02/12/2013 04:36 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

If LA Shall Appear Great to You, Consider Then Passing CCFO

Pericles, the famed leader of the Athenian Golden Age, once said "If Athens shall appear great to you, consider then that her glories were purchased by valiant men, and by men who learned their duty." There are still glories ahead for our City of Angels but only if men and women purchase them through thoughtful policymaking. Passing a Community Care Facilities Ordinance (CCFO) is a step in that direction as we have turned our back on seniors, veterans and other underserved communities with the current policy of indifference.

Seniors have given us the best years of their lives, building and contributing to the community we inherited. They are owed a big debt of gratitude, not a blind eye to those living with feces, urine and rotting food in rat-infested hovels. The red of the American flag we pledge allegiance to is a richer hue because of the sacrifice veterans have made to protect our freedom and defend our liberties. They risk their life and limbs on foreign battlefields and yet our state prisoners have a better living standard than these patriots being warehoused thirty deep in a single-family home garage.

It is unconscionable in a City as compassionate as ours that we continue to allow unlicensed and illegal boarding homes to operate with impunity. Law enforcement and safety officials have to be given the tools necessary to ensure our most vulnerable are not being taken advantage of. The four murders in Northridge were a shock to the system and the extreme squalor within the house was a call to action. It is beyond outrageous whether you have family and friends living nearby like I do or are simply offended as an Angeleno who expects more from their government. How many more assaults, thefts, fires and deaths have to occur before City leaders get serious about addressing the issue? How do we as a society deem hoarding of animals as inhumane yet overlook the suffering in these overcrowded human kennels?

How do we as a society deem hoarding of animals as inhumane yet overlook the suffering in these overcrowded human kennels?

LA City Councilmember Mitch Englander has shown valiance by re-starting the conversation on regulating these facilities. While an unfinished proposal, doing nothing is not an option. Rather than gut the legislation or fall prey to paralysis-by-analysis, the next 75-plus days of the CCF Working Group should be spent finding common ground on three key priorities (1) Protecting our most vulnerable; (2) Expanding housing opportunities; and (3) Updating decades-old City codes so it's enforceable. It is our duty. It will save lives. It is the LA thing to do.

Edward Headington is President of the Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council and testified at the recent CCFO hearing at LA City Hall.