Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee and lead House impeachment manager, has emerged as a hero of the anti-Trump #Resistance due to his obsessive focus on seeing President Donald Trump removed from office.
But when it comes to his own district, Schiff is “asleep at the wheel,” says Dr. Drew Pinsky, who is outraged at how politicians like Schiff are completely ignoring California’s growing homelessness crisis.
Schiff is “asleep at the wheel”
The homelessness crisis in California, particularly in and around Los Angeles, is an issue that Pinsky, a celebrity addiction specialist, has taken to heart. “I live in Adam Schiff’s district. He’s asleep at the wheel here,” Pinksy said.
Pinsky’s clarion calls on the subject have even prompted speculation that he might challenge Schiff for his seat in Congress, but in an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, Pinsky shot down the rumors, stressing that he was “categorically not running” for office.
That aside, Pinsky does want to see the problem addressed, and he didn’t hesitate to call out Schiff and other prominent California politicians who’ve averted their eyes from the problem in their own backyards.
People are dying
Pinsky noted that an average of three homeless people die on the streets of L.A. every day, with little or no notice from the politicians in charge.
“My God, if coronavirus were killing three people a day in our county, do you not think people would be in absolute outrage and panic?” Pinsky said. “But, for some reason, this mental health crisis that is homelessness — because people have mental illness and are living on our streets — somehow we step over them and they die right in front of us.”
He argued that the driving force behind the homelessness problem was less about a lack of affordable housing and more about untreated mental illness. “These are my patients dying on the street,” he said. “I know the population. I have served them for 30 years.”
With regard to the lack of housing argument, Pinsky said, “For God’s sake, we’ve absorbed 1.5 million undocumented workers in California — in Los Angeles — a million and a half. None of them are on the street. They found housing. Where’s the housing problem?”
Pinsky himself has a solution, should Schiff need ideas. Part of Pinsky’s five-part plan relies on legislation he helped create known as SB-640, which expands the definition of “gravely disabled” to include the mentally ill on the streets, who make up a substantial portion of the homeless population. It also provides more options for temporary involuntary commitment and treatment so family and friends are better able to get them the help and resources needed.
Pinsky is also calling on Schiff to take action on Capitol Hill to change federal laws and allow for the use of Medicaid to pay for the treatment of the chronically mentally ill. He says that a variety of laws actually work to prevent effective assistance and treatment for the mentally ill on the streets. He explained:
We are living under the shadow of the excesses of psychiatry from the 1950s. We need to create modern laws for our current state of brain science.
The doctor also reiterated his common refrain about the environmental dangers posed by the homelessness problem, such as an increase in rats, disease, and untreated human waste washing into the bays and ocean. Whether politicians like Schiff will listen remains to be seen, unfortunately.