"We don't need the harassment anymore," said Jonathon Rosita at Wednesday's city council meeting. "Why don't you just put it at Newton, huh? Stop playing with Golden Hall, and stop playing games with us."
Rosita was one of the many homeless who urged councilmembers to abandon their proposal to transform the Golden Hall concourse into a temporary winter shelter and opt for the location at 1625 Newton Avenue in Barrio Logan.
During the meeting, city staff told councilmembers that to place a winter shelter at Golden Hall would displace tenants and cost approximately $300,000. The Newton Avenue site, a vacant building that was once occupied by the San Diego Housing Commission, would cost the City a fraction of that — approximately $20,000 in small repairs and security lighting.
Despite the majority opinion expressed by community members, homeless advocates, and some councilmembers to locate the shelter on Newton Avenue, council president Ben Hueso remained opposed to placing the shelter in his district.
"Not all possibilities have been explored," said Hueso, commenting on what he believed to be a failure on the part of city staff to look at all the options. "I just don't feel like we have the cooperation from our staff on vetting [these other locations] out thoroughly. I'm just not seeing that....
"There was a person who was killed by a homeless person in Golden Hill, is that not true?" Hueso asked San Diego Police Captain Boyd Long.
"I don't remember the case," Captain Long said.
"A homeless person actually killed one of our residents. There's fear in our community, whether it's rational or irrational," added Hueso.
After assurances from Captain Long that the police department would work closely with the Alpha Project and Perkins Elementary administrators to make sure that the area stays safe for the residents of Barrio Logan, the council voted to place the winter shelter on Newton Avenue.