Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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No extension: Haven to close

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From page A1 | November 15, 2013 | 68 Comments

Homelessness is something almost every community must deal with in the best way it can. On Tuesday, Nov. 12, the Placerville City Council sealed the fate of Hangtown Haven, Placerville’s only legal encampment for the homeless, with a unanimous vote to deny its request for an extension to the camp’s Temporary Use Permit.

The camp will close Friday, Nov. 15, the expiration date of the TUP, and its residents will join the rest of the homeless population in El Dorado County.

Town Hall was standing room only when city council members seated themselves on the dais. The crowd, split into two opposing groups, had been quietly building since 5 p.m. After a staff report by Community Development Director Pierre Rivas that recommended the denial of the TUP based on lack of safe pedestrian access to and from the site, concerns the site is not all-weather capable, that the encampment might be subject to an environmental review and the City Zoning Ordinance that limits the duration of a TUP to one year, another report by Placerville Police Chief Scott Heller was read into the record.

The report demonstrated a rise in Habitual Transient Offender contacts since July 2012, particularly from July to October 2013, most of which occurred along Broadway. Heller stated an increase in Habitual Transient Offenders from outside Placerville had been noted and that very few police contacts had been with the local Placerville homeless.

Then the audience took the stage. With a few minor exceptions, speakers refrained from adversarial remarks, but it was apparent that feelings ran strong. One by one, members of the Hangtown Haven Board of Directors, the Community Council of Residents, volunteers, legal representatives and supporters spoke of the value and success of Hangtown Haven and dismantled the city’s arguments against its continuance.

Wade Askew, legal graduate and Herb Whittaker, managing director of Legal Services of Northern California, brought up the issue that the law is unclear about being unable to extend a TUP for more than a year. “There is nothing to mandate that the city council can’t extend or grant a new one for longer than one year,” said Whittaker.

About the crime statistics in Heller’s report, Whittaker said if the city denied the extension of the TUP, their denial must be based on sound findings based in law. “There is no evidence that the increase in crime is caused by Hangtown Haven,” said Whittaker.

“Do not unfairly connect an increase in crimes with the success of Hangtown Haven,” said Art Edwards, founder of Hangtown Haven. In a lengthy presentation, Edwards thanked the city for its support; pointed out that a shelter is not the place where people can find the support and learn the skills they have been able to learn at Hangtown Haven; referenced the 125 people who have gone through the Haven in the past 16 months, the 37 who have graduated into jobs and homes of their own and the 20 expelled because they could not follow the camp rules; and focused attention on the medical and mental health challenges of some of the residents, which have been addressed in the stability of the camp.

His report was interrupted by Mayor Wendy Thomas who referenced time constraints due to the number of people waiting to speak, but his written presentation included a graph showing the number of felons released to Placerville as the result of Public Safety Realignment, AB 109, from July 2012 to September 2013 as compared with the number of Habitual Transient Offender contacts during the same period. Both show a sharp increase except for June 2013 in which HTO contacts decreased.

“There are no comprehensive studies that we know of indicating that the Haven has had any effect on the numbers of homeless people in the area … there is evidence that other factors have brought people into the community that are much more likely to have increased the local crime rate,” wrote Edwards.
The issue of an environmental impact report was addressed by Haven volunteer Don Vanderkar. “If needed, we would be happy to work with your people to do that,” he said. He also addressed the pedestrian safety and referred to the city’s current Housing Element, which identifies the Haven as being “uniquely suited for emergency shelters due to the proximity of related services … In addition there are no known environmental constraints or other conditions within the Highway Commercial Zone that could render it unsuitable for emergency shelter uses.”
Two other supporters dismissed the city’s concern about all-weather capability of the camp by referencing historical photos of “Old Hangtown,” which showed the entire town being a tent city. “We spent last winter there, and we have learned to make our camps water-proof and warm,” said Ken Green, member of Hangtown Haven’s Resident Council.
Residents of Wiltse Road, Smith Flat and upper Broadway spoke in turn, urging the council to deny the TUP extension. Robert Caruso, a new resident of Smith Flat, spoke for the group of Smith Flat residents. “We have no problem with Hangtown Haven. It’s the transient population that have followed them to Placerville that steal, light fires, bathe in the creek and defecate on our property we have no tolerance for,” he said.

