The LA Times' homeless forum
The LA Times held its first publisher's forum last night with an impressive panel gathered to discuss homelessness. LA Times columnist Steve Lopez, Sheriff Lee Baca, Bobby Shriver (Mayor pro tem of Santa Monica), LAPD Chief William Bratton, Lamp Community head Casey Horan and Dr. Marvin Southard, Director of the LA County Department of Mental Health sat in directors chairs as LA Times Editorial Page Editor Andrés Martinez moderated. That's Martinez in the picture. But first we had a nice opening from the Mayor.
It all kicked off when new LA Times publisher Jeff Johnson, who's been on the job for about 8 months, introduced Mayor Villala... Villaya .... Villyaaya... (audience erupts in laughter) Villaraigosa.
The audience was full of community leaders (Gil Cedillo, Jan Perry, former city councilman Ed Edelman, Mark Ridley Thomas, the ACLU's Ramona Ripston) activists, and even a blogger or two. We're sure that most in attendance can pronounce the mayor's name.
You may have seen it if you were watching KCAL-5 at 11pm last night, when an edited version of the discussion was to broadcast. Sheriff Baca wore a fantastic orange tie; Mayor Villaraigosa's tie was a lovely sherbert-colored lime green.
Antonio's remarks were eloquent. He called for the city not to avert its eyes from the homeless, "one of the gravest moral challenges facing our city."