Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Without question: “The Council…must deal with the homeless.” However a program must be fiscally prudent and be effective. It can be argued the City has been dealing with the problem for years, but has it been fiscally prudent and effective? The Council’s program is essentially a process of making conditions intolerable enough by harassment and ticketing of these people that they will simply “move on” to another community. By all accounts, it has not and is not working.
During the previous election, the homeless situation was discussed during several forums. My position was (and still is today) there are effective and productive methods to manage the problem, which do not require extensive municipal resources. My opponent however, took the position of “hell no, we won’t build a homeless shelter…if we build a shelter they will come.” Consequently, today, police resources continue to be directed to the homeless and additional police resources are planned. As I proposed some time ago, Manteca needs a resources center for the homeless at a central location that incorporates a number of city, county, health, and employment services made available to these people. My feeling is that city hall should be the positive driving force behind a community effort to develop such a facility, rather that wasting time and money by continually kicking “them” down the road.
A homeless resources center is a public service. The basic purpose of city hall is to provide for the public health, safety, and general welfare of the community, which includes its residents, its visitors, its businesses, and, yes, the homeless. A lack of response, a less than well-formed response, an unsuitable response, an untimely response, or no response at all, represents a diminishment of public service levels and runs contrary to the purpose of city hall. Further, city hall’s ongoing action of passing responsibly to the “community” to identify, to report, to respond, to determine when conditions have become hazardous, or to provide a homeless center, represents a reduction of public service levels.
I do support our community’s heartfelt efforts to step up and to assist the homeless; for an effective response from city hall may be years away or will never come.