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April 23, 2024 10 mins

The homeless in Grants Pass, OR are suing claiming it's cruel and unusual punishment to keep them from sleeping on the sidewalks and in public spaces. Also, in CA, no one seems to know how much is being spent on the homeless, where the money is going and what good the programs being developed are doing. 

Assemblyman Josh Hoover is a first term California State Assemblymember from Folsom and a lifelong listener of the Armstrong and Getty Show (also 1 of only 18 Republicans in the Assembly currently) and he's requested an audit in CA to see where the billions of dollars the state is spending towards it is going. 

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hundreds of homeless people, and Grant's Pass began setting up
encampments in public parks. In twenty thirteen, the city stepped
up its enforcement of anti camping laws, banning anyone from
sleeping outside with any kind of betting. Penalties included fines
starting at two hundred ninety five dollars or thirty days
in prison for repeat offenders, but with extremely limited public shelter.

Speaker 2 (00:21):
Space in Grant's Pass.

Speaker 1 (00:23):
The people affected by the fines sued, saying the tickets
violated their Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment.
The lower courts agreed, blocking the city from enforcing the law. Now,
the decision is in the hands of the US Supreme Court,
and the court's ruling could impact how cities across the
country handle the homelessness crisis. The US Supreme Court is

(00:44):
expected to make a decision in this case by late June.

Speaker 2 (00:47):
Wow.

Speaker 3 (00:47):
So that ruling is in great part responsible for the
explosion of drug addicts laying about everywhere in a lot
of blue cities and states.

Speaker 2 (00:58):
One hundred percent. Yeah, yeah, And as we discussed earlier
in the show, I'm a little troubled that's the Supreme
Court seemed to be asking the question, do grants pass
his policies help the homeless as opposed to does grants
pass in every other city in America have the right
to crack down on criminal behavior if it affects the

(01:18):
quality of life and you know, the health and safety
of everyone who lives in that town. That's what we're
trying to decide.

Speaker 3 (01:25):
Meanwhile, with that law in place, cities and states have
spent billions upon billions of dollars on the whole homeless situation,
and it's only gotten worse. So as I always say,
show me a program that's going to make it better,
because so far they've all made them worse.

Speaker 2 (01:44):
Well, many, many of those billions of dollars have been
spent in the state of cal Unicornia, home to half
of the bums and junkies in America, and Assemblyman Josh Hoover,
who represents the seventh District of California, joins us. He
has has requested an audit on homelessness spending in California
and the results have been almost hilarious. Josh, mister Assemblyman,

(02:08):
how are you, hey, guys.

Speaker 4 (02:10):
How you doing? Thanks for having me on. I know
you love hearing this, but I started listening to you
guys in high school a little over twenty years ago.

Speaker 2 (02:17):
Thanks for that. And you're now sixty seven years old
and have eleven grandchildren. Yeah. Thanks, that's a great story. Well, hey,
we appreciate it. We truly do it. And look at you.
Look at you trying to lead the state, a small minority,
a Republican in the state House. But nonetheless, so what
motivated you to request this audit? And what'd you find out? So?

Speaker 4 (02:40):
Look, California is now home to forty nine percent of
the nation's unsheltered homeless. When I got elected a couple
years ago, I saw we were spending billions of dollars
and I wanted to know where the money was going,
and so I put forward this request to audit homelessness
spending in California. Turns out we have spent nearly twenty

(03:00):
billion taxpayer dollars to solve this problem, and it has
grown statewide by over thirty two percent during that same
period of time, our homeless population, and so absolutely devastating results.
And what's worse is we don't even know where any
of the money is going. I was hoping we would
find maybe some places we could you know, improve our

(03:22):
investments and send money to programs that are actually working,
But instead we found that we don't even know where
any of the money is going.

Speaker 2 (03:29):
You want to improve our investments. That's hilarious.

Speaker 3 (03:33):
I mean like I've I invested in some stock and
not only did it not go up, I lost other
money that I came into my account and took arb
my money.

Speaker 2 (03:41):
Right right, You got to laugh to keep from crying,
So you know, it's funny. I so would love to
sit down with the Supreme Court justices and say, look,
this is primarily a junkie problem. The junkies go where
the benefits are the best and the hassling from the
police is the least. And you could make the argument, Josh,

(04:03):
I've had this discussion.

Speaker 5 (04:04):
Second, that flies in defiance of the fact that it's
a housing problem. It's the cost of housing. California has
the most expensive rent in housing. Joe Getty does not
understand this. That is why these people are homeless. Joe
is claiming that they're coming to California. What can't possibly
be true because.

Speaker 2 (04:23):
Our rents are too high. Yeah, well, certainly within California,
people are coming to wherever it's the cushiest. But I've
had this discussion with my wife before. We call it
the the aspirin paradox. Where somebody has a headache, you
take some aspirin. Did it help? Nope, I still have
the headache. It could have been twice as bad though,

(04:45):
if you didn't have the if you didn't take the aspirin.
You don't know that, And so you could argue, well,
the homelessness wouldn't have grown by a third after spending
all that money, it would have grown by two thirds.
Except that's not been the experience of virtually any their state.
Josh has it.

