Council Issues Message in Support of Respite Center, but Will Move It to the Corp Yard

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The long line for public comment

The public on Tuesday night was largely split – while there were a few people who didn’t want the respite center at all, the largest contingent was either supportive regardless of location or adamant that there were safety issues about the Second Street location.

The council, while decidedly rejecting the notion of safety concerns, did opt for the Fifth Street location – which was not available to them previously.  Their biggest concern was getting the site implemented sooner than the two to three month estimate by staff, presumably because winter is approaching.

An overnight center is more distantly in the works, but council was unanimous in its support for such a shelter.

There was plenty of passion on a variety of sides of the issue – with 43 people speaking, a number of them from the group DOVE (Davis Opportunity Village), and still more having never been to a council meeting before.

“I come to you as a person of privilege,” Mary Lou Rozedo, a longtime resident said.  “I’ve never been without housing.  I’ve never had a serious injury that led me down the destructive path of addiction.

“I rarely have to stand in line to get a meal or shower,” she said.  “I’ve never walked into a business or place of worship or been shunned… I’m very privileged.

“I have thoughts and prayers for them, but I’m also moved to action,” she added.

Martha Teeter, President of the Davis Opportunity Village

Mary Tallon said, “I’m not in favor of the Second Street site, but we have to put it someplace else.  It’s just not safe for our kids.”

Ema Seijas, a UC Davis student, said,  “I think most people are in favor of putting in a homeless shelter but when it comes to putting it somewhere in the city, it is always, somewhere else.  Somewhere else that is not near me.”

She cited a study that found no statistical difference in sites with homeless shelters in terms of reporting crime rates, and “no impact on property values either.”

“We do care about the problem, the homeless.  It is a big problem here in Davis.  But we need to come up with a solution that works for everybody.  The Second Street one just doesn’t work for everybody,” a man said.  “A lot of us here on Arroyo Avenue feel like this was shoved down our throats…  No one reached out to us.”

Martha Teeter, Board President of DOVE, pointed out that “this emergency shelter is part of a plan that was presented to the community as part of a three-year action plan.”

Another member of DOVE said, “Davis needs permanent emergency shelter” for the homeless population.

Still another stated that “the need is great and doing nothing is not an option.”

A resident on East Koso said, “I can’t believe it has gotten this far if a child’s life is potentially in trouble by this.”

Another resident said, “We have to help the homeless and I’m actually surprised that Davis is behind the dial on this…  We’re usually at the forefront, but it’s a tough issue.  What do we do?”  Later he added, when he looked at the document, “The one thing you didn’t look at was safety.  Isn’t that the priority?”

Students came out and provided passion on this issue

A student, Julia Nguyen from UC Davis who works on homeless issues, spoke out passionately on this issue.  She asked the council “to invest and commit to the safety and health of our community by choosing a site to establish an emergency shelter.

“These are not random people,” she said.  “These are people who are our brothers, our sisters… even our fellow classmates.  This is not a homeless issue, this is a community issue and the only thing that is unsafe about this project idea is that we don’t have an emergency shelter now.”

A former bus driver pointed out the cost of busing is prohibitive for homeless people.  “These members of our community that are homeless are still members of our community,” he said.  “Let’s get this place up – any location will always face resistance.”

“Thanks for listening to everyone complain all night,” another student speaker stated.  “I’m really disappointed in the city of Davis.  I’m so proud of Davis being this liberal community that supports everyone and then they shame homeless people.”

Another UC Davis student noted that “there is a great stigma that people going through homelessness are dangerous.  Not only is that hurtful but that is ignoring the problem.”

Dave Griffin asked, “Where are the homeless people while housed people debate their fate?”  He said that “people that are comfortable are talking about the greatest struggle someone faces in their life – and I don’t see those people represented here.”  He added that “every time this issue arises, it’s always no.”

The overwhelming message from people in the Mace Ranch area on Tuesday was “safety is a prime concern” and this is not a good place.

However, some pointed out that the homeless are already around this area, so they don’t see it as that different and the shelter would at least take them further from the school.

Former UC Davis Professor and School Board Member Marty West

Mayor Brett Lee made some comments, noting that staff had done some initial outreach and started looking at some alternative sites like the Corporation Yard, after even the business community presented concerns about the Second Street location.

“I would like to see something happen prior to the rainy season,” the mayor said.  He suggested the east side of the Corp Yard at 1717 Fifth “and with all speed possible, develop a day time respite center in time for this winter.”

He said, “I am looking at weeks not month.”  He stressed a four to six month pilot program and to determine at that point whether to provide additional funding.

Councilmember Will Arnold said “there is no evidence increasing services attracts homeless folks from anywhere else.”  He pointed out that the millions Sacramento is spending is not taking homeless from Davis.  However, he did say that it will draw in homeless folks from across the community and “it will sure look like there are new folks here.”

Councilmember Arnold added, “I don’t agree with some of the narrative that the shelter would make ourselves and our children less safe.”  He said if your worry is being attacked by homeless people, which he said is not borne out by the facts, but “if that’s your worry we’re less safe currently with the homeless population spread to the winds around town.”

Gloria Partida said, “Glad that we are going to start this as soon as possible, because we do need to do it right away.”

She agreed that “safety is a prime concern” and said “the reason that we’re doing this is because of safety.”

She said, “Doing nothing is probably the least safe thing that we can do.”

She noted that homeless are already in the Mace Ranch area.

Another student is disappointed in the community’s response

She said that what we need to do is begin the process of breaking the cycle of homelessness.  “Doing nothing is not a solution,” she said.

