At last night’s “Feet To The Fire” forum hosts Barbara Venezia, John Canalis, and Norberto Santana pressed candidates to answer questions that were important to Costa Mesans.
Moreover, rather than instigating arguments they refreshingly asked candidates to focus on solutions. Because some candidates spent more time giving speeches than providing solutions, not everyone got to completely state their solutions for the issues discussed on the show.
Due to understandable time constraints, I was not able to fully give my solutions for homelessness and transient bathrooms in Costa Mesa and would like to do so here.
There are viable solutions to this crisis and issue, and they can be implemented in a way that does not upset our community. Other cities in America are doing it—so can we.
One way it can be done, as I have said from day one, is by empowering and helping grow our Orange County and Costa Mesa nonprofits that are already in place—they have effective restorative programs for the homeless and have bathrooms for the homeless. Another way it can be done is by tearing down our crime-ridden motels and replacing them with permanent supportive housing/apartments or apartments/housing that is more affordable (not necessarily HUD housing). Not porta-potties on the streets, which has been a massive fiscal and logistical failure in other cities, but actual housing with bathrooms.
In addition, very much like New York City was cleaned up years ago, we need to empower our law enforcement to address the homelessness issue from a point of lawlessness rather than civil rights. They need to be able to legally and safely remove transients not trying to get help—without the threat of being sued, fired, or getting our city involved in another lawsuit. And when the transients are removed, until we find a better solution, they need to be placed in a county facility as they are not residents of Costa Mesa and this should not be our burden to bear.
Another way it can be done is not through using the Fairview Development Center as a homeless shelter (last night I said I would consider it for permanent supportive and rehabilitative housing) but instead doing as I have been doing for months now. Since I began my campaign I have had meetings with builders, investors, and developers locally and nationwide to find ways to revitalize Costa Mesa and build housing for the homeless. If elected I will work with these companies, the city, other agencies, and other entities to get this done within the first four years of my first term.
My final point ties directly to what Barbara said last night when she mentioned how year after year she hears the same issues on her forum—homelessness and more. Perhaps she has been hearing the same issues over and over because we have had the same politicians on our council over and over again. What is the saying about insanity? And perhaps that is why so many Costa Mesans want change and want to rid the council of career politicians. Maybe the only way we can bring solutions to the city and have new forum topics the next time is to have new faces for district 3, 4, and 5 on the council.
Rebecca Trahan, Costa Mesa City Council Candidate District 5
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