Even Laundry Nazi's Get Hurt Feelings

Kym Kemp / Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 6:49 p.m. / Humboldt ,  News

Many Southern Humboldt residents have been talking shit this last week. SoHum has been arguing about the Porta -Potty recently placed in a small park at the north end of town. Debra Carey, a local woman concerned about both the homeless and hygiene rented it and had it placed in the Veterans’ Park last Thursday. While the rental company was still positioning it, local law enforcement arrived asking that it be removed. Words grew heated between the officers and homeless advocates.  The porta potty stayed but it’s tenure is uncertain.  In fact, Clif Clendenen—the district’s supervisor—said on yesterday’s Monday Morning Magazine that as it is un-permitted, it will have to be removed.

The community is divided.  The basic arguments against the porta potty are that it it will draw more homeless to the area which will cause further problems for locals and business owners and the building itself will soon be a disgusting mess. Those for it remaining claim that tourists as well as homeless need a public restroom.  The room will allow for more, not less hygiene in the homeless men and women and in the park itself. The division highlights two different ways of dealing with our society’s homeless.

For ye have the poor always with you.”  That biblical verse seems more true in the last few years than ever. Whole communities of homeless folk hide on the edges of our towns. Liquor stores and gas stations seem to attract down-on-their-luck folk with cardboard signs asking for handouts.  As a community and as a nation we struggle with how to respond.  If we help them, many feel we risk being overrun and overwhelmed so they want to minimize services.  Others want to offer a hand, hoping to break the cycle or at least reduce someone’s misery temporarily. Humboldt, like the nation, is divided.

In Eureka, Betty Chin recently received national recognition for her showers and meals for the homeless. Meanwhile, Garberville with its tradition of rural independence is struggling to cope with increasing numbers of homeless—do we insist they pull themselves up or do we attempt to help them and maybe get saddled with helping them for life and get treated badly for our pains?

The small park at the north end of Garberville has become a battleground between these two ends of the spectrum with residents pulled between their hearts and their practical response.  In the small laundry across the road, the attendant, Rebecca, tells of keeping quarters and soap to help “traveling folk” who don’t have money wash their clothes and, at the same time, of chasing out homeless people drying muddy clothes in the dryers.  Customers, she says, are frustrated and want their money refunded when they put their clean clothes in the machines only to have them get covered with mud by people attempting to dry rain soaked garments without having to spend money to wash them first.

She says the homeless folk call her the Laundry Nazi because she chases them out when they do that or when they charge their cell phones on the laundromats electrical outlets and because she complains and shoos them off when they stand close to the building smoking pot which she is allergic to.  She laughs and pretends to shrug off the name but she’s obviously hurt and doesn’t understand how she has become a bad guy for protecting the business she works for.

In fact, local businesses often bear the brunt of providing (willingly or not) services for the homeless.  They provide overhangs in front of their businesses that become shelters in the rain, they provide trash receptacles which they must empty, they clean up messes and find their hoses and their electrical outlets tapped at their expense for water and power needs of the homeless. Of course, businesses are constantly being asked to allow people to use their restrooms.  And, unlike many of us who come to town infrequently, they must deal daily with issues that can escalate into major problems.

On the other hand, Kathy Epling, a homeless advocate and wife of Paul Epling   (shame on me for forgetting) partner of Paul Encimer, pictured above, says that she doesn’t understand why there is so much concern about the porta-potty.  “This is a finite, solvable problem that doesn’t have to be made into something large….It is pure good for everyone.”  She says that members of the community identified a problem—homeless and travelers were driven to urinating and defecating near the park because there were no public restrooms.  They decided that a porta-potty would solve the problem for both those needing to use a bathroom and for those distressed by the lack of hygiene in the park and surrounding areas.  They then approached a worker at the nearest local business, Southern Humboldt Builder’s Supply, to ascertain if there were any concerns.  There were and the problems were addressed.  One woman, Debra Carey rented a porta-potty with her own money (hoping to get donations from community members to defray the cost over time.) To assuage concerns about cleanliness, she even set up a twice a week cleaning schedule with the porta-potty company.

