Dumbest Idea EVER: San Diego Gives TICKETS to Homeless for Being Homeless

Here is another “Faulconer Folly”.  How does he handle the homeless?  He has the police give the homeless a ticket.  No, this is not a joke.  Seriously, think they will show up in court, have the money t pay the fine?  Or will they use the ticket for toilet paper?   Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego is running around the State giving interviews, in his run up to run for Governor in 2022—as the new Arnold Schwarzenegger—claiming great success in his fight against homelessness.  Sadly, the Fake News media loves a GOP’er who does not support President Trump, like his idol, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, San Diego police have issued more than twice as many tickets for illegal lodging — an infraction largely directed at homeless people — compared to the same time last year, according to data inewsource obtained.

There also has been an increase in two other enforcement actions generally aimed at the homeless: encroachment, or blocking a sidewalk, and living in a vehicle.

Estimates show San Diego has nearly 4,900 homeless people. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has said providing them with a safe place to live during and after the COVID-19 crisis is a priority.”

Maybe the police should be used instead to round up the criminals Guv Newsom has let out of jail with no cash bail who recommit crimes.  Make the public safer—not provide toilet paper to the homeless in the form of a ticket.

San Diego police issue twice as many illegal lodging tickets to homeless during pandemic

by Cody Dulaney, inewsource,   5/25/20   

During the coronavirus pandemic, San Diego police have issued more than twice as many tickets for illegal lodging — an infraction largely directed at homeless people — compared to the same time last year, according to data inewsource obtained.

There also has been an increase in two other enforcement actions generally aimed at the homeless: encroachment, or blocking a sidewalk, and living in a vehicle.

Estimates show San Diego has nearly 4,900 homeless people. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has said providing them with a safe place to live during and after the COVID-19 crisis is a priority.

This uptick in enforcement has happened as Mayor Kevin Faulconer repeatedly tells the public that the city’s main priority with the unsheltered homeless population is to get them off the streets and into the San Diego Convention Center, where at least 1,200 people are sheltering every night to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The makeshift shelter had room for about 200 more as of Friday, but the number fluctuates.

Faulconer has held news conferences nearly every day since mid-March to give updates on the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. At the briefings, reporters have asked him at least four times about police officers ticketing homeless people. He has largely avoided answering the question directly and instead repeats this message: It’s about encouragement to move into the convention center, not enforcement.

When asked on April 1 about police officers issuing encroachment tickets during the pandemic, Faulconer said: “As I mentioned earlier, our neighborhood policing division is still out there, still doing a remarkable job ensuring everybody’s health and safety. Again, their focus is going to continue to be, this facility (the convention center) is available, and we want folks to use it.”

At that point, officers were averaging 21 tickets a day for all three offenses, records show.

The City Council, showing its concern about ticketing homeless people, passed a resolution on March 17 asking Faulconer to consider suspending the ordinance against people sleeping in cars until the coronavirus crisis ends and to report back to the council with a strategy. More than two months later, officers have written 12 citations for the infraction, and the Mayor’s Office still hasn’t delivered a strategy to the council.

Rather than suspending the ordinance, city spokeswoman Ashley Bailey said the Mayor’s Office is encouraging people to take advantage of the city’s safe parking lots, where people living in their cars can park and access the services they need.

Citations and life on the streets

Every morning at 5:30, police officers start clearing downtown sidewalks of tents and small encampments that crop up overnight. A 2011 agreement the city reached in a lawsuit brought on behalf of homeless people allows them to bed down on the sidewalks from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. and generally avoid illegal lodging tickets.

This early morning ritual by the police has gone on for years. But it’s continuing even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines saying unsheltered homeless people should be allowed to remain where they are during the pandemic unless individual housing can be provided.

