Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By David Ganezer
Observer Staff Writer 

Ambassadors of Reed Park Vow to Clean Up the Park and the Restrooms

They hope to provide cleaner restrooms, without banning homelessness from City of Santa Monica parks.

 

August 25, 2019

Downtown SM ambassadors Latoya and Anthony near the public restrooms Reed Park in Santa Monica

Santa Monica Downtown Ambassadors vow that they will clean up Santa Monica's parks, one by one.

They are already present by the bathrooms in Reed Park and Tongva Park. We spoke to George Caragea, the General Manager of the Ambassadors in Reed Park Thursday morning.

He says they arrive at 7 am and are sometimes there as late as 9 pm. The Ambassador program is ten years old, but their familiar umbrellas and kiosks have been parked near the bathrooms at Reed Park since August 1.

"We are present in Reed Park and also in Tongva Park to clean the bathrooms, make sure that there's no garbage or defecation lying around, and that the public can use them safely," says Caragea. "We also give people information about Santa Monica. We are here to help."

"This is a pilot program and we would like to expand it to Palisades Park," explains Latoya, one of the ambassadors. "Local residents are excited because there was a perception that the parks needed to be cleaned up."

"We do interact with the homeless people when they approach us and we try to direct them to services to get the help that they need," said Caragea.

The Ambassadors are paid for by the Downtown Santa Monica Bay District, and only indirectly by the City of Santa Monica.

Downtown SM ambassadors Latoya and Anthony near the public restrooms Reed Park in Santa Monica. George Caragea is at the far right.

A recent survey concluded that there were 59,000 homeless people living in Los Angeles County. Santa Monica, which has 1% of LA County's population, plays host to perhaps 5% of the County's homeless people on any given day.

It is unsettled and debated how many homeless people are mentally ill, how many are addicted to drugs, and how many are simply poor and unable to obtain housing. Conservative commentators, such as Tucker Carlson on Fox News, posit that California's progressive politicians have tolerated and encouraged the homeless.

Homelessness does appear to have reached crisis proportions recently, not just in West Coast cities such as LA and San Francisco, but also in East Coast cities. President Donald Trump has threatened to initiate an unspecified Federal solution to the problem.

For more information about the Ambassadors program or about the Bay District, please visit http://www.downtownsm.com

 

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