Imagine you buy a property, maintain it, pay taxes on it, fix things, pay bills etc and then read the following nightmare going on, all around Visalia, including the Oval.
You arrive at your property first thing in the morning, and you observe a huge pile of human excretement, you notice things broken, stolen or broken into, you observe the remnants of a shelter, like cardboard, bedding, mattresses.
You see, some of these so called homeless, whatever their personal infirmities are by choice choosing to live a certain lifestyle. I refer to this as “lifestyle homeless” otherwise known as “free rent campers.” You see, these so called homeless have found a crack in the system, a foot in the door. What they do is look dirty, travel around with their possessions and put their hand out and then they don’t have to do anything or pay anything. Then, life is a big party, as you do what you want to do all day long, like sit around, get high, get drunk, smoke cigarettes. There are places that feed you for free, free clothing is provided, all your needs and wants are taken care of for free so why shouldn’t you just use someone’s property for free. They do, and they do it, day in and day out.
Here is the problem with the city taking the stance that homeless is not the city’s governments problem and putting all the responsibility on the faith community. The above niche of homeless, and they are not a small number, are committed to living on other peoples property, defecating on it, urinating on it and they pay no costs associated with all the trouble and vandalism they cause. Zero! Free rent camping! They refuse to seek shelter. I know, I have asked them. They want no rules and shelters come with rules, shelters come with questions, and then they will actually have to do something positive.
The problem, as far as I can tell, is that no city councilman has had someone basically living on their property day in and day out, so they don’t think or know that there is a problem, so nothing is being done. Every night all over the city, this crew of overnight free rent campers, take over someone else’s property for their own personal use and campsite. They pay nothing. Caught or confronted they just go somewhere else and visit this problem on another unsuspecting property owner. Why does this go on you might ask? Because the city and the council, either by choice, ignorance or blatant incompetence, has not addressed this issue.
I have offered a plan. The city ought to designate a city lot or some location that is permitted for these people to free rent camp if that is their chosen lifestyle. Why? So they cease playing musical chairs and hide the potato with property owners rights who are nightly under siege from this crowd. The city will also set up volunteers at this site, services at this site, toilets at this site and most important storage for these campers for their camping stuff during the day at this site.
They camp overnight where their camping stuff is stored and that is why they continue to camp at and around the Oval, because all their camping stuff is stored there. They even have taken to the using of the parks benches as a storage containers, leaving their stuff under the benches 24/7/365. Once the proposed site is designated, you will have the ability to expose this crowd to something called Rules!
Come up with real solutions and start with a designated place to go from 10pm to 6am so Police Officers can enforce the property rights of citizens and not be seen as mere powerless, patsies who can not effect any enforcement of law and order for property rights. You see, this crowd does not like to follow rules, that is why they camp for free on other peoples property without any compunction. If the city takes the time and effort and creates this one rule, a rule that the free rent campers must follow, you will force them to join the real world where rules exist. The city by ignoring this problem is enabling their camping/defecating behavior. The city is disarming the effectiveness of law enforcement. The city is undermining, cheapening and taking away property rights. The city is protecting the criminality element and not protecting tax paying, law abiding citizens.
You fixed the shopping carts disaster now it’s time to take the next step and fix the property rights/free rent camper disaster.
Bill Huott, Visalia, CA