The data inewsource obtained includes citations issued from March 16 to May 16 and covers the years 2018, 2019 and 2020. March 16 was shortly before the state’s stay-at-home order took effect. Our analysis shows:

  • The blocks where the most citations have been issued are downtown.
  • The vast majority are issued during the 6 a.m. hour.
  • Seventy people have been ticketed more than once during the pandemic.

Police Capt. Scott Wahl said the citation numbers inewsource found don’t tell the whole story.

For the same period inewsource used, Wahl provided data that showed the number of field interviews — warnings rather than ticketing — for blocking a sidewalk have increased 24 percent compared to last year.

But Wahl’s data also shows warnings for a different violation, illegal lodging, have dropped during the pandemic, at the same time tickets for that offense have more than doubled.

The city can’t allow people to live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, Wahl said.

“That’s where you end up with a hepatitis A outbreak like we had in 2017,” he said.

“Twenty people died on the streets of San Diego (during that outbreak) because of this unsanitary, very preventable environment. The way you prevent it is you don’t allow it to exist,” he added.

Getting shelter at San Diego Convention Center

Homeless people need a referral from the police or a homeless service provider to get a spot in the San Diego Convention Center shelter.

Outreach teams with the police and nonprofits contact people living on the streets and in canyons and riverbeds to evaluate their needs.

Officers have to balance compassion with accountability while also responding to community complaints, the captain said.

The options available to police early on in the pandemic were limited. Shelters couldn’t take anyone, and arrests of homeless people dropped to almost nothing because police couldn’t take them to jail, Wahl said.

“Yes, the citations did go up,” he said. “That was the only enforcement tool available at that time.”

After the San Diego Convention Center opened as a homeless shelter April 1, police slowed the number of citations directed at the homeless from 21 a day in March to about one a day in May, according to the data inewsource obtained.


Wahl said the goal of a citation is compliance. As long as people move along, they aren’t cited. The police are now trying a new approach, where the department will hold onto a ticket if someone agrees to take help. It will never show up on the person’s record, Wahl said.

CDC guidelines discourage breaking up encampments so people don’t disperse and spread the virus. Wahl said the intent is also to not break the connections homeless people have with service providers. The department’s homeless outreach teams are working the streets every day to get people the help they need, he said.

“What the CDC is not saying is, ‘Allow for an environment that is unhealthy, unsafe and unsanitary,’” said Wahl, adding that getting people into the convention center is the priority.

But not everyone wants to go.

‘People are very, very good to me there’

The convention center has been repurposed into one of the largest homeless shelters in Southern California during the coronavirus pandemic. As of Friday morning, 1,266 homeless people were staying there.

Three of the city’s largest homeless service providers — Alpha Project, Father Joe’s Villages and Veterans Village of San Diego — are each responsible for their own area.

Alpha Project is serving the largest number with 617 people, according to information provided Friday morning. It has room for 176 more. Father Joe’s is serving 457 people and is close to capacity. Veterans Village has 192 people and is also close to capacity.

To support the three nonprofits and oversee operations, the city has developed a team that includes city staff and officials from San Diego County, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless and the San Diego Housing Commission.

Everyone is working “to ensure we follow closely the evolving public health guidance,” said Bailey, the city spokeswoman.

The city estimates it’s spending $2.7 million a month to run the convention center as a shelter, she said.

Alpha Project CEO Bob McElroy recently gave inewsource a tour of its convention center operation. Staff checks the temperature of every person who enters — using a handheld, no-touch device — and asks whether the person has a cough or shortness of breath.

The giant room has hundreds of cots spaced about 6 feet apart as recommended for homeless shelters during the coronavirus pandemic. Some people have decorated their spaces with ornate designs and unique self-expression. A few have brought their cats or dogs. Men have one side, and women the other.

Two rows of tables line the front half of the room, where meals are served and two large projectors show live television against the walls. Counseling and mental health services are offered, each with their own designated space.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served daily, arriving in towers of closed plastic trays to feed the masses. On the day inewsource was there, lunch was tuna sandwiches — or egg salad for the vegetarians.

