Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Perks Court camp

EDITOR:

Following is an open letter sent to members of the Board of Supervisors:

The Board of Supervisors has been requested to consider a camp for homeless people on Perks Court modeled after the existing facility known as Hangtown Haven. The board has
twice deferred hearing the matter. I strongly urge you and other board members to make every effort to establish a facility at this site as soon as possible. This facility will improve the lives of people who happen to be homeless as well as provide an important service to all residents of the county.

I am a volunteer at Hangtown Haven. As you know from the extensive media activity, Hangtown Haven has drawn local and regional coverage as an example of a homeless facilty
that works. The Haven serves as a platform for those residing there to connect, help each other, refocus and find ways to improve their lives. This facility gets homeless people off the streets and out of illegal, unsupervised camps throughout the area. The facility is clean and safe. It reduces concerns about public health, unsupervised camp fires and litter.

Hangtown Haven has not cost the city of Placerville anything and has, in fact, saved the city money in terms of reducing costs of clearing illegal campsites. A facility on Perks Court will provide the same benefits for the county.

People who are homeless in our county will not simply go away. They are present in all communities and will be present in El Dorado County whether they are in an approved,
monitored facility or camped out behind buildings and in the woods.

Whether you act from a place of compassion or a place of doing what is necessary to save money and protect public health and safety (and I hope you act out of both perspectives),
please act.

DON VANDERKAR
Placerville

Letters to the Editor

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 22 comments

  • Just say noAugust 21, 2013 - 7:19 am

    County owned land is taxpayer owned land. I as a taxpayer am in total opposition to giving Hangtown Haven county owned land at the reduced rate proposed, 5 dollars a year...Secondly, the location of Perks Court visible from Highway 50 and bordering Missouri Flat and the bike trail is terrible for this type of set-up. Do the moms walking their children in strollers on the trail want to encounter transients and the behavior that comes with them? Yes their is a behavior that comes with the transient lifestyle in most instances. I didn't say all but most. The behavior includes alcohol and substance abuse, criminality, lack of will to follow rules or regulations (this is why many cannot be employed), anti-social tendencies, begging, urinating, defecating in public spaces and the list goes on. I know that I am not being "nice" and that some will disagree. I am however being truthful and one needs to not look very far to confirm my observations and concerns. Broadway in Placerville, existing beggars on Missouri Flat etc. Put these people to work, do not create a permanent underclass by housing them in sheds on county property. What kind of message does this send our youth? Acceptance and creation of accomodations for those who wish to be on a permanent life long camping trip. Sitting in a bucket chair eating donated food on free real estate sounds great. That's what campgrounds and vacations are for. Not business districts. The misguided do-gooders are failing to see the forest for the trees. If you build it they will come. Just research other cities who welcome and house the homeless with permanence. Crime, drug use, high population of sex offenders, lowered quality of life including damage to local business. Go to Starbucks on Broadway any morning and try to use the bathroom. It will either be locked or if you are lucky enough to get in soaked with water from those who bathe in the sink in their on a daily basis. I don't blame the city of Placerville for not renewing the permit for the Hangtown Haven. They have made some nice warm and fuzzy excuses and now the county is being forced to be the bad guy if they say no. Please join myself and others in urging our county supervisors to just say no.

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  • Average JoeAugust 21, 2013 - 7:59 pm

    http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2013/08/21/turlock-residents-finding-used-needles-dropped-in-yards/

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  • We're hiringAugust 21, 2013 - 8:40 pm

    North Dakota is looking for workers. You can make 15 dollars an hour working at Mc Donalds. Determined able bodied people are making up to 100k a year in the oil fields there as well, many with no prior experience. America is still the land of opportunity for those willing to work. Our county should not be encouraging a permanent underclass by rewarding those unwilling to work with their own shantytown of sheds and tents and free food to go along with their free government issued cell phones, free health care, free tuition, wic, ssi and ebt cards. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2013/06/06/11-Shocking-Facts-about-the-North-Dakota-Oil-Boom.aspx#page1

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  • cookie65August 26, 2013 - 6:41 am

    From the letter...."an example of a homeless facility that works". Another success story like the war on poverty?

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  • Don't Dump On UsAugust 26, 2013 - 9:53 am

    What a horrible location to dump a homeless camp. I have to wonder what all the tax generating businesses on Missouri Flat think about this. As someone who shops these businesses regularly I will be taking my business and money down the hill to Folsom if the area turns into what the area around Hangtown Haven has been.

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  • robertdnollAugust 26, 2013 - 11:30 am

    Don,good job,God bless you

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  • Richard GuentherAugust 26, 2013 - 3:24 pm

    You can always tell those with hearts made of stone on the MD opinion pages, many of them congregate there, few as they are. Jesus preached agape. Look it up and shed tears for our local devil's spawn.

