A number of Alameda County, California, homeowners were less than pleased to find out they are being forced to split the cost of a roughly $20,000 cleanup effort undertaken to remove a local homeless encampment.
According to KPIX, the now-abandoned encampment, situated by a creek adjacent to Walsh Property Management’s 75-residence Castro Valley housing development, was made known to local authorities as early as 2017.
Misunderstandings, however, as to whose land the camp sat on and who would be responsible — Alameda County, East Bay Regional Parks or the nearby development’s Lakewood Home Owners Association — led to nearly 2 years of inaction.
And come August 2019, when the county finally determined the camp did in fact spill over onto development land, the cost of that inaction was to be shouldered by members of the HOA — which is overseen by Walsh Property Management — to the tune of $300 per homeowner.
Homeowners in Castro Valley say they shouldn’t be responsible for the cost of cleaning up an abandoned homeless encampment. https://t.co/uKNfxKhPVm
— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) January 26, 2020
“There are no fences and such that would mark where the property line ended, so we were kind of hoping that it was someone else’s responsibility,” Walsh Property Management owner Ed Walsh told KPIX.
“Unfortunately this one happened to be on the association’s property.”
But many of the homeowners themselves are hardly willing to see the matter as an unfortunate misunderstanding and pay up.
In fact, judging from remarks made by 16-year Lakewood community resident Cece Adams, the running feeling among homeowners seems to be that they were written off as collateral damage in a conflict of incompetence between inactive local authorities and an irresponsible property manager.
“We didn’t even know it was part of our HOA,” Adams told KPIX.
“No one knew it was their responsibility. I think everyone assumed it was [the] county’s responsibility.”
“They should have known that this was our property, and they should have taken care of it a long time ago,” she added.
And who could blame Adams and her fellow HOA residents for feeling that way?
Sunday @latimes dominated by the crucible of homelessness in LA lead by @LATstevelopez on the hell that comes when a homeless camp forms outside your window. https://t.co/JQiBxeAEM4 pic.twitter.com/P0vqY6Wm9T
— Shelby Grad (@shelbygrad) November 17, 2019
— The Press Democrat (@NorthBayNews) January 27, 2020
Suddenly the world has gone mad and progressive local governments across the nation — especially in California — have decided it is no longer in the public interest to enforce the law and prevent growing metropolitan homeless population from harassing everyday citizens and defacing both public and private property.
Of course, the leaders who have ushered in this sort of governmental impotence will tell you it was out of compassion.
But sometimes compassion means doing what is right by someone, rather than what is “nice.”
And one can hardly understand how allowing problems such as this to persist could even be considered nice, let alone right.
Allowing American citizens to live in persistent squalor — rather than enforcing laws of public decency, addressing unaddressed mental health needs and advocating for the return of low-bar-for-entry labor opportunities that might lift some of these individuals out of poverty — is neither right nor nice.
Unfortunately, however, vast swathes of Americans on both sides of the aisle much prefer solutions that make people feel good to solutions that make American life good.
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