Los Angeles’s ‘Eviction Ban’ Doesn’t Protect Tenants

The city’s emergency measures will only delay a huge wave of evictions until later this year.

The Nation - California is often painted by liberal media as the “State of Resistance,” where rationality prevails and the response to Covid-19 has been guided by science. And Los Angeles might appear to be this progressive bastion’s crown jewel: In recent years, media outlets have praised LA’s mayor, rising Democratic star Eric Garcetti, for leading what one Economist story proposed as “the model for a more diverse America.” The mayor’s nightly Covid-19 briefings, streamed on Facebook, “come from a place of love,” one law professor recently told the Los Angeles Times. “He’s tried to come from a place of kindness. He’s trying to build consensus.”

This boosterism obscures the racialized poverty, suffering, and violence that coexist uneasily with astonishing wealth in this paradise of liberal capitalism. LA has never been a friendly place for tenants, but the situation has worsened in recent decades, as wages stagnated and rents soared. Now LA is staring down the barrel of what could be the largest wave of forced evictions in the region’s history, and local leaders—including Garcetti—are refusing to do what’s necessary to secure housing for renters and unhoused Angelenos.

Rather than being a model city, Los Angeles has become a cautionary tale: Even under the best conditions that liberalism and the Democratic Party have to offer, those who don’t own property will be exploited by those who do.

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