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September 1, 2012 To Skid Row, DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES- Yesterday morning started with a press conference led by the

Downtown Clergy Council inside the Los Angeles Mission to announce their "Position Paper" which stated their position of "encouraging" the creation of an ordinance that would make it illegal to feed the homeless on the street. The day ended with the Skid Row resident's hosting a public "Community Forum" to address whether said ordinance should exist or not, along with other issues associated with the on-going trash dilemma in Skid Row. The lightly attended morning press conference, which included the Skid Row residents responsible for the evening's Community Forum (led by "OG") didn't feel as powerful and wide as indicated by various mainstream media outlets, which included the New York Times. On the other hand, the Community Forum was a full house of very interested and opinionated citizens from both Skid Row and the wider Downtown Los Angeles community. Both OG and Coach Ron of the Skid Row Brigade took the liberty of inviting everyone at the press conference to also attend the Community Forum after being invited to speak by Pastor Kevin Haah, President of the Downtown Clergy Council. It appeared that ONLY Pastor Haah showed up that evening. The only opposition in the morning was from Skid Row community activist General Jeff who spoke on behalf of the residents and stated that there was "strong opposition" to the proposed ordinance. Jeff also invited everyone to "come and hear the Skid Row community's voice tonight". They would not have been disappointed had they attended. The Community Forum was attended by a wide variety of individuals and organizations, including multiple members of Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) and also many residents from the Little Tokyo Lofts, led by Katherine McNenny, a "community improver" in her own right (She hates when the word "activist" is used to describe her). Even with a nearly unanimous collective voice (only one resident that lives in the Arts District supported the idea of an ordinance), it was duly noted that Pastor Haah remained for the entire meeting, often being the victim of direct verbal messages that possibly should have been directed at the entire Downtown Clergy Council, the business sector and also the City of Los Angeles. While it wasn't "walking into the lion's den, Pastor Haah could have used a little more support from whatever source that motivated the DCC to create their Position Paper in the first place, including LAPD Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph, who has been pushing for a homeless feeding ban for several years (to no avail) and of whom Pastor Haah attributed the DCC Position Paper ideology was drafted from. SLO Joseph was not present at either events, though it was

established later that he e-mailed OG in the middle of the day to speak about what happened at the press conference. The Community Forum was held at the DTLA Exchange at 114 west 5th street, just across the street from Skid Row in the Historic Core. Russell Brown, who was also in attendance, always intended his venue to be a place where opinions and ideas from different Downtown perspectives could be safely and respectfully exchanged (hence the name), surely had to be pleased with the healthy dialogue that was shared at the meeting. Katherine McNeeny, a proud non-traditional Skid Row resident (loft), keep the notes from the meeting and will release them publicly soon. While The Midnight Mission didn't attend, Mai Lee, Director of Public Relations, submitted a letter on behalf of their organization, which was read aloud during the meeting. While they did not support an ordinance, they did support a more "regulated" approach which was the overall consensus in the room. During the "solutions" portion of the program, everyone gravitated towards General Jeff's "Feed 'n Clean" campaign which would encourage and/or demand that ALL individuals and organizations that come to Skid Row to feed the homeless, also include a mandatory cleaning component in their efforts which would not only be a sign of respect, but would also help to address the need for a long-term trash maintenance solution that connects to the "Operation Healthy Streets" pressure-washing and disinfecting project initiated by Mayor Villaragosa and other City agencies. An immediate launch of said "Feed 'n Clean" campaign was agreed to by all in attendance. While other solutions were also suggested (which again will be released in the meetings notes), another was for the Downtown Clergy Council to "rethink their position". Not only did Pastor Haah hear all the suggestions, he even stayed about an hour after the meeting to continue the dialogue on the street corner, not only to listen, but to also attempt to make the Downtown Clergy Council's position clear. Both during the meeting and afterward, it was clear that another follow-up meeting needed to happen. But it was also clear that the Skid Row community resident's collective voice is gaining strength and confidence and needs to be added to the overall "Future Planning for All of Downtown" conversations. Stay tuned....

General Jeff Skid Row community activistISSUES AND SOLUTIONS

Resident Director- Central City East/ Skid Row Board of Directors Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council VP, Outreach and Communications Co-Chair- Skid Row Community Advisory Board for the Department of Mental Health

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