Speaker 4 (05:02):
No, No, California is by far the worst when it
comes to this problem. And you know, it's interesting. When
I was talking to the auditor directly, he told me,
you know, the big problem at the local level is
the focus is on getting these dollars out the door,
meeting spending deadlines. They don't care if the programs are
actually working. And we have seen tens of millions of

(05:23):
dollars go to outside service providers at the local level
with zero accountabilities, zero expectations that they report back on
their results. And this is the problems that we're now
seeing because of it.

Speaker 2 (05:34):
Well.

Speaker 3 (05:34):
One one problem with this as a topic, and you
know this if you've been listening to us for years,
is practically all government programs do this. They don't keep
track of whether or not the education spending is doing
any good either. So that's just you know, the way
government works kind of in general, and it can get
worse and they keep throwing more money at it, so
that this is not the only time this has ever happened.

Speaker 2 (05:56):
Yeah, So Josh, help us picture that here on here
in you know, any town California, we get a grant
ten million dollars to feed the homeless and and whatever else,
get them job training. So you're saying that like local
entities are hired, but then nobody ever asks whether anybody
got fed.

Speaker 5 (06:16):
Correct.

Speaker 4 (06:17):
So the governor this week, you know, came out and said,
I'm tired of funding failure. That's what he came out
and said this week, he said, had some really strong
words about increasing accountability. But the reality is is that
his whole plan, his whole metric for success, has been
how many dollars are we spending? So he's you know,

(06:37):
sent out billions of dollars. It gets flowed down to
the county levels to the city levels. That generally goes
out to nonprofits and other service providers, and nobody asked
the question where is the money going. We've got some
legislation up in the Housing Committee tomorrow to require, you know,
that information to be collected. But the reality is is

(06:58):
that we should have been doing it all along.

Speaker 3 (06:59):
I don't want to hit you. I'm not trying to
hit you with gotcha questions. You know, off your top
of your head, what the raw number is how many
homeless people we have?

Speaker 4 (07:07):
It's about one hundred and eighty thousand, a little over
one hundred and eighty thousand homeless in California today.

Speaker 3 (07:13):
Jeez, that's a lot of people, and it's half the
homeless people in the country. But has anybody done the
quick math on the how many billion dollars it is
divided by that? Just to see how much we would
have if we just cut them all a check.

Speaker 4 (07:24):
I don't have the number off the top of my head,
but you would be astounded.

Speaker 2 (07:29):
Yeah, it would be a lot. Yeah, I think we
could do that math easily. I think they would be
instantly quite well off. So, Josh, I'm struck. Josh Hoover's
on the line, he's a California assemblyman who's trying to
figure out where the billions of dollars spent on the
so called homeless programs are going and whether they're doing
any good if you're just doing in. But Josh, I'm
struck that. For instance, the Seattle City attorney wrote a

(07:50):
Friend of the Court brief to the Grant's pass case
to the Supreme Court saying, Hey, we've got to be
able to enforce local ordinances or we're going to descend
into chaos and filth and misery. So a city like
Seattle is saying, oh my gosh, this has gone too far.
We've seen Portland turns somewhat to the right. Do you

(08:10):
feel like there's any energy in the incredibly one sided
California Assembly to actually get serious about bums and junkies
and decaying cities.

Speaker 4 (08:21):
Well, I think people are waking up to it. So
Governor Gavin Newsom even urged the Supreme Court to take
this case. And the reason he did that is because
I think he sees this as a serious electoral ish.
Sure absolutely continues to, you know, to grow in California,
and eventually it's going to hurt, you know, his leadership
and his party. I think that's probably his main motivation.

(08:44):
But Jack, you also hit on an important point earlier.
We have to acknowledge this is not just a housing
crisis in California. This is a drug abuse crisis. This
is a mental health crisis, and we have refused to
do that. Our state says that it's just housing and
all of our all actually require housing first methodologies.

Speaker 3 (09:04):
The fact that they still lean on it being a
housing thing and not a drug thing is so crazy.

Speaker 2 (09:10):
Oh, you've probably heard this, Josh, if you've been listening
to the show. We've talked to multiple folks who've spent
time on the streets and we've asked them what percentage
of people in the various junkie camps are on drugs,
and the number we get is usually somewhe around eighty
five percent, eighty five ninety percent. And to pretend that
it's not a drug addicts who don't want to work

(09:31):
and like living outdoors situation is insane because, as we've
said a million times, if you separate those people out,
I think you're going to be surprised how many it is,
what a high percentage it is. But if you can
separate that out and then deal with the people who
came into the situation with a mental illness who don't
have the intellectual capacity to take care of themselves, are

(09:51):
trying hard but just don't have money. Then you can
minister to those people. But until you recognize that the
bulk of it is just a bunch of tweakers and
soon to be dead sentinyl addicts, you're just not going
to get anywhere.

Speaker 4 (10:05):
Correct. And I've got some programs in my district that
are getting amazing results, getting people's lives back on track.
They don't qualify for a dime of state funding. Why
because they require sobriety as a prerequisite for participation, and
we don't fund those programs in California.

Speaker 2 (10:22):
That's amazing. Josh Hoover is an assemblyman in the seventh District,
California in the Sacramento area. Josh, keep fighting the good fights.
Let us know how we can help you. Great to
talk to you.

Speaker 4 (10:32):
We'll do Thanks guys, nice job, Armstrong and Getty
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