Letters to the Editor

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Editor’s note: In the past week, Random Lengths News received a slew of letters to the editor from San Pedro High School students on stories published this past Summer—stories ranging from RLn’s coverage over the community debate on homelessness, the potential dangers of Rancho LPG in the wake of the Tianjin explosion in China, to the piece regarding the 50th anniversary of the Watts Rebellion.

Reading through the letters, the students did an admirable job following their teacher’s instruction to read and critique stories in RLn that piqued their interest. The end result was more than 10,000 words from high school students engaging the most topical issues being discussed in the today. In the interest of space, we organized the letters thematically and chose to run the letters commenting on stories related RLn’s coverage of homelessness in the Harbor Area first.

RE: Do not Feed the Pigeons

I appreciate Mr. Allen’s OpEd “Do not Feed the Pigeons” in the Oct 29 issue of Random Lengths. I especially like that he did not hesitate to name names and to state that “clearly, these people have lost their minds.” As you may have noticed, we have quite a cadre of older beige RV’s in varying states of dilapidation parked near the Lummis House and sometimes along Figueroa near Sagamore Park at Avenue 46. They are periodically run off and I was dismayed to learn in James article that this parking is now illegal. We first learned about the legion of camper dwellers from a Harper’s article from August 2014 “The End of Retirement.” Many of these citizens lost their support system and used the last of their savings to purchase a home on wheels. Amazon employs hundreds of them for the Christmas rush providing RV parking complete with hookups. Quartzite, Arizona is another haven. They are making the best of a difficult situation.

Charles Hanne
Mt. Washington

Re: Locals vent about homeless at Coastal SPNC meeting

The article “Locals vent about homeless at Coastal SPNC meeting” had a civil and humanitarian tone. The purpose of the article was to explain the meeting. The SPNC had to hear the public’s opinions regarding homelessness in San Pedro. The article contained many good ideas and purposes but I think the best one is the idea that bussing them elsewhere won’t solve their problems. It really highlighted which parts of the debate were controversial. It did not any unsupported or weak claims. I also did not notice any counter arguments that the author did not deal with.

It is a highly controversial topic that Ivan Adame supported well. The author’s style and language tell me that he is trying to convey the information of the issue to the public. I trust the author because he seems like he does not make biased or unsupported claims. This piece does affect me emotionally. The part where they say that the homeless people are being bused around really affects me because it shows that people treat them inhumanely and just send them somewhere else so somebody else can take care of them. I think I still have a good interpretation of the argument even though I have strong emotions about the argument.

Julian Johnson
San Pedro High School

Re: Here Comes Rolling Thunder

I am a resident of San Pedro, and I am concerned about the recent controversy concerning the homeless. I am disturbed by the perpetual apathy the government of San Pedro has shown towards homelessness.

As the recent article by Nora Vela points out, the homeless “are exposed to many dangers including: illness, theft, and assault,” and face dehumanizing conditions. By treating the homeless with apathy, we are willingly letting people suffer, despite the fact that we can help them. This is why it is crucial that we help the homeless, such as with Nora Vela’s suggestion of “6-month shelter[s] with running water and toilets.”

Now, there are those who believe that the homeless do not deserve help, because the homeless got themselves into trouble, so it should be their responsibility to help themselves. However, this obstinately ignores the fact that many people are homeless because of powers that were out of their control, and this also ignores the fact that many homeless people are incapable of helping themselves.

There are also financial benefits to helping the homeless. As Nora Vela points out, by building “shelters where proper services can administered, will be able to avoid expenses such as unnecessary ambulatory calls, visits to emergency rooms, hazmat clean ups, storage facilities for personal belongings and police trips to downtown Los Angeles jails.” In addition to avoiding these expenses, through helping the homeless we can also increase the number of employed in San Pedro.

Homelessness has become too big of an issue to ignore, and it is crucial that we deal with the problem now. After all, we have the responsibility to help the homeless not only for their sake, but for the entire community’s sake as well.

Franc Guzman
San Pedro High School

RE: Locals Vent about Homeless at Coastal SPNC Meeting

As a San Pedro Resident I always see homeless people walking the streets begging for money, food and searching for shelter. As time passes I find it hard to believe that locals have barely made an effort to help the homeless. They see the same faces every day, each day they deny giving them some change, and yet they do nothing to help. Instead we call the cops on them for loitering, even though they will always return because it is their form of shelter. The reality is that they have nowhere else to go. If we were to create villages for the homeless we would be providing for those in need. It not only benefits the homeless, but the community as well. First of all it provides shelter for the homeless. They will no longer have to worry about not having a place to sleep, especially when there is bad weather, and they will always have a place to go. The community will also see a decrease in panhandling and cleaner streets, which will improve our image as a city. It is said that many homeless people are being bused to San Pedro because other cities don’t want to deal with them. If this were true we would be confronting the problem instead of running from it like other cities. It is a large cost, but it would be worth it. A couple cities like Olympia, WA and Ithaca, NY have already gone through with a similar action and are making an impact on those who live in the villages. Even if our gesture isn’t as big as making these villages, we could do something to start this action. This would keep the topic open instead of it being ignored. All in all, I believe that we should at least support the idea because they are humans just like you and I, so we should acknowledge them.