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  • local yokelAugust 26, 2013 - 5:44 pm

    Anyone who opposes hangtown haven is a "NIMBY" or "local devil's spawn" according these ever so holy activists who are attempting to strong arm a homeless camp into the middle of a business district. They also have a facebook page where they urge their supporters (all 50 of them) to flood the county board of supervisors with emails. Name calling and creating a false sense of demand for their homeless camp that us locals don't want. I guess we are all just bunch of "NIMBY" and "local devil's spawn" for caring about the future of our county, it's businesses and our youth (Herbert green school is about half a mile away from the proposed camp as the crow flies).

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  • We are not fooled by your tacticsAugust 26, 2013 - 5:47 pm

    From Art Edwards, President of Hangtown Haven, Inc., regarding the September 10th Board of Supervisors' meeting and the proposed move of Hangtown Haven to Perks Court: To all supporters of Hangtown Haven: It is now time to flood all of the Supervisors with e-mails encouraging them to support the move of Hangtown Haven to Perks Court. The supervisors must know how we feel before the meeting on Sept. 10th. We have heard that the correspondence they are getting has been a majority against the move. It we let the NIMBY’s control this vote, there will be forty homeless men and women living on the streets of El Dorado County come November. Please be respectful, short and to the point in your e-mail. Something like, “Please be supportive of our homeless population and vote yes to let Hangtown Haven move to Perks Court,” would be great. Here are their e-mail addresses: Ron Mikulaco bosone@edcgov.us Ray Nutting bostwo@edcgov.us Brian Veerkamp bosthree@edcgov.us Ron Briggs bosfour@edcgov.us Norma Santiago bosfive@edcgov.us In addition, please forward this e-mail to everyone you know. We can’t have too many e-mails. Thank you very much. Art Edwards *(as seen on hangtown haven's public Facebook page)*

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  • Richard GuentherAugust 26, 2013 - 6:29 pm

    "And SEEING THE MULTITUDES, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God." Yeah, Local Yokel has a stone for a heart and he casts stones at the poor . He's all about himself and his allied monied interests. I'm anything but an activist but do talk with the homeless now and then and, believe me, for all their problems, many are struggling to do the best they can. I think LY should go into a quite private room and take a good look into his heart to see what he really loves.

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  • Sly GirlAugust 27, 2013 - 12:46 am

    So, we need a place for the homeless? Why not let the voters decide on a location? Those of us who frequent upper Broadway in an attempt to spend our dollars locally have witnessed first-hand the deterioration of that area since HH set up camp. Oh, of course, the homeless have plenty of charity, handouts, and low-cost stores at their fingertips in that location, plus plenty of room to wander about in the parking lots of vacant store fronts. The reality is the ongoing and growing presence of these homeless people and others utilizing related services (The Upper Room, Community Resource Center, and more) make many "unhomeless" uncomfortable and therefore keep and drive customers - patrons with money who can support businesses - away. If you haven't seen this picture, drive along upper Broadway to view the bulk of homeless and service-dependent individuals congregating along the roadway. Walk inside the few local businesses that remain and you will hear the homeless, in small groups, shouting across the aisles to one another as they debate together what few items they will purchase. Placerville has created a convenient locale for the homeless culture near HH and will duplicate it wherever the homeless are, attracting more service-dependent individuals. Recognize that a homeless camp is not contained to just the camp's boundaries. No, the camp engulfs, swallows up, and devastates the economic vibrancy of its neighbors. Let's find a region within our city's midst that can survive this type of parasitic pattern. Let's let the voters decide.

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  • cookie65August 27, 2013 - 5:36 am

    I always love it when someone attempts to paint Jesus as a socialist. It shows complete ignorance of theology. 2Th 3:10 If a man will not work he shall not eat.

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  • cookie65August 27, 2013 - 5:44 am

    Should the homeless all move into Richard's house?

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  • Richard GuentherAugust 27, 2013 - 8:19 am

    Initially i quoted The Beatitudes which are the very foundation of Christ's New Covenant. I stand by what I've said on the thread. I didn't compose the verses, folks, but I'd like thinking I'm faithfully adhering to their intent and dictates. Demonizing the poor isn't what morally decent people do. Jesus knew what self-sacrifice for the good of others is. Obviously, certain hardhearted persons in the present as well as in the former time are deaf and blind to His lived example. Spinning left against right and the reverse, polarization, will never reveal Truth to anyone. But, you should know, nationally and locally that's about all we have nowadays. BS to both sides.

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  • Bill E.August 27, 2013 - 6:02 am

    This all boils down to the details of the entire plan and how it executed. There is already at least one and likely two established homeless camps in the Missouri Flat Road area. "Those" people are already there, but how many more will come from around the area to gather at this spot? What is the security plan? How does the county distinguish between those willing to help themselves and the handout crowd? Placing this facility elsewhere drives the question of the "ideal" location and the need to qualify success stories vs a process. The conversation is far more than just location.

