Open Letter on Ormond Beach Homeless | Call to Action

By Christina Zubko

 

Hi John and Ken:

Thank you for your interest in Ormond Beach and inviting me to come on to your radio show at KFI640 am to describe the plight of the snowy plover and the vagrants that have moved into their nesting area.

I wanted to update you on Ormond Beach.  The attached photo was taken on August 5, 2019.  Notice the snowy plover at the bottom of the photo and what looks like the remains of a fence—and right below the tents a state or federal sign reads, “Help Your Shorebirds Thrive: Do Not Enter: Please Respect Fencing.”

Our group, Friends of Ormond Beach, is continuing the battle, even as Oxnard’s homeless coordinator Mark Alvarado announced that Oxnard is giving the vagrants until next March to get out.  He spoke to me on the phone for a solid 15 minutes on July 23rd and he seemed stuck on this point: Oxnard must find housing/shelter for as many of these vagrants as possible.

In the meantime, I met a formerly homeless Oxnard man named Lang Martinez.  He has been featured in the Citizens Journal and he also was interviewed in a five-part YouTube series.  Martinez says Alvarado’s focus is all wrong. He says the focus should not be on procuring shelter for Ormond Beach’s vagrants. Instead, Martinez says Oxnard needs to recognize that the majority of these vagrants are addicted to drugs and alcohol. His assessment falls in line with the stats that streetsteam.org published from the Department of Housing and Urban Development Point-in-Time count 2014. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2014, 20% of the homeless in the US are here in CA (I’m sure that number is much higher today… just anecdotally, just a few days ago, my neighbor saw a homeless couple in a car with Texas license plates). The number one reason people became homeless is job loss (31%), followed by drug or alcohol use (20%). I find the first reason–job loss–interesting as I continue to hear that our national unemployment rate is at a near-record low. Moreover, when the homeless were asked what would have prevented their homelessness, 34% said employment assistance, 31% said rental assistance (but CA is just expensive… and it’s not a place everyone can afford), and 28% said drug or alcohol counseling.  It seems to me that this credible report suggests that alcohol and drug abuse and job-loss go hand-in-hand with homelessness… and for Oxnard officials to simply find Ormond Beach vagrants housing seems a misguided financial and social disaster.  Martinez will tell you that the first thing Oxnard needs to do for its homeless is to get them connected to services and treatment. Additionally, Martinez says most of the agencies that are offering shelters do not hold their tenants accountable for staying clean and sober and for following the rules of the shelter.  Often, these homeless need medications and no one in the shelters is hired to manage their medication, which means many of them end up back on the streets.  For many, being back on the streets is precisely where they want to be because they perceive to be free from rules in the streets.  But Martinez will tell you that there are rules in the streets, such as the “One Up, One Down” rule, which means when homeless, it is best to stay in pairs so that one can be up and awake to stay on guard while the other is down sleeping.  He will also tell you about the “Being Laced Up” rule–meaning, one’s shoes better be laced up and ready to run away from trouble or from law enforcement. It is time to involve the ex-homeless to give us the straight story about homelessness.  Politicians with their political correctness and fancy degrees are not fooling me–I believe they have something to gain in perpetuating the homeless crises.  There are real estate deals to be had and new departments in city hall to be created. With that comes new government positions and task force jobs that come with healthy pensions that ultimately will burden tax-payers.  The homeless, I believe, are laughing at this “game” and they know that as long as they vociferously demand their rights, the most liberal of states will continue to grant them at the expense of tax payers who are little-by-little giving up their right to a quality of life their taxes should guarantee (sanitary living conditions, litter free neighborhoods and beaches, and services to protect from lawlessness, crime, and fire). 

What bothers me a lot is that we have a governor and super majority that is laying out the welcome mat for the entire country’s homeless. Pair that with California’s ideal climate, and it’s a no-brainer as to why so many homeless from other states are coming here in droves. And here we stand on the verge of fire season.  Did you know that at one point, the homeless on Oxnard’s Ormond Beach actually had a Mayor (the vagrants elected another homeless guy) and that they were using cell phones to call other homeless in other states to come to Ormond because law enforcement had turned a blind eye to its eyesore–the Halaco superfund, which is adjacent to Ormond Beach and the location where the homeless and their mayor had erected their tent city. 

