It Can Happen Here – News and View from Many Meals – Week No. 483 – April 24, 2018

There is great sorrow over the death of Anthony Mele, Jr. in Ventura last Thursday evening as he had dinner at a local restaurant with this wife and young daughter. This senseless, tragic death is astonishing and it points to our new reality that no one is safe anywhere. We cannot rest easy and think we will be untouched by the troubled humanity around us. Not many years ago, we were unlucky if something bad happened to us. Now, we are lucky if it doesn’t.

There will never be enough police to help them or help us. However, the new policing view has to be that both are done at the same time. We will be safer if there are better ways with more services to help our police departments help them. By helping them, they protect us.

What to do?  SPIRIT board members have asked for a meeting with a variety of leaders to take the lid off this coffin of mental illness among our homeless population. Our local officers know who the bad actors are, but they don’t know where they are all the time. One bad morning, aggravated by a sleepless night of roaming or rousting, can bring out the worst in someone. Many who see me around 9 every day are almost immovable with  frustration and loss of hope. Those with addictions are drowning in their own sense of guilt, fear and hopelessness. One was set off today because his car was towed for expired tags. He is 24 and on the streets tonight. I have no idea what he will be like tomorrow.

A 63-year old woman is staying in a local commercial business thanks to a soft business owner.  Further thanks to the new One-Stop, sponsored by the Ventura County Healthcare Agency, she received a diagnosis and some medication, but a 63-year old woman on the street is not safe. Her income is $973 per month. Not enough for a room and anything else, and I don’t know anyone who would rent to her. Another man, over 70 is staying in a building near the center of town. No shower, no cooking facilities. His income is about $900 per month.

So, I ask everyone to be extra mindful of your surroundings and support our police in every way possible. They have all been trained in Crisis Response but they can only be in one place at one time.

The call to action from the citizens of Ventura is our call as well. Some of the items cited at Monday’s Ventura City Council meeting are these:

  1. Ventura has hired 24 new officers to deal with homeless people.
  2. Define difference between homeless people and vagrants
  3. Hours of patrol officers have been extended
  4. Fire Departments and Battalion Chiefs are asked to be on the lookout for violations.
  5. One council member said she believes there are new people in town and believes
  6. they are being bussed from somewhere. People think that here as well.
  7. Councilmember Christy Weir stated that the methadone agency is no friend to the community and I agree. I have been to our clinic many times and believe it attracts drug users.
  8. Police want to focus on behavior and not just the fact they are homeless
  9. They discussed hiring an attorney to deal solely with police department issues
  10. There are nuisance behaviors that accelerates to violent behaviors
  11. They want to reinforce and elevate the laws against panhandling
  12. Ask all grocery stores to put locks on the carts so they can’t leave the premises
  13. Provide more housing: crisis, transitional and affordable
  14. Support Hannah Beth Jackson’s Senate bill for safety: Go to www.keepcalsafe.org and sign the petition
  15. Support SB 1971 on gravely disabled which allows people to be conserved for the good of the public. I wrote about this in a weekly email.
  16. Enforce anti-recycling laws that provides funds for homeless people. It keeps them  from getting help.
  17. Better lighting in all areas
  18. Increased collaboration with all service agencies and providers
  19. Work with other cities and learn about best practices.

The housing shortage is at crisis levels. Yesterday, two new homeless people were created because their cars were towed. One angel helped with funds to retrieve the car for the woman, but the 24 year old is sleeping on the street tonight. He had no money for tags and he took chances until his time ran out.  If our police are going to enforce laws, they have to apply it evenly.

The work of SPIRIT of Santa Paula is designed to end homelessness in our community. Work is being done in various planning to take us to that end. Our Project Manager is John Kulwiec, Architect Emeritus  and Fund Development Manager is Susan Kulwiec.  We are collaborating with people with have known for their good work and planning for programs we used to dream of.

I will keep you informed as doors open. Our Chief of Police and our officers are dedicated to preserving peace and helping people who are homeless where they can while keeping the public safe as a first priority.

Our new website will be up soon – thank you to Councilmember and pastor, Jenny Crosswhite and he charming husband, Daniel Sandoval. Geeks of a higher calling.

Tomorrow is Many Meals where we link up with our fragile neighbors. Thanks to the Presbyterian Church for opening your doors, to the members of so many churches who volunteer with us and to El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church for hosting the One Stop Clinic on Fridays. Showers are now from 9 am to 12:45 pm.

Our menu will be chicken pasta casserole, cole slaw with fresh pineapple, Pixie oranges thanks to Food Forward and Michael Shore,  buttered carrots thanks to Garman’s Pub, rolls and butter.

We love our volunteers, especially the kids.

