Nextdoor: Interesting conversation with a woman who claims to be “homeless”

19 Dec

I’ve been stuck in the house the last few days with a cold. Been doing a lot of reading.  Yesterday I read an interesting conversation on the social network site for neighbors, Nextdoor.

A woman has been trying for a couple of months now to start a productive conversation on “Solutions to Homelessness.” I welcome a good conversation on this topic, and wonder why we haven’t had one. I see it goes rude pretty fast.

In October, the woman started the conversation with, “I am starting a new thread because the last thread on homelessness was getting ridiculous! If you care to comment on this thread please give us REASONABLE solutions that would help the homelessness in our community.”

I wondered, how did the previous conversation go off track?

The October thread seemed to be moving along well. Various neighbors chimed in with their feelings about the umbrella that is “homelessness”, their compassion for these people and their frustration. Councilwoman Reneatte Fillmer talked about various agencies that work with “homeless” and “mentally ill” and encourages neighbors to donate to those agencies that need the most help. Other neighbors retorted politely but firmly that these agencies are bringing more “homeless” and “mentally ill” to our area from outside, and we need to make Chico “less hospitable” to these folks.

Then the thread quieted down, and no more remarks were made until yesterday, when a woman named “Teena” wandered into the conversation and began attacking neighbors who expressed any kind of negativity toward “homeless.”  I don’t know if she’s genuine or an actor having a riot of a time, but she seems familiar.

Here’s the most recent message she posted – other messages were directed at other posters, by name, rude, hostile and ugly.

Oh if yr. referring 2 me, I will reply on what I read. And speak my feelings Just like ya people speak yrs. So ya have no room 2 tell me what 2 do. I am very much “CIVIL”. And guess what I finally got heard I got 10 comments back (WOW) & I will ” REPLY”. I am not mean but I & my HOMELESS FRIENDS are very tired of the Community Shit. They know nothing about all of us. Just what they see & assume it’s all the homeless. Yes we are not perfect. But ya people are not down town or anywhere else seeing what I see all hours of the NITE, cause yr. All tucked in yr. Nice warm beds. Do ya people forget what town ya live in? College, ya people have no idea what they do? I watch!!! So back off some


I feel I recognize Teena – she’s snarled at me as I’ve entered the grocery store or rode my bike through the park, she’s gibbered at me in the post office annex when I’ve tried to retrieve my mail, she’s accosted me in the parking lot of various retail centers, telling me I should give her some money because I enjoy the luxury of owning a car.

One day I sat in our car at Safeway, waiting for my husband to come out of the store, watching a disheveled woman meandering the parking lot, seemingly a drunken, random path, sometimes she’d stumble, her legs did not seem so sure.  Except, she was walking very close to and examining various cars, looking inside, eyeballing the doors. I sat watching, waiting to see if she would enter any of the cars, but she disappeared. Was that “Teena”?

In the above post she reminds us, the college students get wild Downtown at night. Some people, myself included, believe the rash of tire slashings has been done by young people, who either live in Chico or come into town to party. Those of us old folks know it’s not just college students, but college age people in general, most of them living in a traditional home and many of them gainfully employed. Yeah, they come Downtown to get drunk, and drunks are not very nice. That’s a separate problem, and I don’t think the city or county is getting a handle on that either.

The problem with these self-described “homeless” is they want to act like that 24-7. They don’t pay bills, they expect to be treated like back-door cousins. They are overwhelming public services meant for local people. They are sending whole parts of town into blight.  They are a black hole on our economy. The use the word “homeless” like a shield. 

As of this morning posters are starting to get angry that this woman is allowed on their private message board. If I could be sure she was genuine, I’d say, “let her blow her mouth.” If she’s for real, she’s her own worse enemy.

I’m happy to see a conversation where people are being honest about their feelings toward this army of the night. I’m glad to see more people express how I feel – things the county and city are doing are actually attracting bad people here, people who think we not only must tolerate their bad behavior but put them up with lodging. We’re supposed to be cheerful and jolly when they growl at our young children, or make obscene threats because we didn’t treat them to their liking.  More and more I see ranters – people who just wander and yell at nobody in particular  – if I acted like that at a city council meeting, I’m afraid Chris Constantin would taser me.

Most Nextdoor posters have expressed a desire to help these people, but “enough is enough,” and “there’s only so much room at the inn...”

I  think it’s interesting that Reanette Fillmer tells us we need to give money to various agencies that deal with these people. Butte County CAO Paul Hahn reported, with Fillmer sitting right across the table from him, that Butte County already spends over half the budget on homeless, mentally ill, and families with dependent children.

Fillmer is a Cal PERS employee. Her interest is funding Cal PERS. Cal PERS is in a deep amount of trouble, having lost another round on the stock market, they are demanding more money from public entities. Council member Randall Stone explains what this will mean to Chico on his Facebook:

I know, Stone is pandering for 2016, just read the article.

Remember, Cal PERS not only owes all those pensions to all those retirees, they  also get salaries, benefits and pensions for themselves. Their salaries are comparable to those in Bell, California, and they pay NOTHING toward their benefits and pensions. Are you getting the picture?

Perpetuating the influx of homeless into this area perpetuates half the county budget Folks. Behavioral Health Director Adrian Kittrell has the highest salary in Butte County – about $269,000/year, out of which he pays NOTHING for his $82,000 benefits/pension package.  And he has the nerve to say he  can’t afford to do outreach. He’s just a stuffed suit who moves between the seat of his car and meeting room chairs. 

I am wary to chime in on the Nextdoor conversation –  whenever I start talking about public compensation around here, somebodies get their nose out and that’s the end of the conversation.  But, I’ll try to keep an eye on it. 




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