Caruso reported an increase in home burglaries, the potential wildfire hazard of illegal campfires and 3 a.m. assaults on recycle bins from the homeless population. Other Smith Flat residents reported having to remove drunk and passed out homeless off their lawns multiple times and one woman reported two break-ins, while she was in her house recuperating from a stroke, that necessitated her moving away from Smith Flat.

The owner of the Stadium Club on Broadway reported cars being broken into in his parking lot, feces in the lot, cut gas lines and pipes under the bar being removed for the copper by transients.

“This is not a vote against people; it’s a vote for people,” said a Smith Flat resident. “Focus on the citizens who maintain and support the community.”

Wiltse Road resident, Richard Zito, said, “This is tough. I understand that the Haven has been a success, but when your arms are wide open, the bad comes in with the good …We accepted the Haven’s goals and dreams and the extensions, but now this is enough.”

James Atkins, a member of Hangtown Haven’s Resident Council apologized for the problems Smith Flat and Wiltse residents are dealing with and for Haven only being able to help 30-40 people, but said, “Why are we being punished for the actions of others? They will be there whether Hangtown Haven is here or not. They were there before there was a Hangtown Haven.”

City Manager Cleve Morris reviewed the city’s collaboration with the county to transition Haven residents when the camp closes — looking for locations for a shelter, identifying sites for possible day shelters and working with the Haven residents to provide needed services. While El Dorado County has directed staff to find a location for the camp to be relocated, the work has not yet been completed. A report on their findings is due in January.

Finally, the city council weighed in.

“There is never going to be a good time to close it,” said Councilwoman Trisha Wilkins. “I think we need to be concerned with the public safety and the business rights of all the residents of Placerville.”

Vice Mayor Carl Hagen explained the tardiness of the county’s help by explaining the county’s concern was the use of tents for a temporary shelter. “They’ve been willing to work with us on transitional housing, but for safety and health issues they don’t feel a tent meets that,” he said.

Councilwoman Patty Borelli said she voted for the one-year extension a year ago, but only for a year. “Maybe the camp became too complacent and didn’t get into looking for a new location soon enough. It’s unfair to the property and business owners near that area. Hangtown Haven isn’t inviting the problems we have, but they are surrounded by it,” she said.

Councilwoman Carol Patton said being on the Planning Commission had made her familiar with Temporary Use Permits. “This has always been a Temporary Use Permit and it’s unfortunate that it expires in November … Hangtown Haven and Art Edwards should be commended for their work, but it is detrimental to the neighboring areas. The CRC, the Upper Room, Tree House Ministries and the Rescue Mission all attract the homeless and Broadway is a dangerous place to walk.”

“Two and a half years ago I worked with local volunteers and the homeless to brainstorm creative solutions,” said Mayor Wendy Thomas. “The idea of a legal encampment came up and we wanted to test it out to see if it could work. I’d like to thank Barry Wilkinson because everyone else said, ‘Not in my backyard,’ but he said, ‘Try it in my front yard.’ It’s easy to lead with my heart on this issue but we can’t do this as a council. We are charged with protecting the welfare of all citizens.”

Councilwoman Patton motioned to deny the extension and accept the findings of the staff report and add the findings of Chief Heller’s reports as Hangtown Haven being detrimental to neighboring property and the community. Councilwoman Wilkins seconded the motion and it passed 5-0.

“This is a great disappointment,” said Art Edwards. “We have 60 days to move the structures, but the people have to be out by Friday, Nov. 15. That’s what we will concentrate on now.”

As of Nov. 13, Hangtown Haven Inc. had decided not to seek legal action, but to concentrate on finding places for its residents to live.

“I think at least one good thing came out of this experiment,” said Councilwoman Borelli. “The folks at Hangtown Haven showed the community, and themselves, what they can do. And that’s huge.”

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or wschultz@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 68 comments

  • Phil VeerkampNovember 14, 2013 - 7:47 pm

    Patty, your "good thing" happy talk is even less than gossamer. It somehow brings to mind the, "She's in a better place." throw-away at memorials. It is not "huge". It is a vacuum.

