By Colleen O'Connor
The 8-1 City Council vote Tuesday in favor of locating a 500-locker homeless storage facility in Sherman Heights is another example of dumping on the poorest of the poor in San Diego.
The lopsided vote against putting yet more homeless next door to a Catholic elementary school is an affront to common sense and fairness.
Liquor stores and pot shops must be even further away from schools than this homeless magnet—which all members of the council know will draw drug addicts, dealers, mentally ill and others who should be nowhere near children.
Where is the courage and honesty that council members and the mayor should possess?
Where is the character that goes for the easy out? Dump them where there is little wealth and almost no power to fight back.
Why not put the facility nearer the City Hall so council members can walk through the homeless camps every day and accept the responsibility to fix the problem permanently?
Why not put the storage lockers in the old, now-abandoned library?
Why not spread them out evenly in each district so that council members’ constituents, children and families can experience what this part of San Diego faces every day?
Why? Because they know the undesirability of such a move and the almost certain political backlash from such action.
Surely Point Loma and La Jolla can find some space. How about the areas around San Diego State University and Clairemont? Are those elementary schools less safe or less well situated than Sherman Heights?
And do not argue that the city does not own more available land and facilities. That is patent nonsense.
The only councilmember to vote against this decision to concentrate more homeless in an already overburdened and underserved neighborhood is the representative with the least clout—the termed-out David Alvarez.
And shame on the mayor with his State of the City address focused on the homeless. He has done what so many have callously done before him. Dump it on the south side.
Has he—or any member of the City Council (except Alvarez)—even visited the school in question? Doubtful.
So think of these children—now in greater harm’s way—as the nation’s other children march on Saturday to protest against violent crimes at their schools.
How long before something just as appalling happens to the elementary school children of Our Lady’s School—located just 15 feet from the homeless storage lockers?
Shame on the mayor and the City Council.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.
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