Crystal Cruz
San Pedro High School

Re: Neighbors without Shelter

In the article, ”Our Neighbors without Shelter,” James Preston Allen explains the issue in the perpetually increasing amount of the homeless in San Pedro. Us people generally do not care about the homeless as long as we aren’t “negatively” affected by it but helping them is the only humane option. As soon as we stop using their mistakes as a pretext, we can really help and solve this issue. Not only will this shrewd decision be greatly helping the community but this could also help us all economically and environmentally. Economically, POLA can build a property near the docks providing jobs for the homeless. Environmentally, this change could reduce pollution and get homeless off public spaces making the environment more “safe”. Making this change would really be a preeminent achievement and it would be very ignominious if not done.

Marina Isaac
San Pedro High School

On Tiny Homes and Transitional Housing

Homelessness may seem irrepressible, but crucial steps are being taken towards solving this problem in our city. Countless efforts have failed to fix the problem, but tiny houses may be just what we need to fix this major problem.

Tiny houses on wheels; a feasible way to get people off the streets. They are not permanent shelter, they need to be moved around but are still a creative way to get people away from sleeping on park benches or the sidewalk. If the organizations can follow through with these projects they could be beneficial, to the homeless and non-homeless of San Pedro.

On the other hand, these will have to be parked on the street, which will not help the parking situation within the city.

And just because they have worked in other cities, who knows if they will work here in Pedro. People have had rocks thrown at them while building these houses, will it be worth the abuse, only time will tell.

These controversial houses have stirred up numerous arguments. I am personally on the fence about these houses. Maybe if they make parking lots for these houses I would be completely for them but we’ll see what happens next.

Peter Page
San Pedro High School

Re: Here Comes Rolling Thunder

Dear, Nora Vela, I read your article about the homeless problem in San Pedro and want to say that it was good and credible. More people need to know about this and realize that it’s a big problem.

Miguel Gumulak
San Pedro High School

Re:Locals Vent about Homeless at Coastal SPNC Meeting

In the article, “Locals Vent about Homeless at Coastal SPNC Meeting” by Ivan Adame, the reader is informed about the issue of homelessness.

The topic of the article is a crucial issue that I can relate to. I’ve seen homeless people out on the streets. All day they walk around with their bag or cart of belongings, or they hold cardboard signs, asking for money or food. They looked down upon, judged, and often called hobos. Some people think that they only ask for money to buy drugs, others think they’re lying about being homeless. Whether a homeless person has friends or family to help them or not is irrepressible.

In the article, there are nice, caring people who take action and try to improve the issue to make sure that everyone in their city is happy. These honest people go to meetings to find a solution by debating about the issue. These meetings are held often by Council President James Dimon. A solution to the issue was sending the homeless to other cities to receive help. This action got heavily criticized.

Richard Hildebrandt, the director of Christian Care at Mary Star, was one out of the many who strongly disagreed with the action. There are controversies on what cities should do to improve the issue. Yes, money must be considered, but it’s more important to find a solution. Some cities want to work together as a community. “We’re willing to take care of our own, but shouldn’t have to take the burden of neighboring communities”, other cities don’t want to deal with the issue of it’s out of their territory. We cannot perpetually ignore this issue, but many don’t want to help improve it. Will homelessness be ignored just because most people don’t want to help?

Aleina Louriano
San Pedro High School

Re: Locals Vent about Homeless at Local SPNC Meeting

I can relate to the article “Locals Vent about Homeless at Local SPNC Meeting” where Ivan Adame successfully shows the audience how the homeless problem needs to be solved. I agree with the article because this irrepressible problem is getting out of hand. As a San Pedro resident homeless people are everywhere from Pacific to Western.

Although I mostly agree with his article, I can tell that it does not have solid evidence because he even says how “There’s no substantial evidence to support claims that homeless people are being bused to San Pedro”. Other than this, everything else seems pretty trustworthy. These people are taking over San Pedro because of the struggles they have gone through that put them in that situation.