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  • LCNovember 15, 2013 - 12:40 am

    Homelessness is something almost every community must deal with in the best way it can. ...Well, hmmmm, seems our community does not want to deal with it at all, nor the majority of our city council. And it correct to assume I think, closing the HH is not going to solve the problems on upper Broadway.

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  • Outdoor LivingNovember 15, 2013 - 4:55 am

    As long as the homeless "services" reside on upper Broadway, there will be issues in this area. Now Chief Heller must prove that he can "clean up" the area with the Haven gone. Easier said than done and at what cost. Of course, this could have and should have been done even with the existence of the Haven.

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  • SamualGNovember 15, 2013 - 6:09 am

    Adios! Finally some good news for Placerville and its local tax paying citizens who have been subject to the filth and blight that this camp attracts.

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  • Sick of the trash,crime and our town looking like junk!November 15, 2013 - 2:21 pm

    I could not agree more!

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  • Oh BrotherNovember 15, 2013 - 6:47 pm

    Upper Broadway and Airport Road have always looked like crap...when ole Norm what's his name owned those junky white houses on Airport Rd. and wouldn't repair them and was a slum lord, he was a GOB so nothing was done...same with the boarded up blue building...that blight has been here since I moved here 34 years ago....The motels have barely changed and the Hangtown Mobile Home Park has always looked like crap...so really sick of the trash what are you comparing it to? None of that area has improved ever...

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  • smith flat residentNovember 15, 2013 - 7:36 pm

    Oh brother: Shows us how often you get to upper broadway. those "Junky white houses are being renovated as I speak and i mean gutted and rebuilt. they have torn them down to studs and rafters Put in perimeter foundations, siding, sheet rock and they will be comfortable cabins soon. and the parking lot at grocery outlet has been repaired and recovered. They have been working on Jeds and I found out today that a business is moving into one of the stores in the strip mall. I know all this because I DRIVE BY THERE EVERY DAY! Just because it's been neglected in the past and used as a dumping ground does'nt mean it's hopeless. I for one am looking forward to seeing the area bounce back from the "other side of the tracks" to having a thriving economy of it's own. It had the potential all along but too many people just wrote the area off. I will do my best to patronize any business willing to invest in the region and hope all of eldorado county will too.

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  • Oh BrotherNovember 15, 2013 - 7:47 pm

    I drive up Broadway at least four times a week...I shop there so don't tell me what I see...and how convenient that ALL OF A SUDDEN those white houses are getting cleaned up...what a coincidence...and I just drove up Smith Flat Rd. yesterday and nothin has changed there either...check out the road, bushes, trees and mold...yuck..

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 9:05 pm

    Get your eyes checked or look closer. I would tell you to "Shut UP" But only a jerk does that when he knows he's wrong. From the sounds of it you shouldn't even be driving. And spouting BS three times does'nt make it any more true than once. And if your wondering i came here in 1975. class of 78 Eldorado high.

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  • Oh BrotherNovember 15, 2013 - 6:51 pm

    Upper Broadway and Airport Road have always looked like crap...when ole Norm what's his name owned those junky white houses on Airport Rd. and wouldn't repair them and was a slum lord, he was a GOB so nothing was done...same with the boarded up blue building...that blight has been here since I moved here 34 years ago....The motels have barely changed and the Hangtown Mobile Home Park has always looked like crap...so really sick of the trash what are you comparing it to? None of that area has improved ever...

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  • smith flat residentNovember 15, 2013 - 9:21 pm

    And Oh brother please take broadway instead of smith flat we would all feel safer if you did, thanks.

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 7:41 pm

    DITTO

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2013 - 7:07 am

    "Opinion: Hangtown Haven and City Double Standards" - HERE: [T]he City has several times renewed the Temporary Use Permits on other projects in town that do not meet the city development standards and also violate public health and safety.

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2013 - 7:12 am

    "Despite Show of Support, Hangtown Haven Voted Out" - HERE

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2013 - 7:19 am

    "2011 Public Safety Realignment Initial Implementation Plan" - HERE: projected 147 early release prisoners for El Dorado County by September 2013.

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  • robertdnollNovember 15, 2013 - 7:32 am

    no more free shuttle bus for apple hill,to much traffic.if we build more houses closer to the farms and orchards then people would walk to all the events associated with Apple Hill

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  • Vicci NolanNovember 15, 2013 - 8:10 am

    Outlaw the homeless camp. That will solve the problem. I'm ashamed to live in this sanctimonious county.