Councilmember Lucas Frerichs said, “This is truly not a black or white issue – it is so much more nuanced.

“The respite center is needed,” he said.  “I’m certainly supportive of the respite center.”

Dan Carson added, “We need to consider the next phase, that we are working to bring the overnight component of this into place.”

He said, “I don’t think the fear is warranted.”  He said, “The overwhelming number of folks are decent human beings.”

He later added, “This to me is one more piece of the puzzle,” with the next piece being the overnight shelter.

The question at this point was timing, where Brett Lee pushed for the day component as soon as possible and added that two months from now is mid-January and “that is not acceptable.”

Gloria Partida added that she wanted to see it happen in less than two months, “before we’re in the dead of winter.”

City Manager Mike Webb said that they heard the council’s concern, they share the goal.  Now that they are focusing on one site, he believes that they can do it in the timeline, but warned that it could be quite expensive.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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91 thoughts on “Council Issues Message in Support of Respite Center, but Will Move It to the Corp Yard”

  1. Ron Glick

    “…as winter is presumably approaching.”

    Is there any doubt about whether winter will get here? I’m going to predict that winter will start on the solstice.

     

  2. Ron Glick

    I thought Brett Lee’s pressure on staff for rapid implementation was a little unfair. Recounting the yearlong timeline he failed to point out that most of that time was spent on deciding where to put the respite center. Had Brett Lee not pushed for the failed Second St. site in July and instead pushed for the Corp Yard, as I suggested in my public comment at the time, many months could have been saved in getting this project up and running.

    If there is any criticism of staff it is that not putting the obvious Corp Yard site on the table was likely due to whatever staff nimbyism had to be overcome. However, that members of the staff would not be thrilled to have a bunch of homeless people hanging around their workspace is right in line with the great Davis tradition of wanting to solve problems that require no sacrifice by the haves when helping the have nots.

    1. Rik Keller

      Ron G.: I think both Council and staff are to blame. From the July 30 staff report: “Staff is preliminarily recommending the Dave Pelz location”.

       

      That  would explain why the Council didn’t look at other site options then, and just focused on the 2nd Street location.

      As to why the 1717 5th Street location wasn’t even in that long July Feasibility Report in the first place: probably just staff NIMBYism with a twist. Not In My Corp Yard!

    2. Tia Will

      Ron- “pressure on staff for rapid implementation was a little unfair”

      I see the only “unfairness” s the opposition to the placement of the respite shelter by those who lack no shelter themselves. Despite no evidence of potential harm to their children and some evidence to the contrary, I can only see what the parents want to prevent is exposure of their children to the vision of the homeless for which they use the term “safety. If anything, I think our children are made safer by an awareness of the differing life circumstances of those in our community in order to develop a sense of compassion for those who are less fortunate and the value of contribution of the most privileged to our entire community.

      1. Rik Keller

        Tia Will: your statement seems just part of the ongoing effort by the Vanguard and others to smear opponents of a particular location for siting the facility as uncaring NIMBYs who, as Mayor Pro-Tem Partida wrote, lack a “spirit of generosity”.

        In regards to this, it should be noted, as Ron G. points out, that early on in the process City staff themselves apparently ruled out the Corp Yard location from even being considered due to their own NIMBYish concerns.

        And then the 11/5 staff report just revealed previously-secret conversations that City staff had been having with surrounding businesses around the 2nd Street bike overcrossing location. And the concerns of the businesses anticipated many the same concerns that community members have raised and for which you are criticizing them.

        “staff conducted outreach to the businesses directly adjacent to the site. In total, staff convened five in-person meetings and/or communicated with the following entities:

        · Arcadia BioSciences

        · Buzz Oates

        · Davis Chamber of Commerce

        · DMG Mori

        · HM.Clause

        · Pacific Gas and Electric

        · Ramco Enterprises

        · Stillwater Sciences

        · Stratovan

        · TechnipFMC

        · UC Davis”

        The summary of concerns that were raised in the City’s “business outreach” include:

        1) “Concerned about bicyclist and pedestrian safety in the vicinity”

        2) “Concerned about employee sense of security and safety while at work“

        3) “Concerned about potential theft and vandalism such as car break-ins, office break-ins, and tampering with private property”

        4) “Concerned about loitering when the day center closes and increased congregation of homeless individuals camping in the vicinity”

        It should also be noted that these concerns were considered valid enough by the City, that they proposed mitigation measures to address them.

        Contrast this with the way that residents’ concerns have been treated.

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        1. Alan Miller

          Contrast this with the way that residents’ concerns have been treated.

          This could be the first time in Davis history that the argument “it’s for the children” was trumped by “it’s for the homeless”.

        2. Craig Ross

          There are really two separate issues.  One is whether the Corp Yard is the better location – it is.  The other is whether most of the residents cared whether it was the better location – a lot of them didn’t say that they supported the respite center just not there.  Most did not argue for better locations.  Most argued that they had safety concerns.

          But should they have?

          Is there evidence of a problem with homeless people in a location?  None presented.

          Is there evidence that this would put children in harms way?  None presented.

          Is the bike overpass even easily accessible to the proposed location?  It doesn’t seem to be given it is elevated and enclosed.

          So yes – while I agree the corp yard is a better location – I think that the neighbors are being NIMBYs.

