This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Trail of Tents set up for the Homeless
Chances are you have heard about the homeless problem in which tents were set up on a well-traveled bicycle trail just a stone’s throw from Disney’s Pond Stadium in California. That was then. Now if one were to look at that very trail, you will not be able to see a single tent. A miracle you say? Perhaps, but it is more like a cheap parlor trick if you ask me.
However, before I share a few insights, let’s look at some hard facts:
Here is what was collected between Jan. 22 and March 3 from a more than two-mile stretch of bike trail roughly from I-5 in Orange to Ball Road in Anaheim, according to OC Public Works spokesman Shannon Widor according to the OC Register.
- 404 tons of debris
- 13,950 needles
- 5,279 pounds of hazardous waste (human waste)
- First-Hand Account of This Problem
I work right there at the site, and while I had genuine empathy for the homeless living there, I was also empathetic to the concerns of some of my co-workers who were afraid of confronting them at times. About a month ago I was at a gas station around the corner from work, at around 4:30 am and saw a homeless man coming toward me and screaming very aggressively. The first thing I did was look him over to make sure he was not carrying a knife. I spent a lot of time on the street as a kid so for me that was a typical reaction and what he was carrying would dictate how I would respond. He was not carrying a knife, and there was nothing I could do for him, but I did reach out to the police to see if they could help him. Some of you might think to check him for a knife is a bit paranoid but just three weeks later not even a stone’s throw from where we were two homeless guys got into a knife fight, and one was stabbed to death.
So, for a couple of days as I watched the local police clear the area of tents and occupants I was curious as to where they were being sent. Boy was I surprised to find out that the city of Anaheim, which was cast in a negative light because of the problem at the bike trail, bought 30 days of hotel stays, more than 100 of them in my town of San Clemente a little more than 30 miles away. What is going on?
Social Media is Buzzing
Less than a week after they were sent to my town, here are a few of the items that were posted on Facebook:
- Countless transients from the riverbed were dropped off in our town without notification from the county and without a plan in place.
- A father detained a transient at the train station after having been in his home and was found to have his little girl’s panties with semen on them. This transient was later discovered to be on parole.
- A transient walked the pier with a machete at his side. While we are aware this is legal, we later found out that another family felt uneasy getting out of their car because he was sharpening this machete at a storefront. This is very unnerving.
- An 18-year-old female wanted to prove a point about being kind to the homeless community by buying a transient a meal and giving him money. We later find out that this transient was doing drugs in the open without concern on the same evening. Also, multiple stories surfaced of his assault on people in the community including adult men and women, teenage girls, and defecating in the street near Antoine’s (a popular restaurant on the main strip). The 18-year-old female’s naiveté could’ve cost her bodily harm or worse.
There was another entry of one of the homeless men complaining about the amenities at the hotel where he was staying. I am thinking he must have been living in a 5-star tent there at the bike trail.
What is more distressing is the revelation from the Police Chief Mike Peters at the March 6, 2018, town hall meeting was that his team of officers, not only understaffed but pretty much powerless regarding penalties and cause for arrest thanks to Obama-era policies, isn’t that fantastic?
Now for the best part, there are only a couple of weeks left before the hotel rooms expire. Only a matter of time before our walking trail along the shoreline looks like the Anaheim bike trail.