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  • Justice InsiderNovember 15, 2013 - 3:40 pm

    Feel free to move

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  • Oh BrotherNovember 15, 2013 - 4:30 pm

    Shut up Justice Insider, Walking Tall and 1036-Frank, you three give law enforcement a poor name.

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 9:11 pm

    Oh brother forgot your meds today?

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  • EdrunsNovember 15, 2013 - 8:24 am

    Just remember the homeless are not going away! The Haven worked! We have to work to find another place for a camp or building. If we can help just one person at a time, that one less on the street. It's a rough job, but someone has to do it. Let's work together not fight each other to solve our problem.

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 4:28 pm

    Fran pointed out that colorado is a good place to start. 35 one way bus tickets, money well spent!

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  • David OrdoñezNovember 15, 2013 - 8:43 am

    In the Garberville / Redway area we have ZERO services for homeless or transients, yet in the past two years our transient population has roughly doubled. Before you start, the marijuana industry has been here much longer. My point is these numbers are going up in rural communities everywhere; services or not.

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2013 - 9:35 am

    David Ordoñez: Thank you very much for making this point.

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 9:02 am

    My days living homeless in Sacramento Our writer joins thousands of others for a firsthand look at life on the streets By Dave Kempa http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/my-days-living-homeless-in/content?oid=11202166

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 9:37 am

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013 The News & Review stumbles into Homeless World and Falls on its Face written by Thomas Armstrong http://sacramentohomeless.blogspot.com/

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 9:42 am

    http://tinyurl.com/mlb79vv Housing homeless vets in West L.A. The Department of Veterans Affairs needs to settle a lawsuit and help those most in need. "On a day when we honor the men and women who've served in the U.S. military, we must not forget that tens of thousands of veterans across the country are homeless, including an estimated 6,300 living in Los Angeles County, the largest concentration of homeless veterans in the United States." What was the numbers in Placerville again? El Dorado has a chance at something big...it has proof that the Haven did work...will it help--or let the moment escape them. "6,300 vets"...what was the number in Placerville again. It wasnt the Haven at fault.

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 9:46 am

    Veteran Housing and Homeless Prevention California is home to nearly 2 million veterans, of which, it is estimated that roughly 19,000 are homeless. Are any of those "homeless" in Placerville one of these guys? http://www.calvet.ca.gov/vetservices/Housing.aspx

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 9:49 am

    More than 292,624 California children experience homelessness each year according to the data collected by the McKinney-Vento Educational Programs. http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/pdf/report_cards/long/ca_long.pdf

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 9:55 am

    2002....not a "new" problem Down, out and old / Homeless seniors get tips on how to survive golden years on S.F.'s streets Ilene Lelchuk, Chronicle Staff Writer Published 4:00 am, Thursday, February 28, 2002 Homeless Senior Survival School, a program http://tinyurl.com/lortjvd "about 15 to 20 percent of shelter clients are elderly." higher now in 2013

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 9:57 am

    Colorado’s New Prison-Turned-Homeless Facility Costs Less Than Leaving People In the Street http://tinyurl.com/l63j7dj El dorado could do better...give them ranch land...teach them to work the land.

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 10:00 am

    The other side of the story...FEMA Camps: City to Exile the Homeless; It’s not a Conspiracy Theory Anymore Print The Alex Jones Channel Alex Jones Show podcast Prison Planet TV Infowars.com Twitter Alex Jones' Facebook Infowars store Brandon Walker Prison Planet.com November 5, 2013 http://tinyurl.com/kj4hymh would Americans allow this? Shrugging shoulders...go back over some of the comments being made. dont know--but its out there.

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  • SamualGNovember 15, 2013 - 10:51 am

    The "Haven" ATTRACTED the homeless. Thats the problem. Nobody wants them here, Im sorry but somebody has to say it. They will bus up to this area for handouts if they are here. Its time for them to move along. I know there are bleeding hearts out there and there are a few legitimate people in need--- thats what our government programs SHOULD be for. Those people need help. However, having a Haven that poor location attracts problems- 95% drunks, meth heads, and cranksters. Nobody wants them around. Adios

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  • SamNovember 15, 2013 - 12:23 pm

    It's the public's land anyways. Just find a nice piece of land and defend it. Who cares what these idiots in government say. Time to stand up for the rights your Constitution gives you. Homelessness should not exist with all the land the public owns.

