Our new quest by Kelly Bennett examining the scope of homelessness drove a lot of discussion this week. Some of those comments are highlighted here, as well as comments on a lease extension approved by City Council, medical translation services and Mayor Bob Filner.
My brother was forced out of the Navy after almost 18 years due to mental illness. He eventually became homeless. I spent a lot of time helping him and trust me, it was not easy. Finally, he went and sat in his congressman’s office, till they arranged for him to be seen at the VA. He was in the hospital for 3 months due to a drug-resistant strain of bacteria in a foot ulcer and other problems. From there he went to a shelter and eventually got a small VA pension and in a small town in Oregon, he could live on that. He had zero interest in returning to the “lifestyle” of homelessness, where he was hungry, beaten, robbed, sick, unable to get prescription drugs, etc. Sure, if he were not mentally ill, he could have navigated the whole thing. (And for you saying they won’t work, no, he worked at whatever he could, mostly manual labor.) But even for me, who has experience in this area, it took a lot of time and was not easy.
It’s hard to believe that anyone could take the statements by Filner and Gloria seriously. They are politicians who will say anything to get elected, no matter how unrealistic it is. It isn’t possible to end homelessness in one city. People move and migrate all of the time. A city with more government services, and decent weather will be a magnet for more transients.
One benefit, to users of Mission Bay Park, isn’t mentioned. When the Bahia Hotel does undertake redevelopment of the leasehold, the leasehold itself will shift somewhat easterly and lengthen a bit toward the tip of Gleason Point, as depicted in the “Land Use” chapter of the 1994 Mission Bay Park Master Plan.
The direct benefit to be gained by park users is that the shift will make possible construction of a 10-foot-wide continuous bicycle/pedestrian path along the shoreline, opening up the west side of the point, accessible today only by pedestrians walking on sand at low tide (not much used). Today, bicyclists have to use the road on the east (pedestrians can walk on the grass), then enter the leasehold itself through a gate at the north end of the property, riding through the leasehold and parking lots before reaching the Bayside Walk (or vice versa). The road and public parking will be retained to provide public access to the end of the point.
Like many problems in my neighborhood, I assumed there were better solutions in place but not that surprised that once again refugees are left to fend for themselves.
This seems like an excellent opportunity for an entrepreneur to create a service. While I can see the wisdom in making it reimbursable via health insurance, why wait? You’d think there would be lots of people willing to make a decent living doing medical translation, paid for by the patient.
The issue isn’t that Mayor Filner is everywhere, but that San Diego is used to having mayors who were nowhere. Whoever is giving the mayor advice is genius — because as a skate park advocate, I’m here to tell you that “Skate se puede” is absolutely awesome. Mucho street cred for the mayor.
Comments were lightly edited to fix typos and spelling.
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Dagny Salas is the web editor at Voice of San Diego. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5669.
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