Saturday, January 19, 2013

Another Case of "Not In My Backyard"?

Op-Ed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

We are not even three weeks into the new year and we may have our first potential political powder keg of the year in my hometown of Fullerton, CA

This is due to the fact that the County of Orange wants to buy property on State College Blvd. and turn it into a homeless shelter.

There are so many things wrong with this situation I don't even know where to begin.

First of all, this proposal never went to our City Council or the voters of our city.

The area that is designated to be purchased is not even zoned for such purposes and the folks in the adjoining neighborhoods are understandably upset that a homeless shelter will be close to their homes and their kid's school.

As much as most of us talk about wanting to do something for our homeless, the fact of the matter is that for every homeless person that is down and out and is working hard and are good decent people that need the assistance to get back on their feet, there are others that are just plain dangerous and need special attention and supervision.

Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, a former Fullerton City Council member, says that the County needed to act quickly to enter into negotiations with the seller of the building so they don't lose out on this opportunity.  But why purchase a building in an area that is not zoned for that purpose?  Isn't that a waste of Tax Payers Money?

Troubling to me is the fact that Nelson's friend is the Real Estate agent of record in these negotiations.  That agent could make close to $100,000 if the deal goes through.

At the very least, Mr. Nelson needs to recuse himself from this process in my opinion.  There seems to be a conflict of interest.

That being said, symbolically, Fullerton would probably be the best city to have a homeless shelter.  We are the town of the Kelly Thomas beating death after all.  This would go a long way in demonstrating our commitment to helping the homeless and disadvantaged.

But the devil is in the details.

First of all, we need to identify the areas which will be acceptable for this before the County barges in and arbitrarily tells us where to put it.

We also need to make sure that none of our money goes into this endeavor at this time until our financial house is completely in order.

Our priorities as a city right now need to be fixing our City's infrastructure,  Pension Reform and growing our City's economy.

Not necessarily in that order.

The responsibility of helping our homeless and disadvantaged should, in my opinion, fall primarily on the shoulders of each of us individually and our service, charitable and religious institutions.

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