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2013 - 1:09 pm

    Sam: You are right -- homelessness should not exist. And I had not thought of the public land. The causes of homelessness are extraordinarily complex, not subject to facile analysis or quick fixes. But I absolutely do NOT buy the position that homelessness (and all the attendant insecurities and deprivations) is a choice. Our prevailing economic structure and the budgetary/regulatory patterns at every level insure increasing poverty and homelessness. Placerville is but a speck on the landscape of resultant human devastation. While some of the problems can be mitigated, the basic issues will remain and escalate.

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 4:05 pm

    Can anyone justify why they boycotted a special meeting with Human services about their benefits and health insurance? Not once but twice? It's only a matter of time before the lawsuits start and please don't answer with "fifteen had to work that day". I for one am sick of excuses.

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2013 - 4:49 pm

    SFR: Is it confirmed that they "boycotted" the meeting (as opposed to not being there for unknown reasons)?

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 5:19 pm

    Evelyn 35 to 40 people depending on which article you read. The meeting at townhall,. within walking distance of HH, first day 1 showed up, meeting rescheduled for two days later, no one showed up, MD said after the fact that 15 had to work. What do you call it? A sick out? A protest? Seems to me if i were getting free health care and SNAP benefits that I really needed I would make the time and my employer would under stand.

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2013 - 5:24 pm

    SFR: I have no idea how their non-attendance should be termed. Has the HH Board confirmed that the residents had advance knowledge of the meeting?

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 6:21 pm

    Evelyn: Of course I couldn't say the HH board knew it. Would they tell us if they had? Do I even have the right to know? probably not. I do know that I check my mail daily and read it so that i have no late bills, missed appointments etc. The closing was not exactly a surprise for anyone and Art or any one of the advocates had a duty to keep them informed. Also one resident showed up for the first meeting but they canceled due to lack of interest, would that resident not go back and spead the word? I have heard that they work together and help each other. that resident didn't show up for the second meeting either. So I don't know how much clearer it could be.

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 5:56 pm

    Evelyn you are obviously an intelligent worldly woman. I know that in my life that if i don't go to work I don't get paid and will probably get fired. If I don't pay my bills my lights get turned off. If I don't pay my mortgage my home gets forclosed. If i don't change my oil my engine blows up. When my registration is due I pay it or take the punishment when I get pulled over. When my drivers license needs renewing I stand in line at the DMV for an hour and take an eye test and give a thumbprint. I complain about it but i do it because i want a home a car a job and the self respect these things bring me. I am not rich or particularly educated but I am proud of the child i've raised and the friends i have and these things don't come easy for most.

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 4:16 pm

    did people check to see if they had to work that day? Because it does matter--for both sides.

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 5:01 pm

    Fran the residents likely lost some support from people on the fence about the issue and rightly so. To only accept help on their own terms was arrogant and self destructive, of course that goes to the root of their problems. Whoever advised them not to attend will have to live with the consequences, and unfortunatly so will the residents.

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 4:19 pm

    And this is why so many high profile people help fight back--Noted Individuals Who Have Experienced Homelessness http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/lists/homeless.html People are people --some good --some bad...some well off--some just broken.

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2013 - 4:58 pm

    SFR: Once upon a time I lived in a country that (1) legislated in what areas certain groups of people were allowed to live and work; (2) termed people who ventured outside their prescribed areas as "idle and undesirable"; (3) burned down their "illegal" shelters, imprisoned & fined them when they strayed outside their "own areas"; and (4) put them on public transport and shipped them off to "where they had come from" -- even if they never had been there before and despite the fact that there was no work or infrastructure "where they had come from". Americans were appalled. But, of course, that was another country. How long before such practices are commonplace here?

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 5:52 pm

    SFR--sorry I was off...the reason I said it was important to both...is that it would show you had tried...if they knew. Bosses with new people can be hard to approach about getting time off. Also I have found sometimes people just do not know. I have now seen many meetings where few flyers were put up too close to the time of the meetings...so people didnt go...because bosses could not find people to replace them in time. Pollock Pines is an a master final report with only nine people in the community coming. People didnt know. So that is why I was curious--you are right...if the intention was there...but with held for a different reason...hopefully those people can live with that. The whole thing is sad. Right before thanksgiving...seems to make it sadder.

