Oh boy, yet ANOTHER Committee Meeting on Homelessness! Buena Park, Nov. 5

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One more homeless person died today on the streets of Orange County – but never mind, it’s time for Yet Another Homeless Committee Meeting with the Local Politicians and Consultants!

Dateline Buena Park Nov 5, 9 am Homeless Committee Meeting

A wonderful sunny Tuesday morn, and the political hacks gather for yet another meeting to rehash the same information on homelessness presented at 1,000 other meetings for many years.

The five political “leaders” sat in those big comfortable chairs high up on the dais and looked down on the rest of us. They were ensconced in comfort with their drinks probably hiding the whiskey infused mixture as a cup of coffee.

And they listened intently to the same exact information they have heard 10 times, 20 times, 100 times before over the last several years.

Homeless bureaucratic experts speak:

The same bean counters give the figures – “the homeless numbers are growing and are overwhelming the system. If we do not do something immediately we will be inundated with the numbers of poor, out of work, disabled, mentally ill and drug infused homeless people” – the same thing they’ve said at the same meetings for several years now!

The 100 mostly uncaring individuals in the audience take it all in and poop it out when they get home never to revisit the numbers or solutions again – one of the primary problems…

There are exactly EIGHT members in the audience that actually care and work with the homeless people on a daily or weekly basis.

The city rep speaks:

“The cities can’t afford to do it alone” the city rep cried “we need tens of millions of dollars from the state and feds.” Whether a million or a zillion, it would never be enough as far as the bureaucrats are concerned.

These are the cities in Orange County that rank among the richest in the world; cities with budgets the size of many countries that are asking for financial aid to help them with the homeless issue. Maybe Uganda can kick in some money too?

I have seen with my own eyes a city council in Anaheim for instance vote to spend $12 million to look into the concept of a street car down Katella from ARTIC to Disneyland; $12 million just to look into the project, to take the facts and figures no matter how twisted and make them look straight, ahh the bureaucrat’s way.

And the cities whine we don’t have the money…

Hear the whine…

Feel the Berning whine…

The Buena Park Police Chief told us that a quarter of police time is spent on the homeless issue. So – we have the money for 25% of the police force and code officers to chase the homeless people around town but no money to implement real statistical and evidence-based solutions?

CONFISCATE AND ARREST is the policy in place.

Arrest the homeless people for loitering or camping or looking homeless, confiscate their belongings, put them in prison for the night, throw away their stuff and let them out at 3 am to face the cold dark night with nothing but their lives that will be cut short.

Take away their belongings throw them away and toss the people back on the streets at 3 am – “that will teach them not to be homeless” is the bureaucratic cry in the OC!

I really did this!

I asked the police chief from Buena Park straight out “Corey,” I suggested, “would you agree that a shoot-on-sight ordinance would work to rid us of the homeless people for good?” He laughed, in that knowing way. I fell back on the other position and said “OK, just arrest and confiscate then?”

The Hunger Games OC: Shoot to Kill

The police spot a homeless man or woman – anyone that looks poor, handicapped, mentally handicapped, drunk or on drugs (this could include any politician also). They stop them mark them with a target on their back and let them go. They have a 5 minute head start then the cops go after them. Each officer can only use their side arm to shoot and must be at least 100 feet away for a shot, no survivors or the ER visits will tap the system. This is good training for the officers and takes care of the homeless population (and politicians too).

Back to the meeting: Prop 47 rears its head

“Prop 47 is dumping people on the streets, exacerbating the homeless problem!” claimed one official. The typical blame game, it is someone else’s fault.

Stop the show for a photo op

And the many cameras in the room closed in for some close ups of the politicians!

Graffiti found on bus bench by Chairman Vern, 2015

Facts on prop 47

  • Only 7% of the homeless people on the streets of OC got out of jail as a result of prop 47.
  • Prop 47 released from our prisons those that are there for petty crimes like a gram of meth or a gram of coke or even an ounce of meth or an ounce of coke.
  • Prop 47 released you from jail early if you were arrested for stealing a bike or a case of beer.
  • Prop 47 released you from jail early if you wrote a bad check or forged a check under $950.

Racial profiling

“Our findings suggest that efforts like Prop. 47 are an effective way to decrease the disparity in drug arrests between Blacks and Whites,” said Alyssa Mooney, MPH, a doctoral student in the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and first author of the paper, published June 21 in the American Journal of Public Health.

The basis for the law, which passed overwhelmingly in California, was to reverse the lengthy sentences for low level drug use and penalties that target specifically the minority communities. In a country fueled by opiods, mostly abused by middle class and wealthy white people it seemed stupid to put a black person in jail for drugs.
2017 – 1,500 white people died in California from opiods and 147 black people.

The #1 ER visits for opioid overdoses is in the beach cities. How many white people do you know or have known or even heard of that are in prison for a $500 bad check?

But for the homeless enforcement is different:

I have seen the police arrest and then confiscate homeless person’s belongings for a gram or less of Meth – I saw a tiny bag the size of your thumbnail of meth or? At a different location I watched the police give a ticket for possession of meth to a man that was not homeless.

To the committee, the police chief states:

“The jails have turned into the mental health, rehab and homeless facilities.”

Those most in need, the poor, the mentally ill, the disabled vets, the addicts are thrown in a cell for a day or a week then released back on the streets and are expected to not be homeless OR ELSE.

The meeting peters out as the homeless advocate’s line up to beg for some real solutions and not just meetings.

Final Thought

The richest cities in the world can kick in any amount of money they want to solve the homeless problem with evidence based solutions.

The OC Board of Supervisors has $1 Billion in extra money called discretionary funding; they could spend it on real evidence based solutions OR they could spend some of that $1 Billion in discretionary county funds on a giant wagging finger that waves at the homeless in an accusing way as they leave the jail.

“YOU BETTER WATCH OUT,” the wagging finger would boom over and over in a menacing voice.

The 5 OC Board of Supervisors state in unison “That will teach them to stop being homeless” – and a good expenditure of funds if someone on the board’s brother in law designs and builds the big finger.

Or, maybe we should just give our local politicians the finger? Yes, give the politicians the finger, but please lend a whole hand to the advocates that strive to help the homeless.

Next report coming up: Trying to eat at “Bridges at Kraemer”

About Fingal O'Flahertie

Fingal is an Orange County resident/entrepreneur, sometimes world traveler and man about the house.