        3. Rik Keller

          Ron O.: you’ll note that the list of businesses named in the staff report has not been called out for their NIMBYism about the 2nd Street/overpass site. I wonder if it has to do with the identities of the immediate adjacent neighbors to that site–PG&E, DMG Mori, Schilling Robotics, and UC Davis Shared Services Center? They were allowed to complain quietly and discreetly-indeed the City reached out to them in private, secret meetings–but concerned citizens whose children use the bike path were not reached out to by the City at all, and had to complain publicly.

          The City spent months since July looking at the 2nd Street site and conducted all that secret “business outreach”. And now they are going to try to rush something through in less than 2 months?

          Reading between the lines of the 11/5 staff report, it is pretty much saying: “hey City Council, why don’t you just take the $ you are looking at allocating for this “pilot project” and use it instead to help to fund/maintain other existing programs that are already working?”

           

        4. Alan Miller

          Is the bike overpass even easily accessible to the proposed location?  It doesn’t seem to be given it is elevated and enclosed.

          Oh, yeah, that’s right, I forgot that so-called homeless people can’t walk.

          So yes – while I agree the corp yard is a better location – I think that the neighbors are being NIMBYs.

          Oooooo . . . he dropped the big bad label.  That’ll show ’em.

        5. Craig Ross

          “you’ll note that the list of businesses named in the staff report has not been called out for their NIMBYism about the 2nd Street/overpass site”

          has anyone been called out for it other than my comment?

        6. Craig Ross

          Speaking of which Alan, given your comment yesterday, if you are concerned about people and bodily waste, wouldn’t you like want them to have a place where they can use the toilet, presumably away from your yard?

        7. Alan Miller

          Speaking of which Alan, given your comment yesterday, if you are concerned about people and bodily waste, wouldn’t you like want them to have a place where they can use the toilet, presumably away from your yard?

          Yes.  Among my comments was that I support a respite center.

        8. Tia Will

          Rik

          I have absolutely no dog in this fight. I want to see a shelter. Period. What I do care about is that whatever criteria is used to decide the best location be based on some kind of objective criteria. I would have said the same thing with regarding the individuals and enterprises you named had I been opining on the Vanguard at that time which I was not.

        9. Rik Keller

          Tia Will: these criticisms from the businesses/companies made about the proposed site location were only made public in the 11/5 staff report.

          There was a secret process made by the City to reach out to them. And the City tried to placate these complaints with proposed mitigation measures.

          There was no such opportunity given to community groups. And yet you and others focus your ire on the complaints of the community groups and disparage their concerns as not valid.

        10. Rik Keller

          Tia: “Wanting to see a shelter period” is a bad idea if that shelter is poorly sited,  poorly planned, lacks needed amenities/features, expensive compared to alternatives, etc.

          As the staff report makes clear, one of the best options for the City to pursue is to fund other existing programs to continue/expand services and shelter space. City Council has ignored this option and is blundering forward with a hasty directive on a brand new site location with no real cost estimates and an unrealistic timeline. This is a recipe for failure.

          1. Don Shor

            As the staff report makes clear, one of the best options for the City to pursue is to fund other existing programs to continue/expand services and shelter space.

            Expand shelter space where?

          1. Don Shor

            Assuming you’re talking about this — 07-Homeless-Respite-Center-Status-Update.pdf
            — from the agenda of last night’s meeting, yes I have read the report.
            I am not expecting beds (in reference to your 7:21 comment).

            Shift efforts to increasing support (financially and programmatically) to community based
            organizations. Rather than establishing a new program, the City could increase support for
            existing community based programs. For example, the City could increase financial and
            programmatic support for the IRWS, a volunteer-run shelter operating from December to mid March.
            While volunteers have successfully managed and operated the IRWS for 12 years, IRWS leadership has expressed concerns about its capacity to continue operating a shelter using its
            current model of rotating to different congregation sites every week and relying solely on
            volunteers.
            Another example are the numerous programs operated by Davis Community Meals and Housing.
            DCMH submitted a development application to demolish its existing facility at 1111 H Street
            and rebuild a new multi-functional homeless services facility.
            Should the project receive entitlements, DCMH may need City assistance to temporarily relocate its resource center and 10-
            bed transitional housing project. In fact, the City is beholden to assist DCMH with the relocation
            of its transitional housing project since the City is the official recipient of the U.. Department of
            Housing and Urban Development Supportive Housing Program grant that funds the project.
            Should the project receive entitlements, DCMH may also need long-term assistance operating
            the facility.

            Maybe I missed something about funding added facilities for those groups.

            So my question remains: expand shelter space where?

        11. Rik Keller

          Tia & Don: I think you both are going to be disappointed when you read the staff report from last night and realize that there is no plan for new shelter beds for this winter. What the Council is now pushing on an accelerated timeframe (after wasting months) is a daytime respite center. And “Staff estimates the earliest an overnight respite center could be operational would be mid-Spring 2020. This timing would align with the seasonal closing of the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter (IRWS), which stops operating in mid-March.”

        12. Rik Keller

          Don: that’s what I thought—you haven’t read the 70-page feasibility study from July. Don’t feel bad though—apparently the Council hasn’t either.

          1. Don Shor

            Correct, I haven’t read that. If you have, feel free to answer my question. You can even cut and paste if you like.
            I have no reason to believe the council hasn’t done their homework and read the report. All the council members seem quite hard working and committed to their jobs. The issues here seem largely to involve balancing the needs of the homeless in our community with the concerns of near-neighbors to each successive proposed site. I don’t envy them in trying to achieve that balance.