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 6:06 pm

    SFR...ouch my point was not to send people to Colorado--my point was...El dorado could do better...give them ranch land...teach them to work the land. It is stated in the post you quote me in.

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 6:47 pm

    My apologies Fran I in no way meant that as a quote. I would have used these " " " " things. But while we are on the subject I read a yahoo article about people finding out that Hawaii was giving transients oneway tickets back to the mainland. So people would save enough for the flight there then sleep on the beach until they were identified as nonresidents then flown back home for free. You must understand that when some people see free "stuff:" they can get really creative.

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  • cookie65November 15, 2013 - 6:12 pm

    If we can get the DNC to hold a convention in P'ville they will bus the homeless out of town the way they did when slick willy was prez.

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  • Susie O.November 15, 2013 - 6:20 pm

    And cookie65 has to throw partisan politics in there again even though her comment has nothing to do with Hangtown Haven. Bully!

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  • cookie65November 15, 2013 - 6:37 pm

    Susie O, I don't want anyone in America to be homeless. But as long as the government keeps growing and consuming everything in its path the economy, jobs, the standard of living, poverty, homelessness, will continue to go backwards. It isn't rocket science. I don't define compassion the same way our government does.

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  • cookie65November 15, 2013 - 6:40 pm

    It isn't a new practice for the dims to rid themselves of the homeless when are having a convention. http://wonkette.com/401192/denver-homeless-being-sent-to-zoo-during-dem-convention

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  • cookie65November 15, 2013 - 6:44 pm

    "P. J. O’Rourke wrote about the homeless cleanup in Atlanta, Georgia, preparatory to the 1988 Democratic Convention. The police started hassling and arresting street people three or four days before the convention. Drifters were kicked out of the bus station and were not even allowed to reclaim their belongings from the storage lockers." http://www.housethehomeless.org/vancouver-olympics-aftermath-studied/

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  • cookie65November 15, 2013 - 6:47 pm

    http://sweetness-light.com/archive/dems-to-hide-homeless-for-convention-again#.UobcfuDTl9A

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  • Oh BrotherNovember 15, 2013 - 6:51 pm

    Upper Broadway and Airport Road have always looked like crap...when ole Norm what's his name owned those junky white houses on Airport Rd. and wouldn't repair them and was a slum lord, he was a GOB so nothing was done...same with the boarded up blue building...that blight has been here since I moved here 34 years ago....The motels have barely changed and the Hangtown Mobile Home Park has always looked like crap...so really sick of the trash what are you comparing it to? None of that area has improved ever...

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 7:55 pm

    Oh brother: Before your make such statements you should take a drive down upper broadway and see the work that is being done in the area and save your self a lot of embarassment. Someone is investing a lot of money, time and effort in the "junky old cabins" as well as the shopping complex. But you've never noticed?

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  • R.j. CarterNovember 15, 2013 - 7:44 pm

    I've never weighed-in on Hangtown Haven before now, but sometimes I do sit and sadly wonder what tragedy might have befallen those less fortunate souls along their road of life that brought them to this most desperate point... I also think of how those leaders of our home town have chosen to tear down the only meager existence they had left along with their last ray of hope for any future and, just a week before the holidays with winter settling in....Then, I wonder what the leaders of our hometown have sadly turned into....

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 15, 2013 - 7:56 pm

    I have spent my money there for over twenty years with the homeless or not...however oh brother is correct...in all thetime I have been here..it has been run down. Since I am from LA...the amount of people didnt seem to bother me. Never was anyone impolite. Out front of the dollar tree--I have given money to people playing the guitar. I go to grocery outlet several times a month. Ive spent hours at MIcky Ds...so that my grandson could play in the play area--then we finish at the dollar store --so he can buy something with his money. I have been to the craft stores that come and go, Purple Frog--teachers loved that place. I have bought things from the mexican market. Used the bank--the auto parts store...if people do not go--it will die. It is already built--so there is another problem. Build it and they will come--didnt work. I had people say they will never go into the new Family Dollar Store when it is done up here--although it is huge back east. Below them? not sure. Is that the problem here as well--some feel it is "below them"....and they tell their friends the same. The waffle place had good waffles....Jimboys was crowded when it first opened...wendys...died. So what is the answer? I still love the mexican restaurant.

