Baseball’s All-Star Game in San Diego: Rocks for the Homeless?

by on June 17, 2016 · 7 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, Homelessness, Life Events, Media, Organizing, Politics, San Diego, Sports

anti homelessBy Doug Porter

The infamous rockscaping in and around East Village was installed as part of the city’s preparation for Major League Baseball’s 2016 All-Star game on July 12.

The wishes of the surrounding community, the supposed reason for the installation, were actually not considered.

Even as emails on the situation were made public on Wednesday by Kelly Davis at Voice of San Diego , local gendarmes were rousting homeless people who’d moved to surrounding neighborhoods as a result of the city’s actions.

From Voice of San Diego:

In late April, homeless advocates discovered the city was installing jagged rocks under Interstate 5 at Imperial Avenue to discourage camping. The motivation seemed clear: Imperial leads straight to Petco Park, home of this year’s All-Star Game. The rocks, advocates argued, were part of a larger effort—similar to one in San Francisco before this year’s Super Bowl—to get homeless people out of the area.

But a city spokesman told a different story. He said it was at the request of residents of Sherman Heights, a working-class neighborhood several blocks east of Petco Park.

“The new landscaping along Imperial Avenue is meant to address safety concerns raised by neighborhood residents in Sherman Heights who use it as their main connection to Downtown,” public works spokesman Bill Harris wrote in an April 25 email.

Photos of the rockscaping and police sweeps of homeless people in the area led to protests at City Hall. The city continued to peddle the story about concern for residents of Sherman Heights.

SDFP columnist and homeless advocate Jeenie Criscenzo wrote about reaction to the protests:

Last week, homeless advocates, including myself, confronted the mayor for authorizing installation of a $57,000 rock bed under an overpass where homeless people frequently camped. On social media, we were accused of being bleeding hearts who were giving aid and comfort to creatures who don’t deserve our concern.

They called the ugly barrier that was built without a shred of effort to be attractive, a “rock garden”! When one of our group spoke at City Council about the inhumanity of using pest-control tactics to repel human beings, two councilpersons actually giggled!

City Councilman David Alvarez has demanded an apology. Residents of the Sherman Heights area reported that displaced homeless people were pushed onto the sidewalks and alleyways around residences after the installation of the rockscaping.

Via Voice of San Diego:

Alvarez, whose district includes Sherman Heights, believes city officials used residents as a scapegoat after people questioned the rocks project. Homeless advocates held a press conference condemning the project.

All residents wanted was better lighting under the overpass, Alvarez said — a request that’s yet to be fulfilled.

“I feel very offended on behalf of the Sherman Heights community for being used by a city spokesperson claiming all of this was at their request,” he said in an interview. “The request was very simple — it was about lighting. Somebody at some point made the decision to allow these rocks to be placed there. That was not what the community asked for.”

It should surprise no one that the blame for this fiasco now falls on one former city employee. The mayor’s office knows nothing. The Padres, as host team for the All-Star game, know nothing. Nobody knows nothing.

stefaniIn other MLB News, a series of “free” concerts on the embarcadero sponsored by Budweiser on the weekend prior to the All-Star game have been announced.

From the Union-Tribune:

A limited number of tickets for the July 8 and 9 All-Star concerts here will be made available first to San Diego Padres’ season ticket-holders, who can register for them online. Members of the public can obtain free standing-room-only tickets — based on availability — beginning Friday at 10 a.m., online only, at: AllStarGame.com/concerts.

Maybe headliners Gwen Stefani, OneRepublic and Tori Kelly can ask for a few tickets for homeless people.

_______________________

This is an excerpt from Doug Porter’s column at our associated San Diego Free Press.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Barrio Logan Resident June 17, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Why is it when one free press publication gets a story all of the free press publications jump on it like white on rice? How about some creativity in content? This is basically a cut and paste job from the internet.

I am a resident. My neighbors are residents of this area. WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THESE ROCKS. I’ve read that Councilman Alvarez demands an apology from the city about this to the residents of Sherman Heights. With the people I know in Sherman Heights they aren’t asking for an apology. Not sure if the Councilman is still sore about not winning the election but he needs to let this one go. He has access to discretionary funds and we don’t see him using it to help the homeless or mitigate the vagrancy.

Every single writer from the UT, VOSD, and now this…..none of you live here! You don’t have to deal with meth heads and crack addicts and drunks and walking in the street and walking around urine or feces on a daily basis just to get to Wal Mart do you????

Well from one of us that does have to deal with it, keep your opinions to yourself. Anyone with enough gumption to sit behind a laptop and blog about it can also get off their keister to go to Father Joe’s and help JUST ONE homeless individual out. That’s all…JUST ONE. Not give at the local fundraiser, but actually talk to one to help them address their needs. You will do a lot more good than trying to break down the social injustices or whatever is a hot button ACLU item you feel are being levied on the homeless. You think allowing them to stay under an overpass helps them? It helps them about as much as this article does.

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Avatar cc June 20, 2016 at 7:49 am

boom. couldn’t agree more with you

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Avatar Treadwell June 20, 2016 at 2:32 pm

“… You don’t have to deal with meth heads and crack addicts and drunks and walking in the street …”

in OB? why, of course not.

