In the matter of Santa Monica Place, addressed by Steve Stajich in the article week of March 22-28, 2007, I would like to add my 2 cents plain.
I used to spend time regularly at Santa Monica Place for quite a long time, having lunch with friends there over years. What I had observed was that Santa Monica Place never really worked the way they had intended it to, from the beginning. From the beginning there were many “dead spots” in the Place, and the third floor was pretty much both unused and unneeded, a waste, actually for about X years… What would have been a great thing then, and probably now, too, would be for the third floor and the dead spots to be used as senior/disabled housing. Now that would be perfect…!!! What a sensible solution to a problem that is not really not solvable…at all. Why don’t we try it? See if we could start a trend of common sense solutions.
C.V. Beck, disabled resident
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I sincerely enjoyed your recent coverage of the Art of Dr. Seuss exhibition and collection. One of the primary goals of the Art of Dr. Seuss project is to educate the public with accurate information on the provenance and history leading up to this celebrated collection. From the project’s inception in 1997, The Chase Group (The Dr. Seuss Estate’s authorized fine arts management firm) has educated thousands of people including collectors, galleries, museums, curators and the media with information. This information is also available on the website drseussart.com/faq.html.
Your professional coverage is an important and appreciated component of this effort.
Art of Dr. Seuss Touring Exhibition
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How can we best help the homeless now and reduce the amount of homelessness in Santa Monica and in the rest of Los Angeles County? In his letter (Santa Monica Mirror, March 22-28), Randy Walburger proposes designating areas for nighttime camping, and criticizes my alternative proposal of “virtual shelters,” which would be like camping areas, but without the privacy afforded by individual tents, and which would be supervised by police and other staff. Walburger feels such virtual shelters would be merely a further means of torturing the homeless.
Permanent supportive housing, such as that offered by Step Up on Second for the chronically mentally ill, is obviously ideal, but it will take years to build enough of it. Residential drug and alcohol rehab facilities, sober living houses, and board and care facilities are also places where many of the homeless should be. We probably need to build more of these too, but we also need to do more to help mentally and physically disabled homeless persons get to the programs that already exist for them. Some of the homeless are either unwilling or too disorganized to access services that can lead to income and housing.
Allowing the homeless to sleep in unsupervised areas of pavement, park and beach is enabling them to continue to let their addictions and other illnesses go untreated. It is more cruel than forcing them into shelters. Although shelters may be more unpleasant for many in the short term, they would probably be safer, and they would afford social workers and other service providers a venue for reaching out to the homeless.
By forcing the homeless into supervised shelters with strict rules against the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco, Santa Monica could set an example for the rest of the county without becoming a greater magnet for the homeless. This kind of solution recognizes the Realpolitik of homelessness. In contrast, if Santa Monica were to offer camping areas before the rest of the county did, it certainly would become a stronger magnet. Not to mention that affording more privacy to those with untreated mental illness who are abusing drugs and alcohol might just be asking for trouble.
I think Walburger shares with me the concern that the touting of the “housing first model” at the recent RAND forum might give local government yet another excuse to do nothing in the way of providing short-term shelter for the homeless. Real shelters would be better than virtual shelters. I offered the latter idea as something that would be better than nothing, since there seems to be little interest in building shelters in this town. But if Santa Monica is unwilling to hire the necessary police and other staff to force homeless persons into designated virtual shelters, and to supervise them, and if it is unwilling to provide cover for the homeless in the rain, then hey, let the homeless put up tents!
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How to be nice about this, even though they were obnoxious. A group of religionists staked out a spot on the Santa Monica mall and proceeded to attack Al Gore and his book An Inconvenient Truth.
Obviously, global warming has become the new battle cry of the religious right. What else have they got to demonize? Bill Clinton is out of office; Russia no longer is; and the anti-abortion and same-sex marriage issues have been marginalized.
That didn’t stop this group of zealots on the mall from spreading hate and lies about Al Gore, the messenger. Now, I ask, is this Jesus’ message, is it what the Bible teaches?