Check out what readers are discussing about homelessness, hospital billing, the cleanup plan for La Jolla Cove, arbitration and the mayor’s tussle with the tourism industry:
• Merideth Spriggs on “ ‘Maybe We Should’ve Waited’“:
I have spent the past seven years working with the homeless in San Diego, and it is an exciting time to be in homeless services because of all of the positive changes. The mayor’s office, City Council members, social service providers, faith-based leaders and concerned citizens are coming together realizing that things must be done differently. City leaders are asking agencies and homeless individuals, “How do we make it better?”
Connections housing is what the city of San Diego felt was the best “solution to ending homelessness” back in April 2009. The city completed the project and it opened its doors to the first residents in February 2013. The project housed 150 formerly homeless clients in the 90-day transitional bed program, and 73 in permanent supportive units. The project has made a difference in hundreds of lives and will continue to do so for those who enter its doors.
However there is the ever growing problem where do those 150 in the transitional beds go after the program is over? The answer, there is none. In San Diego we are suffering for a lack of affordable housing. This is where the community needs to focus its efforts.
Are we really helping if someone gets off the streets, graduates from a program, ends back up on the streets, then enters another program, and continues to repeat the cycle? Is that person still homeless? Yes, they in fact are. The only way for the homeless to not be caught in the revolving door of social services is to provide more affordable housing.
One of my suggestion is we reallocate vouchers to help place the most vulnerable in housing. We need more housing vouchers for the city to be given to agencies. Connections is a great first step, but now there is more work to be done.
• Carrie Schneider on “ SD Hospital Charges Vary Dramatically, Outpace National Averages“:
I can confirm that it’s impossible (not just difficult, but impossible) to get information on prices before services are performed. I had a routine screening procedure at Scripps Green about a year ago. The pre-procedure information contained a disclaimer that the hospital couldn’t guarantee that my insurance would cover it. Concerned, I called the hospital and Aetna several times to find out what I would be paying and it was impossible to get them to give me an answer.
• Robert Castaneda on “ San Diego, Seal Research Capital: Fact Check“:
I understand that the city of San Diego is embarking on a contract to clean up seal poop; will there be an RFP? I can’t think of a better solicitation for “Managed Competition” in an effort to cut out city employees. Come to think of it, exactly how would you qualify a firm for doing such work? Will there be a “smell” test” given this expenditure of public dollars?
• Omar Passons on “ Justice for Sale, Part Three: The War on Consumer Class Actions“:
The whole reason class actions exist is to create a way to make people whole when there is no incentive for them to bring the suit on their own. Here, where the barrier to getting your rights vindicated is a one-page form and a telephone call, there is almost no fear of it not being worth someone’s time to file. In fact, with a recovery of more than 1000 times their actual harm I’m surprised everyone who bought an AT&T phone didn’t try to use their more than generous dispute resolution procedure. I’m not even a particular supporter of the system of arbitration, it is frequently patently unfair. But this journalism isn’t even an attempt to give people enough information to make an informed decision about the topic.
• Chris Brewster on “The Flaw in Filner’s TMD Demand“:
I agree that the mayor shouldn’t dismiss or downplay their claims merely because they are wealthy people. However, I think the bigger point is that the money in question is collected from tourists by hoteliers, turned over to the city via a collections process, then turned over to the TMD to help promote tourism — for the primary benefit of the profits of hoteliers, with trickle-down benefits to those they employ. I think he is saying they are making a lot of money off of this and can afford to be more generous. Taking 5 percent of the salary of a hotel maid would be crippling. Taking 5 percent of the TMD’s income, if I understand correctly, would amount to a little less than twice the annual salary of the individual running the organization.
Comments have been lightly edited for typos, spelling and style.