Another View Graphic

I am writing this to whomever it applies to and will read and do something!

I just moved here three years ago from Colorado. And I just moved to Downtown from Belmont Heights.

The homeless situation, which I blame almost entirely on this conscienceless economic climate, is completely unacceptable.

I have a small dog who needs walking every three hours at the outside, or I have to deal with the results indoors. So I'm not new to people wandering the streets and invading private spaces over where I used to live.

One time I found rolling papers in my car where someone had found my door open and made themselves at home while I was asleep. Another time a neighbor came and told me there were homeless people squatting in an empty garage behind a vacant million dollar-plus house being remodeled.

But I have never seen anything like Downtown, which I read here being touted as the most economically successfully growing, burgeoning, town ever, from the way Mayor Garcia describes it. I'll tell you all now that the lip service his government pays and collects taxes for regarding the homeless people, junkies and criminals is a crime of social neglect and societal malfeasance.

I talk to my newfound friends here and they all seem to say "What can you expect? It's just the way it is Downtown." I can't walk down one block of the area at Ninth and Pine or Fifth and Elm or Anaheim and Alamitos or nearly anywhere down here without experiencing the problems these folks are living withdaily and nightly.

They are splayed out in the public parks, my local dog park, taking ownership of public places where you can't take your children because of the garbage, feces and other forms ownership of these places. My wife says she won't go out at night along these streets and even worse, the alleys because it's not safe from her being accosted verbally, if not physically.

Long Beach "policing" has it all wrong. From what I have read and heard, they are limited by the powers that be to leave them be because to hassle or try to control them or remove them would infringe on their right to live where they want considering their means and preferences. And that's where we have the end of this situation. Policing needs to completely revamped. Social workers need to be hired and trained to help these folks who are on the streets, some recently, some for years. They need to be cared for individually, not try to package them up neatly into some kind of housing to hide them from the "respectable" public citizenry.

These unfortunate homeless folks in the street know each other by name or recognize each other by their location, which sometimes has a territorial right attached. The general populace wants not to hear or know about them because we are experiencing the largest economic appreciation of land and business values since the Recession that put most of those street people out here.

The question is, who gives a s**t? It seems nobody. Well I considerate it a crime to neglect their care. Hire people (some of them even) to clean up after them and keep this city from looking like the dump that it does. Distribute help to them at night, not just when it's convenient for the gentrified.

Solve this! If you can't, then you have no right to brag about your success. It's not just collecting money and paying hypocritical lip service, Mayor.

P. West is a downtown Long Beach resident.

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