        13. Rik Keller

          Don: it seems like you already found a reference to new/expanded facilities/services that the City could fund: “Should the project receive entitlements, DCMH may also need long-term assistance operating the facility.” If you reference the expanded description in the July 30 Feasibiolity Report, you’ll find this language [my emphasis]: “In this option, the City would partner with DCMH to increase its day shelter capacity at the 1111 H Street site… plans are underway to re-build the structure to increase both its day and overnight capacity…”

          The 11/5 staff report also states that the City could also keep an existing program/facility [that includes shelter beds) from shutting down: “Unless new funding can be secured [for Pathways], the City may need to discontinue this innovative program, which has yielded positive results.”

          Fundamentally though, this push to try to do something temporary in the immediate short term is taking time and resources away from the biggest need. As stated in the 7/30 report “While staff recognizes the need to act now, as mentioned above, staff views establishing a permanent, year-round overnight shelter as one of the greatest unmet gaps in its homeless services continuum. Therefore, if this is Council’s goal, staff recommends foregoing all options in lieu of examining the feasibility of siting a permanent, year-round overnight shelter…”

      2. Rik Keller

        Don: if you think the Council has done their homework, what is your explanation for them ignoring major portions of the staff report material they were provided?

        1. Rik Keller

          Don Shor: you stated “Maybe I missed something about funding added facilities for those groups. So my question remains: expand shelter space where?”

          You did miss something. I provided a quote from the report that explains exactly where.

           

  3. Bill Marshall

    So many ironies… so little time…

    The corp yard is a fenced enclosure… think Tanforan, Tule Lake, etc.  “Relocation Centers”… WWII.

    The corp yard has little in the way of shower, toilet, other facilities.  Without also having access after hours to offices with computers, etc.  Not particularly close to any social services.

    Also a lot of activity during the day, with equipment frequently moving about (spent 32 years, 5 days a week, 8+ hours a day there)…

    City Offices, Civic Center ball field, Senior Center, County MH, other services exist nearby, the block bounded by Russell/Seventh, A/B.  Not a fenced perimeter, but plenty of land, most of the same issues as to Corp yard, except it is more proximate to a school, DJUSD offices, residences…

    Although the Corp Yard is not ideal, for either ‘clients’ or the folk who work for a living, serving the public, might work, but the fencing, security concerns bug me a bit… but given some of the comments, the fencing could be good to protect the respite center clients from “progressive” Davisites…

    Another suggestion… for any of the sites, providing free Unitrans passes (as are given to Seniors, City Employees, etc.) could go a long way as to access to medical and social services… as the City is the conduit for much of the funding Unitrans relies on, that is not unreasonable.

    Having spent a lot of time and effort interacting with the homeless in/around Davis… safety fears are bogus… definitely, if one approaches them as you would any other person… which they are, basically… many folk in town live a couple of blocks away from housed folk who have alcohol, drug, MH issues.  Just see the court dockets as to violent crime… even as to property crime…

    But, just my experience, and my opinion… no claim as to expertise…

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I focused more heavily on the community discussion – but you can see in the staff-council discussion the drawbacks of this site – it doesn’t have the infrastructure and that’s where the costs come into play. The upside is that you don’t have – at least potentially – the concerns raised at Second St, it’s closer to Downtown – but the costs appear to be much higher because they are going to have to bring everything from water to electricity to portables on the site.

      1. Rik Keller

        The only direct cost accounting in the 11/5/19 staff report is for operational costs at $360K for a year, of which salary costs make up almost $300K. This is a massive increase from the staffing cost estimate for Option 1A (day use only) in the 7/30/2019 report of about $80K. There are no estimates of overall cost in the 11/5 report.

        Meanwhile, sadly buried at the end of the 11/5 report under the discussion of the option the Council didn’t pursue of providing increased funding and support for existing programs and services: “While some components are locally funded, Pathways to Employment and Getting to Zero were initially funded with a Sutter Health grant. Staff has since secured other grant funding to continue operating Pathways to Employment, but Getting to Zero is almost out of Sutter grant money. Unless new funding can be secured, the City may need to discontinue this innovative program, which has yielded positive results.”

        1. Rik Keller

          Correction to the above: the 7/30 report lists staffing costs at $65K for Option IA (day use only).

          Staffing costs have now ballooned to  almost $300K in the 11/5 report.

      2. Rik Keller

        In an earlier report, the Vanguard described itself as “location agnostic”. It should at least be informed about the characteristics and drawbacks of the various sites though.

        The 3559 2nd Street/Dave Pelz overcrossing location lacks basic infrastructure too. And the 7/30 report describes the following problems with it:

         Onsite rented laundry is cost prohibitive

         Visible to traffic and noisy

         Not within walking distance to Davis downtown and services

         Proximity to businesses

         Need to truck in food

         Overhead utility lines

         Limited access along the bike path

         Limited parking options

         Proximity to railroad

        Furthermore, the 11/5 report reveals that the City secretly met with potentially affected businesses around the 2nd Street site, but did not meet with residents of surrounding areas, and only addressed residential/community concerns after people started writing letters.

        It turns out that the feedback from the businesses in these previously-unrevealed meetings echoed many of the same concerns that community members raised: “ The majority of residents reiterated the concerns already identified by the businesses…”

        And potential costs for that site were already rising, with the businesses demanding additional security staffing and compensation for their own security costs: “One business estimated it would cost $100,000 in additional security services to mitigate risk of theft, vandalism, and trespassing and requested financial compensation for this expense.”

         

         

         

         

         

    2. Alan Miller

      Although the Corp Yard is not ideal, for either ‘clients’ or the folk who work for a living,

      Yeah, but it’s near the Redwood Barn, so they can buy plants easily and not have far to transport them.

