In the article "Yaroslavsky Asks Probe Into Raid on Homeless Camps" (Metro, June 29), the Central City East Assn. was once again made out to be the "bad guy" in its dealings with the downtown homeless population. Unfortunately, the article implied that CCEA endorsed the confiscation of personal possessions of the homeless. We do not. CCEA has spent over two years working with the city, community and homeless groups to help the homeless of Central City East.
We do in fact support all humane and aggressive efforts to enforce established municipal ordinances. At the June 24 incident, the police were involved in the routine enforcement of the municipal code against loitering and sleeping on the streets. If the police did destroy personal belongings it was unfortunate and should not be repeated. In the past I have witnessed police officers give routine notice to people on the street to collect their belongings and move on.
The Yaroslavsky motion does, however, give us reason for concern. If the motion passes, much needed efforts to discourage and prevent growing encampments and loitering will be discontinued. Last year hundreds of homeless people made the sidewalks their home. It cannot happen again. The horrible reality of people sleeping, defecating and cooking on public sidewalks is not only unacceptable, it is unhealthy. It is a situation Yaroslavsky would not allow in his district. Why should he allow it in ours?