Letters to the Editor January 27, 2009

Written by The Daily Triplicate readers January 27, 2009 08:07 am

Dealing with homelessness requires community teamwork


There has been a lot of press lately concerning the homeless population in Crescent City lately and a lot of effort by good people to do something about the very real needs of that population.  However, it seems that an impasse has been met as to how to deal with the homeless in a positive manner aimed at alleviating, at least to some extent, chronic homelessness and the causes thereof.

My suggestion would be to have those with some experience in dealing with the homeless doing some benchmarking with agencies outside of our county that run successful programs for the homeless. This is a practice utilized by many businesses and corporations throughout the country. A best practices and programs agenda could be complied and customized to fit our community and with the involvement of our entire community be put into action.

It will take not one, but many organizations, and the involvement of concerned citizens across the lines of all economic classes to bring something our community can be proud of.  Homelessness is not an issue we as a community can just ignore or hide our heads in the sand until it goes away.

Again, thanks to the many that gave of time, talent, and money to help those less fortunate than themselves recently. Maybe the rest of us ought to follow their lead and be more involved.

 S. J. Blakely
Crescent City  


Smith River children are worth the work, stress for new gym

I feel I need to address some of the issues brought up by Charleen Williams in her Jan. 22 letter (“Property taxpayers must speak up to school board”). I am concerned that in Ms. Williams’ quite well-written letter there were several inaccuracies.

She stated, “None of the K-6 schools have a separate gym…” To the contrary, Margaret Keating  (K-5) has both a full-size gym and a lunchroom. Mary Peacock (K-6) and Mountain School (K-5) both have either a multi-purpose room or a gym with regulation-sized basketball courts. Smith River School is the only current or former K-8 school without a full-sized gym.

Ms. Williams also opined “so what we’re really talking about is building a fancy multi-million-dollar gym with a full-sized kitchen.” The included kitchen also allows the gym to be used for several after-school events every year that have outgrown the lunchroom. The kitchen also permits possible use of the gym as a lunchroom if (when) the U.S. Census Bureau’s projected future population growth north of Doctor Fine Bridge also increases enrollment to the point that the lunchroom is outgrown.

The locker rooms in the project also address current and some future restroom needs. She also seems to be unaware the gym will be used by all the students, not just by “a handful of seventh- and eighth-graders.”

If it were up to me, I would also include a stage in the project as the current graduation, student assemblies, back-to-school events, open houses, winter program and some other uses are near the occupancy limits of the current lunchroom. School district building projects must not only address current needs, but also include projected needs for at least 20 years in the future.

I’m also concerned about Ms. Williams over-prioritizing the high school at the expense of a school that prepares students for the high school.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Del Norte Unified School District employee assigned to the p.m. custodial shift at Smith River Elementary School. I did not write this letter during my work hours, use district equipment, or use sources of information other than my own observations.

I personally have nothing to gain from the gym project, as its construction will lead to more school day and after-school uses that will complicate my assignment; however, I think the children of Smith River are worth the additional work and stress.

Ted Johnson, Jr.
Crescent City


Watchdogs are not helping community by slurring police


This is in response to the ad by the Del Norte Community Watchdogs. Who are the Del Norte Community Watchdogs? Are they elected officials for the communities of Del Norte? Are they appointed officials for the Communities of Del Norte? No, from the limited information provided they are disgruntled citizens of this community whose loved ones have been arrested by our police force.

Understandably, it is an unfortunate situation for any family member to undergo. However, the ad in the Jan. 16 Triplicate targeted a public servant, Officer Garcia, who is sworn to uphold the law of this city, county and state.

He puts his life is jeopardy daily to give us a safe environment to live. This response is to provide full support of Officer Garcia during this attempt to slur his reputation. The Del Norte Community Watchdogs should let the evidence do the talking and let our justice system do its job without attempting to muddy the issues.

If the Del Norte Community Watchdogs truly want to help this community they should watch out for the criminals that are introducing illegal drugs to the children of this community instead of attacking those individuals sworn to protect and serve this community.

Craig Strickhouser
Crescent City


More could be done to keep local homeless safe


Instead of taking 1.5 million dollars in Community Development Block Grant funds for new sewer lines for the “new” subdivisions being built, how about using the money for its intended purpose, to help the less fortunate?

An empty building at 595 G St. is owned by the county. Considered blight, it could be a place for the homeless. With the help of Habitat for Humanity or even the high school class that builds homes, this building could be brought up to code and  benefit our community in providing a respectable place for the homeless to lay their heads during extreme weather. I have said this in the past and it is certainly worth discussing it today.

As far as Our Daily Bread Ministries, kudos for them, but at the same time, before the serious assault had occurred I was aware of other trouble that had transpired the day before. I personally offered to help supervise the shelter at night time to help deter any violent outbreaks only to be told by the pastor that a police presence would keep them from coming into the shelter. Had the police made random stops at the shelter throughout the night, there may not have been a series of violent outbreaks.

Not only should the old blighted building owned by the county become a homeless shelter, but there should also be available counseling services. You ask, where do we get the money for this elaborate suggestion? My question is, where does every other city get the money? It comes. People in this community are generous in many forms of resources, time, food and money. I am sure there is grant money out there for this kind of set-up. It should be professionally run without bias or religion.

How many more deaths have to occur before our Board of Supervisors and the City Council say enough is enough?

Linda Sutter
Crescent City