CZAR YOU KIDDING?
In [ìBaby, it's cold outside,î Dec. 16] your quote is: "If San Diego's mayor isn't going to personally champion a movement to eradicate homelessness then a czar with muscle is the next best shot at jumpstarting the effort."
My comment: And if the mayor lacks interest why would he appoint someone to bring about significant change?
This strategy that has been used in San Diego to successfully talk a subject to death while ensuring no substantial action or outcome is achieved. I was first made aware of this practice, and you can track this back to the days of Rodney King when the city chose a "blue ribbon" committee, hired an executive director (me) and talked for almost two years without accomplishing anything. Eventually the interest level and concern dwindled and nothing changed.
Now, the approach toward homelessness is beginning to affect not only compliance with HUD regs but is changing the approach to produce successful action items that are changing how things are being done and reported. And what you get from all that is that the mayor that has traditionally been uninterested in homeless issues throughout his political career "might be choosing a czar" to "fix" the issue? Color me doubtful!!
Sharon Johnson, retired, Homeless Services Director City of San Diego
THE HOMELESS SHUFFLE
First we had a Homeless Commissioner (under the wing of The United Way), who was Brian Maienschein after he was termed out on the San Diego City Council, and after a relatively short period of time as the "commissioner" he shuffled on to the State Assembly. Now we're going to have a Homeless Czar?
I'd like to see Mr. Maienschein compile a file documenting exactly what he did as the Homeless Commissioner to earn whatever compensation he received (probably six figures, I bet) so the new czar when appointed by the mayor doesn't have to start from scratch. Is that too much for us taxpayers to ask? I have to wonder if Mr. Maienschein accomplished anything of merit since the homeless problem continues to fester!