Commentary | The Ventura Vagrancy Problem – Is Somebody Lying?



By Catherine Myers 

I found this article to be very informative, The Present of More Presence  

But it really raised some questions for me to which I think we all deserve answers. Here are a couple of statements from the article that, to me, really stood in direct opposition.

“When asked how Zucker [Lucas Zucker, Policy and Communications Director for CAUSE— Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy] would solve the issue of a subset of homeless people committing crimes and vagrancy he answered, I would say that the fundamental reason that a person is out on the street like that is that there is a lack of housing.”

With so much evidence to the contrary, when people make statements like that it is starting to become more and more difficult not to think it is a deliberate lie, especially when contrasted with the following from the same article:

“When we first started with a staff about six years ago, we were helping people who really wanted to help themselves,” explained [Patrol Task Force] leader, Jerry Foreman. “This occurred for about two years. They wanted the programs, they wanted to not be homeless anymore and find a place to live. It was pretty easy to deal with them. Now what is left is the people that we have been dealing with forever. They are service resistant.”

With regard to why there are so many arrests of people in Ventura who turn out to be homeless (40% of all arrests despite police not knowing whether an individual is homeless until after the arrest), both statements – it’s all because there is no housing OR we can’t get them to accept the many already available services – cannot be true.  Is somebody lying? How many shelter beds are there now?  How many are empty on average? How many people are offered shelter but refuse it?  I wonder if Citizen’s Journal could help its readers find the answers? 

Once we have the answers, we need to decide whether we should allow up to $600,000.00 of Measure O money to be spent to provide MORE shelter beds and/or permanent supportive housing (i.e., tenants cannot be evicted for any reason regardless of their behavior) for the maybe 200-300 individuals who have been stealing us blind, endangering community health by urinating and defecating or dumping raw sewage wherever they please, chasing our seniors through the shopping centers, staggering around under the influence in public, panhandling throughout the city, menacing bank patrons, brandishing clubs and knives, selling drugs, leaving needles and other drug paraphernalia in the parks, and driving patrons away from businesses.  (Does anyone doubt these individuals would continue to victimize the community if provided free permanent housing as a base from which to do it?)  Or should we demand that Measure O money be used to provide a fast lane to locked-in housing in correctional or treatment facilities for this minuscule percentage of the populace that is taking up so much of our resources?  

Lastly, we need to ask ourselves, “Would somebody mis-characterize the facts in order to get that much money directed to their cause?”

Catherine Myers was born in Ventura.  She is retired from VUSD where she worked with children with special needs and their families for 16 years. Ms. Myers is concerned with the escalating vagrancy problems in Ventura ever since her elderly mother and Ms. Myers were terrorized in Montalvo Square a couple of years ago by a derelict who was chasing patrons, screaming racial epithets at a father and young son, and then blocked her vehicle from leaving. She began researching and speaking out about the vagrancy problem on social media at that time. Her opinions came to the attention of QOL-Ventura but shewas not able to join them then. After the murder of Anthony Mele, she had to step up and do more to be part of the solution despite her own difficulties. So she became the recording secretary for QOL-Ventura. 

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Catherine Myers

Purposely ascribing to all “poor people” the behaviors I mentioned that are NOT engaged in by poor people, but by criminal vagrant addicts and chronic alcoholics who choose to carry on a criminal “lifestyle” on the streets when services and shelter ARE available is beyond hate and beyond reason!

We need to expose the liars in the city who are on a campaign to accuse others of hate in every forum where these issues are discussed and whenever anyone suggests that we DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

Since we are now 14 years into a 10 year plan to end homelessness that HAS ended simple homelessness but has made the criminal vagrancy problem EXPLODE we need to ask, “Why are there those who call us haters when the most hateful and in humane thing in the world is to do what they want to contine to do? That is, enable people in the throes of addiction to continue maiming their brains, killing their bodies, and victimizing innocent others?” And not only that, the liars want to extort money from struggling families, and yes, working poor people, to let the liars continue to do it! WHY?

Follow the money.

If you want to solve any social problem in America, don’t look at who suffers from it, look at who profits from it. Those who profit by gaining for themselves a sense of righteousness in doing what they do without regard for the DAMAGE they are ACTUALLY doing to others are the worst – and most hateful – profiteers of all.

Caring person

These writers a short sighted poor people haters disguised as journalists??

Citizen Reporter

Interesting how you spun a commentary on what isn’t working to “haters.” In any case,. Ms. Myers is not a journalist, but is a Citizen speaking out. Try reading the bio at the bottom next time.