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Nomination of 'Dr. Drew' for homeless commission is pulled after outcry

Jaclyn Cosgrove, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES – A celebrity doctor nominated to a local homeless commission has been pulled from consideration after community members objected and mounted a #DumpDrDrew Twitter campaign accusing him of promoting policies that criminalize homelessness.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced Monday evening that she had withdrawn her nomination for Dr. David Drew Pinsky, more commonly known as “Dr. Drew,” for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a 10-member commission appointed by city and county elected officials.

Barger, who represents the 5th District, said she was dismayed that anyone would question “the appointment of a doctor with a passion for addressing these issues when a new voice is clearly needed.”

She said the nomination and the outcry it generated had become a distraction from important conversations about care for people experiencing homelessness.

“We need to face the sad reality of homelessness in Los Angeles: individuals are dying on our streets from preventable causes due to mental illness and substance abuse,” Barger said. “I hope we can move past pettiness and instead focus our time and energy on working to solve the hard problems, rather than looking for excuses to place blame.”

Pinsky could not be immediately reached for comment.

 

Generally, the county Board of Supervisors unanimously approves appointments to local boards and commissions at the beginning of its meeting, as part of its consent agenda. They are rarely, if ever, seen as controversial.

By Monday evening, more than 100 people had submitted public comments asking the supervisors not to approve the nomination. Fewer than five people wrote in supporting Pinsky’s nomination.

“Please for the love of god do not appoint Dr. Drew to work with the homeless in any capacity. This is a frustrating, pathetic joke. Please treat the unhoused legitimately as human beings,” one resident wrote.

Pinsky, 62, has a current license to practice medicine in California and lists his specialties on the California medical board’s website as internal medicine and psychiatry. He reported to the board attending the University of Southern California’s medical school.

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