Please report conditions in San Lorenzo Park, around the Post Office, and along the Coral St. sidewalk where numerous nightly encampments have grown. And also note the harassment actions against homeless in downtown, residential, and business areas where ticketing apparently has continued and possibly intensified.
It seems the “clear ‘em out of the downtown by containing them in San Lorenzo Park” policy is continuing–which has a sort of resignation to sanity quality to it. Promises and predictions by Chief Andy Mills, at least as far as a tolerated camping area, are so far being kept to his credit, that of Parks and Rec boss Mauro Garcia, and most uncharacteristically City Manager Martin Bernal.
However, this toleration should not be mistaken for fair and equal treatment of unhoused people in public spaces generally. The restrictive laws that include Stay-Away’s, single vehicle parking, overnight (and in some areas 24-hour) parking bans, abusive enforcement of Downtown Ordinances on Pacific stay in place.
Interestingly enough, there were no negative comments at the Tuesday 11-14 Oral Communications period of the City Council. Though why anyone would wait an hour to talk for 2 minutes (Mayor Chitty-Chatty Chase’s current time allowance during this “doghouse” period), it’s hard to fathom.
The real reason limited camper toleration is here is police enforcement is an impossibility. Both in terms of economics and real-life-consequences, the plan to drive homeless folks out of sight and out of town just doesn’t work. More and more folks face the rental rampage of landlord profiteering and the City’s endless gentrification (boondoggles for Airbnb and developers). As services are cut back or require “a path to housing” (vouchers, checks), folks appear on the streets, next to buildings, etc. As they are ticketed in the Pogonip, along the tracks, and downtown, they migrate to residential neighborhoods—causing a flurry of quacking and cawing by enraged bourgeois residents.
Inadequate Winter Shelter comes rolling down the pike starting in mid-November and expanding somewhat in December. Hopefully the opening of these mini-programs won’t be the pretext for driving folks away from San Lorenzo. Allies of those organizing to support the survival communities there should consider strategies for possible resistance.