The city is finally trying to do something about the tent cities — the encampments of homeless throughout downtown. But its new actions seem to be more about herding than helping.
In recent days, “police have cleared East Village sidewalks, a move they say was spurred by the need to power-wash the area,” our Lisa Halverstadt reports in a new story.
On its face, that sounds reasonable in the light of the city’s deadly hepatitis A outbreak. However, “the city’s move to clear the streets of the East Village before it’s secured a medium- or long-term solution seems to defy preliminary guidance from consultants hired by the federal government, according to a document obtained by Voice of San Diego.”
Indeed, the homeless have few places to go, and pushing them out of East Village raises the prospect that the outbreak will spread to other parts of the city and county, especially Balboa Park. Then again, the filth of the targeted downtown encampments seems to be a prime mover behind the outbreak.
Our story explains what’s happening, includes comments from officials and residents, and notes that many of the targeted homeless aren’t accepting help, some because they don’t trust the cops who give them tickets.
• Four scary words: Hepatitis A vaccine shortage. The U-T reports that there are rumblings about one this fall.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Seems as if the people at the bottom always pay the price while the people at the top - often the perpetrators of the problem - go happily on their way with no price at all.
The Hep A crisis was created in large part - maybe all part - because city officials have ignored the homeless problem for so many years with the merest of help for the situation. Now that the Hep A crisis has happened, city officials have jumped, albeit rather sluggishly, to "fix" the problem and look good in the public's eye. The "fix" however has meant further problems for the homeless who have no place to go while the streets are being sanitized. Of course, the city has long tried to move the homeless out of these areas and went so far as to put sharp rocks in places where they were camped. So now, the city's fine and dandy with a "good" reason to clear the streets.
As I said, the people at the bottom are paying the price. Faulconer and his cronies will just have another meeting in a safe, clean room to congratulate each other on the good job they're doing over coffee and pastries. The homeless should be so lucky.