The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless named Los Angeles the No. 1 “Meanest City” out of 273 nationwide in a recent report. L.A. owes this dubious distinction to the controversial “Safer Cities Initiative” that puts policing over housing, criminalizing thousands of the city’s unfortunates.
The City can place this new negative accolade on its mantel next to earlier awards by academic researchers as the most economically unequal city in the country and the homeless capital of the nation.
Inequality, it seems, is a key condition that makes legislating “meanness” possible because the farther apart people are on the economic ladder, the more difficult it is for those on the top ladder to identify with those on the bottom.
Here is a link to a great NY Times article about this travesty by Barbara Ehrenreich, “Is It a Crime to be Poor?” and another from the L.A. Daily News, “L.A. Criticized as ‘Meanest City’ in America.”