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  • cookie65August 27, 2013 - 9:36 am

    Richard, the Beatitudes are a list of promises made to the Jews dating back to Abraham. In His sermon on the mount Jesus is absolutely DIVIDING people. He is not wishy washy or compromising in any fashion. He is declaring that those who mind their own business, provide for themselves and family, respect the private property of others, give a days work for a days pay, look out for and defend their friends, family and neighbors, conduct themselves in an honest and trustworthy fashion, know the difference between a handup and a handout, those who are not quick to anger or quick to judge, those who do not covet, those who do not give false witness, those who are not haughty and those who practice humility are not the cause of that which continues to plague this world. He is making the case that there IS right and wrong. If you call it "spinning" left against right then you miss the entire meaning of the Beatitudes.

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  • BobAugust 27, 2013 - 11:16 am

    Not everyone who is homeless is a drug or alcohol user. If you take a look at the site for Hangtown Haven, (http://www.hangtownhaven.org/) You'll see the great work being done and the rules put in place to make it safe for the community as well as the camp residents. Can we solve all the homeless problems? No, we can't. It's said over and over " these people need to get jobs". Where? Do you know of an over abundance of jobs in the local area? If you were an employer, would you hire someone who can't provide you any suitable contact info. Life on the street is not pretty or a comfortable subject but it is a reality. It's also a good life lesson for our children. Teach them that life can be hard and sometimes will knock you down. Teach them the value of work, saving and being prepared for the worst. Most of all teach the compassion for others. Sometimes the compassion of others is the only way to get that second chance.

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  • TimAugust 27, 2013 - 1:44 pm

    Moving the homeless camp to Perks Court is a terrible idea. It will turn Missouri Flat and the one major area in Placerville that people go to shop into the new upper broadway. The area will be flooded with vagrants, drunks and other undesirables. There are people who benefit from Hangtown Haven, use its services and go on to better themselves. Good for them and I support that. Sad to say but the majority of the homeless are antisocial, unemployable and are a drain on tax dollars and law enforcement resources. Regardless on your views, anger at my letter or support of the idea, if it passes you will be inundated with panhandlers, traveling people with their dogs, drunks, increased police presence and crime increase in the area. The same area you and your families go to shop. Keep these people out of sight at upper broadway. Its bad enough theres a Hangtown haven in the first place.

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  • Richard GuenterAugust 27, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    I’ve shopped at Grocery Outlet for years and only rarely have had problems with the homeless, including since HH opened. Also, check out the $ Store for potato chips and formerly did business at the old Cooper Tire location. This morning I submitted 3 posts over and above the ones that appeared on the MD webpage. I really do hope they as well as this one do better.

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  • Richard GuentherAugust 27, 2013 - 5:57 pm

    This was sent at 10:03 this AM: You flatter yourself. We don’t live in 1 AD but, rather, in the present. Today Jesus talks to us inhabiting Christiandom. You can twist things all you want but the Truth remains the NEW Covenant of mercy (The Beatitudes) replaced the OLD Covenant (Mosaic) of condemnation. Not that the Old Covenant per se was corrupt but that the Temple (institution), subservient to the ruling Roman empire, was such. Note the Beatitudes refers to “the multitudes”, those of whom you condemn. I could say more, but spare me the necessity. http://roadmapsforworship.com/?page_id=725

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  • Richard GuentherAugust 27, 2013 - 6:02 pm

    Sent this AM @ 11:18: Strawman argumentation won’t do, Kookie, and neither your corrupt insinuation. Explain to me where I attempted to portray Jesus Christ as a socialist. No. Bible verse isn’t theology and neither is my opinion. And, 2Th 3:10, which you misquoted, has nothing to do with the HH situation. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 King James Version (KJV) 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

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  • LynnSeptember 25, 2013 - 3:16 am

    My name is Lynn, and I am a retired school teacher living off of Missouri Flat Road. I am greatly concerned about the county plan to place a homeless encampment on Perks Court. I rely on the local transit system, and get on the bus at the Walmart stop. I was looking forward to the new bike path and trail from Missouri flat to Placerville drive. I either have to walk, or take transit to get about. I worked very hard in my lifetime, played by the rules, paid my taxes and have settled into my retirement. I am not large, and find the aggressive panhandling to be very intimidating. As an ESL teacher I spent my life's work with a diversity of individuals. I volunteer regularly with my church, and grow produce that goes to those in need in the county. El Dorado county needs a long term, properly built permanent shelter. It does not need a shanty town in the heart of a residential and commercial area. I am a woman of compassion, but this would literally be in my backyard. Please affirm the will of the people, and find a location more suitable than Perks Court. I thank you for your consideration. Respectfully, Lynn Weaver

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