In a note today on Facebook, Debra Carey wrote, ” I just wanted to honor OUR VETS & Our Local Business community with this porta-potty so people can use the restroom with dignity and privacy.”

As a society we are grappling with a problem that in today’s current economic climate won’t go away. Frankly, we are depending on the business owners to absorb the costs of this problem and cushion the rest of us from directly dealing with our homeless—some of whom are mentally ill.  As a community we need to work with both the business owners and the homeless to ease the burden on the one while helping the other.

(As a note, Betty Chin’s public showers may seem impossible for our small area but a local builder, Jim Truitt, is willing to help with a permanent building designed to provide pleasant restrooms for tourist and homeless alike if the county would allow a permit. What can we do to help? )

________________________________

Photo provided by Kathy Epling

42 comments

  • Since I have posted in favor of public rest room (porta-potty) and I emailed Cliff Clendenen (no reply yet) I will jump in with my thoughts.

    It is very clear that a public rest room is needed.

    It now should be a question of where and in the mean time (as it will take time to build a permanent one)

    A porta-potty is an inexpensive first step. It could help
    keep folks from having to pee and poo around shops/houses. It could take the pressure off of shops.

    It is not rocket science. Other cities have had to address the same issues and like mentioned in Kym’s article, Eureka has had one part of this type of dilema addressed (see Betty Chinn)

    At least try something instead of nothing.

    I’d chip in some $ to help with the porta -
    potty.



    peace
  • and why isn’t the porta potty Permitted? What’s the County going to do send an inspector down to red Tag the Porta potty. Or maybe they could station one of the soon-to-be gone deputies to keep people from using it. It’s too bad American society has such a problem urination and defecation. let us hope it’s not us looking for a toilet.
  • Hey Kym,

    Thanks for writing about this.. I was wondering when this issue would pop up in the local blogosphere.

    While I don’t fully mirror the ideals of my parents in their advocacy
    I do condemn the unilateral ostracizing of a group of people.

    I’ve listened to this debate go on locally for many years, and I personally find myself somewhere in the middle when I honestly reflect on the issue.
    I have had to ask traveling folks, local homeless and other people that were ‘hanging’ outside my shop to move along. And indeed I’ve had problems with some folks leaving trash, animal feces and even a mattress out behind my storefront. As a business owner it pisses me off to no end when I find my shop defiled and disrespected.

    I think there are some individuals that suffer from mental illness, some we know and put up with… Vern is a familiar face that comes to mind… Others are new and unknown and maybe kinda scary.
    Anyone that is violent or aggressive should be dealt with by law enforcement or medical personnel and such behavior should not be tolerated by society in general - traveler, renter, homeless or landowner alike.
    That being said we should not as a community be so simple-minded as to lump all these folks together and judge them, put plainly it’s a form of prejudice and discrimination.

    It is not a black and white issue, I’ve known traveling kids who picked up trash, apologized for others behavior and I’ve met folks that yelled curses at me when I asked them not to loiter in front of my business.

    One of the main concerns put forth is the feces in and around the streets. Doesn’t installing a porta-potty or public bathroom solve this problem? I don’t see hordes of folks flocking around it at this point. The local grocery stores and gas stations provide extra porta-pottys outside their storefronts when large festivals are in the area. Which came first, the porta-potty or the crowds of people?!

    As a business owner I realize that not all of these traveling kids are broke and feeding off our welfare state. Alot of them come in and pay for internet time, printing etc.. I see them patronizing other local businesses as well, buying a cup of coffee while their cell phones recharge.
    There are many reasons why traveling folks flow through our area. Mainly it’s our not so underground economy and the fame of Humboldt County. Recently many of the traveling folks have been passing through on their way to the Rainbow gathering in Washington.

    I guess my point is that, like it or not we will always have traveling folks coming through our area and they will probably need to use the bathroom at some point. The traveling folks often work for an industry that directly or indirectly supports some of our businesses.
    And that I, as a Chamber of Commerce member and a business owner with no public bathroom think it’s a good thing that without any public money someone has offered to pay for a public bathroom. Is there room for debate and compromises? Yes, but lets try not to put each-other down and work together for the good of our town.

