Kari Lake, the Trump-endorsed former news anchor running for governor in Arizona, expressed frustration about the mainstream media’s failure to cover her comprehensive plan to combat homelessness.
A news search reveals that other than one story in February from KTAR, the mainstream media has ignored her plan. KTAR, a radio station which politically leans right, is not considered a mainstream news outlet.
Lake issued her plan earlier this year.
“You choose to cover bogus stories to try and stir the pot,” Lake told reporters during a press conference about her homelessness policy on August 12, directly addressing Brahm Resnik, a local reporter for Channel 12. “And the people of Arizona are on to it, Brahm, that’s why they’re not watching you. That’s why you have just 2,000 viewers for your 10 o’clock newscast. We have had this policy out for a number of months now, almost a year, as a matter of fact. And none of you, not a single one of you, have tried to cover this story. You get caught up in a bunch of B.S. stories that the public doesn’t care about.”
Pointing at a homeless encampment, she said, “The public cares about this. Arizonans are tired of seeing this. And the media in this town doesn’t care about the issues. They only care about focus stories. ”
Resnik, who frequently spars with Lake on the campaign trail, pushed back. “Have you read any of the extensive media coverage on what’s happened here? Are you even aware of it?”
“Aware of what?” Lake responded.
“The media coverage that you say is not happening,” Resnik said.
“On me, I’m talking about me,” she said. “You guys have not covered my policy, Brahm. You haven’t covered my policy. You can sit there and smile with that grin on your face, but that’s why no one watches you. Your 10 o’clock newscast has only 2,000 viewers.”
“We cover this all the time,” he shot back. “Other media …” Lake interrupted him to again emphasize “you haven’t covered my policy. You choose to cover bogus stories. That’s why no one watches you.”
Resnik got in one more jab: “So, is it all about you? Is that what it is?”
During an interview with KNST radio talk show host Garret Lewis about the exchange with Resnik, Lewis observed, “He literally was invited to a press conference about your policy, and was like, upset, that you’re saying ‘cover my policy, ask me questions.’”
Lewis told Lake that a QuikTrip convenience store in Tucson employs armed security guards in order to deal with the crisis of the growing homeless population, which Lake said has doubled over the past few years. “The key is to get them off the streets and into treatment,” she recommended. She said the Left and the “homeless industry” just want to “take the money [from government] and enable people to use drugs and remain on the street.”
Homelessness has become a growing problem in the Phoenix area, recently prompting residents to file a lawsuit against the city in August. Over a thousand people reportedly live on the streets in an area downtown known as “The Zone.”
The City of Phoenix placed signs around District 6 earlier this year that state “It’s OK to say NO to panhandlers. Give to your local shelters, instead.” Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who represents that district, explained, “ Individuals asking for money on street corners or medians create unsafe situations that neither benefit the individual nor our community.” The cities of Scottsdale and Mesa have posted similar signs.
Lake’s homelessness plan would implement “a statewide urban camping ban, enhancing quality-of-life law enforcement, and aggressively arresting, and prosecuting, homeless individuals who break the law.” It would include “voluntary treatment, involuntary medical treatment, and involuntary criminal treatment paths.”
Her plan ends the “Housing First” approach currently used by the City of Phoenix, replacing it with “leading with services,” which means “making permanent housing a reward for actively pursuing treatment and engaging in long-term recovery and rehabilitative programs.”
The Democratic candidate for Arizona governor, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, has nothing about the homelessness problem on her website. However, she criticized Lake’s plan in a statement to the progressive Blog for Arizona. “We’re all witnessing Arizona’s homelessness crisis, and the last thing we need are more empty promises from talking-head politicians like Kari Lake who are clueless when it comes to tackling our state’s toughest issues,” she said. “Homelessness is a tremendously complex problem that requires a leader with experience and vision to solve. I have decades of on-the-ground experience as a social worker, and my first job out of college was working with homeless youth in Phoenix.”
Instead, Hobbs directed Arizonans to look at her “Affordable Arizona Plan,” which does not address homelessness. She concluded, “When Arizonans voters select their next Governor in November, they need to consider who has the right approach to tackling the homeless issue.”
On the campaign trail, Lake frequently utilizes her expertise in media to critique its coverage. She takes her own videos of interviews she participates in order to ensure that they aren’t selectively edited.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Homeless Camp” by Visitor7. CC BY-SA 3.0.