Tarps covered homeless tents and shelters on downtown streets. Photo by Chris Stone
Tarps cover homeless people on a downtown San Diego street in August. Photo by Chris Stone

The nightmare continues. When people treat you like they don’t care, believe them.

Todd Gloria, in his more than 3 1/2 years as mayor of what used to be America’s Finest City, has lied to us.

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He lied to us about who he is, what he’s done, and what he’s going to do. These lies make us distrust him and his homeless policies.

Todd Gloria’s ongoing misinformation propaganda campaign promoting the terrific job he’s doing is contrary to the lives that the citizens and residents of San Diego are forced to live every day, all because of his failed leadership, policies, choices and decisions.

We live in Hillcrest, on the north edge of Balboa Park. We have been here in the same house for 44 years.

Todd Gloria is a career politician. He has represented us as our elected official his entire professional life. I supported Todd Gloria, I voted for him, I hosted him, and raised funds and awareness for him. That has turned out to be as big a mistake as I’ve ever made.

I will never make that mistake again.

Immediately adjacent to our home and neighborhood are Balboa Park, a large public school, four public community centers, the San Diego Zoo, a series of public park canyons and waterways, a bike path and numerous foot paths all within the park.

Our home and neighborhood epitomize all of the elements of the types of places that Todd Gloria claims he’s cleaning up from the disastrous mess that his homeless crisis has created for all of us,

Still, Todd Gloria continues to mislead everyone with his regular press releases, form letters, and fundraising appeals that he sends out explaining and promoting the wonderful job that he’s doing to make our city and lives clean, safe and healthy,

In Todd Gloria’s most recent propaganda that I’ve seen, he claims that he’s using “every” tool and resource at his disposal to address and prevent homelessness. “Every” is an all encompassing word. What are these tools and resources? Where are the results?

Todd Gloria claims to have “expanded” street outreach, shelter capacity, and safe parking programs, and initiated policies to build more housing. “Expanded” is a deceptively ambiguous word. What are the numbers? Where are the results?

Todd Gloria continues on by saying that his new Unsafe Camping Ordinance prohibits “tent encampments citywide, and it will “prohibit tent encampments, regardless of shelter availability” at high-risk locations including all the elements that we have in our neighborhood, like Balboa Park, schools, canyons, waterways, etc.

Todd Gloria has continually failed to live up to his words and responsibilities. The phrase “tent encampments” is the problem. In Todd Gloria’s alternate reality, if there’s no tent or structure, everything is fine, and the homeless can live wherever they want, because they haven’t erected a tent or structure,

Try using that irrational argument if you want to stay in a state or national park: “We’re not camping here because we have not erected a tent or structure.” Good luck with that.

In the bizarre, nonsensical, and absurd world of Todd Gloria’s policies, there has to be “progressive enforcement rules of engagement” required to remove homeless camps. This is a convoluted, bureaucratic multi-step procedure that flies in the face of the supposed commitment to “no camping” — unless there are already signs posted that state “no camping.”

The capital of “Gloriaville,” on the east side of Park Boulevard in Balboa Park, directly across from a major public school, the San Diego Zoo, and numerous community centers has at least three of these new “no camping” signs.

Nevertheless, Gloriaville has been a homeless camp for the entire 3 1/2 years of Todd Gloria’s “reign of error.”

Just last week, Todd Gloria boldly stated that he would once again start enforcing the ban on vehicle dwellers that is intended to prevent people from living in their cars on our city streets and in our parks. That’s fine, but what’s taking so long? Where are the safe parking lots? Where are the results? 

Talk is cheap, but witnessing and seeing is to believe. Wherever I go, there are people living in their vehicles. Nothing has changed,

Todd Gloria keeps telling the world that all is good. He boasts of the success of the 20th and B streets tent city. Todd Gloria’s already announced it is closing.

Todd Gloria boasts of what’s to come with Lot O in Balboa Park, sometime this fall. Fall is here, and nothing has been done while the homeless continue to live wherever they want, trash our city, do whatever they want, whenever they want.

Where is the shelter? Where is the support? Where is the enforcement?

The Sunbreak Ranch proposal addresses all the needs of the ongoing homeless crises, yet Todd Gloria summarily dismisses this idea.

He has never even examined, or questioned the possibilities and benefits of Sunbreak Ranch, yet it would be cheaper, more effective, and more efficient than anything he’s trying to do. Sunbreak Ranch is the answer.

Todd Gloria’s failed and preposterously flawed policies toward our homeless population are cruel and inhumane. Allowing the homeless to live and die on our streets and parks throughout the city has stripped the homeless of their dignity and self respect,

Todd Gloria’s actions have turned our homeless population into con-artists, scammers, shufflers, and often criminals. 

Todd Gloria’s reputation, character, credibility, and integrity have all evaporated, and they’re blowing away like dust in the wind. 

Todd Gloria has done more damage and harm to our once great, promising, and hopeful city than anyone in the history of San Diego.

The nightmare continues. When people treat you like they don’t care, believe them.

Bill Walton is a former NBA basketball player and Hall of Fame member. He is a native of San Diego and a supporter of the Sunbreak Ranch and Take Back San Diego, all-volunteer efforts to end the homeless crisis.