San Francisco residents line sidewalk with boulders to block homeless camps
California has returned to its “Wild West” roots, as individuals strive to civilize the coast using their wits and initiative.
Case-in-point: Residents of a San Francisco side street have trucked in boulders to discourage homeless camping near their homes.
About two dozen of the massive rocks, each weighing hundreds of pounds, create barriers on a half-block stretch of Clinton Park, a side street off Market and Dolores streets. The boulders don’t block the sidewalk, but do limit the space available for tents. Neighbor David Smith-Tan told KTVU that his family received a letter from the neighborhood about a month ago addressing the sidewalk problem. “A bunch of my neighbors, we all chipped in a few hundred dollars and I guess this is what they came up with,” he said.
The line of 24 giant rocks is also intended to block open drug dealing that had been an ongoing problem. City supervisors, shockingly, were initially clueless about their origin or intent.
“It’s very creative. Somebody spent some money doing this,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, whose district includes the street, located just off the busy Dolores-Market streets commercial corridor. And they may well become a permanent fixture. The rocks stand 2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide, so transporting and unloading them would have been quite a job.
Of course, social justice activists are unhappy with this development.
…Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition On Homelessness, says boulders, which she called “anti-homeless architecture,” aren’t going to solve San Francisco’s housing crisis, KTVU reported. “”We have 1,200 people on the wait list for shelter. That’s for tonight. People have nowhere to go,” Friedenbach said., according to the station.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles residents are using some are using prickly plants, fences, and barriers to prevent homeless camps from spreading.
With dirt, they can weigh hundreds of pounds. The makeshift planter boxes are Peter Mozgo’s creations — roughly 140 of them lined up on the sidewalk to prevent homeless people from pitching tents outside his business. Mozgo acquires the boxes from a Bell Gardens company that imports ginger, paints them firetruck red, pays $120 per cubic yard for dirt and then uses a $900 trailer to haul it all back to his neighborhood on the south end of downtown Los Angeles. Like many L.A. residents and business owners, the 49-year-old says he is frustrated by the growing homelessness crisis — and the city’s often uneven response to it.
Los Angelinos are planning to install more planters throughout the city. Hopefully, Scott Presler’s clean-up site at Oxnard and Van Nuys will get the beautification treatment.
I suspect that more Californians will be removing politicians from the problem-solving loop, when it comes to controlling the homeless camps and preventing outbreaks of disease associated with those areas.