    That’s my rant and I’m sticking to it.
  • A porta-potty offers at least a small semblance of discrete dignity, sanity, and humanity for all, as humble as that may be.

    Kym, an outstanding and well-written article today, thank you.
  • I second Skippy’s comment.
  • I’ve been working with our local Vets For Peace chapter and with Supervisor Clendenen to get the Jim Demulling Memorial Grove opened back up. I’m circulating a survey about this, which says

    JIM DEMULLING MEMORIAL GROVE & PUBLIC RESTROOMS
    We the undersigned support the concept of reestablishing the Grove for public use, including the provision of a public restroom (an A.D.A. PortaPotty). This re-establishment would be under the purview of the Garberville Chapter of the Veterans For Peace (VFP) Grove Committee, which will include VFP members and other local citizens, under terms and conditions to be set forth in an agreement with Humboldt County. This management committee will be responsible for the Grove’s maintenance, and financial stability, as well as supervision of its public use. We will also conduct a use evaluation study to help determine the feasibility of providing permanent restrooms at the site.”

    If you want to add your name to this or talk to me about it, you can call me at 707-498-2984.
  • Thank-you Kym, and thank-you Garth. I very much agree with Garth.

    It seems that every time there is a request that the local Sheriffs department do something about the crime and vandalism on the streets it is perceived to be an “attack on the homeless”. That is not the case. Recently we have had the town garbage cans strewn around the streets, signs torn down, feces smeared and tossed. In another instance a person threw hot coffee on the manager of the bank because she asked him to leave. The man was particularly unsanitary and he was helping himself to the customer refreshments. There was a man recently that set his coat on fire and was walking around Redway setting things on fire. He was arrested, released, and sent back to us. We insist on ZERO crime. That is not unreasonable.

    We have a hard enough time attracting customers to our town without criminal activity like that. As Garth said we all pretty much take some of “our own” under our wings and try to keep them out of trouble, but I know of no more than about three people that Garberville should even remotely be responsible for.

    Some of what I call “street people”, because some are not completely homeless, help out around town by picking up trash and notifying me when something is amiss or has been vandalized. Not all are bad people.

    However, Garberville is a business district. It was built for that and it was not intended to be a living-room for unsavory characters. They seriously do intimidate anyone but a local person. The people from Shelter Cove used to be our best customers. Upon asking one customer, that I no longer see, I was told that he “got tired of bringing his wife to town to wade amongst bums dogs and trash. Any other place is much cleaner. You should clean up your town”. So, where do we go to build a business district that is free of bums? They seem to follow us.

    At night, Garberville becomes a Street People Zoo. I’ve seen people walk out of the motels, go out to Redwood drive, look up and down the street and hot-foot it back to their rooms. That did not used to be the case. We have WAY more than our share of degenerates, and they are intimidating, even if they don’t intend to be. Why are we obliged to take the people that have been chased out of other towns?

    I should close by saying that I feel a certain responsibility to those less fortunate than me, and I put up with way more than I should as a business person. But, when is enough, enough???

    The issue with the toilet is that it wasn’t put on their own property, it was put on property that didn’t want to accept the liability, nor the mess. Some people don’t want their property to become a homeless camp.
  • I do feel for many of the business owners that have tried to be generous in our community but end up taking the brunt of some of the “homeless/street” people. Not everyone’s business is effected but it is a dilema as we hear from Garth and Ernie. But, I would like to get back to where to have a bathroom?

    Where can a rest room be? There has to be some sliver of space to put a rest room somewhere?

    Any creative ideas?! ( I know this will probably become “not in my backyard, which is kind of why vet’s spot could be pretty good as it’s a little removed from shops and neighbors. (I know it’s not perfect, but it may be a place to try and see how it goes..if it’s not good,back to the drawing board)

    ok…let’s see what we can come up with. :)
  • Well at least the police are not resorting to the kind of solutions non-permitted actions get in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Yemen, Gaza, West Bank and Egypt. Leave it up to the local business people and it will, since the homeless in Garberville don’t have any ready marijuana cash to offer them.

