KCET On Costa Mesa Homelessness
Wednesday the KCET program SoCalConnected included a nine minute segment at the beginning about Costa Mesa's homeless issue which included a fairly humorous segment where reporter Brian Rooney attempted to get our reluctant then-mayor, Eric Bever, to address the issue with him. I was at that meeting, spoke with the reporter and watched that little bit of comic opera unfold. In fact, if you look closely, you might even see me in the clip. Also prominently featured in this program is Muriel Ullman, who headed up housing issues for The City for years and is now a consultant to Costa Mesa on the homeless issue.
I've paid attention to this issue over the past couple years. Certainly, anyone who has attempted to utilize elements of Lions Park in the Downtown area of Costa Mesa probably has some first hand experience with it, too. The park and public buildings have become infested - there is no better word - with members of the southern California homeless population that have selected our city and all it has to offer as their wide-open domicile of choice.
LIONS PARK UNDER SIEGE
Their presence has held the park under siege, discouraging families from utilizing the open space it provides, defiling the furniture and fixtures within the Donald Dungan Library and nearly burning down the Costa Mesa Historical Society building in recent months.
HOMELESS TASK FORCE
Nearly two years ago The City formed a Homeless Task Force, which spent months attempting to get a handle on the issue. They tried to identify a "Costa Mesa Homeless Person" from all the others who happen to be in our city, planning to offer services to them and none other. The effort was worthy and the Task Force eventually presented the results of their plans to the City Council. Unfortunately, "doing something" about the problem has been much more difficult that identifying it.
NO REAL IMPROVEMENT SEEN
Some draconian measures were taken - the demolition of the picnic shelter at Lions Park, for example - to discourage the homeless from using that part of the park. It doesn't seem to have worked.
LOOKING FOR BEVER'S HEART
One of the reasons KCET dispatched their team to our city is because of Bever's recent call to oust entities within our city that provide support services to homeless people - and others, as well. Places like the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, which Bever mentioned by name as a place he would like to force out of town, serve hundreds of people each week - residents down on their luck as well as homeless.
VIEW THE CLIP
I hope you'll take the 9:22 necessary to view this clip by KCET. I had to remove the embedded version because it automatically began playing when my page opened and I couldn't disable it. Instead, HERE is a link to that clip on the KCET SoCalConnected site. You can also read the transcript of their dialogue while there. Sorry about that, but this is the only solution I have for that problem.