Insidious Bliss: an L.A. River Story

Friend of bLA Marc Tuters sent me a note a few days ago to tell me about this five minute short he made about the Glendale narrows section of the L.A. River, where a group of homeless meth addicts had been living. In the film, Marc speaks with a local named “The Deliman,” who told him shortly after filming this that park rangers had made a big bust and hauled everybody off to jail (where, to his knowledge, they remain). Interestingly, Deliman also pointed out that within days a whole new crew of people had come to take their place on the river.

Update: Marc says he also contacted Mitch O’Farrell, the District Director of Constituent Services for the Office of City Council President Eric Garcetti, who replied in part:

There was a River action last November near Fletcher Drive and another one a few weeks ago at Gilroy. I organized each of them and I can guarantee you, no one has been hauled off to jail in either event. Furthermore, the Park Rangers have not hauled anyone to jail for camping out on the River. However, a few people have been rescued along there and we have cleaned up loads of trash and debris they leave in their encampments in the River bottom. Each time we take action there it includes: Offering every individual emergency shelter up to 3 months, including their pets if they have any. This includes offering them Social Security assistance, a ride to the shelter. It would also include a pathway in to healthcare and substance abuse assistance. Unfortunately, the takers among the homeless at the River are few and far between. A few weeks ago, we intended to test people for TB if they wanted it, but everyone had left the encampment.

The areas we have now cleaned, in the River and along its embankments are staying clean because of more frequent patrols and great team work by all the responsible agencies. The environment has been made safer for everyone as a result.

Sean mentioned the first “River action” back in November.

4 thoughts on “Insidious Bliss: an L.A. River Story”

  1. The Deliman and Mitch O’Farrell represent two rather distinct perspectives (if not polar ends of the spectrum) on this issue. As far as reporting on the current state of this story it would probably be wise to do a follow-up, contrasting and comparing notes. In this case, I, however, am a documentary film-maker not a journalist.

  2. Regardless, after the recent downpour, I’m guessing the campers are better off having already left, than having had their belongings, and possibly themselves, washed away.

  3. last year, when I was working closer with FoLAR, I was frequently at the River in the area near Glendale. I was on-hand immediately prior to one of the “river actions,” and managed to collect two flyers announcing in english and spanish, the county’s clean-up (NOT the FoLAR clean-up, mind you) that was to occur and that any personal belongings would be confiscated. If this is the type of action to which you are referring, I would be glad to scan and send PDFs of the two sheets.

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