This makes me extremely emotional when I see the homeless women with kids and pets because I can only imagine how hard that must be. With so many homeless on the streets it makes people feel less safe to go outside with this problem that is perpetually going on.

Local businesses and restaurants are also suffering from the amount of people that choose not to shop at places because of the amount of homeless people there are. Who wants to enjoy their lunch sitting outside with a hobo?

Not only that, but the amount of homeless people in an area is crucial of what it makes the values of homes near these people. The homeless cause many controversies over what to do with them, and I believe that they should be sent back to wherever they came from. This would at least get rid of most of them, and then each city could decide what to do with them however they want to handle it. It is almost ignominious that there are so many people who need help and are down on their luck in my town, while most of them don’t come from here.

Kaya Milos
San Pedro High School

Homelessness

There are millions of people who are homeless. Mr. Peter M. Warren has done an excellent job explaining homelessness in our city. He has explained all the efforts to stop homelessness and all the benefits of it. Housing property values will go up and San Pedro will look cleaner overall. Mr. Warren did leave a few things out though. Such as what we will do to house all the homeless people and how expensive it will be to eliminate homelessness. He discussed problems specifically but only generalizing ideas. This homelessness problem is important to many people. One, on Gaffey, many homeless people jaywalk on the entrance to the freeway and some drivers may crash into one. Also many homeless people go somewhere and they leave trash behind for someone to pick it up for them. Overall, the article is very good, but it doesn’t really get to your emotions as other articles do.

Cristian Cardona
San Pedro High School

RE: Locals Vent about homeless at Coastal SPNC Meeting

Our homeless community in San Pedro is a problem, but there are many ways to fix it. According to “Locals Vent about homeless at Coastal SPNC Meeting” by Ivan Adame, San Pedro has an overload of homeless people. My name is Chris Carey, I currently live in the San Pedro area, and I go to the local San Pedro High School. I responded to this article because I can relate to it by seeing how many homeless people there actually are. Two ways we can help the homeless community are by giving them a place to stay, and giving them a job. Because this is our community we should gather all or our friends and local government and help the cause.

Some of the people from the homeless community are shrewd people, they just need a little kick start to help them get back on the right track. That is why we need to give them a place to stay. These poor homeless people need help to get their head on straight and live their life successfully. We can’t just tell them to “get back on the bus and go back to where you came from.” If we give them a roof over their head then they don’t have to keep worrying about trying to stay alive by getting food, water, and shelter. If you believe that we should make the homeless people, who have settled down in San Pedro, get back on the bus then you are ignominious to San Pedro and you are majorly wrong. The people without homes are not irrepressible and if you make them feel like it is the right thing to do and if they actually want the help then they will willingly join the shelters and put in the effort to restarting their lives.

Homeless people need a job to survive, just like people with houses need jobs to survive. If we give the homeless a place to stay then we could have volunteer workers help the homeless people stay on the right track. In San Pedro High we need to have 10 service hours, many other schools are the same. Many different kids from schools like Mary Star, San Pedro High, Rolling Hills Prep, and even schools in Palos Verdes will come to help at the homeless shelters. The reason we need service workers are to help the homeless stay on the right track, help them find a job, and help in the kitchen to make food.

Finally the homeless community is in need of help and it’s our job to help them. Some of the homeless peoples lives are in crucial danger and it is also our job to protect them. Homeless people are still people and we need to treat them well and help them to the best of our ability. These two claims that I have stated are the best because we are helping them, but they are still doing some work to show they want to succeed. This will clean our town and attract more people to come and visit the lovely San Pedro.

Chris Carey
San Pedro High School

Re: Our Neighbors without Shelter

There has been a recent increase in homelessness in the city of San Pedro. Growing up in San Pedro I have seen homelessness all throughout the years, but recently there has been a significant increase. Even James Preston Allen from Random Lengths News agrees. In his article “Our Neighbors without Shelter” Allen writes about this issue of homelessness in our community. After reading his article I now agree that something should be done to provide shelter for the homeless. Although things have perpetually been done impromptu in the past by some people, not everyone has helped which is ignominious because if everyone is doing something to help so should you.

If something is not done to help the homeless off the streets and into a shelter then the city of San Pedro will not look like a good and welcoming city to newcomers. As Allen wrote in his article, “For so many reasons, a shelter-first philosophy is better for our neighborhoods, our business districts and our common safety and public health.” Some people may not agree that helping the homeless have a shelter and getting a job is not the best idea. This is because some people believe that the homeless are just druggies and crack heads asking for money. As Allen wrote, “ Once we stop blaming these people for their own circumstances (for which there is plenty of blame to around), perhaps that we’ll be able to cozy up to the idea that this is a human problem completely within our collective ability to solve.”This shows that people do not want to help due to what society wants them to believe. This is just a pretext so that people won’t feel bad for not contributing or helping out.

