Carter’s Little Liberal Pills
“Fat dogs have more fleas”—the new California motto? With 12 percent of the nation’s population, California has the fifth largest economy in the world and a fourth of all the homeless in America. Not all of them are worthy folks struggling to better their situation.
Some are homeless criminal transients who have found a fat host in towns like Laguna Beach. They’re an assortment of the drug-addicted, mentally ill, just plain criminal, or all of the above.
They used to be locked up in mental institutions or jails and our once less populated state had more unoccupied spaces for these people which wouldn’t bring them into conflict with regular folks.
Nurse Ratched and Governor Reagan ended the warehousing of the mentally ill. When the state closed institutions like Fairview Mental Hospital, it dumped the inmates on our streets.
Revisions to the state criminal code and prison policy dumped more inmates on our streets or into our local jails. This greatly reduced the effectiveness of local policing. There’s just no place to put these homeless criminal transients. Our jails are full.
The police could write a homeless criminal transient 30 tickets. They’d all go to warrants. Finally, the DA might prosecute. The sentence could be 10 days, out in five. We’re down to a bus ticket home for the holidays being one of our last effective tools for dealing with these miscreants.
The state promised money to help municipalities deal with the impacts of its closures. It never paid.
Now we’ve got a federal judge who seems to be on a mission to bully towns into providing new places to warehouse these homeless criminal transients. Band-Aids to replace the closed state facilities, now a local expense. This requirement for local shelters extracted in exchange for the ability of local police to cite homeless criminal transients for camping in our parks and disturbing our peace.
These miscreants aren’t a local responsibility. They don’t live in any one town. They’re homeless transients. A bus pass floats them all over the place. When they get too notorious here, they go there.
Perhaps His Honor could brace the state of California and bully it into meeting its financial responsibilities for dumping these criminal transient homeless into local towns and cities. Something real and effective better happen before we see the images of another mom being chased down the street by a knife wielding drug crazed maniac.
Residents feel threatened now. The longer it goes before this threat is addressed, the more likely they’ll get righteously angry, and that’s a petri dish for demagogues.
J.J. Gasparotti moved to Laguna Beach with his family when he was 11 years old. He has loved it ever since.