In the spirit of quoting a former U.S. President I say, ‘San Bernardino there you go again.’
Making last minute decisions and scurrying to find solutions is no route to embark on. Time and time again the city’s leaders have proven that they provide no viable solutions to our community’s troubling issues. Once again, San Bernardino has rushed into a solution without thinking about it.
Their vote to loan approximately $880,000 of Housing and Urban Development funds to Inland Empire Housing First-Step Up is the most recent example. Monies, allocated back in 2015, would have been sent back to the federal government on August 31 if it weren’t for the Council’s last ditch effort.
And despite a 46 percent decrease in homelessness in San Bernardino since 2013, and despite Mayor Carey Davis’ assertions that the city is making significant progress to resolve the issue, our electeds have yet to prove to residents that it is willing to take a firm stance. The rhetoric around improving quality of life serves simply as a political tool to garner votes and a public relations stunt to boost public approval.
Meanwhile, displaced individuals continue to suffer on city streets. Frustrated residents suffer too. They carry on the burden of having their livelihoods infringed on.
How can I use the restroom at a local park without seeing feces on the wall or worse? How do you expect me to enjoy my coffee at the downtown Starbucks when I’m constantly being panhandled? Why must San Bernardino’s residents continue to have their children exposed to this atrociousness?
Concerns regarding San Bernardino’s transformation as a “magnet for homelessness” is a valid point: The fact that the city can’t figure out what to do sends a mixed message to the residents and the homeless themselves.
Some Inland leaders are publicly expressing their desire to do more to help. Colton Mayor Richard Delarosa confirmed they’re in the process of developing a comprehensive plan that will deal with people on a “case by case” level. Temecula Mayor Maryann Edwards in the past week has given strong support to an aggressive enforcement plan to crack down on encampments. This I believe is the model San Bernardino needs to follow.
San Bernardino must handle homelessness in a proactive, yet aggressive way. Those individuals enduring hard economic times, coping with mental stress, and other forms of trauma, should be given a lending hand. Those that don’t want the help must be forced out. Enough is enough.
We must not allow the continued desecration of our city. Individuals that choose to deny help have the right to, but should not expect to be given a free pass.
Dealing with an issue of this magnitude requires shrewdness–the ability to make good judgements with ample time and having difficult, yet necessary conversations. By taking an assertive action on homelessness, the city will give residents what they deserve.