Councilman Mike Bonin is to be applauded for trying to help poor people or just those who are crammed into apartments with no yards.
In an April 13 letter to Seleta Reynolds, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Bonin wrote: “The Covid-19 crisis has placed extraordinary strain on our city, our neighborhoods and our residents. To protect public health and flatten the curve, public officials have issued ‘Safer at Home’ orders. This has included the closure of our beaches, numerous hiking trails, playgrounds and parks. . . ..”
He continued, “Our sidewalks are too narrow; our streets continue to be unsafe for biking and some motorists are taking advantage of congestion-free streets to speed recklessly even as more people are moving around on foot and bike.”
Bonin then suggested that certain streets be closed and converted to open space, allowing easier but safe social distancing for people walking or riding bikes.
Circling the News agrees with Bonin. Unlike most people in Pacific Palisades, hundreds of thousands of people living in Los Angeles don’t have a yard, and many of them must share an apartment with far too many people.
In an April 29 CTN Viewpoint (“County and City Need to Open Businesses, Beaches and Parks”), we pointed out that during the Covid-19 crisis, poor people are being discriminated against by wealthy people in power.
CTN believes it’s time to re-open the outdoor areas in Los Angeles, while continuing to emphasize social distancing by everyone. Our beaches, mountains and parks are wide open for outdoor activity, and are certainly safer than having kids play on the street.
On my almost daily walks down Temescal to PCH, I have observed too many bike riders and even joggers using the highway because the parking lot and beach bike path have been closed.
If the beaches and parks can be reopened, and social distancing maintained, this would allow people with little or no economic means to gain relief from overcrowding and the heat in apartments that have no air conditioning.
The CTN Viewpoint noted: “Although it may come as a surprise to governmental officials when they urge people to stay at home and play in their own yards, many families don’t have yards. It may come as even more of a surprise to officials that not all people have swimming pools or tennis courts.
“It has become blatantly obvious to me that various governmental officials have no idea how poor people live. Officials seem to think that everyone has a savings account and that working at home is at best an inconvenience.”
So we applaud Bonin for acknowledging that there are people in apartments that need to get out. We ask him to take the next step. Instead of simply getting special permission to close stretches of asphalt, he should urge Mayor Eric Garcetti to reopen parks, beaches and hiking trails for the people who don’t have yards.