Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Costa Mesa Council To Reconsider HPRP Funds

RECONSIDERATION OF A SENSITIVE ISSUE
This evening the Costa Mesa City Council will, once again, consider the question of
whether or not to formally accept more than $560,000 federal dollars designed to provide temporary relief to some Costa Mesa residents currently without housing or soon to be without housing. These folks, punched in the gut by the current economic crisis, may be living on the street, in their cars, in homeless shelters, in motels or temporarily with friends or relatives.

THROW OUT THE BABY WITH THE BATH WATER
The funds, identified as Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) funds, were authori
zed by the federal government for use in our city based on our successful application earlier this year, but were on the verge of being rejected at the previous council meeting on September 1st. Mayor Allan Mansoor and Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece expressed great displeasure at the possibility that some of the funds might find their way into the hands of illegal immigrants. As was mentioned in a recent Daily Pilot article, they seemed willing to throw the baby out with the bath water.

MONAHAN SAVED THE DAY

Councilman Gary Monahan stalled the rejection by suggesting that th
e item be continued until the meeting tonight, at which they may have a full council to consider the issue - Eric Bever was absent again on the September 1st meeting. Monahan implied that perhaps additional clarification could be found on the subject of just who may or may not get these funds in the interim.

ILLEGALS WILL BE SCREENED OUT

After reading the current staff report it is clear that a solution is at hand - one that will insure to Mansoor, Leece and any other latinophobes in our city - that no illegal immigrants will receive any of the funds. The two contractors selected by the city to manage this process for us have apparently agreed to use a screening tool provided by the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) that will exclude any applicants who are in this country illegally.

GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS

In my view, this is one of those "good news/bad news" situations. The good news is that some members of our community who are in dire straits financially will be provided temporary assistance to acquire a roof over
their heads until they can get established and become self-sufficient. The bad news is that Mansoor and Leece's reaction to this issue demonstrates to the world, once again, that Costa Mesa is a community in which some elected leaders are intolerant of a demographic group in our city that makes up approximately one-third of the population.

ANTICIPATED AUDIENCE REACTION IS NOW MOOT

I expect that there will be more than a few folks in the audience tonight to make their views known on this subject. While some may express their displeasure with Mansoor and Leece, it looks like that issue - like the long gone buggy whip - is now irrelevant. I can see no reason why this program will be rejected this evening.

IGNORANCE AND INTOLERANCE

What is quite disturbing about this whole drama was the willingness of Mansoor and Leece to simply reject this program without asking probing questions. Had it not been for Monahan's quick intervention these dollars would have been rejected by the council two weeks ago, turned over to the state and homeless residents would continue in their downward economic spiral. I can only chalk up their actions to a combination of ignorance, an inability to grasp even slightly complex issues and deep-seated intolerance of Latinos in our city. This kind of narrow-minded approach to governance should not be forgotten at future elections.

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