.Letter to the Editor: People Deserve More

A letter to the editor of Good Times

Re: “No Free Ride for RVs” (Letters, 8/31): It’s not the folks living in vehicles and RVs who are entitled, but those who feel it is their right to pass abusive laws that violate people’s constitutional rights. The normalization of tearing someone away from the only shelter they have, simply because you fear poverty or the illnesses that often accompany it, is unacceptable in our community. If you don’t want to support the delivery of services to the poor, that’s one thing, but you can’t then turn around and also demand a level of “sightlines” and “order” from those who are struggling to survive in a deeply unforgiving economic system. I refuse to allow you and others like you to continue to spend our community’s funds on just kicking people while they’re down. People deserve more than that.

Reggie Meisler

Santa Cruz

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  1. Maybe this writer should’ve gone back to actually read the letter that he’s commenting on before firing off this disjointed emotional response. Nowhere did the original letter advocate for, or even mention, “tearing someone away from the only shelter they have”, or violating anyone’s constitutional rights. What it did mention was accepting personal responsibility for one’s living arraignments, instead of trying to just skate by on the misplaced generosity of others.

    RV dwellers shouldn’t lumped in with the “Sacred Homeless” either, who somehow get away with doing pretty much whatever they want to around here. These folks actually DO have homes, and interestingly enough, they’re mobile too!

    In addition to nearly 50 RV parks in Santa Cruz county, there are more than 500 free…yes, FREE…RV campgrounds in CA on land administered by the BLM, USFS, and other federal and state agencies. If those living in RVs think they’re being unfairly harassed for long-term parking on city streets, they’re more than welcome to pack up and move someplace more in tune with their free-living lifestyle.

    • This is an incredibly dishonest response to the situation at hand.

      We are currently living under a city council that has proposed an unprecedented mass criminalization of the unhoused via the policies known as CSSO and OVO, in exchange for flimsy promises of inadequate services, provisioned for less than 50% of those in need. Everyone who cannot fit into this model of assistance is then criminalized by default.

      Worse still, even with the lofty promises of the city regarding things like “not throwing away people’s possessions for at least 30 days following their entry into a shelter program”, activists have witnessed numerous occasions wherein the personal possessions of folks have been trashed within a matter of days. Where’s the accountability for the city making good on its promises? People have lost life supporting medicines, wheelchairs, sentimental items from their children or parents that can never be replaced. Where’s the accountability?

      When we treat the lack of formal shelter like a crime, we create a caste system. And when we create a caste system, those whose mere existence is now deemed “wrong” can be extrajudicially punished by others without any accountability on those who harm them. Throwing away their possessions is just the tip of the iceberg. Activists, myself included, have heard stories of neighbors not only hurling hateful rhetoric of folks in tents and vehicles, but throwing rocks at them, cracking the windows of RVs, and in some cases the heads of folks sleeping in their tents.

      Being poor is not a crime and people shouldn’t be forced to live outside of society, away from their community, simply because they are poor. Maybe it is the bigots who need to move out to the middle of nowhere, not the poor, as it is clear to me that they value the aesthetic of nature more than the well-being of their fellow humans.


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