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Avatar Lori Saldaña June 17, 2016 at 5:45 pm

ICE/WATER NEEDED FOR HOT WEATHER AID STATION THIS WEEKEND NEAR PETCO PARK: Please consider donating bags of ice, paper cups, and/or large bottles of drinking water to help create a “cooling center” for homeless San Diegans who have no place to go this weekend, as temperatures climb into record territory in the coming days.

Many of the women, children, men, seniors and their pets who are homeless do not have access to “cool zones” set up in many libraries, senior centers or other locations, or are not comfortable leaving their belongings and pets unattended if they are not allowed to take them inside.

To help prevent heat related illness that could results in calls for emergency medical services, volunteers will set up a water station under the shaded pergola at the south end of PetCo Tailgate Parking lot, near the corner of L & 14th.

We plan to be there from approximately noon-6 pm on Saturday June 18.

Martha Sullivan and I will join with other volunteers and activists to provide ice, water and other supplies to keep people hydrated and cool on what many are predicting to be an extremely hot day.

If you would like to support this effort, and provide cool water to those in need, please deliver ice, water, paper cups and trash bags for helping us with clean up.

PLEASE DO NOT DONATE INDIVIDUAL SIZE PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES- bring bags of ice and/or large water bottles we can refill as needed.

We will provide paper cups to keep plastic waste to a minimum.

Questions: call 619-786-5674 or email lori4mayor@gmail.com

Stay cool out there this weekend!

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Avatar Lori Saldaña June 19, 2016 at 10:30 am

Help us show that San Diego can be “AllStarWorthy” when it comes to helping people in need, and contrast our city leader’s approach with what’s being done in Philadelphia:

“Kenney said that he had started out his political career believing that homelessness was a police problem, but now believes the city should stop criminalizing homeless people. Kenney said the initiative, focused on downtown areas with high pedestrian traffic, isn’t meant to keep homeless people out of sight ahead of the Democratic National Convention this summer. In fact, he said, he’s hoping to enlist some national Democrats to help bolster the city’s homelessness outreach efforts.”

(Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/citified/2016/05/16/philadelphia-homeless-center-city/#xiBhq4hsoU0amXCd.99)

Locally: Volunteers needed to help pass out cold water and provide shaded seating for homeless residents near PetCo Park, Sunday June 19/Monday June 20.

Cold water is a good way to help people manage heat and avoid potential health problems. The heat will be increasing and more people will be needing a comfortable place to rest and receive water.

Yesterday’s event was a success: lots of water distributed, and many people given a chance to sit, relax and cool off without fear, and talk with others in a comfortable setting.
See news coverage:
http://www.cbs8.com/…/pop-up-cool-zone-for-the-homeless-dow…
http://fox5sandiego.com/…/pop-up-cool-zone-to-provide-reli…/

On June 18 we provided cold water and shade for people with recent injuries, some awaiting surgeries, others managing chronic illness (diabetes, depression).

The Cooling Station provided a brief respite for older adults, and families with children and pets, to sit, relax and feel welcomed…just imagine if you had no place to go to be comfortable on a hot day under those circumstances.

Also needed: bandanas to give to people. These are useful items and we gave out many yesterday, but if you donate some: NO RED or BLUE! Black, green, turquoise, yellow, multi-color are all better choices (due to fear over displaying gang colors in some areas.)

Other items that are helpful: hand sanitizer, individually wrapped snacks, first aid kits.

Thanks for helping comfort those in need during this heat wave.

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Avatar Lori Saldaña June 19, 2016 at 10:35 am

I’ve submitted another comment here, but apparently the links have triggered a delay. Here’s a short version since this is a time-sensitive notice:

Volunteers needed to help pass out cold water and provide shaded seating for homeless residents near PetCo Park, Sunday June 19/Monday June 20, noon-6 pm. Organizers will be at 14th/L Street adjacent to the Tailgate parking lot.

WHY WE ARE DOING THIS: Cold water is a good way to help people manage heat and avoid potential health problems. The heat will be increasing and more people will be needing a comfortable place to rest and receive water.

Yesterday’s event was a success: lots of water distributed, and many people given a chance to sit, relax and cool off without fear, and talk with others in a comfortable setting.

On June 18 we provided cold water and shade for dozens of people, including several with recent injuries, some awaiting surgeries, others managing chronic illness (diabetes, depression).

The Cooling Station provided a brief respite for older adults, and families with children and pets, to sit, relax and feel welcomed…just imagine if you had no place to go to be comfortable on a hot day under those circumstances.

Also needed: bandanas to give to people. These are useful items and we gave out many yesterday, but if you donate some: NO RED or BLUE! Black, green, turquoise, yellow, multi-color are all better choices (due to fear over displaying gang colors in some areas.)

Other items that are helpful: hand sanitizer, individually wrapped snacks, first aid kits.

Thanks for helping comfort those in need during this heat wave.

Reply

Avatar John June 20, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Shout out to Pat’s Liquor for ice donation!

TOGETHER we solve homelessness crisis.

Reply

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