to nothing. And the people in the neighborhoods will pay the price for your folly. There will be an increase in criminality and neighborhood impacts with this decision. It could have been avoided if a public safety lens had been applied to the analysis. But that requires some common sense and reasoned practicality. Hollywood next door has plenty of available space for development.

Light industrial areas. Locations near subway stops. Locations near existing social services. We can use our available tax dollars to house the homeless individuals found in West Hollywood in nearby locations in Hollywood where there is ample space, resources, and housing to fix this regional problem.

You can find a nexus to use West Hollywood tax dollars in a neighboring jurisdiction when attempting to house the formerly homeless found in Weho. That’s creative thinking. West Hollywood government! Don’t bite off more than you can chew. The indigestion the day after will linger for a long time.

This idea is not supposed to go into effect until 2024. It’s not too late to turn it around! But we are going to have to fight city hall to preserve and protect our neighborhoods. Your nest egg condominium on Kings Road! It IS worth fighting for!

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jrBirdsong
jrBirdsong
1 month ago

Personally I think Duran and D’Amico have had more than ample time to “make a difference in WeHo” and both have essentially FAILED. Time for more progressive Members for City Council. PLUS NOTE TO ALL Council Contenders, Quit with the oversized post cards. THINK about Save a Rainforest. Save TREES. That is not a odd request.

mark feigin
mark feigin
1 month ago

get all homeless crackheads out of weho and dont give them any money

CHLOE ROSS
1 month ago

My two comments are at the end and they are posted backwards.
I ran out of space. Those interested can find them if you search my name Sorry for my editorial slip. Thanks and please comment.

Steve Carry
Steve Carry
1 month ago

Homelessness just doesn’t occur by osmosis. There is always cause and effect. Yes, not enough housing. Not enough affordable housing. Thank you Liberals.

Keith
Keith
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Carry

Don’t be a turd 💩 Thanks for Donald Trump. He’s the reason they call you Repuliturds.

Steve Carry
Steve Carry
1 month ago
Reply to  Keith

Are you for real?

Jja
Jja
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Carry

Are you? Homelessness occurs. Period. Liberals and RepubliKKKans can both take responsibility.

Sharon
Sharon
1 month ago

Hi John, so return the grant $$$???

S Aud
S Aud
1 month ago

I live on Holloway and I’m not outraged. What’s the difference from 20 homeless people sleeping in the bushes and on the lawn in veterans park or pooping and peeing in the CVS garage than 20 feet away in a hotel room with a shower? John Duran Gutted our city by demolishing all the charm and all of the character of some of our older units and buildings and homes by pandering and catering to big developers who replaced our neighborhood our are charming quaint quiet creative neighborhood with a bunch of unaffordable tiny space luxury full amenity building apartments… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by S Aud
Jja
Jja
1 month ago
Reply to  S Aud

Here here! I live on Hacienda Place and the plans for the Holloway Hotel homeless outreach center are welcome. It ridiculous to think that condo prices will plummet by caring for the homeless instead of leaving them on the very streets Duran claims he’s trying to save. And to those worried about their safety, while the sheriff’s office didn’t give a cr*p about low-key crime at Starbucks, you better believe they’ll be all over the area to protect the wealthy owners and celeb visitors at Soho House Lite on Holloway. Its a win-win for everyone. For both the homeless and… Read more »

Valeri
Valeri
1 month ago

to heck with the homeless. Thye are beyond saving. If you cared about homelessness you wouldn’t support drug or gambling legalization.

CHLOE ROSS
1 month ago
Reply to  Valeri

And so she says and there is a truth even when it’s harsh. Good one.

High Opinions & Low Standards
High Opinions & Low Standards
1 month ago
Reply to  Valeri

We are unfortunately a country with high opinions and low standards. Folks never learned the concept of responsibility and resourcefulness only whining and asking for $$$. There was an old phrase….. God helps those that help themselves. Sad to say we are living in an era of celebrity overexposure and grift via the internet.

John McCormick
John McCormick
1 month ago

Will we ever get past the “not in my neighborhood” argument?

CHLOE ROSS
1 month ago
Reply to  John McCormick

nope

Ernesto Sportello
Ernesto Sportello
1 month ago

God forbid Weho remove a development opportunity from their overlords, rich developers.

WeHo Proud
WeHo Proud
1 month ago

John, I agree with you on just about everything that you outlined. But why did you skip around West Knoll, Westmount, Westbourne, Hancock, and go right up to Alta Loma? Do you realize that pocket gets the brunt of the homeless population, probably more so than the streets you named east of La Cienega?

Michael
Michael
1 month ago

I think Duran made some good points. Something should be done for seniors too. I hear a lot criticisms but let’s hear/read some logic on it. Perhaps some suggested solutions. As much as I’d love to breathe clean air, I can’t help but to think of the bigger carbon footprint that is needed because of the road diets to accommodate the two bicyclists an hour out for their exercise. I have had three bicycles in the last 10 years and all three have been stolen. I would be more interested in putting a stop sign camera on side streets. I… Read more »

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