Time to end town policy of ignorance

To the Editor:

A letter from Blake Lehman was published in last week’s paper that attempts to blame two individuals in our community for the homeless population that reside here and for the loss of Casali’s trash business.

For years many businesses and townspeople have justifiably been complaining about the human feces and other disgusting trash around their businesses and homes, a situation that for health and safety concerns must be resolved. This is happening all over the country and solutions require creative thinking and a management plan. Yet, many of these same people, (Blake included), have fought with great vigor to stop the placement of public restrooms in our towns, and blame the homeless population’s continued presence here on the free meals that serve all comers without discrimination.

John Casali is the person responsible for the Highway Patrol’s involvement with his trash. Deb Carey stopped and was checking out the contents of the "display" trash bags at Evergreen Road finding camp stoves, sleeping bags, tents, food and personal items of the campers, and John tried to stop her.

He called the sheriff’s office and a Highway Patrol lieutenant showed up and didn’t like what he was seeing. Deb runs a free meal on Fridays when she can, and had been told by several clients that their camping/survival gear had been stolen while they were eating and their camps left unattended.

This is robbery. Several homeless people have had to replace three or four sleeping bags in the past few months. This leaves people dangerously vulnerable at the coldest time of the year and is a deplorable tactic.

Some people on the streets are economic refugees, some are addicts, some are mentally ill and some are just not cut out to live the same way I may choose to live, but they are human beings with the right to survive.

There are people in this community that believe the only way to deal with these souls is "eradication, elimination or relocation."

After watching 20 plus years of the same dominant attitude, nothing has changed. To my thinking, this opinion represents Einstein’s theory of insanity ... repeating the same actions over and over, expecting a different result.

Down here in SoHum, we have no government. Who is it that makes these decisions for us? Who determines the direction we take to deal with troubling issues? The county takes the taxes we generate and applies them to road work primarily, leaving all civic needs for the community to solve on its own.

And yet when they have been approached for permission to locate a restroom in town, or allow the usage and management of Jim DeMulling Veteran’s Park they refuse. They say that they will do nothing that will tear apart the fabric of our community.

The county is aware of the polarization.

We have no transitional housing in Southern Humboldt, no extreme weather shelter, and no public restrooms.

Isn’t it time to move our towns into the 21st century and really demonstrate our self-respect and respect for pregnant women, the elderly, school children and the valued tourists? Research studies have been done that prove that public restrooms even in downtown urban areas do not attract crime and loitering, with appropriate restroom design allowing for a reasonable degree of privacy, but not for parties.

No Blake, Paul and Kathy, Deb Carey and others that have spent years of their lives in the care and advocacy for people without a voice and living in the most dire of circumstances, are not standing alone anymore. There are numerous community members that support them and are willing to come out and do what is necessary to lay claim to the fact that we here are a compassionate, intelligent, loving and solutions-oriented people, and that the time for ignorant bigotry as town policy is over.

Jacquelin Pantaleo

Redway

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