Tougher Homeless Strategy Needed
Wednesday - January 05, 2011
To: Mayor Peter Carlisle
The last time I addressed a MidWeek column to you - about the Waikiki Natatorium - you ignored it. OK. I’ve been ignored by the best. But I’m a persistent fellow.
So I send you my considered opinion that, in your two-year fill-in term of office, you’ll not be judged by progress on the transit train or road pavement. No, people will ask what you did or did not do about the heavily Mainland-origin homeless camped in our parks and on our sidewalks.
The sharpest of the homeless evade laws against park and sidewalk camping. They use huge umbrellas, no-sided canopies and figure the cops can’t do anything about sidewalk encampment because there are no orders yet from you for city trucks to haul off sidewalk obstructions.
I’ve appreciated the way Long Beach does it. The cops give you 30 minutes to evacuate. Then your stuff not gone is off to the junkyard.
Cruel? Absolutely not. We do provide homeless shelters and can build more. The hard-core won’t go to shelters. They don’t want to live by any rules. I fail to understand this pussyfooting about homeless encroachment. I was walking the Old Stadium Park sidewalk and a homeless-structure bag containing a very heavy metal object caught a big gust of wind, blew off and bloodied my ankle.
It’s not rocket science to legally evict the homeless from regularly used public property. Check out Key West.
It also doesn’t require political brilliance to figure out that we need a safe-shelter piece of property where the homeless can tent, get water, have portable toilets and showers, and a security force. If we had that, we’d be even more justified in scooping up structures on city properties.
There’s much expertise available on this subject here and in other cities. This isn’t unexplored territory. It’s just ignored territory.
No, people won’t ask, “Did he start building the train?”
They’ll ask, “Do we still have the homeless camping in our parks and on our sidewalks?”
And they should. If the answer to that is “yes,” then they should say we need a new mayor.
I expect a court will make short work of a lawsuit by the family of Thomas Joseph Loewe, who was shot and killed by police in 2008 as he tried to escape Pearlridge Center in a stolen car.
He’d rammed two blocking police cruisers before an officer shot him five times. The family claims seven shots were fired, and claims that’s excessive force. But one good shot can kill, and how’s a court to decide if just one, two or three shots are OK while four and five are not?
Were police supposed to just say, “Please, Mr. Loewe, quit smashing our cars and step out of yours”?
The prosecutor’s office ruled that use of deadly force was justified in this case.
But as you know, anybody can sue for anything.
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