By Dee Coleman
As I look back over the last three years, I see a much different San Clemente. Seems you can no longer get gas without being yelled at, walk downtown without being accosted for spare change or take a walk on the beach without looking for used needles. We now have areas of our beautiful community where it is common to see cars with expired tags full of bags, with the overflow spilling onto the streets. Our wonderful pier was not made to sleep on, either. I don’t know about you, but I want my city back!
How did this happen? I assure you it didn’t just happen overnight. We and all of South Orange County are struggling with this same issue of homelessness. Hundreds camped out in Anaheim by Angel Stadium last year. Why were they there? It was because they really did not have a place to go. For the vast majority, it was due to poor life choices. Statewide, about 70% of the homeless population is struggling with some kind of addiction; almost 30% have mental health issues. There’s a small number of truly homeless people not wanting to be there. They want a job, a house and a life just like you and I have. For these people, I have hope. If they want a job, usually they will be out looking for one, and we have a number of great businesses here in San Clemente who are willing to give them a chance. Nonprofits are assisting with food pantries providing much-needed food for those truly in need.
Even though we are not alone struggling with this issue of homelessness, it seems like we have been hung out to dry by our county and the state. Orange County receives hundreds of millions of dollars to address this population every year. Where is the south county effort? Where is the funding going? Where is the nearest South Orange County homeless shelter? We know the answer to that. Not here. The Service Planning Area should identify a location in its center. Not at the edge of the county. The county has identified our service area for funding. Why are we not seeing action?
Unless the cities of South Orange County combine their efforts and make a run on the Board of Supervisors, we are left to deal with their problem on our own. I am not a politician, but I can see politics at work. A favor here for a road there, a homeless shelter there for a mental health hospital here. When will this madness stop? Let’s work with our neighboring cities to put pressure on the Board of Supervisors to do their job. If 10 percent of the population of Orange County lives in South County, then let’s spend 10 percent of county funding here, where it is needed. Remember, this is a mail-in election. Ballots will be mailed to your home on approximately Oct. 12. Complete it and drop it at the post office promptly. A vote for me this election is a vote for someone who knows how to get the job done. Together, we can get our city back.
For more information on Dee Coleman, who is running for San Clemente City Council in the Nov. 5 Special Election, visit dcoleman4sc.com.
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