    3. Ron Glick

      “The corp yard is a fenced enclosure… think Tanforan, Tule Lake, etc.  “Relocation Centers”… WWII.”

      Difference is these people can leave. At Manzanar you couldn’t leave. Another difference, the Americans interned during WWII weren’t homeless, they were prisoners taken from their homes.

      A better analogy is Orwell’s 1933 depression era book “Down and out in Paris and London.” As much as things change they stay the same. Except we are not in a depression so perhaps more on target  is Dickens’ “A tale of two cities.” “It was the best of times it was the worst of times.”

      The homeless problem is the recycling of what you get when you abandon the social safety net. The answer in the 30’s was new deal era housing construction. Interestingly that is where Trump’s father made the big bucks. Problem is Trump and every president since Reagan defunded public housing.

       

  4. Rik Keller

    The City has been bumbling around for months on this, and all of a sudden they want it done quickly while projected costs have increased dramatically.

    Meanwhile, this option in the July staff report and in this latest 11/5 one is seemingly going ignored:

    “Shift efforts to increasing support (financially and programmatically) to community based organizations. Rather than establishing a new program, the City could increase support for existing community based programs.”

    1. Bill Marshall

      Are you commenting that this is ‘late in the game’ (agreed), and/or they do nothing (diametrically opposed to ‘doing nothing’)?

      Meant as clarifying, not hostile question… but there appears to be a bunch of hostility towards “them”… the un-housed, and the CC…

  5. Alan Miller

    What was hilarious is that Brett Lee, early on, admonished everyone, rightly, about clapping and booing and otherwise responding to people’s comments.  Then, the woman pictured above the caption “Another student is disappointed in the community’s response” and her friends sat directly behind the camera during comments and nodded furiously with everyone they agreed with and made sour faces, nodded ‘no’, whispered about and mocked people who they disagreed with.  It was rather disturbing as far as a complete failure of the free-to-speak-safe-space the mayor was attempting to foster, and is now preserved for the ages so those speaking can see what those particular women thought of each speaker via their exaggerated facial gestures and body language.  It was clear they knew they were on camera as they’d point to themselves occasionally like sports fans seeing themselves on the jumbo-tron. I’m not sure if Brett couldn’t see the monitors and so couldn’t see this — but it was so obvious to those of us watching the monitors and of course those at home. It’s worth going to the meeting video to watch this.

  6. Alan Miller

    Several times council members referred to how people are out in tents now, and implied they would no longer be seen in the creek canyons, along the bike paths, freeway slopes and along the railroad tracks.  As Ozzy Osbourne used to say to his audience, “Is Everybody High?”

    Once all these facilities are in place, there are still going to be so-called homeless people camped all over town.  Mark my words,  Alan C. Miller, November 6th, 2019.  What will the excuse be then?  Probably that the problem is bigger and we need more facilities.  Feed the Homeless Industrial Complex!

    Also, what is this insane polarization about whether so-called homeless people are dangerous or not?  Many are not dangerous, some of them are.  Ask radio-host Jack Armstrong his opinion about whether some so-called homeless people are dangerous.  As I have shared many times here, the late Officer John (the bike cop from days past) once pointed to the large group of so-called homeless, in the exact spot that many of the slides I showed last night at the meeting were taken at, and said, “Those are not good people”, then proceeded to list for me their names and their rap sheets – that he had memorized – because he was an awesome cop.  Those rap sheets would have scared the pants off any of those so-called homeless supporters last night.

    But of course we only have good so-called homeless people in town now.  Right 😐

    “Are you a good so-called homeless person, or a bad so-called homeless person?” — Dorothy Davis

    1. Tia Will

      Alan

      Surely you are not suggesting that having a roof over your head is a criterion for whether or not one should be labeled as a “good” or “bad” person…..are you? Perhaps you are, given the very limited categories into which you sorted the homeless in a previous opinion.

       

      1. Alan Miller

        Surely you are not suggesting that having a roof over your head is a criterion for whether or not one should be labeled as a “good” or “bad” person…..are you?

        I’m not, and stop calling me “Shirley”.

        Perhaps you are, given the very limited categories into which you sorted the homeless in a previous opinion.

        I agree with the categories that you and Robert added.  My point wasn’t to limit categories, but rather to expand them from the ‘homeless’ box that so many so-called ‘homeless’ get piled into, some of whom are not even literally without roof and walls.

  7. Alan Miller

    As location preference shifted to the corporate yard last night, I wondered when someone on council would notice that a whole bunch of people not in the room, because their neighborhood wasn’t the target-spot announced for the meeting, live just to the north in Davis Manor.  In fact there is a pedestrian path from the east side of the corporate yard, along the community gardens, directly into the neighborhood.  So often the target changes and those affected are not in the room.

    Lucas did mention this later in the meeting.  I looked up the district boundaries this morning — and guess what?  The council-person who mentioned the effect on a neighborhood, has that neighborhood in the future district they will be running in.  Could this be the very first example of Davis Balkanization?

  8. Pam Gunnell

    As Rik noted, I think the staff report was trying to push the council to fund existing programs that have working models and are trying to expand, such as DCMH.  The council was clear that they have no source of steady funding to operate the respite center and Brett Lee spoke to an initial operation of 4-6 months only.  With the rush to implement the center before the rain comes this season, the price tag according to staff’s comments will go up. With no overnight component on the horizon there is no formal plan for where the respite center people will go at night (hopefully IRWS?).  Although Fifth St. is overall a financially more sound site because of existing infrastructure , it is only 3-4 blocks from downtown and I imagine will increase the pressure of homeless on downtown areas and businesses. No one addressed that concern last night. Creekside which comes online in early 2020 in Mace Ranch will have 30 places for permanent supportive housing for the homeless and if Pacifico’s problems can be straightened out, there could be more places for permanent housing for the homeless there.  It is very difficult to know how to spend the money for the highest and best use, but from what I have read from the experience of other cities,  permanent supportive housing is the best answer.

