Among the homeless, as one policy analyst described them, there are the have-nots, the can-nots and the will-nots.
With respect to the have-nots, the unfortunate truth is that here in California, some people, who are responsible members of society, have no home. They sleep on the couches of friends, live in their cars or in a RV, because the price of housing is sky high. I have even heard of people who ride and sleep on all-night buses in the Bay Area because, even though they are working full time, they can’t afford the rents. The question remains, is it the burden of taxpayers to remedy this situation, when in reality, the price of housing is due in part to government policies in the first place?
Regarding the can-nots (drugs, alcohol and mental illness) and the will-nots (we used to call them bums), I predict that in the year 2525, if man is still alive, we will be initiating our 575th attempt to end homelessness. The do-gooders in our society will still maintain that throwing a house the way of a “can-not” or a “will-not” will solve their problems.
I believe that will work out about as well as when Dorothy dropped a house on the wicked witch. After all, I know doctors and lawyers who can’t afford to live in Santa Barbara, so how on earth are we to make this area affordable to those who can’t or won’t hold down a job?
Here is a point lost on the government bureaucrats and what has been deemed as the “homeless industrial complex,” a cottage industry of social service agencies and nonprofits who are spending billions of dollars year after year on this problem with little to no results. All of these people had a home before they became dysfunctional. That is, as one of my radio guests puts it, they are not homeless because they ran out of money; they are homeless because they ran out of friends and family. They burned the people who would normally move heaven and earth to help them ? at private expense, mind you.
The impact of rampant homelessness is about to reach a new level here in California as a result of fickle politicians and activist judges who are allowing this problem to fester to such an extent that diseases we haven’t seen since the Middle Ages are making a comeback, i.e., the plague. All made possible by rats, mice, lice, mosquitos and fleas, combined with the human excrement and tons of garbage generated by upwards of 60,000 people living in absolute squalor on the streets, sidewalks and parks in Los Angeles. These living conditions, which are straight out of a dystopian novel, are breeding typhus, trench fever, shigella, flesh-eating bacteria, tuberculosis, measles and the like, and the spread of the same is not going to be confined to the homeless.
Fortunately, state Sen. Scott Wiener sponsored a bill that creates a pilot project in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles to make it easier to confine and treat at least some of these people against their will. Otherwise it means the status quo ? that is, we all must rely on recalcitrant derelicts, who are out of their minds, to acquiesce to treatment despite the threat they pose to the health and safety of the rest of us.
Unfortunately, Santa Barbara County didn’t get a permission slip from Mr. Wiener to do the same here. I suppose that Assemblywoman Monique Limon and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson either remain opposed to involuntary confinement and treatment protocols, or they don’t take the problems here in Santa Barbara seriously enough.