Simi Valley homeless advocate targeted by Ventura County (Part III)

 

 

 

By Michael Hernandez 

(Editor’s Note:  This is the third of a four-part series on a Simi Valley man—Wayne Fishback—targeted by Ventura County. The first story in the series was titled:  “Simi Valley environmentalist targeted by Ventura County.  See link at:

https://www.citizensjournal.us/simi-valley-environmentalist-targeted-by-ventura-county-part-i/  The second story in the series was titled:  “Simi Valley hospital architect targeted by Ventura County.   See link in the Citizens Journal at: https://www.citizensjournal.us/simi-valley-hospital-architect-targeted-by-ventura-county-part-ii/.)

SIMI VALLEY—Who is Wayne Fishback?  Why is he in jail?

Wayne Fishback, 75 year-old Simi Valley homeless advocate, is locked up indefinitely by Ventura Superior Court Judge Jeffery G. Bennett for “coercive civil” contempt to the Court for his failure to comply with a $21.7 million judgment against him issued in a December, 2014 trial by Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kent M. Kellegrew.

Why is Wayne Fishback, a Simi Hills property owner, Ventura County’s “most targeted man?”   Ventura County claims that Fishback is operating an “illegal dump” for grading and leveling off parts of his private property without obtaining the necessary permits for operating what they call an “illegal dump.”

Fishback, claims he has spent nearly $5 million dollars in legal and engineering fees to prove his innocence; no longer can pay for legal counsel; has been refused a public defender; and is homeless—that is before receiving the comforts of a jail cell.

Who is Wayne Fishback?  Homeless Advocate in L.A. and South Central

Wayne Fishback has worked and has a close relationship with homeless, youth and civil rights activist Ted Hayes, Jr., the son of a “Buffalo Soldier” (the segregated U.S. Army Black Buffalo Division in World War II and the Korean War) who was behind Justiceville—which was ordered closed and bulldozed by government officials–in the winter of 1984 in Los Angeles and later the Dome Village community in November of 1993.  Hayes National Homeless Plan was supported by the Los Angeles City Council in October of 1998 and by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in January of 1999.

Wayne Fishback also has worked with the Five Points Foundation (corner of Florence and Western) in South Central Los Angeles—which was one of the key sites during the 1992 Rodney King protests as well as with Marcela Oliva, professor of Architecture at Los Angeles Trade-Tech College and architect Eugene Shirley, president of Pando Populus in a neighborhood known as “Death Alley”—the name given to the area by the Los Angeles Times in 2014 because of its high murder rate.  Work in this area of South Central Los Angeles began in 2012 as a small parking lot was overhauled and landscaped with a garden.    

It was here that Fishback began helping inner-city adults and youth with jobs in “trail development and recreation.”  Fishback said:  “There’s a thing metro is pushing called rails to trails and we’re going to have these kids moving out into the open spaces where we have all this public land but no trails and the kids are going to be building trails.”

Ted Hayes, Jr., homeless, youth, and civil rights activist with Wayne Fishback

Fishback states that Five Points is a model site meant to be replicated in other parts of South Central Los Angeles.  Where once there was concrete and trash, the site at Five Points has removed that concrete, added a soft natural cover, and created an ecologically permeable surface so that storm water will percolate down, recharge the ground water, and prevent dirty water from running into the street and down the sewer said Fishback to reporter Tim Pompey in a July 18, 2017 Citizens Journal story. 

(Editor’s Note:  See link  at    https://www.citizensjournal.us/local-architect-part-plan-reimagine-south-central-l2/.)

Five Point sign

Wayne Fishback working with the White House on Homelessness

Wayne Fishback has been working with Ben Hobbs of the White House Domestic Policy Council—the principal forum used by Presidents for considering, domestic policy matters (excluding economic matters which are the domain of the National Economic Council).

The Domestic Policy Council (DPC) was established on April 11, 1985 by President Ronald Reagan.  The DPC is headquartered in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and has 25 employees.  Agency Executive is Joe Grogan, Director and Assistant to President Donald J. Trump for Domestic Policy.

Wayne Fishback sounds alert on Coronavirus impact on homeless population

Even during the early morning (2:10 AM)  of being “locked up indefinitely” for “coercive civil” contempt by Ventura Superior Court Judge Jeffery G. Bennett—Wayne Fishback was sending out urgent emails alerting high-level national and state health officials of the dangers the coronavirus (covid 19) poses within the homeless community and its potential spread.

Fishback was alerting Connie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Institute for Human Services in Honolulu, Hawaii; Herb Smith, CEO of the LA Rescue Mission (second in size and age to the Union Mission); and Toni Freeland, Chair and CEO of the Samaritan Center in Ventura County—about protocols that can be used for shelter and unsheltered homeless.

Wayne Fishback has given the Citizens Journal a series of email communications between Ben Hobbs of the White House Domestic Policy Council and himself.  In a Feb. 28th email sent to Hobbs with subject line:  “Nexus Between Homeless Population and Corona Virus,” Fishback writes:  “It’s just a matter of time before the virus hits LA Skid Row and SF concentrations of homeless people.   When this happens,  it will spread like wildfire when it hits.  I have a great deal of experience with SARS in Hong Kong which is already tiny compared to Corona.”

Fishback goes on to write:  “Where are the federal sites…to quarantine the homeless population?   The sites can be federal, state, county, city and private like my 500 acre ranch with fast turn around assessment, housing, training and jobs.  That’s what you do under emergency/crisis conditions.”

In an email to another health official, Fishback writes:  “I am advised by friends in the healthcare community in the US and Hong Kong, this could be the pandemic long forecasted.  If so, the human tragedy and economic devastation are hard for the post depression generations to imagine.”

Fishback writes in yet another email that he has heard that “the most high risk populations such as the elderly, people with chronic diseases such as lung and heart…but I have not heard the homeless mentioned.  Almost all have major health problems, live in unhealthy environments, and have poor access to healthcare services.”

News media has begun to reporting on how health officials are worried that the coronavirus (will) hit California’s homeless population.  See Los Angeles Times March 1st story written by Sacramento journalist Anita Chabria:   https://www.latimes.com/homeless-housing/story/2020-03-01/coronavirus-homeless-risk-outbreak-unsheltered-califiornia

Meanwhile, as it stands now, Wayne Fishback will not be able to participate in a Virtual Coronavirus International Summit (VIS) to fight the Coronavirus Health Crisis Worldwide that organizers (including Herb Smith of the LA Mission) working with homeless populations are trying to schedule either on the morning of March 16 or March 18th.

Does Wayne Fishback sound like someone who is breaking the law or a man who has solutions to homelessness?

(Editor’s Note:  To read the Citizens Journal story on Friday’s Ventura County Superior Court hearing go to:  https://www.citizensjournal.us/simi-valley-resident-thrown-in-jail-for-contempt-of-court-after-20-year-property-fight-against-ventura-county/.)

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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