Will CA be suing other states for the damages that will come when a vagrant’s fire burns down entire neighborhoods?  Moreover, where are all the animal rights groups?  In addition to my snowy plovers, imagine the loss of life in fires line the one in Malibu last year.  For a left-leaning State, I don’t understand why there are not more protections for the wildlife in this extremely dangerous time when CA is engaging in a very risky social experiment with the homeless. Moreover, will CA sue the other 49 states to recover the cost of having to provide free and affordable housing, social services, and medical care to the nation’s homeless?

You know that I would be happy to come back on your program and give you an update late September, when Surfrider will be bringing volunteers to clean up the Ormond Beach lagoon area (it’s not where the snowy plover live; rather, the lagoon is home to yet another endangered species, the tidewater goby). To be clear, Oxnard had to issue the proper permits to Surfrider in order to move forward with the cleaning of the lagoon area. September is a good time because soon the least tern will be nesting in the lagoon area and absolutely no one is permitted to go into nesting areas–unless one is a vagrant who know his or her rights. 

Thanks for all you do, John and Ken!

https://www.citizensjournal.us/tom-dunn-interview-of-a-formerly-homeless-recovering-addict/

CALL FOR ACTION ORMOND BEACH – Petition

Update 8/7: we’re up to 215 signatures on the petition. Keep going—we want to make sure Oxnard hears us loud and clear.

On August 4, Friends of Ormond Beach talked to animal attorney Nancy DiFabio from LA Talk Radio.

DiFabio suggested residents from both Oxnard and Hueneme sign a petition urging Oxnard to enforce its very own Ordinance 2906 (which they wrote and approved through city council!) to protect birds of global significance. Among the activities considered a violation: 1) camping; 2) altering dunes and vegetation; 3) tampering with signage/fences and 4) kindling fire.  All this has been happening during the nesting season of the endangered snowy plover.

If you are as incensed as Friends of Ormond Beach are about Oxnard’s failure to enforce the very ordinance it approved through their city council, please sign the change.org petition located here:
http://chng.it/CM2cJhtvN9

Let’s get 100 signers of this petition by the end of the week!

Thank you on behalf of all of Friends of Ormond Beach… you are now also a Friend…

Christina Zubko, Writes for Hueneme Voice

Snowy Plover in foreground, Homeless encampment in their habitat


Get Citizensjournal.us Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
rafaelstoneman

While I understand the concern about the Snowy Plover, I feel it is important to not place more value on this bird than on human lives. There could be at least equal value placed on the Snowy Plover’s life and on the “vagrants” life. These are human beings that have most likely been abused by their own parents and families and communities and because they are hurting, they are using drugs to mask the pain. The drugs are causing them to act in ways that are disturbing and hurtful and they are not considering the Snowy Plover.

But this does not mean that we ought to not consider these “vagrants” plight. In the same way that you are concerned for the Snowy Plover, it would behove you to feel the same concern towards the “vagrants”. Actually, using the term “vagrants” is not a good way to refer to human beings that are homeless and living in an encampment. I understand that you are concerned for the Snowy Plover and for the people in the community but it will be important to extend this concern towards the homeless people of the encampment.

It will take a village to remove these homeless people from the wetlands and find ways to bring them into sobriety. Some of them may have to find that sobriety in jail or prison as that is what our society offers those who are unable to abide by the laws and regulations that have been developed. It is not the best system but it is the current system that we have and hopefully some of these people can get sober if they end up incarcerated. It is difficult because many times the police (prison guards) are sneaking drugs into the jails and prisons and keeping these people addicted. This is unfortunate that our society has gotten to this level of greed and corruption, where those who are hired to protect and serve become drug dealers.

We have to take all of these issues into account as we move to take an action as a community to displace this encampment. Feeling anger towards the people of the encampment is understandable but you who feel that anger will have to move beyond it or it will only cloud your ability to find creative solutions that are effective.