.Letter to the Editor: Too Compromising

A letter to the editor of Good Times

In her letter to the editor, (GT, 4/13), city councilmember and supervisor hopeful Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson opines that she, and the rest of the moderate majority on city council, “have embarked on an ambitious effort to find effective responses to homelessness that emphasize balancing accountability, management and response to truly address the problems.” As community members (including UCSF vehicular homelessness researcher Graham Pruss, Ph.D) have repeatedly told Kalantari-Johnson, the science disagrees with her policy prescriptions. Though she may personally consider the linking of services to criminalization “innovative” or balancing “accountability and management,” this strategy is neither new nor effective. In “compromising” with, rather than educating, those who hold bigoted views about homeless people, Kalantari-Johnson’s policies become embedded with racism, classism, ableism and queerphobia, leading to an overburdening of already marginalized people and cementing new systemic inequities into law. Kalantari-Johnson claims that OVO and CSSO have already led to more people being housed, fewer large encampments, fewer vehicles overnight on city streets and a restoration of San Lorenzo Park. This is not at all congruent with what we have seen and we ask that the council member make her data available to the public. Services without threat of criminalization is not only possible, moral and just, it is also the most data-informed, evidence-based and effective policy prescription for serving the interests of both the unhoused and housed alike. That is why Santa Cruz Cares will be continuing the appeal process, sending the coastal permit decision for OVO to the Coastal Commission.


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  1. Santa Cruz Cares continues to miss the point about “vehicular homelessness “. People living in residential neighborhoods are sick and tired of people dumping trash, creating drama, increasing crime, doing and dealing drugs openly, while living for free on their neighborhood streets. This has been a serious problem for years and is only getting much worse, thanks to the misguided appeals of groups like the ACLU, HUFF and Santa Cruz Cares, which is only making people angry and not providing one bit of help to people who genuinely need it. At least city council and Kalantari Johnson are doing something to help improve the situation. Most people in the city are sick and tired of being held hostage by the so called homeless activists, who just want to hand wring and prevent any efforts to change the situation for the better. News flash, most city residents do not agree with you, Santa Cruz Cares. If you want to provide services, start your own nonprofit and leave the rest of us out of it.


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