    By the way, it is a really sad day people must have a “PERMIT” to use a portable toilet. What’s next “they” going to require a police officer to dole out the toilet paper? When the Republicans and the Bipartisan National Security State get done cutting the budget, the so-called deficit and rat-crapping Social Security, Medicare, etc. porta-potties will be the least of Garberville’s troubles.

    Not bad Kym – timely and relevant. The picture says it all.
  • Does my memory dis-serve me ? Does anyone else remember the porta-potty incident @ the Redway post office a few years ago ?
  • Enlighten us “Little Birdie”. What happened.
  • In response to M.E.
    Me, too. Thanks M.E.
  • In response to Garth
    Well said, Garth. I like Jim’s idea of trying out the Porta Potty for a year and monitoring its effects—a scientific experiment of sorts.
  • In response to Ernie’s Place
    I think that Vets for Peace is hoping to take this park over from Veterans of Foreign Wars. Hopefully, this will help resolve your concerns Ernie?
  • In response to Joe Blow
    Kathy’s photo really does capture a bit of the sadness of the whole situation doesn’t it.
  • In response to Jim Truitt
    Jim Demulling always struck me as one of the most inclusive person I have ever met. To have his Memorial Park fenced off seems counter to what he represented to me at least. He was a timber faller who listened to and discussed differing points of view with environmentalist’s such as EPIC members (he may have even played a part in establishing EPIC not so many years ago?) and was a driving force in started FLAPCO (forest lands and products cooperative) years ago. He was a big supporter of cooperatives. I think the park closure is wrong, my personal point of view. And availability of public restrooms is of the things I like when I visit Ferndale to shop. This public restroom is open during business hours and always clean and maintained. So can’t we all get along and have a public restroom in Garberville like Ferndale? And please take the fence down around Jim’s Memorial Park. Just my opinions.
  • In response to Littlebirdie
    I don’t remember what happened ,but I have a feeling from “littlebirdies” lack of coming out with the story that it was not good. Anyway, I think there are more people getting involved this time and it could become a good thing , something we could be proud of as a town and people in general. If we look at the Garberville town square it to be coming along nicely with a fairly even balance of folks who use it. maybe the restroom could be the same.
  • Kym… Thanks so much… This string is a really thoughtful approach to the situation. Great responses. We have such a tendency to take sides and it will be vital to the town for folks to work together. Sadly,the homeless problem will be with us into the foreseeable future and we have to meet it daily.
  • In response to Garth
    Well said!
  • Ah-thanks to all for labors granted in the thought process-after an absents from Humboldt of some 20 yrs.-5 yrs ago came back to roost-took notice, $1 burrito was $5 or 6,$20 a night room now $45-50 the quality of cheap eats rather lacking-So hung around being homeless-looked up the old endeavor to volunteer some time-which led to a caretaker gig,first Presbyterian church great gig-gave me time to look around-(after a background check local &federal w/Arcata P.D. which 3 or 4 tims a day had asked me for my I.D.well just hanging,thought out of the way-have got a collection of cop biz cards -cause out of habit usually ask-ranger Bob was an amusement-)
  • In response to Kym Kemp
    Yep, works for me. At least I’ll have someplace to send people for a toilet. But, from a common decency standpoint, I don’t think that it is fair to the businesses directly involved.

    But, if you read carefully, Garberville is highly preferred, even over the places that want to take care of them. Betty Chin’s well funded and nationally renown homeless facility is not as popular as Garberville. What would happen if we said “y’all come”? They would show up in droves. If we are going to care for the homeless, I absolutely insist that the crime that, SOME, of them commit be addressed. So far the crime has not even been acknowledged. Everybody says “poor homeless are being picked on”. The people that say those kinds of things need to pay more attention to what is happening in this town.

    Kym, I know that you are a caring and sensitive person. But some of these people are unaddressed criminals. Much of the blame lands in the lap of our D.A. He refuses to prosecute their crimes and turns them back loose on us. Funding?
  • Ernie and Garth brought up some good points. No one wants their businesses or district trashed nor be too inviting for neer-do-wells and transient scoundrels. We prefer they get out of Dodge. Understandable, and point well taken.

