Despite his media presence and unorthodox social media platform, Dr. Drew is a practicing internist (he still sees patients), and an expert on addiction; he also gives some key insights on mental illness, and often has other medical experts on his show to discuss these concerns. Dr. Drew has spent the past few years speaking out about the Los Angeles homeless crisis, even going to Downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row to interview, treat, and give greater voice to the horrible conditions that people of all ages are suffering under, and to point to potential solutions that could bring resolution to this blight on this once great city.
So, you would think he would be a clear and credible choice to head the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a 10-member commission created by State and local officials to address the challenges of an increasingly rampant and dangerous homeless population.
In 2020, 1,383 people experiencing homelessness died in . This is an increase from the 1,267 homeless who died in 2019. Homelessness increased over 16 percent within that year, and an increased number of this population are elderly. It’s a true crisis that Dr. Drew has spoken about cogently, clearly, and with solutions that, if implemented, could do much to mitigate the circumstances and causes that lead to homelessness.
But the people who stake their pocketbooks and reputations on the crisis continuing were “concerned” about this type of person being recommended for the role.
From Yahoo! News:
Dr. David Drew Pinsky, more commonly known as Dr. Drew, was recommended by 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the only Republican on the five-member board, for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a 10-member commission appointed by city and county elected officials.
Barger said she nominated Pinsky because he’ll bring a “fresh perspective” to the commission with his vast medical experience and passion for mental health.
But critics pounced, saying Pinsky promotes ill-formed and harmful views, including an enforcement-focused approach to homelessness like that seen at Echo Park Lake.
Pinsky made headlines last April after making a series of remarks over a two-month period that were skeptical of COVID-19, comparing the novel coronavirus to the flu and calling the pandemic a “press-induced panic.” He eventually apologized.
The remarks were part of a larger trend with Pinsky, said Mark Horvath, founder of nonprofit Invisible People.
“Even on a surface level, why are you [appointing] a celebrity doctor — and I use the term ‘doctor’ loosely — that has recent activity with being a COVID denier?” said Horvath, who launched his homeless advocacy group in 2008.
Oh… so not only is he a “celebrity doctor” (though he still actually sees and treats patients, as opposed to Dr. Fauci and a few others I could name), but he’s a <clutch the pearls> “Covid denier.” Oh, the humanity!
More activists raised their voices in protests, and along with jamming the L.A. Board of Supervisors emails and comment boxes, took to Twitter to voice their outrage, and disdain for Dr. Drew and the potential of his “toxic voice of misinformation” being a part of the problem solving the commission is supposed to spearhead:
Our West Valley Supervisor @kathrynbarger has nominated of Dr. Drew Pinsky to the LAHSA. West Valley orgs & those working most on homelessness say Dr. Drew has been a toxic voice of misinformation on homelessness.
Act TODAY to #DumpDrDrew!
— West Valley People’s Alliance (@WVPple) April 19, 2021
.@NLIHC joined our national partners to oppose this nomination. Appointing a “celebrity” who is unqualified & misinformed to a position that makes critical decisions on homelessness policy & program design is both dangerous & alarming. https://t.co/VXwdKN33c8
— Diane Yentel (@dianeyentel) April 20, 2021
Seriously? Dr. Drew for LA’s homeless commission?
— Lisa Fung (@lfung) April 17, 2021
@LAHomeless please rescind the nomination of this Covid-denying quack. He doesn't really care about the LA homeless problem, only about turning his image around.
— Sydney Cutler-Abich (@sydcutler108) April 19, 2021
As if on cue, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors caved. The majority of this Board is living proof of the ability to dine out on your reputation and positions without ever accomplishing anything of usefulness or import, just as the so-called homeless activists do; so this decision comes as no surprise.
District 5 Board of Supervisor Kathryn’s Barger’s statement:
“I knew that Dr. Drew would bring a new, forward-thinking approach and would help us address mental health and substance abuse as driving factors in the ongoing homelessness crisis. Unfortunately, the proposed appointment took away from these important conversations about care for people experiencing homelessness.”
Sadly, the chattering class see this as a victory:
We did it!! https://t.co/BNPVHjMIG5
— Cacoëthes Carpendi🔮 (@CarpendiCacoeth) April 20, 2021
If you think reaching out to your local leaders doesn't matter, this will change your mind. Dr Drew was almost on a homelessness commission board. I shutter at the thought. https://t.co/QyBIFGuSdX
— 𝔸𝕝𝕝𝕪𝕤𝕠𝕟 ℝ𝕪𝕒𝕟 (@AllysonRyan13) April 20, 2021
Then there’s the racial equity canard. Apparently, you can only address homelessness in Los Angeles if you’re of a particular racial makeup. POC ONLY. WHITES NEED NOT APPLY:
So @drdrew you are surprised at the public uproar. I'm going to make a suggestion: you can turn down the appointment. I was once asked to serve on the LAHSA commission and declined because I thought they didn't need another white man on there.https://t.co/9eTPjGS4HV
— Bill Pitkin (@billpitkin) April 17, 2021
Say what you will about this “white man,” but he brought fresh insight and ideas on treating underlying causes, not pouring billions of dollars into triage and bandaids.
Speaking of bandaids, “Homeless Activists,” how is pouring all that money into those tents and modular campers working?