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Original post made
on Aug 9, 2011
I categorized this as a "Palo Alto" issue, because it is. But it shouldn't be just Palo Alto's issue. The reason that all this attention is now being focused on Palo Alto is that Palo Alto's City government has been negligent all these many years in doing nothing to protect the city's property-owning or rent-paying residents and businesses from the negative impacts of vehicle-dwellers. As just about all the communities surrounding Palo Alto adopted ordinances to regulate such practice, Palo Alto did nothing. So Palo Alto has attracted vehicle dwellers from surrounding communities, and all the criticism is now being aimed at Palo Alto. This should not be just Palo Alto's problem. It has become Palo Alto's problem because of many years of lack of action on the City's part.
So my question is, what are all the other cities in the Bay Area spending on homeless services?
Palo Alto is spending $ millions of dollars on the homeless!
Each year, we get a federal rebate ($ Millions), and that grant goes towards welfare housing units, such as the Opportunity Center (directly or indirectly)...we could just as easily use this grant to fix our sidewalks.
Then we have the BMR (Below Market Rate) ripoff. This crazy un-American extortion con forces individuals in a given housing unit to pay for their subsidized neighbors. This is taxation without representation.
The bottom line is that Palo Alto is currently spending millions of dollars to subsidize the homeless. And yet ever more of them are living in our neighborhoods.
Absolutely JO. In addition to tax payer dollars funding the programs outlined in this article, don't forget that we as a community also have to deal with the negative fall-out of playing host to these and other social services. Besides the Opportunity Center and Downtown Streets Team which are on the list, we are also home to the downtown food closet as well as the Hotel DeZink shelter program. Palo Alto has long carried the burden of providing homeless outreach. No other city in our region comes close, which is why I have concerns about our tolerance and generosity being taken advantage of. With us being one of the very few cities that do not have a ban on public car dwelling, I'm afraid it will only get worse.
Another question: How much does it cost the City of Palo Alto to have these vehicle dwellers in Palo Alto?
For example, the costs of police responding to complaints from residents and businesses, or to pay for lawsuits filed by vehicle dwellers who are tasered by Palo Alto police officers (who mistakenly think that Palo Alto has an ordinance against it, maybe because just about every other city in the Bay Area does have an ordinance that restricts vehicle-dwelling), or the costs of increased garbage in public trash receptacles?
I noticed that the article didn't report the costs for providing use of shower facilities at Cubberley. Likely CPAU just raises every customer's water fees to cover the added water use -- so each Utilities customer is subsidizing the vehicle dwellers.
I point out again that the communities surrounding Palo Alto have ordinances that restrict vehicle dwelling, so, since Palo Alto has no such ordinance, the vehicle dwellers are attracted to Palo Alto. Palo Alto is bearing a disproportionate burden, and, now Palo Alto is supposed to bear the sole burden of finding "another solution" for vehicle dwellers before it can pass such an ordinance?
That is about $2 from each Palo Alto resident to pay for this. Does not seem excessive. How about a plan to do better.
Anon, where are the limits drawn? The city is still facing a major budget deficit. Significant cuts have been made in public safety, the city requires extensive infrastructure improvements, and you suggest that we allocate additional funds to homeless programs? Think about it. As it stands, Palo Alto already plays host to more homeless outreach programs and spends more money on this issue than any other city in our region. No other community comes close to the tolerance and generosity that Palo Alto has contributed to this cause, and for the most part, extended to those with little or no ties to this community. Enough already. We have become a magnet for those in need throughout the bay area. It's time for other cities to carry their share of the responsibility and the problems that go along with it.
I also notice that the cost breakdown does not include or mention the Costs to the City of Palo Alto for Police Dept and the Fire Dept. The Fire Department responds to, treats and transports to the hospital by ambulance hundreds of homeless every year. If the person has insurance then the fee collected with pay the cost for that service. If they don't have insurance the tax payers eat the cost.
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