    Eureka has this problem in part, granted. Skippy talked to members of the Chamber of Commerce, Chris Crawford, some of the Arkley folks, and Mr. McBeth of O&M Industries and the Builder’s Exchange awhile back— all more than your run-of-the-mill conservative folks, believe me. To skip’s knowledge and utter surprise, all of them chipped in some of the major donation money for building Betty’s Showers. What?!

    Why? This was shocking. They’re not bleeding hearts by any stretch of the imagination and certainly weren’t unanimous in their consensus by a longshot, but felt they had to do something to remedy the conditions they saw— and a shower was a basic dignity. Mr. Crawford lobbied his fellow COC members; not very many people know this. Now, when these smart and very conservative business types do something like this, you know something’s gotta be up.

    We’re talking a porta-potty here. Not showers nor a luxurious Four Seasons Suite gig to hang around poolside all day. People are gonna poop and pee, it’s what we do. Sometimes a lot. Skips is thinking if folks don’t have at least a minimal choice they’re gonna poop and pee in places you really don’t want them to. If a potty doesn’t work out, you can always take it out.
  • In response to skippy
    Skip has done some of the research that I have been wondering where to start. So the shower gets some of it’s support from conservatives, and i read some of it from churches, however it happens it has been a long process and our neighborhood is hopefully taking it’s first steps in making a restroom happen here. I am hoping that the porta-potty can stay for it’s trial run and more importantly, that a honest to goodness real restroom could be built, but not just for the homeless, for all of us! It could happen. It doesn’t have to be “oh, we have to build a bathroom for the homeless. It should be, let’s put that bathroom up (near the town square?) so all of us can use it. Tourist,mothers,children etc.)
    I am finding more and more folks who see that this is a good thing. But back to Skip, any advice on gathering financial support in Garberville?
  • Good job Kym. Nobody undrstands this problem more than I do. I have offered a solution that our community has turned down. So I want to tell all business owners that your complaints will fall on deaf ears if they allow this porta potty to be pulled out tommorow. Garberville needs a hero to stand up and say that we can put it here!! Where is the compassion? We all deserve privacy to allow our bodies to function. If you all think we have a houseless problem you need to get out and check out other cities. We don’t even compare. If you think people will come because we have a restroom something is wrong..
  • http://www.change.org/petitions/please-allow-a-porta-potty-for-people-to-use-in-garberville-ca?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=own_wal
  • In response to Den Mom
    Den Mom
    Just don’t get carried away and take them home with you. You will soon have the same problems that the town does.
  • I hope the people of garberville can work out their homeless problems locally. In my state of Nev. And more making new laws. It is illegal to help the homeless. Many have been arrested for passing out food, water and blankets. You don’t want a national group like foodnotbombs.net to come to the north coast and start a national campaign. Better the locals work it out.
  • Ernies place, You have no idea on the ways that I have helped all the folks in MY community, and everything I have done has helped everyone especially the business owners, in so.hum.I shop out of everyone of the business’s including yours I believe and I love this community.We should be Loving and caring for all, so you don’t have to be hateful to me. I have been a business owner many times over and understand ALL sides of This issues.I agree with you that we have people that are out of control that live with no shelter, and I have also seen Sheltered people be way out of control they just have a door to hide behind. So it swings both ways, Ernie!! We need to work TOGETHER to solve our commUNITYS problems and not hate on each other. Our problem is we have people on private property camping and then the law enforcement sweeps because of that little petetion everyone in the chamber signed, then they sweep them right up on the business front doors which I find both wrong.A person cant be on private property and it’s not good for business if they are sitting on your front doors, or soon to be poophing on them again. So what about a place for them to be?? imagine that?? It would be a win, win for all. We need a camp ground out of town where people can use restrooms, showers, sleep,have some diginity doing it,have garbage cans… A place to be instead of lining up on the sidewalks after being swept out of the bush.Garberville is praticing insanity, doing the samething over and over and expecting different results, it will never change doing it that way. Lets work together for the good of All our community, and solve these small simple tasks.
    Anyone interested? you can contact me at povertysnotacrime@yahoo.com
  • please tell me that you didnt just (kinda) say “camp” in the vets park ??
    it is a park, if anything it is for sitting, sunning, enjoying by every one, I look at the crowd over there every day, it is not anywhere tourists or are going to stop and or use a restroom to go pee….the Vets park is not the location for what it has become,,,,,,,it is a homeless hangout, a hitchhiker resting spot, to drink beer, smoke pot, sleep and clean out their gear, and at times activist groups meet there to circle and smoke while planing……….
    I work in the laundromat, it is very intense at times when I can not let passers uses the restroom, many go right out the back door and unzip their pants,,,yup right there where i go to take a break. They yell at me when I fallow them asking them to stop.
    so how many of you remember the ADA lawsuits that swept thru town ? He sued the video store, Ed,s full service, Eel River Cafe,,,,,before that guy most would share their restrooms, but since, with the fear of a $$$$$$ suit from stranger, just for saying “yes” its in the back.