    1. Alan Miller

      To keep the conversation going, I’m going to drop this bomb so people can attack me, while I sit back and enjoy the sweet sensation of arrows penetrating my body:

      The notion that building more facilities for the so-called homeless doesn’t attract more so-called homeless is B*** S***.

      Thank you, thank you very much.

  9. Tia Will

    Alan

    Certainly not attacking you, but you have long known my preference for statements backed by evidence. What evidence do you have showing provision of more services attracts more homeless to a community? And, as an aside, why the use of the appellation “so called homeless” from when from direct experience in our own neighborhood you know there are truly homeless requesting help?

    1. Alan Miller

      Back in college when I rode the rails, the hobos knew by word-of-mouth which towns provided services, had homeless shelters and provided food, had friendly police and railroad employees, and which towns would round you up if you stepped out of the rail yard, had angry yard bulls, had no services, and would look you askance if you had a backpack and looked a little dirty.  Guess which towns the hobos went to, and which they avoided?

      “So-called homeless”, as there are many categories of people that people carelessly lump into the category of homeless, even those with homes who come into town to milk the Davis progressives by begging with a sign, dog or baby.

      And my experience talking to the cops when I’ve called on those loitering, drinking, trespassing, piling up trash nearby — is that they usually don’t take the offer of services, stay to the last minute on the (current, old?) ten-day rule, then move on — and sometimes come back later to reset the clock.

  10. Tia Will

    Rik

    And yet you and others focus your ire on the complaints of the community groups and disparage their concerns as not valid.”

    Ire? What ire? I am not angry about anything. I started my comment by saying “I have no dog in this fight.” I also made no disparaging comments whatsoever. I stated that no evidence had been presented to suggest that any child was being endangered. From the comments here, including your’s nothing has been said to contradict that. Of course I want a shelter that works. I have not taken any stand at all re the merits of the possible locations. All I did was note the factual lack of evidence or documentation. If you want to challenge that, please post the quotes.

  11. Ron Glick

    “I stated that no evidence had been presented to suggest that any child was being endangered.”

    Okay, but parents worrying about the safety of their children is a natural human emotion. There has been much discounting of these fears as nimbyism and little empathy for these parents.

    Also there was a woman sexually assaulted by a transient homeless person on the church property at DCC in the last few years. While this was an isolated incident it is the kind of thing that can make people fear homeless people and dispels the idea that all homeless people are not dangerous.

      1. Ron Glick

        LOL!

        I didn’t say we should base our decisions on fear and loathing.  What I said was there should be more empathy for these fears and not be dismissing these parents as Nimbys.

        Does it surprise you that parents worry about the safety of their unaccompanied children going to or from school? I think doing so is a natural human emotion.

        I also said I thought the Corp Yard was a much better site for reasons that have little to do with the opposition of the fearful parents.

      2. Rik Keller

        Greenwald: the surrounding business interests were treated to a secret process involving five separate meetings to express their concerns. These included many of the same worries brought up by community members (who were never included in any kind of outreach) including safety, impact to children using the bike path, property damage, etc. What about, One unnamed company  claimed that they would require reimbursement for over $100,000 in increased security measures. These concerns were treated by City staff as completely warranted and legitimate, and City staff even proposed extensive mitigation measures to address these concerns.

        Maybe your questions should be focused on why you and others are treating community members’ concerns as illegitimate but have not once characterized the business concerns in the same way. Nor have you stated the City staff was out of line in treating these business concerns as legitimate and requiring extensive mitigation.

        1. Alan Miller

          Lololol!  Maybe that’s because the businesses didn’t need to show up because of the previous outreach, but the citizens did?  That would make sense if what RK is saying is true.

        2. Craig Ross

          Maybe, but both of you are misreading the politics here.  the council didn’t shift the location when the businesses pushed back, they shifted when the public did.  The public started clamoring, they put it on the agenda and changed it really quick.  This wasn’t a reaction to the businesses.  The tell is the timing.

        3. Rik Keller

          Alan M.: you don’t have to take my word for it! This is from the 11/5/2019 staff report: “As a first step, staff conducted outreach to the businesses directly adjacent to the site. In total, staff convened five in-person meetings and/or communicated with the following entities…”

          Note that this was the first public indication of this previously-secret process. And yes, you are right: the businesses did not have to show up at the meeting because the City held five secret meetings with them and then went on to draft mitigation responses to the concerns they raised!

          And then in the Staff Report “It is important to note that staff did not conduct formal neighborhood outreach. It was staff’s intention to do so after thoroughly evaluating the business concerns…”

          Just another example of the City kowtowing to business interests while treating citizens with disdain.

           

        4. Mark West

          “Just another example of the City kowtowing to business interests while treating citizens with disdain.”

          I suspect that if there is any ‘disdain’ being displayed by ‘the City’ towards ‘citizens’ it is pretty specific with regards to the individuals in question. As to ‘kowtowing to business interests,’ CR destroys that argument elsewhere.

        5. Rik Keller

          Mark West: it seems like you agree that the City Council and City staff displayed disdain to the dozens of specific South Davis community members who were not provided any public outreach opportunities and were forced to show up en masse to the Council meeting to register the concerns. I’m glad we are on the same page.