Our Goal:  End Homelessness in Santa Paula  

Kay Wilson-Bolton is the volunteer director of SPIRIT of Santa Paula.  She can be reached at 805.340.5025.

www.facebook.com/ManyMeals

Website is http://www.spiritofsantapaula.org.

Address is 113 North Mill Street, Santa Paula CA 93060.

Mailing address is: P.O. Box 728, Santa Paula CA 93061-0728

“Serving the least Powerful and Most Vulnerable People in our Community.”

The Good Neighbor Award 2017

 

 

 

Amnesty for All

On the Other Hand by By Kay Wilson-Bolton

July 15, 2007

WHEN SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE IS CLEAR

America was founded on principles that would get government out of the Church. It was never to separate the Church from the people.

For those who wonder about churches being places of Sanctuary for illegal immigrants, here is a learning opportunity that will give you another good reason to join a church. “Sanctuary” is an interesting place and has different meanings. The ultimate meaning depends on where you are in your journey through life.

The dictionary describes sanctuary as a, “holy place.” It is likely that not everyone buys into that. It is also described as, “A church or other sacred place where fugitives were formerly entitled to immunity from arrest.”

It is also known as, “A tract of land where birds and wildlife, esp. those hunted for sport, can breed and take refuge in safety from hunters.” With these descriptions in mind, try to view yourself as one who is desperate for sanctuary. You are from a foreign country, you are here illegally, your children were born here, you came here looking for work—and found it. Upon threat of deportation and separation from your family, you run to a church. If you are denied, your world view of God has suddenly changed.

If you are welcomed, your view has changed again. Contrast this to our expenditures of millions of dollars protecting condor eggs because their parents don’t know how to protect them or themselves. They eat unsafe things and go to dangerous places.

As an American, I count on the right to run to a church when I and my family are in peril. I must be able to stay there until the danger is
passed. Churches that refuse to do this must be willing to take a class in Christian principals and basic human rights.

If you think churches should close their doors to people who are in this country illegally, knowing that we created jobs and enticed them to come, let’s look at who else is in our churches.

We are drug addicts, ex-cons and felons, alcoholics, womanizers and prostitutes, sex offenders, abusers, cryptics, skeptics and critics, fugitives from something or other. We don’t vote every chance we get, we are tempted and often cheat on our income tax; we regularly despise our neighbor and want what they have, while not forgiving them for doing to us what we do to others. Thank God we are in churches.

Let’s allow churches to do what churches have done for centuries. Then, let the government do whatever it does. This country exists because of the need to get the State out of the business of the Church. It was never to separate the Church from the people.

Kay Wilson-Bolton
Santa Paula

The Love Behind the Leash

8.25.13

How do you know when you have gone too far?

A few months ago, we adopted a young dog and I realized the importance of rules. In 1997, our wonderful five pound poodle died at the age of 17. We have since added three rescues and now see how the original Bear had organized our household.

The cats knew their place and how close to approach Bear’s food. They didn’t venture into his space at bedtime but were on cordial terms during the day. Bear told us when it was time to go for a walk or have dinner. He was also able to tell us when it was time to say goodbye at the end of his life.

When we acquired our first new dog, the rescue worker advised us to keep him on a leash for a while. It seemed odd and unnatural to us, but I can’t remember better advice.

Without that leash, the dog’s life with us might have been short-lived. He saw the cats as sport, wouldn’t eat the food that Bear did, and shot like a bullet out the pet door after anything that moved. So, on with the leash.

The leash kept him close to Howard during the day and close to us at night. Keeping him close kept him out of trouble and we discovered that it added an element of security for all of us. During those first few days of keeping the cats out of the house, he would snap at us during the admonition while he made his own way to the dog cage we kept in the living room for time out. He could not tolerate loud voices. When his behavior deserved it, we would whisper, “KD, go to your cage.”

He reached a point where he recognized his own bad behavior and would go to his cage if I simply pointed to it.

At night, we keep KD on a leash to prevent him from going off the races at the sound of a feather in the wind or a squirrel on the roof. When lights out arrives, he seems to welcome the latching of the lease, knowing everyone was in for a good night’s sleep. We have followed suit with our two subsequent pals, Jonathan and a “new” Bear.

While the idea of being on a leash is not a pretty picture for us humans who have the free will to explore, imagine or experience, I think we can all relate to having gone too far in some areas of our lives. A leash would have been a great idea.

When I depart from the straight path and doing things that are good, I get off balance. Examples are eating right, eating too much or too little, worrying, skipping the treadmill, reading daily devotions or church. That leash is a good thing. It keeps us out of trouble and away from dangerous places. Just might work for children, too.