    as many have said, I do not have the answers,,,,I like many, thank Kym for this, it is helpful to be part of a larger conversation.
  • In response to Den Mom
    Den Mom, I don’t think Earnie is being hateful (of course he can speak for himself) I kind of got the vibe that he was just trying to throw some caution out there as it can be a overwhelming job, he may have actually been trying to be kind? deep breaths…
  • Several years back, my husband and I were on our way fishing in the bay, at a very early hour, and stopped at Renners in Eureka(near Costco). I needed to use the porta potty before the LONG day ahead, opened the door, and was scared –– when a homeless person raised up and yelled at me for disturbing his sleep…
  • In response to Jim Truitt
    I would like to add my name.Where can I do that?
    I did leave one message (?) but I would like this to get some circulation if it will help…Maryellen Mckee
  • […] the Jim Demulling Peace Park which has been at the center of the porta potty controversy received a visit from a cleanup crew of the California Dept of Corrections and Rehabilitation […]
  • rebeccca I would think that porta potty was a good thing for you? I went to your boss to give each of her business $ so if someone needs to wash there clothes, but she said”these people are lazy and wouldn’t take advantage of it”.
    So I guess you get the pee,pooph and the drying of dirty clothes because thats the way your boss wants it….. these complaints fall on deaf ears!! Please reread for I never said anything about putting a campground at vets park,WOW!! that would be the chamber sending out fear based e-mails…..
  • You call her names, put her down, the homeless spit towards her on a daily basis,
    and yet somehow she is to take the high road and accept your gracious benevolence
    in their name, to be intrusted as a banker for their care ???? REALLY,, wow ! how dare you,,
    I have an idea, you do it….

    Do you think no one can see what you doing in shifting these things around ?
    throw some $$ at a problem then you go home (Miranda right ?)
    you don’t have to see this stuff every day from your window,,,,,
    you use OTHER PEOPLES STUFF ,,,to help the homeless,,,,,your ideas, but not on your land or even with your property…..

    Then you come online and shame my boss who supports me and several others with GOOD honest jobs.
    Pam is a good woman who has worked had her entire life to get to where she is…..

    as for the “camp” I said “kinda” and dont blame it on the camber email which I never got or read,,,
    the blaming would however go hand in hand with the shaming,,,seems to be your thing

    we already have a “camp” at the Vets park and it needs to be addressed,,,,the LAW BREAKING has to stop,,,
    it very hard to watch day after day with out intervention…….smoking pot in public is not legal, drinking alcohol in public is not legal ,,,,,
    the core group stays the same in the camp thru out the day as the crowd swells and contracts around them……
    giving the homeless a porta potty only makes the “camp” more embedded there……
    they need services, not separation,,,,,
    it almost seems like you are creating a divide,,,
    they get one restroom while town folks work on another,,,,
    they get one park while the town square is for other folks,,,,,,
    not good,,,,,
    not right……..
  • we should not as a community be so simple-minded as to lump all these folks together and judge them, put plainly it’s a form of prejudice and discrimination.

    Yup —but even though we have our share of prejudiced and judgmental people, we also have a lot of people who are willing to help folks out on their journey. My view is that our town is a pretty good place for homeless and transients to come to. Although there is no potty, yet, there are things available like the free community lunch, and there is work and connections to be found in the underground economy.

