Printed letters, March 10, 2011

Police are not too easy
on the area’s homeless

So, the police are too accommodating to the valley’s homeless, according to columnist Rick Wagner. Interesting, especially since School District 51 reports that it has 500 homeless students. I suppose the police could start smacking them around until they leave. They are, after all, homeless.

Maybe it’s the veterans who have offended Wagner’s sensibility. Could be, since at least half of all homeless are vets. Probably a good idea to have the police give them the bum’s rush.

There’s a war on wrong in process, and poor people are their greatest nemesis. Last summer, some rogue police officers rampaged criminally in a homeless camp, committing vandalism and criminal mischief with their knives, nightsticks and pepper spray.

Newly appointed Police Chief John Camper ordered a departmental investigation. It found that three officers had unabashedly broken the law. The offenders were fired. Is firing bad cops too accommodating?

As for the specially trained Homeless Outreach Team cops who replaced them, give them a chance. Just because Wagner doesn’t comprehend modern law enforcement doesn’t mean it won’t work. Expecting honest, well-trained officers is not too accommodating.


Grand Junction

How to deal with homeless camps

Millions have been spent on providing the trails along the river so that it and the environment can be enjoyed by the public. So far this has been accomplished for most of it. But there is a problem.

Start at the Botanical Gardens and head west on the trail. After passing under the railroad bridge, follow the river dike to where it reconnects with the trail. Then ask: What is the lasting image you are left with? Most likely it will be the hobo camps, trash and abandoned shopping carts, not the river or the riparian environment.

How do we address this problem? We have to accept that we will always have those who choose to live along the river. So how do we respond in a practical and responsible manner?

First, the city should designate a number of locations along the river for these camps that are out of sight to the hiking-biking public and require that these be used.

Second, to address the obvious sanitary issues, porta-johns need to be provided.

And finally, in exchange for the accommodation, the local authorities should gather up an appropriate number of these people on a monthly basis and have them gather up all the trash (regardless of the source) left along the trails.

I believe this would only be the reasonable and responsible thing to do if we are to maintain the trails as an enjoyable part of our community benefit.

ED FOY Grand Junction

There’s no need for writer to demonize the homeless

I’ve been waiting for Rick Wagner to run out things to scare us with. Every week it’s: The illegal aliens are after us. Then it’s the Muslims, then the liberals, the death panels, the atheists, the unions. But right when I think he’ll have to go to reruns, he hits us with the homeless.

He has “detected” an increase in their numbers. They have actually heard about our valley on the Homeless Underground Telegraph and are quitting their jobs and traveling here to beg on our corners and sleep under our bridges.

Wagner should know there are people in our society who have almost nothing. They live hand to mouth, one day at a time. They don’t mean to offend him with their very presence, but they have nowhere to go.

If he doesn’t wish to help them out, then he shouldn’t. He doesn’t need to demonize them.


Grand Junction


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