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  • Writer's pictureD Lane

Capitola voters were smart on this one...

Here are a few Sentinel letter to the editor “ideas” from a guy that was not (thank goodness!) elected by the voters of Capitola a little while back. It amazing how much crap he fit into one paragraph. Let’s break it down. (His words in quotes...)

“With tens of millions of dollars being pumped into Santa Cruz from the U.S. government, state government, the county, local cities, nonprofits, “homeless” is now ranked as the eighth largest industry in Santa Cruz.”

The amount of funding flowing into Santa Cruz from the state and feds to specifically address homelessness is roughly 13 to 15 million this year. It is a little hard to pin down because it flows in a few different ways. BS correction #1: It is not tens of millions! Considering the magnitude of the problem, that is not that big a number something on the order of $6000 per person. Can anyone think of anyone really making a go of it in California on $500 month to cover shelter, food, clothing, minimal transportation and basic hygiene. BS correction #2: $15 million is not really all that much per person considering the huge needs. A quick scan of various economic data websites shows what the top industries in our county are. None of them are homelessness. BS correction #3: the letter writer simply made his “data” up the size of the homelessness effort. I will give him clever language credit: calling this vital human service and health care effort an “industry” does help him and his colleagues make it seem so callous and unimportant.

For decades the City of Santa Cruz has been telegraphing across the nation their mantra, “Come to Santa Cruz, we will feed you, we will clothe you, showers, beds.”

If one actually scans the public and media record on this, one will find that most of the claims about how Santa Cruz invites homeless individuals here are contained in letters to the editor and on-line mythologies written by people who have an antipathy to homeless people and to city officials in Santa Cruz. That’s right: most of these stories are perpetrated by polemicists to “prove” something that isn’t true. “I heard from my cousin’s brother-in-law in Muskogee that the bathroom in the bus station there has a flyer posted inviting homeless people to come to Santa Cruz.” BS correction #4: It’s pure myth and third-hand story-telling. No one has every demonstrated that items like this actually exist...but it does make a good talking point if you want to drive people experiencing homelessness away from the community (regardless of the fact that most of them lived here -- indoors -- for a long time).

And about Santa Cruz offering beds? BS correction #5: For decades, Santa Cruz has had a well-known huge shortage of shelter capacity. It’s simply silly to suggest that Santa Cruz is offering beds when everyone paying any attention knows that there haven’t been enough available beds.

“And they came. And they come. It is time for other cities to hold accountable the actions of the City of Santa Cruz as more homeless drift into their cities.”

I can’t help but wonder if the letter-writer ever asked these questions: 1) how many Scotts Valley and/or Capitola police officers drove people they thought were homeless to Santa Cruz or directed them to go to Santa Cruz? 2) how many people who lost their housing while living in Capitola got assistance from the City of Capitola? The first question is impossible to answer because nobody’s talking and certainly they’re not keeping records of this. The second one is easier: Capitola doesn’t have any of this kind of help in its city limits. BS correction #6: Santa Cruz is actually being more accountable on this issue than Capitola. Capitola asks Santa Cruz to accommodate homeless persons on its behalf. Accountability is needed... Santa Cruz should be holding the other cities accountable!

Wouldn’t it be great if Capitola and other small communities stopped the drift of their less fortunate residents out of their towns?

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