    More to the point, there is a population of residents here who sympathize with the situation. Personally, I am not all that intimidated by them, in fact, a smile always comes to my lips when I see street people around. For me it adds to the attraction of our town. I see them as a colorful asset to the community —music, dogs, inventive dress, jewelry, language, etc. Maybe they don’t have the cleanest clothes or the kind of deodorized demeanor that you’re used to seeing advertized and promoted online and on tv, but if you smile at them, and if you take the time to stop and talk to them, and to listen carefully to their individual and often awesomely humbling stories, you might be surprised, you gain, they gain, the world is enriched. And it’s really not all that scary …

    Sure, like most situations there are going to be a small minority who cause
    trouble, but the larger portion of houseless folks are harmless and they by far
    outnumber the more problematic ones. Some of us need to change our preconceived notions and stereotyped ideas about others and see these folks individually for who they really are. If you give them a half a chance, you will find that underneath a crusty veneer, most of them are gentle kind loving folks.

    One of the things that makes me proud of our town is that a stranger hitchhiking through can find sympathetic friendly people who give money and food and other goods as well as provide work so that those who are down and out can better get along. I’ve helped some and I’ve also seen many other homeless wanderers helped by soHum peeps. Some of them have now become valuable permanent members of our community.

    There are so many people that come through here with so many creative valuable resources. Not monetary resources, resources of the mind and soul. An ongoing stream of people with creative ideas and innovations that can be tapped. People who deserve affirmation and respect. I think it would be of benefit to make an effort to welcome them and that we should try to help them in every way we can. We should say, in affect, “this is our town, it’s a great place —welcome.” When I’m out on the road somewhere I always recommend Garberville to hitchhikers that I see with backpacks flying cardboard signs, etc. I tell them that Gville is a must stop on their tour. I tell them it’s a place where they can find a helping hand on their journey, and that because of the quality of the people who live here and in the surrounding hills, it’s a good place to come and be.

    I ran into some folks playing music for spare change in Gville this spring and I liked them so much that I ended up taking the whole crew home with me. Five people, a dog, a couple of guitars, a violin, a flute, and a bunch of percussion instruments all piled into my car. We had an awesome fun couple of days. I am so glad I met them. This was last spring, and last week i got an email from one of the dudes. He and some of the others are helping out setting up for the rainbow gathering in Washington. It’s a temporary town out in the middle of the forest in which everything is free. I told him that he and his friends are welcome here anytime and to come back and check us out again. He said there are three of the original five at the gathering site right now and that they plan to come back here in the fall.

    I told him to invite the whole rainbow gathering to Garberville —(just kidding).

    But he did say he wants to help fence off a new garden area for me and teach me about sustainable gardening practices. We have a lot of energy to gain and so much wisdom to learn from some of these people who squat in our bushes and beg on our streets.
  • nappa state comes to mind-yes in July the gathering folk be coming through-trim employment labor price should go down-
  • In response to suzy blah blah
    Beautifully said, Suzy!
  • In response to Kym Kemp
    Thank you Kym.
  • […] a deep divide within the community on how to deal with issues that arise around homelessness. A porta potty in a public park recently had advocates and business folk at odds. A fight over the installation of razor wire on an […]
  • Jim,
    still waiting with my legs crossed to use the porta-potty!!! So now they are going behind the post office. waiting, Jim……..
  • FOR ALL OF US WHO WANT TO WORK ON THIS ISSUE
    HERE IN REDWAY / GARBERVILLE,
    BRING YOUR IDEAS TO THE TABLE OR SHUT THE HELL UP,
    REALLY,
    THIS MEETING IS BEING PUT ON BY BOTHSIDES
    SO, SUIT UP AND SHOW UP,,,,
    IT SEEMS TO BE PRETTY IMPORTANT HERE ONLINE
    WHEN YOU HAVE A KEYBOARD AND A FAKE NAME TO HIDE BEHIND,
    LETS SEE IF YOU MAKE THE TIME TO COME SHARE AT THE MEETING
    WHEN IT REALLY COUNTS.
    This meeting will be held at the Vet’s Hall in Garberville on Friday,
    Oct. 7 beginning at 6 p.m.

    http://www.redwoodtimes.com/ci_18997199?IADID=Search-www.redwoodtimes.com-www.redwoodtimes.com
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