NORTH PARK HOMELESSNESS
I read your article ["Making homelessness a story"] in CityBeat on April 20, 2016. I agree with your analysis as far as it goes. I have been dealing with the issue of homelessness in North Park for about 10 years, when my wife and I retired from the Seattle area.
In my previous life, I was on the board of the Northshore Multi-service Center for 14 years, four as the president. I am as frustrated with the issues surrounding "homelessness" as is evident in your article. And there is a fundamental issue that cuts across this phenomenon throughout our nation and affects more than returning veterans.
My direct experience here in San Diego has been in Florida Canyon. This is one of the major "repositories" of the city's four-decade-long management strategy of benign neglect. We are "...reaping the whirlwinds..." from the seeds of our past policies of "warehousing" the homeless in our back alleys, doorways and city parks!
I am as guilty as the citizens of San Diego and our service providers of secretly preferring to maintain my own anonymity. So much better to be strangers, and be unaccountable. Until that reality is removed from the service equation, there will be no solution to the problem; the solution rests on personal engagement by all parties! "White noise" or the "shield of anonymity," is everyone's preferred environment for avoiding dealing with the homeless "problem."
And stop playing with the numbers. There is a game being dealt out, starting with the number 8,900 homeless in San Diego, The actual number is much greater; over 12,000. And pretending that our veterans are 10 percent of that is just as fictitious.
Yes, we need housing to serve as a "catchment" strategy for our homeless. But it would easily take three thousand (3,000) new SROs just to handle the veterans and get them into mental health and employment programs. But that will still leave a real population of some nine thousand (9,000) individuals on our public streets, alleys and parks.
I harbor no illusions about the costs to provide sufficient mental health and medical attention, along with psychological counseling and employment training to address the decades of abuse and neglect. But let's get real folks, and be honest with ourselves as we peel off the layers of issues on the onion that is represented by homelessness.
Alan Bennett, San Diego
THE DEAN SPANOS SOLUTION
Building on Dean Spanos' brilliant idea of increasing the hotel tax to get visitors to pay for San Diego's 10 days of football recreation and pleasure I'd like to build on his concept to help all of San Diego prosper ["Padres v Chargers: Dawn of Injustice," April 6].
This win-win idea will guarantee the long-term success of the city's finances while thrilling the San Diego population.
As you may know the city now issues IDs to city residents so they can enjoy lower rates at Torrey Pines and Balboa.
I propose the city issue ID cards to all city residents which when presented for any sales taxable event they (we) pay just 7.5 percent sales taxes (the legal minimum) making San Diego the lowest taxed city in California. The populace will be thrilled.
I further suggest that the property tax rate be cut by 50 percent, which of course will make housing more affordable for all. Again the citizenry will go wild.
No doubt you're wondering how will the city ever meet its financial obligation of about $3.2 billion with such drastic tax cut?
I call it the Dean Spanos Solution...
Let's begin with the single most critical fact that drives the Dean Spanos Solution. The fact comes from the San Diego Tourism Authority, which states that tourists account for $8 million in direct spending.
People without the city ID card will pay 20 percent sales tax, more than making up for the cut to resident's sales tax and property tax decreases.
This Dean Spanos Tax Solution will generate about $1.6 billion, or nearly half of the city's entire budget.
This will reduce San Diego citizen's tax burden while building on Dean's idea of getting other people to pay for our services.
Brilliant or what?
Of course my numbers might be off a tad but you have to hand it to a guy who dropped this brilliant concept in our laps.
Personally I think it's the only way to go and will make San Diego a leader in tax creativity.
Yours in search of modest solutions.
Ron Jackson, Little Italy