I must finally write this letter to express my frustration and sadness about what is happening in our beloved town. The homeless problem has literally changed the character and quality of life here. People are now being accosted on the streets for money, food or whatever. I have witnessed a homeless man urinating in broad daylight at the bus station, and my friend saw a homeless man defecating at Heisler Park, again in broad daylight. Can we really feel comfortable letting our children or grandchildren play in our parks knowing this? (Just thinking about the diseases, let alone the hygiene, should scare us to death!) There are now homeless people at the community garden stealing the fruits and vegetables so lovingly planted and tended by others. There are people passed out in front of our beautiful public library and on every bench in town. If you want to see the future of Laguna, just visit Venice or even Santa Monica.
Someone once said, “Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life.” To those who want to feed and house the homeless, I’d like to offer this: There is a big difference between helping and enabling. As an example, I joined an organization about five years ago which helps women around the world to learn skills that help them break the cycle of poverty (and abuse). This approach improves everyone’s lives; the women’s and ours. It’s a win-win. I would ask the well-intentioned but misguided folks of Laguna to consider whether what they’re doing is breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness or if it’s just allowing destructive patterns to continue.
The many articles in our local newspapers attest to the escalating problem of crimes done by people with “no fixed address”, and it’s getting worse fast, folks. I wonder if the would-be-rescuers would profess the same permissive philosophy if their businesses were being adversely affected, as many are.
The controversial plan to build housing for 40 homeless is not going to accomplish anything but the further ruination of what was once the safest, cleanest and most beautiful community ever. I beg you to re-consider.
Marilyn Evans, Laguna Beach