You ask your district rep and I’ll ask mine – is Chico still collecting money for the “Shelter Crisis Designation,” and if so, where is it going?

22 Dec

It’s hard not to obsess about the transient camps when they are the first thing you see driving out of your neighborhood. We have to contrive NOT to drive by tents as we go out and about town. Living just a couple of blocks from Bidwell Park is like having a salt patch on a burn, rub it in, rub it in. Having to read letters like this in the paper is a Super Burn.

ENTERPRISE RECORD, 12/12/2020

Merry Christmas, here’s a fine for being homeless.

Is stunning lack of empathy a conservative trait?

Our community members are hurting. They have been burned out, priced out, and driven outdoors. As winter approaches they are living in tents in the park because we have a lack of affordable housing, a lack of shelter space, and a lack of social services in this county.

The conservative “solution” to this problem isn’t to create more space and services, it is to levy a fine on people whose backs are already against the wall. What do they think this is going to accomplish apart from creating a criminal class, and putting the police into contact with a population they have dealt with notoriously poorly in the past?

Can the conservatives not see the ridiculous, and by that I mean worthy of ridicule, nature of their “solution”? These people aren’t rolling in dough, if they were they’d have a house to go too.

I keep hearing conservatives say homeless people are simply lazy and need to pull themselves up. Really? The numbers of homeless are rising nationwide. Did all of these people suddenly decide to abandon their homes and be lazy? Or perhaps is there some systemic pressure that is putting people on the streets en masse?

Speaking of lazy, this conservative “emergency resolution” is about the laziest piece of legislating I’ve ever seen. If this is the best the conservative majority can come up with, Chico is in for a long 2 years.

— Bob Howard, Los Molinos

The first burn is having met Bob Howard as “Mad Bob,” a musician who made his home in Los Molinos years back, but still thinks he is allowed to complain about what we are doing in Chico.  Bob doesn’t have to look at these people, he can live in his romantic imagination – they’re just vagabonds, free spirits! They’re not going to rob his garage while he’s at work, or sell his kid crank at the playground, or stand across the street staring at his wife or college age daughter while they yank off in the bushes. 

The second burn is in agreeing with him somewhat – the new parks ordinance is a lazy and worthless piece of legislation. Read it yourself, I don’t think you need to be a lawyer to see it has no teeth whatsoever, just another discretionary law. Like, move along Buddy, and if I catch you beating off in the bushes outside this sorority house again… well… I’ll counsel you and move you along… again… 

You heard another musician say this. “Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss.” And the beards have, indeed, all grown longer overnight. The “conservatives” have done quite the about-face, all the sudden we have to find “some place for them to go.” 

A friend of mine was expressing frustration with a situation in his neighborhood. He lives very near the old Louisiana Pacific lumber yard, where he has seen transients camping for years. People seem to forget how many fires have been started there – an entire building burned down one winter – by transients. My friend and a neighbor of his have not only called the fires in but have run over to the site with picks and shovels to beat the flames back themselves. Right in the middle of a densely populated neighborhood, the city allows illegal campers to threaten homes with elderly and children inside. I’d have to ask Mad Bob – whose backs are against the wall here? 

Why aren’t these arsonists jailed? If you listen to the Chico side of the story, it’s because county DA Mike Ramsey won’t prosecute Chico Muni Code violations. Well, isn’t arson a federal offense? I would guess Ramsey is sick of trying to prosecute for urinating/defecating in public, littering and illegal camping because those are only misdemeanors. With our pathetically inadequate jail and now COVID, they would just be processed and released.  But I can’t believe he won’t prosecute for starting illegal fires. A local transient who fire bombed a college girl’s bedroom was arrested and held, but illegal campers who threaten people’s homes are not?  My friend says the fires are put out and the transients just disappear, no one is held accountable.  I believe this is a Chico problem, starting with cops who are unwilling to do their jobs and council members who are unwilling to push them to do their jobs because the Chico Police Officers Association is a big player in every local election. 

But yesterday I realized that the real lynchpin to this entire problem is the Shelter Crisis Designation, and the annual pot of money received for declaring it. Here’s a question for your district rep: why aren’t they discussing that declaration, and overturning it? Ask if they are still receiving the grant for this designation, and if so, what are they spending it on? 

I’ll  get back to you with my rep’s response, you do same. 

 

6 Responses to “You ask your district rep and I’ll ask mine – is Chico still collecting money for the “Shelter Crisis Designation,” and if so, where is it going?”

  1. bob December 22, 2020 at 5:47 pm #

    Bob Howard has a lot of room on his farm. If he wants to help so much why doesn’t he allow a few transients to pitch their tents on his land? I think the reality is that he’s fine with transient squatters as long as they’re in Chico.

    The transients aren’t going anywhere. There’s just too much money for all these government and quasi-government entities to make from them. And the crimes they commit is the justification for hiring more cops, thus making the cops union more powerful. See, everyone in government wins.

    If anything, the actions of our city bureaucracies and politicians will result in more transients coming here. How is that NOT going to happen once they create these new transients camps? Once those new camps go up the word will go out and Chico will be a destination for transients from outside the county. And if Chico can’t even afford to maintain it’s streets or even afford the transients already here how is it going to afford MORE transients? How can anyone NOT understand this?

    • Juanita Sumner December 23, 2020 at 7:34 am #

      I believe you are right, and I think it’s time to turn up the heat on the 5 conservatives. Unfortunately, my rep has not responded. I kept it nice, I didn’t accuse, I just asked. We’ll see if she has just let her mouth write a check her ass can’t cash.

      • bob December 23, 2020 at 4:54 pm #

        If you are in the cops union or other government employee union or a bureaucrat then your representative might actually respond with a real answer. Who knows, one of them might even call you Skipper. Otherwise, your representative doesn’t give a rat’s behind.

        Mark my words, as we become a city of hobos and the infrastructure continues to crumble these “representatives” will try to push through a sales tax increase and get us deeper in debt with a POB. And if they get their way nothing is going to change because they will find a way to funnel even more money to the pensions.

      • Juanita Sumner December 23, 2020 at 6:25 pm #

        Yeah, that reminds me, ask your rep what news they have on Staff’s efforts to get that POB shoved through!

  2. bob December 24, 2020 at 10:08 am #

    A very large transient population is now a permanent fixture in Chico. And it will only grow. This is inevitable when government and quasi-government bureaucracies sprout up like mushrooms to deal with “homelessness.”

    Once the vast majority of government taxes, programs and bureaucracies are up and running, they never go away. They only grow. And they never solve the problems they were created to solve. This situation in Chico will be no different. A blind man a mile away could have seen this coming years ago.

    It’s beyond naive to think that Butte County and the City of Chico can solve “homelessness.” Hell, they can’t even keep the streets from falling apart. What they can and will do regarding this issue is raise taxes, spend millions of dollars, pad their pensions and attract increasing numbers of people with mental health problems and drug and alcohol addiction into the county and city with no clue as to how to deal with these people.

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