Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Where it all Began

Time presses on and way turns back to way. I arrived in Venice Beach last night after I waited for holiday traffic to die down. The congestion was still bad enough to cause angina but not so bad I had to stall on the 405 Inner City expressway. I cruised the dusty alleys of my memory, the donut shop was still there, but the tattoo shop had closed it's doors. I recognized some landmarks while others were so different I had to look around to remind myself where I was. The Taco Bell that so loyally satisfied my midnight cravings had been replaced by some fancy sushi joint. More medical marijuana dispensaries than I could count rose above the dirty sidewalks. The machine shop where I had my first motorcycle engine rebuilt was still there. The economy curry cafe still slopped mildly flavorless puree for a couple bucks. 

I made my way to Rose and 3rd street in Santa Monica, where I'd first embraced the van dweller life and was not surprised things had changed. 9 years ago the entire street was full of RVs and vans and cars and hobos pitching tents on the vomit and piss covered sidewalks. It was not pretty; it was loathsome, but it was home.

Paying $2400/month is untenable for most people and that is the entry level rent for West L.A. if you are lucky enough to find something vacant. In 2005 my house was valued at $350k but in 2008 it was valued at $1.2M and old Oggy paid the interest with sweat and blood. The $ difference was pure fabrication but that revelation was a year away. In 2008, when the vulture mortgage lenders had their scam briefly exposed, the 'creative financing' scum bags had lured enough people to their doom that the cracks were already showing. Obama was running for President and the Bush Regime was grinding to a halt after 8 hysterical and bloody years. The victims of the War on Poor People scattered through the breezy Venice alleys and gathered on Rose and 3rd, sandwiched between a storage facility and Gold's Gym. It was 3 blocks from public bathrooms and showers on the beach as well as the easy picking, high-heeled, spare change targets along the boutique Santa Monica streets where a cup of coffee would cost $7.95 and left a dollar for the valet parking attendant, a dollar for the bean Barista and .05 for the degenerate street person. Those nickles add up.

I was playing Pink Floyd cover songs on the boardwalk for nickles, nursing some intestinal decay and trying to recover the use of my arms after 2 years assembling guitar effects pedals with the fury of a Vietnamese factory slave. Yes, there were screenplay dreams that got more loathsome with every small success until I knew that selling a screenplay would mean a total loss of identity and values. If I wanted to sell a screenplay to fund a trip to Guatemala then why not simply sell all my instruments and go to Guatemala anyway? Why wait to sell a screenplay? Why wait to have all my artistic standards devoured and auctioned off by unblinking lawyers and greasy-mouthed agents and producers with fake tits? I bought the van, sold my interest in the bloated whale house I lived in, and moved onto the streets of Venice to regroup.

Of course I was becoming a van dweller at the start of the biggest economic collapse in history in a state that saw record foreclosures on the eve of a historic election. One could call it a failure of will to persevere in the faux artistic world of Hollywood, but others could call it good timing because I entered the streets at a time when the streets told the story of America. Hollywood will always attempt and fail to document the story of America because screenwriters only know the story of screenwriters. They fake knowledge of the rest via cursory interviews and explorations into poverty and get away with it because most people don't know the difference and don't care. But my noble goal is to document the story behind the story, the story no one but Oggy could tell, and that's a story that can't be told from $1.2M houses. No. One could argue it's a story that can't be told from a 50 year old van either, but let's put that argument to one side.

The homeless people I met on Rose and 3rd were an international mix of misfits and failures and dreamers. A Brazilian guitarist played for quarters for the lunch crowd at a busy taco truck. An Australian mechanic helped me rebuild my Vespa Ciao moped. A drunk Irish plumber played guitar in a sidewalk band that performed improvised blues after the gym closed and the freaks came out of their tent cocoons to boogie in torn jeans. A Christian zealot preached salvation. Many refugees from Compton and Watts and Philadelphia quietly nursed Night Train and malt liquor bottles to the sound of retching. A woman with wild hair who looked like Janis Joplin had crawled out of the grave would piss standing up into the reeking bushes lining the storage facility. I found a parking spot between a broken down VW bus full of zoned out space hippies in day-glo pants and an RV owned by an American Flag waving apocalypse prepper in camouflage coat and a VFW license plate.

I did not intend to enter this diverse stream of humanity at the low point of the modern depression and I did not intend to revisit the lowly depths of homelessness since I think I have that topic covered from previous extensive research into the nature of poverty, but my goal of driving to Guatemala and my escape from the financial servitude to a piece of property collided at the exact moment a global bank fraud was exposed and fortunes collapsed. The streets were flooded with a new generation of homeless person who joined the old generation. The new generation had information overload and it bred distrust of an obviously predatory financial scam that props up the diseased corpse of a festering American Republic. The old generation had tried and failed to navigate the complexities of loans and degrees and technological advances. Nature was taking it's course. The collateral damage victims and the newly dispossessed met at Rose and 3rd and in an alternate universe they organized and fought back to defeat the oppressive regime of an Oligarchy comprised of slick lawyers consolidating currency and debt with promises and smiles. But in this reality we all embraced our private misery and turned to booze and drugs to tolerate the sickening slander of another fabricated election season.

