By George Miller
Hueneme Voice writer Christina Zubko was a guest on the John & Ken KFI 640 show this evening, on the subject of the homeless encampment problem at Ormond Beach, Oxnard. She got involved when it spilled over right into her Port Hueneme neighborhood.
You should be able to access the on-demand podcast at: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/john-and-ken-on-demand-20635765/
John/Ken noted that Ormond Beach is/was a relatively pristine nature/bird sanctuary, administered by the Nature Conservancy (NC), which they labeled “a phony non-profit environmemtal group.” True or not, they have been a major positive force in helping Ormond Beach. The pair cited the snowy plover and Least Tern as protected species that inhabit the beautiful beach and wetlands areas. They said NC had allowed the vagrants to overwhelm the area. We are not aware of any Nature Conservancy police/enforcement capabilities to address that.
They cited news reports and drone camera videos as helping to focus attention on the situation, but believe that stories of a vagrant who severely kicked a dog did much to create public outrage.
They asked Christina to tell the audience about the homeless encampments situation and what’s being done with it. Christina told them that the Oxnard Police had affixed notices to vacate at the encampments and started evictions yesterday. A lot of city resources have been deployed to make sure that this happens, to clean up vast quantities of debris and offer help to those who will accept it, which is a problem. (Many are what is called “service-resistant- don’t want help). She said heavy equipment and huge dumpsters were deployed and were emptied repeatedly.
She said vagrants have moved elsewhere, including Hueneme Beach, which she is most unhappy about.
But this is the second time in a year that this problem has gotten out of hand, so the duo asked her what is being done to prevent a recurrence/make it “sustainable?” The three are disappointed that no plan has been articulated to address the problems on an ongoing basis.
Zubko said that Oxnard Homeless Coordinator Mark Alvarado told her that their mission is to make sure that it happens, get services for those affected and have them gone from the site.
She referred to homeless advocate Lang Martinez (who has written or collaborated on quite a few Citizens Journal articles, who had a serious meth addiction problem), who said that the vast majority of the people are addicts and not here just to loaf on the beach.
Publisher’s note: Mr. Martinez tells me that he and two experts did an assessment of the population in these encampments and concluded that nearly all had addiction problems. He wants to help with outreach and treatment/sober living referrals to the local homeless population.
John/Ken wanted to know what is being done to keep them from coming back again. Zubko says she has asked that question of Police Chief Scott Whitney, Carmen Ramirez and other city officials but has not received an adequate answer to date.
Whitney previously told me that police resources are spread thin, so it is difficult to maintain multiple major sustained efforts. Right now a Plaza Park attempt is also going on. They have done Ormond Beach before and the Halaco Superfund site. Now Ormond Beach is an issue again. Legal constraints/court rulings have made enforcement more and more difficult. Zubko specifically cited AB109 and Prop47 as major impediments. A court decision this year throws more roadblocks at removing people living on public property.
John, Ken and Christina were all relieved that a current enforcement effort is underway, but are concerned about what happens after that. The pair said it appears that Oxnard is not able to sustain the effort.
John and Ken did not voice any sympathy for those afflicted, saying they don’t want to see them, their fecal waste or drug paraphernalia and that they can go to the desert and have all the meth that they want — and more- but you get the picture. In contrast, the city wants to help these people, but in turn needs help to do that, which will come from the county, state and private organizations. But we thank John & Ken for getting public attention for this.
John & Ken got involved in our special event surrounding the brutal murder of a restaurant patron on the Ventura beach promenade a couple of years ago. That event helped set off an enforcement and outreach program by police dept. and social services that seems to have achieved results. The show, broadcast right outside the Crowne Plaza, made thousands of people aware of the event and the problem.
Read complaint letter from US Fish & Wildlife Service: LOCAL, VEN, City of Oxnard Homeless Encampments, Ormond Beach, Comments, WSP, CLTE, 2019-CPA-0131
George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.