Trailers with showers and laundry facilities have been hauled into the loading bays so the people and their clothes can stay clean. McElroy said staff handles the laundry duties.

The doors to the convention center close at 8 p.m., and the lights go out at 11 p.m. When the doors open again at 4 a.m., people are allowed to leave and many do.

One of them is Mario Hernandez. He said the Neil Good Day Center, which offers homeless people resources and a place to be safe during the day, referred him to the convention center.

“People are very, very good to me there,” he said.

Although he said all of his needs are taken care of at the convention center, none of his friends feel comfortable there so he’s often alone. That’s why he leaves during the day.

‘It’s a beautiful day in San Diego!’

Some of the homeless people who live on the streets told inewsource the police hassle them.

When inewsource went to the East Village around 5 a.m. on multiple mornings in May, police were present. On one occasion, an officer pulled up in a patrol car and parked at 5:29 in front of a person sleeping on the sidewalk on the corner of 16th and Market streets. One minute later, the officer got out and nudged the person’s leg with his foot.

On several occasions, officers had few interactions — often saying something briefly and waiting from inside their vehicles while the person picked up their belongings from the sidewalk. Another time, after making eye contact with a reporter, an officer in a pickup said over the intercom, “Good morning, it’s 5:45. Time to wake up. It’s a beautiful day in San Diego!”

inewsource didn’t witness anyone receiving a citation. But Vernon Wellington was given a ticket at 5:57 a.m. on March 18 for blocking a sidewalk on Commercial Street.

Wellington said he tends to have a lot of belongings with him. He carries food and water, and has enough blankets to keep him warm at night and to build a makeshift mattress. That morning he probably took up half of the sidewalk and was given a citation, he said.

He didn’t refuse to move but admits he has a “smart mouth.” Either way, he doesn’t understand the point of a ticket. It only makes problems worse for people living on the streets, Wellington said.

“You got a lot of disturbed people out here, and (police are) pushing them to the point where they don’t think they have (anywhere) to go. You’re gonna push them into that disturbance,” he said.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. It’s not a dumb idea. It has merit. If the homeless get the message that they are not welcome, even IF they don’t pay their citations or show up in court, they will start leaving and go to places like Seattle where they welcome them.

    They invite them there, set them up in camps and get their votes. They hand them everything for free while these people suffer. No jobs, no home, just a meager handout all for a vote.

    So which is the lesser of the two evils? Give them a ticket and send them on their way. Well done.When it goes to warrant they will eventually leave the area and not come back.

    • Susan,
      Your statement is the biggest bunch of irrational bullshit that I have read today. Give me a break. You should run for political office. I have no doubt you will be as unqualifed as Mayor Faulkner for the job.

  2. Dntgiveup says

    This is more stupidity out of the states idiotic leaders. You hand out these tickets to these homeless people who have no money to pay a fine, they don’t show up for court hearings and if they do again they have no money and throwing them in jail is more stupidity because CA dictator Newsom is letting them back out onto the streets so what are they accomplishing aside from wasting the officers time and tax payer $ to accomplish zero and further tie up the already bottle necked court system. There’s all this property outside of San Diego take 5 or 10 acres of this land and build them an encampment with showers toilets community kitchens etc and relocate them so they have an actual place they can call home. There are so many food banks that get food from stores and donations which some of this food can be rechanneled to this homeless community. Heck with the amount of money this state wastes on stupid projects they could even put in a community pool for them. This would be far better for them and healthier for the entire public not having human 💩 all over the streets.

    • As Susan Wrote this is in order to annoy them are there to get them to the convention center or to get them to leave the city

  3. Richard Wahl says

    They are not going anywhere, tickets or not. It is naive to think, that they will leave after getting two, three or a dozen tickets. Talk to these people and learn something. Your opinion is worthless, unless you talk with the homeless and find out what they want. If a city wants the homeless to move, there is only one way. Physically put them on buses and transport them to other places.

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