Don Bauder 9:40 p.m., May 21
In response to my last blog, I received an e-mail from Mayor Jerry Sanders' office! It is nicely written, but clearly the words of a politician. It says nothing and seems to be the same words we have been hearing for years, just slightly different due to emphasis on the Mayor.
"... the Mayor is unable to adequately address your concerns without writing a dissertation about issues involving homeless citizens. .... we hope you’ll continue to look at the situation of homeless citizens as a challenge that we as a nation must continue to try to resolve." (this is signed by "the Mayor's office".)
It is nice to get a response, but where is the substance? The City officials just keep talking. I was really hoping the San Diego Politicos would step up, instead the Mayor suggests that we citizens see this as a challenge. I have lived in East Village over 4 years now, doing my part by reporting to the police, City Council, the Mayor & several organizations, even providing photos. The City continues to drag its' feet and pretend the homelessness will go away. It won't. I've issued challenges to the 'politicos' but I get no reponse (or respect). They all need to walk around East Village (& then over to Seaport Village and the boardwalk.) I am quite sure that has not been done. After all, politicians would need to notify the media and definitely have a camera crew to show the citizenry they can, indeed, walk. Human issues should take priority over the ideas of putting in more condos. Now, if they would get the shelter built. I do not have any answers but, there must be someone to offer suggestions or proposals. In fact the City has a contract with "National Alliance to End Homelessness", wherein San Diego agreed to a plan to have a permanent shelter by 2012. Anyone living in our fair City, should be REALLY skeptical as the City Council is just now getting around to selecting a location.
Did you all hear about the protest over using the World Trade Center Building? Apparently it is in the City of San Diego's Financial District. If I were asked, I would never have guessed that 'we' even had a Financial District!
The homeless population continues to increase. During the daytime, they are seemingly in every nook & cranny, including the recent addition of these "campgrounds" along the sidewalks. The police advised me to call them for every problem I encounter. So, those calls are almost daily, now. I do try to limit my 'exposure' by taking a circuitous route when walking to/from my place at 9th & F. I do this out of caution. I have had some unpleasant encounters & I now tend to go out less. I wish that these poor people were not on the street, but they are and from conversations I have had with many of them, there are more than a few out there by choice. One example, there were 2 young women sitting in folding chairs on 8th, between E & F, east side of street. They were scantily clad. They were from the Sacramento area and decided to come to SD to work on their tans!!!! They did not want to spend money on a room & planned to be here at least 2 months!!! There are also a million other stories in the naked city which truly does make this a multi-facteted problem without a singular solution. BUT, shouldn't somebody in this City have come up with some proposals? This is not a new issue, but the back burner in Council chambers must be filled to the brim. They talk but don't do. I have written about this issue; sent e-mails to various City officials; sought information from many sources, over the past several years. REPORT IT: the only changes I can see are an increased population & a return to aggressive panhandling.
When does helping the homeless cross over that fine line and become infringing on the lives of the residents of the City of San Diego? It is a conundrum of almost epic proportions. If you have ANY ideas, please share them with the "powers that be". I still believe the officials that run things need to get out of their offices and visit the East Village in the late evening hours. When you hear about something, without seeing it firsthand, it doesn't translate into reality. So, to borrow from other blogs: Kevin Faulconer, other City Council members, Mayor Sanders, Jan Goldsmith, San Diego Police, Clean & Safe, HOT team, etc., PLEASE do what is necessary to ensure that everyone's rights are protected. Right now, the homeless have the upper hand. I can call the police every day, but as long as the people continue to occupy the sidewalks any time, day or night, it seems the legal settlement only applies to when they are actually asleep (the 9 PM to 6 AM rule). If that is the case, then why do many of them camp out & sleep during the day? Someone, I think it may have been someone at SDPD, recently said these people are just looke for a safe place to sleep. SO AM I. But, my attempts to sleep are interrupted by screaming, arguing, general noise & barking dogs who are camping right across the street.
Here's a recent photo, taken from my apartment building: