A group of 11 mayors from California’s largest cities converged on Sacramento on Wednesday to petition Governor Jerry Brown for funds to deal with the state’s homelessness epidemic.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the number of homeless in the state is up 16 percent since 2015 to approximately 134,000 people.
The mayors of San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Long Beach, Sacramento, Oakland, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Anaheim are calling on Brown to support legislation that would set aside 25 percent of the state’s projected $6.1 billion surplus for programs to combat homelessness.
Fox News reported in February that Anaheim, facing a public health crisis, moved out a two-mile-long encampment of homeless people along the city’s Santa Ana River walk, not far from Disneyland.
“Trash trucks and contractors in hazmat gear have descended on the camp and so far removed 250 tons of trash, 1,100 pounds of human waste and 5,000 hypodermic needles,” according to Fox.
“It’s becoming part of the permanent landscape in those communities and there is no way we are going to allow Orange County land that is supposed to be used by residents to be occupied by the homeless,” said Todd Spitzer, who sits on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
The city has made clear the homeless will not be allowed to camp again along the river walk because of the health hazard created by the water runoff to the surrounding area. As a temporary stopgap, the city government moved hundreds into area motels, but is seeking out more permanent solutions.
Spitzer says legislation signed by Brown is partly responsible for the problem, pointing specifically to lessening the penalties for drug-related crimes and removing mandatory treatment for drug abuse and mental health issues.
“When I was a prosecutor, the law behind possession was a felony,” said Spitzer, a former deputy district attorney. “We would use the hammer under the law of a felony. We would force someone into treatment and upon successful treatment, the felony would be dismissed. Now look what we have as a result of ridiculous short-sighted liberalization of drug use.”
The Los Angeles Times editorial board labeled the homeless crisis in the City of Angels a “national disgrace” earlier this year.
The editors noted that in the areas most strongly impacted, “drugs such as heroin and crystal meth are easily available, sexual assault and physical violence are common and infectious diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis and AIDS are constant threats.”
Within Los Angeles County, the problem is growing.
“Homelessness burst its traditional borders several years ago, spreading first to gloomy underpasses and dim side streets, and then to public parks and library reading rooms and subway platforms,” the Times observed.
“No matter where you live in L.A. County, from Long Beach to Beverly Hills to Lancaster, you cannot credibly claim today to be unaware of the squalid tent cities, the sprawling encampments, or the despair and misery on display there.”
As reported by The Western Journal, the “diseased streets” of San Francisco are being compared to some of the worst slums in the world.
Dr. Lee Riley — an infectious disease expert with the University of California, Berkeley — contended that in some ways, the City by the Bay is worse off.
“The contamination is … much greater than communities in Brazil or Kenya or India,” he said, while pointing out that in those countries, slums often serve as long-term housing, and thus, their residents work to maintain them.
But in San Francisco, he suggested that the homeless do not make an effort to keep the streets clean because they are forced to move around frequently.
NBC News affiliate KNTV discovered “a dangerous mix of drug needles, garbage, and feces throughout downtown San Francisco” and photographed nearly a dozen hypodermic needles scattered across a single city block.
Radio talk show host Tammy Bruce, who is a California native, blames the liberal agenda — with its emphasis on big government entitlements and job killing taxes over personal responsibility and opportunity — for much of the Golden State’s woes.
“Liberal policy failure is all around us and destroys lives every day,” she wrote in a piece for The Washington Times. “In California, the destruction of society and individual lives has become so overwhelming, the state’s liberal overseers now spend their time covering up where they can and normalizing the chaos as much as possible.”
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