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 10:09 pm

    Fran the waffle place is still there i eat there often. right now it's breakfast and lunch but I have heard that the owner wants to try dinners as well. I worked there as a cook out of highschool when it was called SAMBOS. then SEASONS that area was not trashed then, the only bad area was up by the bus station and what was then called motor city, including those cabins oh brother mentioned.every time i go to the dollar store there are lots of shoppers same with grocery outlet. What it will take is for people to have confidence that if they invest in the area they will get a return. And addressing the homeless situation is the first step. It needs to change and allowing nonresident transients to PLANT THEIR FEET! while every one ignores the problem won't help.I remember down town and the problems they had with main street bars and the punks at the parking garage, people hated going near them. You have to admit that a few bad players can screw it up for everyone.

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  • Oh BrotherNovember 15, 2013 - 8:07 pm

    I am not embarrassed and I know what I see and don't see....so don't waste your breath or embarrass yourself...it will take a heck of a lot of money and work to improve that area...the ice rink, benos, hangtown pharmacy, the fabric stores, the restaurants etc., shut their doors long before the Haven came in...

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  • Oh BrotherNovember 15, 2013 - 8:16 pm

    My reply was for SFR

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 8:54 pm

    So David if there are ZERO services, what do people eat? where do they sleep? How do they occupy their time? And why would they go there when Eldorado County has so much to offer with health care, SNAP and other programs available to them. And not just for disabled people and mothers with children but for able bodied young men who hangout at the bus station or across the street all day. Many even have cell phones and can be seen using them as i am driving by. Of couse they will have to stand in lines and complete paper work, register to vote and establish residency in some way. I know people in the system and have been shown how it works.

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  • Alex NettoNovember 15, 2013 - 9:06 pm

    I loved benos. And the skateing rink, I don't remember any ice in there though,

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  • Oh BrotherNovember 16, 2013 - 3:18 am

    Sorry, roller skating :)

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 9:16 pm

    And Oh brother please take broadway we would feel safer if you did thanks.

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  • Oh BrotherNovember 16, 2013 - 3:17 am

    I will drive whatever route I choose...don't be mad at the rest of us if the City of Placerville hasn't done any improvements in years in that part of town...your problems are with the City and how they spend or don't spend money...your problems are with walking trails and roundabouts and shady politicians. the parking lot alone for the "walking trail" brings seedy characters around...perhaps the Haven is what you folks that live up that way used to get the attention of the city for some improvements. If that's the case, the you all benefited from the Haven also...and Smith Flat Rd. is in horrible shape and I have driven it for many years.

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  • SFRNovember 15, 2013 - 10:23 pm

    Out door living : great comment good to see someone speak to the situation rather than just say "it can't be done" so we'd better accept it..

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 16, 2013 - 7:34 am

    SFR...my point was that I have still spent my money in an area that for whatever reasons died...a long time ago. I know that when people started picking on the new store coming up here...the remarks were arrogant. I grew up in the Hollywood hills . I grew up around the rich and famous...I grew up around what some of those rich could do and how they spoke. I also grew up around the people who tried to be in those same socials stats. Because of some--I learned to like the middle class more...than the people who just worked to live. Experiences? Until attitudes change...the area is built...and no one is coming. Look at all the places that put tons of money into their downtowns...and still fail. The money being spent...could go to giving dignity back to some of the people who have loss their way. Give them land--teach them to work for themselves. It was part of the idea of the original homesteading here in this country. Broadly defined, homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. (wiki) If people are shown kindness--they respond with kindness. Yes...there are some who ruin it for all...now everyone is going to watch who that is--by watching to see what happens in that area...including lawyers for the homeless. It wasnt the Haven that was the cause. According to some--the remaking of that area started before the evacuation of those people....sealing the fact--that the local government did not care what people thought at all. does the city want to be continually sued by its citizens for not listening. Can you imagine winning enough to buy the area--and make it anything they want. Shrugging shoulders...some need to go stay for a week in an area that really has a homeless problem...or live in another country with no running water. give them land.

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