Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Work Crew Cleans Up Homeless Camps At US 101 And Henderson St.

The Sheriff's Department and a happy  work crew were spotted today working in the rain.  They were filling a large dumpster with shopping carts and other items culled from the bushes on the side of the hill across from Chevron  on U.S. 101 and Henderson St.  It is raining and muddy but that didn't stop the workers from smiling and waiving at me as I took their picture this morning. They will get to sleep in a warm dry jail tonight but the homeless that were living in the bushes will have to forage for themselves and try to stay dry as another couple of inches of rain are expected before this storm moves through.


  1. Kudos for those guys cleaning up an environmental tragedy. More people should care about the Earth.

  2. I think that those doing all the work are jail inmates. Still I think they had a choice to either go out and work or sit in a cell. I agree that is a good thing to clean things up but all of this would be moot if we had one place where the homeless could camp. There could be porta potties, trash cans and clean water all in one easy to service place instead of strewn all over the marshes and hillsides. We would all be safer too. The county only pretends to care about safety though. They use it as an excuse to get their way but moving people out of tents in the rain and cold does not necessarily make things safer.

    1. Uh, Tom...EPD went thru the encampments earlier this week and gave the transients illegally trespassing/camping there ample warning and opportunity to move. It is literally an ongoing environmental disaster in our greenbelts. Most of these people have absolutely no respect for the environment. Their camps are typically unsanitary rubbish strewn dumps. Take a walk back there sometime and see for yourself.

      By the way, history has proven that allowing the homeless a "place" to set up one large encampment is a disaster...they become violent drug and crime infested zones. I watched such an idealistic idea fail epically in Santa Cruz and Humboldt County has had its own such disaster out on the jetty. Sounds ok on paper but in reality these are often very damaged people rife with substance abuse, mental health, and criminal issues. They cant even manage their own lives. Put them together in a large group and they cannot police themselves...bad bad things inevitably happen.

  3. Did they have sanitary conditions on the jetty? Porta potties and people in charge? A small fee? Running water? People in charge? Maybe there needs to be a small campground to serve as a model and when it's full it's full until another is built. I am not giving up on the idea as long as Wall St. is not giving up on the idea of making us all homeless while they steal our country.

  4. People "in charge" yeah. Porta potties, don't know. Santa Cruz's was quite organized at least initially. But such a camp would also undoubtedly attract even a larger homeless segment to the area, further straining already over burdened resources. I don't know what the solution is but letting the camps in our greenbelt go unchecked is not it. Keep in mind, very few of these homeless individuals camping out in the greenbelts here are genuine temporarily out of work folks down on their luck and just looking to get by until they can procur steady employment. They are career freeloaders who choose to live off the public dime, career criminals, and/or folks with severe substance abuse or mental health issues.

    I know of several offered places to live (apartments under various public assistance programs) who have outright refused this opportunity because they choose to live the homeless lifestyle and don't want to have follow the rules, sober up, or conform to general societal expectations (eg be responsible, earn a living, stay at least functionally sober...). Think about their perspective...if they don't have to work, pay taxes, and can get free medical care, food stamps, and a nice check each month where's the incentive to take responsibility, improve their condition, and earn their own way? We make it too easy for some of these folks who abuse the system to do so. Better checks and balances are needed including drug testing...want your check and food stamps, pee clean each month. If you're struggling with your sobriety, we'll help you with drug and alcohol counseling. Need a job, here's some vocational training programs available to you...use the money saved by denying services to the scammers to improve services for those who really need and deserve it.

    First hand, I have seen dozens of people who traded their EBT cards for meth and heroin etc., and spend their monthly SSI checks on drugs and alcohol including assistance given specifically for their children. Ever notice the craziness in town around the first of each month when suddenly everybody seems to be tweaking? The dealers know to stock up on their products just before the first. This town is filled with able bodied men and women who can work but choose to live off SSI etc. instead claiming BS "disabilities" that either don't exist or are far less disabling than claimed...My own dad is in his mid 60's and has significant back, knee and joint problems far above and beyond what I know many of these freeloaders have to deal with, yet he is still swinging a hammer and proudly making a living for his family to this day. If you dont work (but can) then you dont eat would fix much of this abuse.

  5. You make a lot of good points. There are those that choose the lifestyle and many because they have substance abuse problems. Drug tests however don't detect booze, coke or meth after a couple of days. They would work for those that are on drugs 24/7 but mostly they just detect pot smokers.

    I also have heard of people trading their food stamps or using their SSI money for drugs. In one case the person told me they were going to sell the drugs to make more money.

    As far as free medical goes, it isn't. Here is a story from the St. Louis Dispatch:

    A St. Louis hospital said it made every effort to help a homeless woman who sought treatment for a sprained ankle and subsequently died in police custody after being arrested for refusing to leave the facility.

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that an autopsy showed blood clots killed 29-year-old Anna Brown in September when they migrated from her legs to her lungs.

    Brown's family said authorities treated her unfairly and have hired a lawyer.

    Brown was reportedly arrested for trespassing after refusing to leave St. Mary's Health Center in September. The homeless mother, who was complaining of leg pain after spraining her ankle, had visited to other hospitals earlier that week.

    The woman was taken from the hospital, hand-cuffed and in a wheelchair, after a doctor said she was healthy enough to be placed in a jail cell, the newspaper reported.

    St. Mary's Health Center said its staff followed medical guidelines and performed appropriate tests. The hospital said blood clots can go undetected in a small number of cases.

    Police have said officers had no way of knowing Brown's dire condition.

    The newspaper reported that police suspected Brown was using drugs at the time of her arrest. But an autopsy later revealed she had no drugs in her system, according to the newspaper.

    Read more:

    I am not sure what the answers are but the world can be a pretty harsh place especially for those that are down on their luck.

  6. I certainly believe that how we treat the down trodden among us reflects on our values and integrity as a society, so I am not advocating insensitivity or abandonment of services for our homeless population. Rather I want to see accountability. Health coverage costs are way better in general for them than they are for the average Joe working their butts off to make a living (unless their job happens to have a great health insurance program). And if youre illegal, that's a whole other ball of wax.

    A few years ago, my mom went to St. Joseph ER with severe abdominal pain. She had to wait for over 4 hours before she was finally properly examined due to the ER being filled with addicts/homeless individuals crowding the hospital with what were undoubtedly largely lifestyle choice related ailments (some had been arrested).

    In the end when the tired doctor finally got around to seeing her and running a few basic tests, he almost sent her home with some pain pills and precautionary antiobiotics. Thankfully my insistent step-dad wouldnt let them kiss it off. The doc finally ran some more tests and turns out she had a blood clot in her intestines. A major surgery and the better part of two weeks later in intensive care and recovery mom finally left the hospital minus about 18 inches of her intestines. Thank God she'd purchased at great expense a high deductible health insurance plan or it would have bankrupt her at around a million dollar bill.

    My mom is not rich. I guarantee you anyone of these uninsured public benefits recipients would have made it thru the surgery without being in debt. My mom is still paying off her share and her insurance premiums have doubled.

    It's a broken system. Now if they genuinely cant pay should we withhold basic health care to the low income/homeless? No. But it is frustrating and inequitable as hell. If you figure out a realistic and do-able solution, share it with me and we'll retire to our own tropical islands to hoard our riches and baske in everlasting aclaim.

  7. A Single Payer health care system would be a good place to start.

  8. It always makes me happy on the inside of my heart to see that there are still people out there that care openly and out of their time to take care of the world. Every bit counts.

    -Land Source Container Service, Inc.


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