          I don’t know what a “CR” is, but the City’s own documents showed they kowtowed to business interests by providing them a secret outreach process over months and five separate meetings.

        6. Alan Miller

          the City’s own documents showed they kowtowed to business interests by providing them a secret outreach process over months and five separate meetings.

          Seems some business interests are more equal than others.  Were 5th & L Gas Mart, Bikram Yoga Davis, Big-O Tire, Davis Media Access, KDRT, and the Redwood Barn given similar access to secret meetings with City staff?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I think Craig’s point is basically correct. The action by the city came after the public started speaking out – on Nextdoor and Change.org. I don’t think this is the council and city listening to the business community so much as the broader community.

        7. Rik Keller

          I have no idea who/what prompted the City to change the location they were considering. And I did not make any statements to that effect. It may very well be that business demands, including a demand for $100,000 in compensation for increased security measures by one unnamed company was already moving the City away from the 2nd Street/bike overcrossing site before there was any public outcry.

          But the point still stands that the City absolutely gave preferential treatment to business interests in the form of multiple private meetings for months since the July decision to look at the that location more closely. And the point still stands that the City did not provide any outreach to community residents. And the point still stands that the criticism by the Vanguard and others of the so-called “NIMBYism” of the (primarily South Davis, primarily Asian) community members who raised concerns about the proposed location has not been matched by criticism of those business interests who we now find out raised those exact same concerns earlier. To City staff those business concerns were treated as valid and as worth providing extensive mitigation measures for, but the community resident concerns are treated with contempt as unwarranted fearmongering and lacking “generosity of spirit”

        8. Rik Keller

          It should also be noted that City Council reduced the time available for each person to speak by 1/3 and spoke disparagingly of the community members who brought forth concerns–again, concerns which had already been expressed by business interests and treated as legitimate by City staff.

        9. Mark West

          “But the point still stands that the City absolutely gave preferential treatment to business…”

          When I use Google Earth to examine the original proposed site under the Pelz bridge and inscribe a circle with a 500′ radius, I don’t find any residences inside that circle, but I do find several businesses.

        10. Alan Miller

          and inscribe a circle with a 500′ radius, I don’t find any residences inside that circle,

          Maybe nearby residents are concerned because so-called homeless persons can WALK more than 500′.

        11. Rik Keller

          Mark West: there are only 3 or 4 businesses within 500′ of the site, and yet many more were included in the list of those afforded the opportunity for secret meetings conducted by the City. For example, FMC Technologies is 900′ away, about the same distance as dozens of residences across I-80.

          Do you always employ this kind of nearsighted perspective?

        12. Mark West

          “Do you always employ this kind of nearsighted perspective?”

          It was a statement of fact, not opinion. 500′ is the typical distance described in law for noticing. If the only entities within that distance are businesses, that is where Staff will focus their efforts. It has nothing to do with ‘kowtowing’ as you suggest, simply focusing attention where the law says it should be focused.

          Do you always employ this kind of hyperbolic commentary?

        13. Alan Miller

          MW, your measure fails, as some of the businesses were outside this perimeter.  As well, most concerns for uses that are noticed are contained within the facility or traffic — not concerns about the TYPE of people that will be using it and traveling to our from it, concentrating in one area.  OK, stop your hate replies, I know, the so-called homeless are just like you and me, we are just one paycheck away, it could happen to any of us . . . yeah.  But whatever you believe, the perception is certainly of a type that is a threat . . . enough that many neighbors came out in concern for their children, enough that a business wanted mass compensation for increased security.  You can argue back and forth all day as to whether this perception is warranted or not, but there is certainly a perception of a type that brings with it a threat, that is so-perceived by some residential as well as business so-called NIMBYs.

          Carry on.

        14. Alan Miller

          Oh, and apparently Davis Manor and 5th Street East businesses don’t perceive that threat from a type . . . or have yet to speak out . . . will be interesting to see how that plays out.

          Juicy.

        15. Mark West

          “MW, your measure fails, as some of the businesses were outside this perimeter.”

          Once again…I was not stating an opinion, but pointing out that the local neighbors of the proposed site were businesses, not residences. When that is the case, one should expect those businesses (and perhaps others nearby) would be the focus of the staff. If the site had been surrounded by residences would the argument now be that the City was kowtowing to the demands of residents and ignoring the business community? It is a silly argument either way.

        16. Rik Keller

          Mark West: if you are “not staring an opinion,” do you actually have any information that a 500’ radius was the criteria used for who the City deemed appropriate to conduct secret meetings and negations with? And why, then, did the City include businesses that fall well outside this threshold in the process?

           

  12. Alan Miller

    I also said I thought the Corp Yard was a much better site for reasons that have little to do with . . .

    Easy access to hot yoga and tire repair as well . . .

    . . . and some of the so-called homeless may wish to take on a DJ shift or two on nearby KDRT.

  13. Alan Miller

     
    Testimony of Alan C. Miller
    Before the Davis City Council
    November 5, 2019
    Subject:  “Homeless Respite Center – Status Update”

    There was a letter in the enterprise that said there are no problems with the ‘homeless’.

    Let’s be honest, all so-called ‘homeless’ are not alike.

    Those so-call ‘NIMBYs’ concerns are not unfounded.

    Some say the ‘homeless’ are our neighbors, too.

    My neighbors don’t:

    –       Pile up garbage
    –       Disassemble bikes
    –       Leave poop buckets for other people to deal with

    I support a respite center . . .

