September 23, 2019

Letters to the Editor: Homeless in Los Angeles, Colin Kaepernick

Seeking Solutions to Homelessness

I really loved Eitan Arom’s cover story (“L.A.’s Boldest Plan Ever to Help the Homeless,” Oct. 14) with its beautiful depiction of “Faces of Homelessness” as well as the strong support of Measure HHH. Thanks for reaching out to remarkable professionals in our industry (Amy, Dora and Tanya) to get a fair perspective on the crisis and solutions needed to end homelessness. 

I was especially touched by the connection to Sukkot. Sukkot has forever been my favorite holiday of the year in part because of its celebration outdoors (much like why I loved celebrating the second day of Rosh Hashanah with Neshuva!), the symbolism of a wandering people living in such a fragile structure, and the tradition of inviting people (real and biblical) into the sukkah. I’ve always felt the need to raise greater awareness about housing issues during this holiday, and so for many years, I’ve made my sukkah a space for staff meetings, or to talk with guests about what we can all do to support more housing. So reading Eitan’s piece connecting Sukkot and strategies to end homelessness was powerful.

Thank you so much for dedicating space in the Journal for this important issue.

Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, president and CEO of LA Family Housing.


After three years of failed efforts in their pledge to help the homeless, the Los Angeles City Council, with Mayor Eric Garcetti in the lead, introduced Proposition HHH as their ticket to re-election. Housing the homeless and hope have a different meaning when less than 25 percent ($250 million) is earmarked for homeless housing. With a $2 billion payback after the 10-year program is completed, it spells a giveaway to the contractors involved in the low-cost housing project, which in L.A. means unaffordable to most. In the meantime, there will be a doubling of the homeless population in L.A. Many refuse a structured life, especially the young enjoying their rootlessness on Venice Beach.

What is needed now is food sufficiency, health care, toilets and showers for the 1,000 in Venice, the 28,000 in L.A. and the 50,000 in L.A. County in an effort that goes beyond the county. Homelessness is a national tragedy and must be dealt with locally, in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C. Instead of sukkahs, tent cities that can be quickly built are needed for shelter on the order of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s. With the new enterprises come responsibility to the new communities and the payback of the homeless.   

Jerome P. Helman, Venice

Football, America and Protest 

Dennis Prager calls San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s actions a “mockery of every American soldier, sailor and Marine who fought for, let alone died for, that flag” (“Which Do You Love More: Football or America?” Oct. 14). Whatever one thinks of Kaepernick, the men and women of the United States military have not fought or died for a piece of cloth, but for the very freedoms his protests epitomize.

Tom Fields-Meyer via email 


Why is it that often when conservatives challenge those who protest aspects of American life, they accuse the protesters — in this case 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and author Ta-Nehisi Coates — of “mockery of every American soldier, sailor and Marine who fought for, let alone died for, that flag.” 

The flag is just a symbol, and I am sure it means different things to different Americans. I think the very word “America” means different things to different Americans.

I challenge a lot of things about “America,” but I am not mocking anyone who fought (or died) in an American conflict. I do challenge some of the leaders of America and some of the decisions they made and their motives therefore, which took us to wars where Americans died.

Coleman Colla via email

When a Rabbi Fails

I read Danielle Berrin’s article “When a Rabbi Fails” (Oct. 7), in which she described her disappointment when she recently learned of the “fall from grace” of her former congregational rabbi in Miami. 

In her article, Berrin said she wrestled with the question, “Is it reasonable to expect that our spiritual leaders should behave better than we do?” I say, “Yes, it is!”

Melanie Alkov, Los Angeles