Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Mayor Gleam Davis Says that Anyone Who Has Slept on the Street Here for a Year is a Santa Monican. Local Resident Disagrees

Their "problem" isn't homelessness, it's mental illness and a level of addiction indistinguishable from mental illness.

I just read this piece about the needle exchange at that ongoing dumpster fire that is the 7-11 parking lot. So it goes like this for our unending stream of new unhoused "residents":

1. Drift into town via the end of the line train (or bus). 2. Wander to where the "action" is (my neighborhood). 3. Buy booze at the liquor store on 10th and stagger over to Reed Park. 4. Buy drugs at Reed Park and wash down with said alcohol. 5. Sleep it off all day in Reed Park, making it unusable for residents.

6. Wake up and shuffle over to the 7-11 for a cigs, onesies, and a slice, hanging out there until you get in a fight, or terrorize a resident or tourist dumb enough to venture into that 7/11. 7. Rage all night high on drugs at that corner, across from the proper, and in Reed Park. 8. Take a crap and sleep it off in Reed or my carport. 8. Rinse and repeat.

These are the new "Santa Monicans" we are supposed to greet with open hearts and give a free place to live.

"I don't know what the percentage is, and honestly I don't care. . . But I think that it is important to understand that we are talking about people in Santa Monica. And someone who's lived in a park or a street in Santa Monica for six months or a year, to me that's a Santa Monican." Gleam Davis

"I think that it's important for us to understand that it's not just about making it so that I don't have to see homeless people on the street. That is solving our problem. Getting housing for homeless people is solving their problem." Gleam Davis

I couldn't disagree with Gleam more on this, as you were elected to help solve our problems. The City Council is supposed to look out for Santa Monica residents and both those sentiments are coming from somebody with the luxury of not being accosted daily in a terrible micro-climate of addiction and mental illness. Fortunately, this neighborhood is close enough to downtown that ignoring it is not an option, although sometimes our council (and Staff) make us feel that way.

As we all seem to be talking past each other, let me speak a language everybody can understand: Money. Our company has held two corporate retreats in Santa Monica over the past two years. Both times the team of 20 stayed at The Proper. We spent tens of thousands of dollars at the hotel and three separate high-end restaurants in Santa Monica, as well as other smaller local eateries and tourism spots. This type of company retreat and tourism are the lifeblood of our tax base.

I live on 9th street and can almost toss a rock and hit The Proper, so I'm sadly acclimated to the disorder. But team members from around the country and Europe were aghast at the "zombie parade" they witnessed every day on both years. Two female employees were accosted right outside the hotel. The fights, the police presence breaking it up one night, the general feeling of craziness, they didn't like it, they didn't feel safe, they don't want to go back. They also thought The Promenade was "kind of sad." And it is. So, despite the fact that the CEO and I live on the West Side, we will be having our Fall retreat in Beverly Hills. There are similar decisions being made by people, companies looking to relocate, and restaurants all the time in Santa Monica.

(Proper management, feel free to contact me and you can confirm our company's stays, and I'll give you more personal feedback.)

To the rest of you, what's lacking here is common sense, clear thinking and a will to act. What we have is muddled ideology and inertia. This isn't rocket science. Every day transient addicts make a mockery of laws and civil society. They need to be stopped, both for their case (they're steadily dying), and ours. Their "problem" isn't homelessness, it's mental illness and a level of addiction indistinguishable from mental illness.

Arthur Jeon


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