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Santa Monica, Robert Myers and the Homeless

October 04, 1992

I live in a rent-controlled high-rise on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. The homeless/drunks/mentally impaired/panhandlers live across the street in Palisades Park between me and my ocean view. I see them sleeping in the doorways and getting up out of the bushes as I walk to work in the dark in the morning. They ask me for money as I walk home from work. At night I hear the wailing and cursing of humans whose lives are beyond desperation. It distracts me from enjoying the sound of the ocean waves. It disturbs my sleep. I don't deserve this.

But what really makes me angry are the fortunate who complain. Especially those in my building whose access to rent-controlled or affordable housing has been championed by our recently fired city attorney, Robert Myers.

Two of the favorite topics I hear while waiting for the elevators are how to get rid of the homeless and how each tenant's various investments are doing. How many of these people are here as much (or more?) by luck than by hard work?

If some of these people had been less fortunate, where would they go? Do they stop and think about where the homeless will go if they are run out of this city and then the next and the next? And if there is finally no place to go, do we herd them into special "showers" so they won't bother us anymore?

There are social answers that are long past due in being addressed. I bet our ex-city attorney, Robert Myers, has some good ideas.

JEAN CLELLAND

Santa Monica

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