With hindsight in my favor I can see the first black president would require a full 8 years to divide the nation completely. In 2008 the vitriol of the conspiracy fetishist was on the fringe. In 2017 it is the mainstream. The anonymous loathsome troll is Silence Dogood's Heir apparent. Race, religion, liberty and economy have all disastrously tanked. If we can take the extremist Republican at his word then Obama succeeded in his goal of destroying the sanctity of the Constitution and the sovereignty of the American citizen. I prefer to argue that Obama simply failed to accomplish anything except lip service to health care and 8 solid years of frivolous destruction in the Middle East. But his biggest failure has to be ignoring an obvious genocidal campaign by local law enforcement against poor people. It's incredible that genocide is tolerated as long as it's considered the realm of a state but that's the 8 year tradition that Obama chose to embrace from his velvet cushion in Washington. And if a bleeding-heart pansy like Obama did nothing about American genocide then obviously Trump will do even less. As far back as 1995 local law enforcement were militarizing to execute undesirables, but 3 consecutive presidents chose to ignore it in favor of the glamorous, but futile, task of saving the world from terrorists. That Obama is black and ignored a state-sanctioned genocide of black youth is simply a tragedy that only historians will try to figure out, but I will point out that the war is not on black people, but on poor people, on non-conformists, on those who do not comply with the anti-atmosphere trend. That most of this category is black makes the debate complicated but my assertion is that local law enforcement has embraced mass genocide as an economic cleansing method, not racial. Race is incidental. LE have thus far failed to streamline and automate the process but the recent years have demonstrated that the courts are on their side. American courts favor and defend genocide. All that remains is a way to make the genocide more systematic and secretive. First, the public must consider genocide the norm. Next, courts must defend genocide. Finally, the Federal government must ignore it. The rest are minor details of method of execution and disposal of the corpses, which history offers much advise about. The truth is, there are too many in the laboring class and they need to be culled because the jails are full. That task has been given to local law enforcement and they are fulfilling their duty admirably while Washington averts their eyes.

These are my conclusions and even if they are confirmed by headlines it does not matter because the level of distraction and absurd nonsense poured into the media on all sides assures they will be ignored. I summarize them here for posterity and apologize for the tangent. My story here is about the homeless of Rose and 3rd.
So petty, but the city council must pretend it is useful.

My return to Rose and 3rd was without fanfare. Of course I noticed there were no more RVs and vans parked there. In fact, there were only two or three cars parked on the whole street that was once full of degenerate pedophiles. Why? Because no vehicle over 22ft long or 7 ft high can park between midnight and 6am. Ah, it must bring so much satisfaction to the loathsome city council members and mayor and city attorney to be so specific in their discrimination. How this municipal code was passed is proof that poor people can and will be targeted for being poor. These elite cocksuckers managed to isolate the exact height and length of someone who can comfortably live in their vehicle. Good for them. I'm so proud of them. Aren't you? They targeted the awful bubble-top van dweller. My van is around 8.5 ft so it qualifies to be ticketed or towed. I am illegal because they determined my vehicle is illegal. They determined my vehicle is illegal because it annoyed them. The Venice homeowner's coalition really flexed their muscles when they got the city council to appease their discriminatory demands. What a bunch of pitiful cocksuckers!

Now, of course, this is all futile. FUTILE. All these limp-dick shit munchers did was start a diaspora of minute proportions. I found legal parking around the corner from Rose and 3rd, within sight of the refugee camp. Furthermore, the entire sidewalk is now filled with tents and homeless. I mean, FILLED. It is a magnificent skid row...but RVs can't park there. So, there is no victory for the loathsome homeowner's coalition. The loathsome residents of Venice still can not park on or walk down 3rd street because it is worse than a Haitian refugee camp. And the RVs that they threatened to tow away simply drove around and parked somewhere else nearby. They simply forced the RVs into another neighborhood that does not have the clout of the Venice pseudo-liberal elite motherfuckers, and now there are hundreds of neighborhoods with the same problem as Venice and Venice has not even solved their own problem. This is what happens when City Attorneys graduate from Brown U. where ethics are as optional as ketchup on a hot dog.

The message to the homeless has always been this: "Comply or Die." Since compliance is impossible the state will sanction executions by a thousand cuts or one fatal bullet. I say, fuck them.

I congratulate Venice on their conversion to a suburb of Manhattan, NY. It's difficult to fully embrace repulsive property ethics of the upper-class elite while pretending to be working class artists but they succeeded when they targeted the depraved van dweller whose choice of vehicles included something tall enough to stand up in. Their message is clearly: kneel and stoop before our grandiose magnificence. No. I will not kneel. I will stand.

I have nothing more to add. The transition was inevitable and I'm one of the few who has seen it from the standpoint of a home-dweller, a local vehicle dweller and a stranger passing through. The story continues but I invite you to write to Venice Neighborhood Council and the L.A. City Council to tell them how wonderful it is that they targeted homeless poor people who live in their vehicles and managed to make their lives even more difficult. It's wonderful news. It's very amusing to read a quote from a judge.  

The new car-lodging ordinance replaces a 1983 ordinance struck down by a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel. 

“It appears to be applied only to the homeless,” Judge Harry Pregerson wrote in the June 2014 decision. The next month, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck directed officers to stop enforcing the law.
So, the old code was enforced for THIRTY YEARS before being determined constitutionally vague and discriminatory, so they immediately wrote a different constitutionally vague and discriminatory code??? What the fuck?? Will it take 30 more years of enforcing another repulsive law to really teach these cock suckers a lesson?

I also invite you to figure out where one may legally park and sleep in Los Angeles. But to do it properly you need to be homeless and hungry and paranoid and in a holding cell waiting to be released after you were arrested for illegally sleeping in your vehicle. Then you can read the instructions and go to the map to figure this out. Good luck. Of course, the map only represents locations technically within the law, but places like Venice have outlawed poor people vehicles within the zones that should be legal so they are actually illegal. That makes sense.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.