    . . . for those who need help, and with help, can help themselves

    I already put up with this     (referring to pictures of garbage)

    These pictures were all taken within a few hundred feet of my house, and all but two were taken today.

    You get rid of the a-holes who do this     (pointing to pictures of garbage)

    And you can put that respite center in MY BACK YARD.
     

  14. Bill Marshall

    Let’s be honest, all so-called ‘homeless’ are not alike.

    As to ‘homeless’, ‘un-housed’, definitely correct… many have “constellations” of issues… some have MH issues, some with substance abuse (various kinds/degrees) issues… some with ‘bad luck’ issues… some with many, or all of those…

    As to “so-called”, there are homeless/un-housed who have other factors… no family support, their reach exceeding their grasp, due to religious beliefs (or the fact they have none, and family rejects them), etc.

    It is “rocket science”… one size does not fit all… and for some, there is no “final solution”… but, I believe an effort to try to change/mitigate a situation, likely to spiral down, is worth the effort… I opine that there is no difference in their basic humanity… but there is a difference of which individuals will respond positively… but if we don’t provide support… not so likely that things can have positive outcomes…

    We already have seen what housed, middle/lower middle class folk can do to cause grief, mayhem, and tragedies, etc.

    I have no definitive answers… but to do nothing is ‘wrong’ in my opinion.

     

    1. Alan Miller

      to do nothing is ‘wrong’ in my opinion.

      Agreed.  What many will not accept is that many, though human, are in a state where they cannot be helped.  To help them is to hurt them, and ourselves; and it is difficult to accept that we will lose many.  That is reality, and all the governments dollars and all the governments sense, won’t put these broken souls back together again.

  15. Ron Glick

    “Oh, and apparently Davis Manor and 5th Street East businesses don’t perceive that threat from a type . . . or have yet to speak out . . . will be interesting to see how that plays out.”
    As I said during my public comment the city should propose the Corp Yard and see what kind of flak they get for putting it there. If they can’t put it there I doubt there is any place in the city they can put it.

    I was surprised when the CC went as far as they did with a put it there and that is that move without testing the pushback from the area. Still I think because the area is already fenced and they can put an entrance off of Fifth Street in an area where there are no adjacent houses on Fifth and there is also bus service it has the best shot at limited pushback. Its also walking distance from city services or easy for social services to be brought there its about as good a spot as you are going to find in the city. The person involved with the Community Gardens next door was supportive. Still it remains to be seen whoever else will come forward in opposition.

    1. Alan Miller

      I think the pedestrian path behind the corporate yard and community gardens over to the mini-park in Davis Manor is going to be the issue.  Many don’t even know there is a public path there.

      1. Alan Miller

        My understand is that the council has started to receive pushback from Davis Manor now.

        Under our new system, 4/5 of the councilmembers have nothing to worry about if it is cited in the new location . . . or anywhere away from a district border . . . then the representing councilmember puts up a fight, says ‘I tried’, and in the project goes.  The new normal for Davis.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Yes, Alan, it is a public path, on Corp Yard (City property)… not “right-of-way”, per se… still, absent huge outcry from the folk to the north just can’t see it being closed off… but theoretically possible…

        The mini-park also has a locked gate to the corp yard… west end…

        1. Alan Miller

          still, absent huge outcry from the folk to the north just can’t see it being closed off…

          I sure wouldn’t want to see that.  I’m a big believer in alternate transport connectivity.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Agree, Alan… I see no rational reason to close the connection… not all the homeless/un-housed are saints, but very few present any danger, except to themselves…

          Sometimes, the reactions from some of the neighbors (re: Pacifico, the project @ Fifth/San Sebastian, other sites) give me a greater appreciation for the book “The Crucible”, and the real history about Salem, MA…

  16. Rik Keller

    Not surprising. Why wouldn’t the Council expect that?

    Starting in July, they provided a months-long secret outreach process for businesses regarding the 2nd Street/bike overpass site, but did not provide any outreach to potentially-affected community residents. And then at the 11/5 meeting they decided to pursue the 5th Street corporation yard site that wasn’t even included in the 5  potential sites that were identified in the July feasibility report. And they put that site on a fast track of completing in 2 months or less with zero forewarning or outreach to that neighborhood. This is a case study in terrible process and project management.

  17. Bill Marshall

    To be more clear about what I have posted before… just so folk understand the proposal, as I am neither for nor against the current trend…

    The Corp Yard is gated except for ~ 6 A to 5 P weekdays (Holiday excepted)… no in, no out unless you have a passkey or a vehicle (to let you out) or press a ‘key’ (to let you out).

    There is a lot a valuable equipment on the site… also chemicals that you should know what you are doing before having access to them.

    All of the toilet/bath/shower facilities cannot be accessed without a key, that would also mean accessibility to offices/computers/etc.

    Those are all things that can be dealt with, but with difficulty, disruption, time and cost… just so folk go into it with eyes open… not rocket science, but far from as simple than many folk may believe.

    And that doesn’t even speak to neighborhoods, which might me a more intractable issue.

    But, if PW/City think it’s doable, go for it.

    1. Don Shor

      It’s also a very busy place, and probably worth noting that between the corp yard, the tire store, and the auto repair facilities, there is a LOT of noise and dust and exhaust fumes in our little corner of Fifth Street.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Yep… more ‘danger’ to the “clients” than to the Community, methinks… but I “lived” 8/5 for 32 years in the Corp Yard, and never had any environmental health issues… what you cite is there, but I believe, de minimus…

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