Therefore, it is up to all of us in the San Pedro community to help the homeless into a shelter. With this we will be helping the homeless and our community as well. Helping will make you a better person and you may even be called a hero.

Valeria Lopez,
San Pedro High School

RE: Facing San Pedro Homeless Crisis

I live in an area where homelessness is crucial. I feel like more people should get involved to better our community. When I was younger homeless people used to scare me and now they do sometimes, but most of the time they don’t. Now I just feel bad for them. For the past couple of years my church and I have helped the homeless in various ways and it really changed my perspective. Like you said in your article “Facing San Pedro Homeless Crisis”, that homeless people are exposed to many dangers such as illness, theft, and assault that is an even bigger reason why we should not be apathetic about this. Many of us refer to the homeless people as hobos or bums, treating them in an obstinate way. However, we should realize that they are people too. If our community could build more shelters, hand out more food, and perpetually help the community everything would be so much better. Because sometimes they can be irrepressible it can be hard to help them out, but we need to continue and help.

Ericka Hinojos
San Pedro High School

Homeless Crisis in Los Angeles

In the Random Length News article “Facing San Pedro’s Homeless Crisis”, Nora Vela attempts to persuade the audience to see that there is a huge homeless crisis going on in San Pedro. She doesn’t need to try hard to prove that this is a problem because it is. She states some things that make her organization seem unreliable and fake but, makes up for it in the end by giving information on what she is going to do to help.

Nora does address the problem well though. Homelessness isn’t just a problem in San Pedro but in Los Angeles in general. Near my house there are many homeless people in need. How do we solve it? We cannot get rid of the problem as fast as we would like because that would be almost impossible. But, we can help lower the numbers.

There are many solutions, even though we cannot get rid of the problem this fast. Homeless shelters are one of the huge solutions to the problem. The more homeless shelters there are, the less people out on the street prone to crime and disease. Also, we could help out by building small houses for the homeless. These houses will provide temporary shelters for them. These solutions will help the crisis a lot in the Los Angeles County.

I do not live in San Pedro but, living in Wilmington I am exposed to seeing the homeless crisis. I want to help but just one person is not enough to put an end to this. We can do many things to help stop the problem. What could you do?

I just feel this is a crisis that needs to be heard and I hope you don’t mind the heading. I really need this message out there. This city can be helpful and maybe the city will look nicer if we make the homeless homes and may attract larger crowds to Pedro. We can help Pedro be the new Beverly Hills and the homeless won’t be afraid of crime and illnesses coming there way. Thank you.

Brian Cerda
Wilmington

 

About Feeding the Pigeons

I really want to say that I just read your article[Don’t Feed the Pigeons (or the Homeless) Oct. 31,2015] and I found it to be fair, understanding, compassionate and in search of and discussing a solution(s).

The people at the [Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council] meeting tonight were hostile and totally blind to the seriousness of their actions. There must have been 50 teenagers at the meeting and the example the audience set for them was just horrible.

The idea of Neighborhood Council’s is not to be a vigilante committee, but to be a bridge to making choices in the best interest of ALL community members. Like it or not our neighborhoods are slowly –becoming places with more and more homeless. We can’t just go around screaming about it. You are so right! Your article outlines so perfectly what needs to be done.

This is a national tragedy and a very deep wound in our nation’s side. Unfortunately, this problem needs to be faced head on and not shoved under the rug. We do need solutions that work. Your article was so gentle, thoughtful and resonated good will for all who come to San Pedro.

The “haters” really don’t know what they are endorsing. The tide will turn as it always does and many in that room tonight will have to revisit their personal vendetta on poverty and homelessness.

/
Dorsay Dujon, Los Angeles

Thank you,
James Preston Allen, Publisher

1 COMMENT

  1. Editor,
    With Russian interference in our elections I’m wondering why I should even bother to vote. The situation in California gives some idea of what we are up against and it is more than just voting. Confusion and strife are the achievements of Putin and his success is all around us. From Proposition 13 to the recent twelve cents per gallon increase in gasoline tax gives evidence of his success. I’m sure the fifteen-year-old figure skater Alina Zagitova is as sweet and innocent as she appeared in the recent Winter Olympics in Korea but to be able to master incredible leaps and swirls on ice takes time and money, time and money provided by Mr. Putin and his charm offensive.
    Harold Ericsson
    Harbor City
    (310) 326 4009

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