Opinion: La Jollans should be persistent with homeless complaints

By James P. Rudolph
La Jolla resident

As many readers of the La Jolla Light have no doubt noticed, there are more and more homeless people hanging out (and in some cases sleeping) near the CVS store on Pearl Street. From a humanitarian perspective, this is sad. The City of San Diego’s Homeless Outreach Team (“HOT”), which is “available to assist the community with homeless-related issues,” clearly is not doing enough to respond to this growing problem.  The best thing to do is call HOT as often as possible. The number is (858) 490-3850.

In the meantime, if this option seems inadequate, calling the non-emergency San Diego Police Department number is an alternative. The number is (858) 484-3154. If the individual is sleeping on the street or in a nearby area, the offense is called illegal lodging. Police officers are not automatically allowed to issue tickets for illegal lodging; however, if the homeless individual refuses to move to a nearby homeless shelter, the officer can issue the ticket.

In most cases, these individuals need professional help, and the City of San Diego can and must offer its services. Apart from this, La Jollans (and people in other parts of San Diego facing similar problems) have every right to maintain the cleanliness and charm of their town. Many of the areas frequented by homeless individuals are filled with personal effects, rubbish and other ill-smelling items.

This economic downturn has taken its toll on most individuals, and we should keep that in mind. At the same time, revitalizing La Jolla certainly entails getting the homeless off the streets and into the shelters. La Jolla and the homeless deserve nothing less.

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Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=5059

Posted by Phil Dailey on Nov 3, 2010. Filed under La Jolla, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

3 Comments for “Opinion: La Jollans should be persistent with homeless complaints”

  1. "HOT"

    The recent cartoon in response to the above letter, which injected a little levity into the conversation, was well received. However, in the interest of completeness, it should be noted that the offense of illegal lodging includes, in addition to a ticket, removal from the site of the lodging.

    Thus, while it is true that homeless individuals probably can't afford to pay for a ticket, it is also true that this approach at least moves these individuals closer to properly supervised shelters. And that, it should go without saying, is a step in the right direction.

  2. jlb

    It's fascinating to me that rather than attempt to ameliorate a social condition by deducing to the source of the problem of homeless San Diegans, we want to find the quickest and fastest way to get rid of this aesthetic inconvenience.

    People are living in poverty all around us and we're irritated we have to look at them when we want to go to the CVS down the street to purchase all of the products we consume, probably because we're too busy hating ourselves instead of reaching out a hand to help a stranger and calling the homeless back home. Whereas if Mr. Rudolph chose to join HOT himself and reform their current strategies, I am sure he would find it much more effective and affecting than fervent disgruntled blogging as a means to channel his energy.

    I love San Diego, but I continue to be baffled at the cavalier temperament towards how close wealth and poverty exist among one another in this county, especially in cities like La Jolla. Shame on all of you.

    • Noel

      JLB: Whoa. Shame is a strong and emotionally charged word. I'd say shame on you, but that would be stooping to your debased and ad hominem level. This is not about casting blame or being transparently one-sided ; it's about finding a balance between maintaining the charm (and profitability) of a place and finding a safe environment for homeless individuals. Those (including Mr. Rudolph) who write (not blog) about these issues do not, as you suggest, hate themselves. Rather, they care enough about their neighborhoods and the homeless to write in and raise an issue that most people — including the SDPD — simply ignore.

      Where I come from, it's all about putting your money where your mouth is, so go ahead and join some group — we'll be happy to hear about your experience. In the meantime, please know that La Jolla is not, as you suggest, a "city"; it's just a neighborhood in San Diego. This is an issue for all of us to tackle.

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