By Jeffrey Herman, San Clemente native, stationed in Ventura County
Sandra Weaver wrote a heartfelt letter in the Sept. 29-Oct. 5 edition of the San Clemente Times, titled “Discriminating Against Homeless Does Not Solve Problems,” but at the same time, she insulted a great many of us, referring to us as NIMBYs. Hence, let me challenge Sandra so that she can show that she’s sincere in her convictions and not a hypocrite: Open your residence to a homeless person or family. Surely you have a spare room in your house; if not, then convert your garage to a living area, or make room in your backyard. In doing so, you’ll set an example for the rest of us; not doing so makes you too a NIMBY.
Now, having said that, let’s face some facts: Homeless are transients, not residents. They might be here one day and gone the next. They settle at places that show the least resistance to their lifestyle. Someone might have been in Mission Viejo one day, San Juan the next, and finally settle in San Clemente (free showers at the beach).
The responsibility for their care does not lie with taxpaying strangers, but rather their own relatives. If authorities are to take any action at all, it should be confined to asking a homeless person who his closest relative is, then contacting that relative. For who among us, in learning of a homeless family member, would not take that person in and provide for his or her care, or at least pay for an apartment or hotel room for them?
Some will say my statement is too simplistic and that the situation is more complicated than I’ve presented; to them I say “baloney.” We are first and foremost responsible for our own family members, not taxpaying strangers.