Dear Editor – Offensive Remark at Candidate Forum

Dear Editor- 

At the Culver City Democratic Club candidate forum on June, 29, 2022, candidates were asked the following question: “How will you address the housing and homelessness crisis?” Among other statements, Councilmember Alex Fisch, who is running for re-election made the following comment:

“Marching people off to concentration camps in Palmdale is not a solution. It’s not moral and it’s not the Democratic Party way of doing things.” Source: CCDemClub Candidate forum around 17.33, comment at 18:10 time mark.

Along with others in our community, I find this comment offensive, divisive, insensitive, and disparaging. Conflating services that help people experiencing homelessness with Nazi death marches must not go unchallenged. Mr. Fisch owes all a real, full apology.

Mr. Fisch had an opportunity at the July 11th City Council meeting but did not make any remark or expression of regret after it was raised by people during public comment. In an email, Mr. Fisch wrote that he was referring to other people talking about moving the unhoused from their current locations to other area facilities such as, Palmdale where it might be less expensive to build. Mr. Fisch responded in another written note that he was talking about law-enforcement actions to move the unhoused to other places. However, no other candidate for office mentioned “marching people off to Palmdale” or anywhere else for that matter.

On social media, Alex Fisch’ssupporters argue that there is no harm. They have opined that “concentration camps” do not always refer to Nazi killing centers, but any “concentration” of people such as the Japanese internment camps in the United States. Others claim that people are deliberately misconstruing Mr. Fisch’s remarks for political reasons. These are outright deflections meant to put an end to the outrage.

“Marching people off to concentration camps in Palmdale,” is a clear reference to Nazi atrocities.

No one, city councilmember, candidate or not, should have said this unless they meant to be offensive. Any attempt to soft-peddle this inexcusable statement minimizes the death and suffering of the Nazi’s victims: The Holocaust’s over 6 million Jews, along with millions of Russians, Poles, Roma, disabled, LGBTQ, Jehovah’s witnesses, and others who were targeted for their race, religion, ethnicity, identity, or political ideas.

Mr. Fisch’s statement clearly appropriates horrifying historical events to make his point. Even if it was supposed to be a “clever” phrase, this shows a distinct lack of sensitivity.

Words matter. History matters. The insidious rise of antisemitism and racism in this country is appalling. We must understand history and choose our words carefully. We must respond when a public figure uses a false and offensive analogy.

Nazi concentration camps were designed to extract labor and to deliberately murder people because of their race, religion, ethnicity, identity or political beliefs. Shelters, pallet homes, transitional housing, out-reach programs and permanent housing all have issues, but their purpose and intention is to provide services to people who are unhoused. Alex Fisch’s statement is a false equivalency of the worst kind. It shows a distinct lack of empathy and understanding which is shocking in a city council member and candidate.

Jamie Wallace

The Actors' Gang


  1. Addendum: on 7/13 at the Culver City Dem. Club meeting, Mr. Fisch made it clear that he deliberately meant to reference Nazi concentration camps in his comment about “marching people off to concentration camps in Palmdale.”

    Some people continue to defend the indefensible. Equating homeless services in Palmdale or anywhere else to Nazi death camps is a dangerous false equivalency.

    Perhaps if he said, “marching them off across Selma’s bridge to the racist mob” this false equivalency would be clearer.

    IF he had mentioned Selma and the beating of civil rights protesters, then I and anyone who believes in civil rights would clearly understand that he was dishonoring the civil rights marcher’s beatings by comparing them to services for the unhoused.

    We are at a horrible moment in US history where too many people, especially students according to studies, do not understand the past. The studies show an incomplete understanding of the Holocaust, which was a deliberate attempt to wipe out an entire group of people identified as Jewish. Along the way the Nazi’s targeted disabled people, LGBTQ, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics and any one else who spoke out against the Nazi ideology. Millions upon millions of Russians, Poles, Roma, Czechs as well as any political opponents were deliberately targeted, many executed or worked to death in the concentration camps.

    Mr. Fisch’s continued deliberate reliance on this “comparison” is completely unacceptable. Is this really what he thinks of services to the homeless?

  2. WOW, he really did this:

    …on 7/13 at the Culver City Dem. Club meeting, Mr. Fisch made it clear that he deliberately meant to reference Nazi concentration camps in his comment about “marching people off to concentration camps in Palmdale.”

    Yikes, he really is a NUT.

  3. from

    Carla Hall (editorial writer)

    Let me ask you some questions about homelessness and how you would approach the homelessness issue here in the city. You said that you would create 30,000 shelter beds in 300 days. What makes you think you can do it as fast as 300 days? I mean Mayor Garcetti has done almost that many shelter beds in A Bridge Home. It took him about three years.

    Rick Caruso

    Well, I won’t comment on Mayor Garcetti. What I’ll comment on is what I know how to do, and I know how to build and I’ve got a team that’s done it. So, we’ve proven this out.

    There’s a place called Fort Bliss — and if you haven’t been to Fort Bliss or studied it, it’s worth studying — which is housing young children who have crossed the border that have been separated from their parents. It’s a remarkable project that was built in the matter of, I think about a month and a half. So, you can do it. We can get 30,000 beds. We’ve already talked to the providers and the builders to do it. It would be a combination of converting existing buildings into housing; the combination of bringing in Venus style tents. Fort Bliss is very well done. It has its own medical facilities, recreational facilities, its own cafeteria facilities. It has arts and crafts. It’s really an amazing place. And we’ve tested that out with the company and we know we can do it.

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