Thursday, December 06, 2012

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.
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.

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.
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.
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.

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.

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Anonymous Sam Grady said...

Geoff, Here is an intersting article about White Park in the City of Riverside which had many of the same problems as Lions Parks. One of the things Riverside did was erect a wrought iron fence around the entire property and lock the park up at night. Anyway, other cities have been successful in dealing with their homeless issues. I wonder if anyone from the City of Costa Mesa has even contacted Riverside and toured White Park.

12/06/2012 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Good Riddance said...

Is Bever a POS or what? He lied on camera! The earlier footage showed him saying what he later denied.

Funny in that same part was the semi-rabid look Mensy was giving the reporter as he tried to get some honesty from Bever. I expected Steve-O to jump up and have one of his "episodes".. Maybe Coach Bargas showed up with some snacks to calm him down.

12/06/2012 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Telling! said...

Gotta love the Bubbling Cauldron, the slobbering mini-horde gets all worked up over an honorary title, but could care less about homelessness and its impacts.

Relevant blog...

12/06/2012 04:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Can't take the heat said...

More censorship of comments, eh Geoff? The one about the slobbering mini-horde didn't make it, but all the anti council ones do.

Keep saying you don't do it - we all know what the truth is.

12/10/2012 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Sure, I censor comments when they include foul language, discuss people's kids, are libelous... never denied it. If you can't post something that contributes to the discussion then just don't even try. If you don't like it that's too bad... my blog, my rules.

12/10/2012 11:28:00 AM  

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