Background Briefing: June 8, 2022


Homelessness as a Moral Issue Not A Blight the Privileged Have to be Protected From

We begin with the results of the California primaries which in many ways are a referendum on how the nation deals with poverty, homelessness and inequality. Unfortunately the results indicate we are becoming a nation that accepts the notion that people are disposable and that privilege has to be protected from the blight of homelessness making it out of sight and out of mind rather than an imperative civilized society cannot accept let alone ignore. Joining us is Gary Blasi, a professor of law emeritus at UCLA where he was also the founding and core faculty of the law school’s Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and also served as Director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. With 40 years experience in property law, housing and homelessness, he was named one of the top 100 lawyers in California, cited as the “go-to lawyer for community groups in need.


Adding More Police Will Criminalize a Problem Rooted in Inequality, Poverty and Unaffordability

Then we examine what can be done to prevent the November election in Los Angeles of a billionaire developer who would create homeless encampments while adding many more police to criminalize an issue with its roots in poverty, inequality, unaffordable housing, mental health and substance abuse. Joining us is Peter Dreier, Distinguished Professor of Politics and Chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His books include Place Matters: Metropolitics for the 21st Century and The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame.


Are We Seeing a Rebuke of the Progressive Left And a Warning to the Democratic Party?

Then finally we assess whether the nation’s pundits are right in interpreting the results of the California primaries as a rebuke of the progressive Left and a warning to the Democratic party to get tough on crime and reject criminal justice reform. Joining us is Lara Bazelon, a professor of law and the director of the Criminal Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinical Programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law. Previously she was director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent and a trial attorney in the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles for seven years. A contributing writer for Slate and Politico Magazine, she is the author of Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction.