The Evidence – Homeless Problems Damage Community

by Jack Lee – Chico 23 Oct 2013

(Click on the thumbanils to see the larger pictures - these pics tell the story better than I ever could.   Look what is happening to our park and our town.   It’s shameful.  )

UPDATE:  22 Oct. 2013 – Chico’s Park Ranger, assisted by CA Park Rangers made the first attempt at citing bums camping in Bidwell park.  Obviously, it didn’t take, as many bums were camping again in plain sight when I did my report.   But, I have to give them credit and it’s start.     J. Lee 23 Oct. 2013 1930 hours

As promised I took a little bike ride into Bidwell Park looking for signs that bums are camping there.  It didn’t take long to find what I came for.    The bench behind the CARD Center has been occupied by transients 24/7 for months as was again today.    Next to this area clothing, paper and plastic litter the edge of the creek.  On the other side of the creek and closer to Annie’s Glenn I found a major trash site.  This was an illegal campsite setup just 15 feet from where two ladies were walking up the path as I snapped my pictures.

ctrash004  Clothing litters the ground behind the Card Center.   This was once a place where weddings were held, sure doesn’t look very appealling today.   Clearly,  the bums have taken over the park and many other green areas of Chico. csleeping005

 

On the right… A couple sleeps in a make shift campsite right behind CARD (See the red and white striped blanker picture).  A Safeway shopping cart is next to them.   I wonder why the cops didn’t roust them?  This overnight camping is in plain sight and obviously they swiped a shopping cart from nearby Safeway…that’s illegal too.

 

path17

Moving on….I followed a trail of cardboard strewn along an unauthorized path to a hidden campsite just 15 feet from where women and children walk.  cpath  Now, lets follow  the path and see what we find.    See picture on the right with the red arrow pointing to the path.  Then look at the junk in the picture on the left.

 

I walk into the camp.  It’s a trash dump of empty booze bottles, plastic sheeting and I notice a few brand new USPO Priority Mail boxes.   I wonder what the heck they want with Priority Mail boxes?  Guess they use them to store things in, but they are expensive.  They could use regular boxes from any number of dumpsters in the area.

 

cjunk6A short time later I believe I have caught up with the illegal campers that were stealing from the Post Office.  They had the same new Priority Mail boxes in plastic bags and there was more of this clear plastic sheeting they apparently use for sleeping on.  But, first take a look at the amount of trash they left behind.  And keep in mind this is right next to a pristine creek.  Pristine for now anyway.  Bidwell Park can’t take this kind of overuse and trashing, it’s why we made it illegal to camp overnight there.

 

Imagine when this trash gets introduced into the water way and what an ecological disaster.        Check it out…See pic on the left, that’s plastic sheeting all wadded up.   Presumably it’s being slept on.   Then at this same campsite I find more clothing, more empty booze bottles and more USPO boxes inside plastic bags.

 

As I get back to the bike path I proceed west and enter the area of the park known as Annie’s Glenn and here are two transients sacked out in a camp site since yesterday.  They’ve created a wall of blanks, clothes and a bike and  trailer to sleep within.    I walk closer and peer over the wall.  Two people are sound asleep – it’s 12 pm?  Nothing like getting a good 16 hours of sleep per  night.

I notice they have the same debris around this sight as the previous campsite I just visited.  Are these the same people that trashed the area  next to the creek?  It sure looks like it.

cboxes21

Two bums are asleep behind a wall of blankets and clothes.  They are just 25 feet off a busy pedestrian path.  Funny the cops haven’t noticed them?  I think these people are the one’s that have been swiping boxes from the post office.   They have the same kind of trash as the last campsite I just visited.

 

 

After this encounter I proceed further towards the downtown, past the News and Review building and soon I’m at the City Plaza across from the old city hall building.  The Plaza is a popular meeting place for bums.   The funny part here is these bums all look well fed, they have nice clothes, expensive backpacks and camping gear, many are on bicycles the cost $200 and up.   It doesn’t compute.    How can they afford this stuff, the tattoos, the energy drinks, the booz and a lot more?   Begging for spare change must pay pretty good.

 

binplaza36 binplaza38

The citizens of Chico paid a lot of money to construct the downtown plaza renovated, but it’s been taken over by the bums, mostly young and able  bodied.    Some act pretty strange, as if they are high.  Others are just there… doing nothing.  Nothing every day…just being there.  What a life.

 

They congregate by the dozens and more during the afternoon.  These shots were taken early in the day, so not too many were on the scene just yet.   I happened to meet and speak with an older gentlemen who observed me taking pictures.  He said he rides his bike down from Valombrosa every day and he’s appalled at the trash and low-lifes laying all over the place.  He thought the younger and more fit among them ought to be asked to do some work before they are allowed into a shelter to be fed.   He  felt that expecting some sort of work from them in exchange for our charity would act as a deterent for some of them to come to Chico.  He added, it was his firm opinion most of the people we were observing did not want to work.   We agree that most of the people around us are scammers, they’re playing the system and that’s all.

cityhall029I ventured over to City Hall next and I observed our District Attorney Mike Ramsey giving a TV interview at the entrance to the Council Chambers.  See pictureCityhall048 on the right below.  I felt it  was somewhat  ironic that here was our DA and just yards away were a bunch scoff-laws sacked out on the City Hall grass.  They were there like crows sitting on a scarecrow.   Sadly, these travellers (bums) come here and use up the limited resources we have for the truly needy.

 

Both groups of bums that I observed had dogs.  Wonder where the dogs did their business, better yet  where did the owners do theirs?  Maybe they are using the public restrooms inside  the City Council chambers or the City Hall next to it?   Thinks about that next time you’re heading for a restroom there.  Better check it

over carefully before sitting!

It was unbelievable, the amount of trash and discarded items from bums surrounded the Council Chambers.  How could our City Council be so oblivious and not be outraged  by thecityhall046 trash piling up right in front of them?  The picture on the right next to the fountain on Main Street.  The wall on the left is the Council building!

No matter where I rode it seemed like an army of bums has taken over the city!   The trash, the vandalism and all the illegal campers are making Chico a dirty and unsafe place to be.

bidwell50On my return trip I re-entered the park and noticed the bums that have basically replaced the families with little kids that once played in the park.  Our parks are not fit for families anymore. Who wants use a picnic table after these characters have been using it for months? I sure wouldn’t.

Most people don’t feel safe around this new bunch of travelers aka homeless.  Notice the nice bikes they ride?  See pic on lower right.bidwell49

Keep in mind, this is just an average day, some days it’s much worse.  It seems like the police are not making any effort to stop the illegal camping, the illegal use of shopping carts, nor are they doing anything to stop the littering and alcohol violations.   This is something Chico’s Police Chief Trostle better look into quick or he might find himself on the wrong side of the citizens who pay his salary.

 

Now just some of the random pics…

card001

Stolen shopping cart next to illegal campers.  c033

 

 

These bums sure do a lot of sleeping, don’t they?   This guy is sacked out in the park west of CARD.

 

cityhall027AGbottles

Trash along the creek at bum’s campsite.  I noticed they are drinking Sierra Nevada, so things can’t be too bad for them, eh?

 

 

Here’s another guy next to his bike sleeping right front of the City Council  Chambers.  The Council was supposed to fix this mess, but they seem totally unable.

 

campsiteinpark

 

The remnents of illegal camping by transients.   This is Bidwell Park?  Unbelievable isn’t it?

 

 

 

It’s hard to imagine, but  this pristine park in the middle of Chico is at risk from illegal campers (bums) who make the park dirty and unsafe.   We’ve had 38 stabbing since january and many were because of the bums.

I wonder what Annie Bidwell would have said about the bums getting drunk in her park?  I wonder what her husband John and the local towns folk would have done about it?   In today’s time I know what our Council and our police are doing about it….nothing.      I don’t think the Bidwell’s would be pleased.  bidwell54

Here’s an idea, why not forward this article to the members on the City Council and to the Chico Police Dept. Attention Chief Trostle…bet they would love to hear from you!   This will show them the bum problem in the park is far from over.  One brief raid won’t cut it.  They need to do it every day and start
hauling out the trash before the bums can set up house again. 

IllegalCampbh8-L

This is what needs to be done every day until it’s cleaned up!

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29 Responses to The Evidence – Homeless Problems Damage Community

  1. dewey says:

    Solutions
    When one sees a problem they can be engaged in finding a solution.

    • Post Scripts says:

      What is your solution Dewey? There’s really only 3 choices. Get tough and cut their resources and force them to leave. Create more resources and hope they stop coming. Do nothing.

  2. Libby says:

    Reminds me of the John Mellencamp song, “Little Pink Houses”. Only in America can the dispossessed generate such amazing quantities of garbage.

    In my neck of the woods, there’s this little triangle of waste ground bordered by I-80, the BART tracks and the Home Depot. I’m telling you, by the time jurisdiction had been sorted out (and just in time to prevent the cholera outbreak), it took a backhoe and a dump truck to clear that spot.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Yep, it’s amazing how they can much up a place isn’t it libs. The bums here have no shortage of clothes or food, they can wear once and toss, plenty more available. This place is like Nirvana for them.

  3. dewey says:

    To solve a problem you look at what is causing the problem.

  4. Tina says:

    Jack I think at least for the able bodied a work rule should be put in place. People with more experience than I have would know best how to handle it. I can only make suggestions.

    Maybe we need a volunteer force (former military or police officers?)…possibly on bikes, dressed in personal clothes but decide on something that takes on the look of a uniform. They could start as a presence, ask questions, take inventory of these folks. An official looking force riding around and asking questions could act as a deterrent but you’d have to determine appropriate language. Police officers and military guys have been well trained in dealing with people; others could be trained with minimal effort if they are partnered with an ex-cop or military guy.

    Sort the folks out, let them know about the new Chico ordinance (hint hint) and later, if it’s necessary and agreed upon, apprise them of their choices and options:

    1. Move on; take your camping and pandering elsewhere.

    2. If you stay you agree to report every day for work detail. If we’re going to tolerate them camong in our city they can earn the privilege by cleaning up their own messes and random trash. Cleaning up the park, the creek beds, under freeways and bridges would keep them busy, possibly create some returned pride, and send a strong message that vagrancy is frowned upon in Chico. Failure to report for the work crew gets you an immediate escort out of town with a stern warning not to return. We don’t tolerate slovenliness and idleness.

    (The Salvation Army or the Jesus Center might offer some ideas and assistance. Toilets are obviously a problem and there is little chance that porta-potties would be respected or appreciated. Perhaps clean up of this type of mess could fall to those least cooperative.

    3. Attendance at AA meetings would also be sternly suggested.

    4. Using the downtown park and store fronts for bathrooms will not be tolerated nor will pandering.

    5. If (when) they leave they should take with them the knowledge that returnees will be arrested for vagrancy, required to work for a period of time, and then will be escorted out of town.

    If it is decided that a new “center” be built to better accommodate this plan it should look more like a temporary barracks or tent city (to be torn down when the economy improves) and it should be run like a military operation. (The movie Holes comes to mind…nothing like busy work to clear the mind…without the big lethal lizards of course 😉

    Chico is a friendly, generous city but the message needs to go out that we expect people who call Chico home, even temporarily, to behave as good citizens and treat our downtown, parks, and surrounding areas with respect. Clean up that behavior or get out.

    Unemployment numbers are still very high. In Butte County the unemployment rate was 10% for September. I imagine young people give up looking for work fairly easily and those that quit looking aren’t counted in the unemployment numbers. Surrounding areas are in similar shape. In this economy some people may be just down and out, which could explain the nice bikes. Some may just be slumming until things get better. Others are terminal vagrants.

    This city Must take a stand; we may put out the welcome mat but we refuse to be doormats and our city will not be used as a personal bathroom or dump site. Tough love always works best.

    Like you, I believe that creating the image of free services will only invite more people and exacerbate the problem unless we adopt strong rules to go along with it. Some people may actually need help. They need to be encouraged to get help, make some changes, or leave the area. I’m sure others need to be in a hospital but the law has to be changed for that.

    Question…do these people head south for the winter? If so, that would be a good time to plan before the next onslaught in Spring.

  5. Princes says:

    This is horrifying. Disgusting. Shocking. Revolting.
    We passed a law prohibiting alcohol in the parks. I used to take wine with my picnic to the Friday night concerts in the park but stopped when the law was passed because I didn’t want to get into trouble. I’m so glad that the people who are ignoring this law are allowed to junk up the park with their litter and their drunkenness while the rest of us obey the law.

    Michael Jones wrote a great letter to the editor a while ago. We have the greatest upper park in the area, I would love for my family to backpack and camp up there. Is that allowed now? Apparently it is. At least we’ll pack our trash out. I wish we paid as much attention to what is happening in our lower park with transients as we did with disc golf.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Thank you Princess, I did this story for people just like you! We need to show people how rough it’s getting. Our park is getting to be a dangerous place and people need to understand that.

  6. Mike says:

    What a great journalistic expose’ Jack. I hope this wakes up the enablers on the Left branch of the City council and the City Management.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Thanks Mike. I didn’t really like doing this story it’s kinda depressing, but I felt it had to be done by somebody. Ironically my story ran up against the first raid in the park, so bad timing on my part, but I’m glad they made an attempt to get these characters.

      I’m getting kinda old for walking into bum camps alone and taking pictures of who knows who…possibly wanted people. It can be a little risky to one’s health if a group decides to get mad, but I’m willing to go if I can shed a little light on this situation… least I can still peddle fast if I have too! lol

  7. Harold says:

    Both Dewey and Libby can only give us ideology as to a solution. I would be surprised if either one of them ever reached out personally and tried to help a deserving person. My guess is they just cant pull their heads out of their Political ideology long enough to think of a solution , at least a solution that would require their participation.

    The major portion of these people migrate from hand out to hand out, what Libby described in the Bay area was the exact solution Portland OR. had to do, and why? because they allowed themselves to become a haven of sloth and addicts. and it seems Chico is heading into the same pit fall.

    What could happen though in Chico is encouraging a limit the Shelters serve, also to qualifying first and foremost to helping the people who are community members, and those committed to be reintroduce back as productive society member.

    I would encourage all the agencies to establish a work program designed to encourage people to reunite with the rewards of self reliance. Currently, the waste of human energy and money on the perpetual sloth of bums is epidemic, and Chico right now is their petri dish.

    Come on Chico, lets really work together, and understand some of it is going to seem distasteful to take the Bums/hobos X mark for a free hand out off our city limit signs.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Harold you know I’ll do whatever I can. I have my bicycle, my camera and this blog…and hopefully by reporting often this will make a difference. I appreciate your comments and your help with the homeless problem.

  8. dewey says:

    personal attacks are not permitted.

    We are not the state of Jefferson and never will be. As a matter of fact I have helped many women get away from their abusive husbands who beat them, spit out the same kind of hate.

    Political ideas? LOL Facts are not ideas. When one lives in the propaganda bubble created by the Tea Party of hate is is easy to spot.

    Usually if I want to change something I actively work to change it. Not complain someone else has to.

  9. Tina says:

    Libby: “Reminds me of the John Mellencamp song, “Little Pink Houses”.

    That’s funny. the song reminds me of the cracker box housing being built around commuter stations, and in burgs like Chico, on postage stamp plots to appease the radical greens about their fears of hot weather and urban sprawl.

  10. Tina says:

    Dewey no one has made a personal attack. They did express an opinion as to your own expression of “solutions”. This, “To solve a problem you look at what is causing the problem,” is not a solution.

    Here’s another opinion. You issue covert “attacks” every chance you get and you fool no one.

  11. Tina says:

    It’s good to see the update to this story includes an arrest! Kudos to the local police. The community is behind you.

    I don’t see how once this is started it can be discontinued, not without looking inept and powerless.

    Our kids, particularly, deserve a safe and clean environment.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Tina, I am all for the cleanup of the bum camps and the citing and arrests, but my question is, why did the Council take so long to do it? This was the solution suggested from months back, even before we had police layoffs! Instead of taking positive action like so many citizens wanted the council fiddled around with the Homeless Task Force which is nothing but a liberal front for more so-called homeless shelters and daycare centers, so we can provide bums with entertainment that will only attract more bums. Then they (council) fiddled around with the Chico Ambassador program, another touchy feely do nothing project…and over many months the problems just grew and grew and grew. People are angry! Now we have a huge mess to clean up and it’s going to take a lot more time and a lot more money. Council Woman Tami Ritter ran her campaign on the fact that she was an expert on the homeless by virtue of her college education and she was going to bring fresh ideas and fix the homeless problem. Her ideas mirrored the Homeless Task Force, she had nothing new and she did absolutely nothing to fix the problem. Her contributions amounted to absolutely nothing. Mary Goloff and Ann Schwab are two more that have done nothing to help the City of Chico and why they are on the Council amazes me. Goloff and Schwab were around when the City was spending money they didn’t have, but they were never held accountable for the over spending were they? We’ve got too many people on the Council with very little business and real life experience and they make terrible decisions and were frequently fooled into thinking all was well when it was not! They are naive and dumb a dangerous combination for city leaders. Why are they there?

  12. Libby says:

    “Both Dewey and Libby can only give us ideology as to a solution. I would be surprised if either one of them ever reached out personally and tried to help a deserving person.”

    Why would we do that? We think that social workers should be paid a salary to deal with these folk. That’s a concrete solution. We think that there should be public housing designed especially for them. And I will say this: they should be forced to live in it. Out goes the paddy wagon, every night, to round them up (with more salaried personnel) to clean them up and put them to bed.

    There’s a Nanny State for you. But we just can’t get the rest of you to pony up for it.

    And I have to say, Jack, a lot of the folk you photographed didn’t really look homeless, just quite disdainful of conventional employment.

    I really think we do need professionals to go out and document the nature of the problem, and address individual situations individually.

    When I was in school, a friend of mine told me about how, when he first got to town, he didn’t have a room yet and so decided to sleep the night in his car at one mile. He was rousted by the cops. It wasn’t all that effective. He went and found a nice quite street to finish out the night … and then he found a room. He had means and motivation, and one’s no good without the other.

    On the other hand, there are already “anti-loitering” ordinances on the books, are there not? What prevents the cops from making irregular sweeps of the downtown?

  13. Libby says:

    However, if, after my census is taken, it turns out that the 300 people who languish downtown every day WOULD work, but cannot find employment … well, that’s the Great Recession for you … and, toadies to fiscal conservatism that you are … you can just lump the consequences.

  14. Tina says:

    Libby: “We think that there should be public housing designed especially for them.”

    Great, then you and your commie friends should gather together, make a plan, put your own resources at risk, build and run the facility! Nobody is stopping you. If you really have a heart for this work figure it out…do the fund raising…get it done.

    Why would anyome work in Libby’s little utopian world? And when we all decided that we can get others to take care of us while we goof off WHO WILL PAY?

  15. Princess says:

    And now we are going to have an armed patrol of mall cops downtown. Just when I think it can’t get worse, the city lets stupid crap like this happen.

    Armed private security. Sounds a lot like Blackwater.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Princess: Now Blackwater would be great, those guys are typically Rangers or SF, but its more like a rent-a-cop kinda deal where somebody is between jobs and they are doing this to make a few bucks. So, don’t expect much action from security people.

  16. dewey says:

    LOL As a Norcal resident I had no idea this was tea Party central till I saw all the name calling and hate.

    Ya see a patriot believes in democracy. I see a bad pattern here. rants are Ok but the lack of facts is amazing. I could go to Jenny Beth’s toolkit and pull up much of this stuff.

    Ya wanted a sequester ya got it. We are not the middle east full of hate and religious wars. The number of homeless will grow. I feel for our vets coming home to this insanity after finding out Iraq was only to try and control the oil fields. A true patriot will discuss without calling people names.

    I will let Chris talk in the never ending circles. In the end These crazy tactics have brought attention to the whole country. Americans have been embarrassed and enough is enough .

    I will never fall to the Propaganda. I will do something to fix our gov not fight it for the Koch brothers and friends.

    What I see is an action than a bunch of complaining about the results. This is not the land of Ayn Rand

  17. Peggy says:

    Great job Jack. Caught a glimpse of the story last night showing a backhoe removing over three tons of garbage from Chico Creek.

    Don’t know if it was because of your article or shear coincidence that both occurred at the same time, but it was good to see that beautiful park returned to how it should look instead of on its way to becoming just another dump site.

    Hopefully, they will continue with the sweeps to keep it clean.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Peggy, thank you for the kind words. I think the forces that be were alrdeady in motion when my article came out, but I’m hoping it will serve to keep up the action. This raid tactic, camping clean up, and citing offenders is the way we can move them out of town. They(bums) need these heavy fines and jail time hanging over their head to motivate them to leave town. The city council took forever to get to this stage and that’s troubling but something that can be dealth with next election. The dumbells on the council had to try it their way first and after repeated failure they were left little choice but to do it the right way, our way and finally we are getting somewhere.

  18. Peggy says:

    All of the pictures Jack really are worth a thousand words. Having to use a backhoe to remove three tons of trash is horrible. I’m sure there was more removed by hand. And to think that a lot of it would have ended up in the creek when the rains come should have motivated the liberals on the city council to act now and in the future.

    Liberals say they want to protect our planet by removing plastic bags from our markets, but plastic sheeting by the yards polluting our streams is ok shows what hypocrites they really are.

  19. Post Scripts says:

    Toby Nixon wrote us a long, rambling diatribe reminiscent of something the Uni-bomber might write. Nixon, do yourself a favor and get some mental health counseling before you get into trouble. Don’t write again or you will be reported to the police. -Jack Lee

  20. Judgemental Much says:

    I like that you are pointing out the distruction caused by the homeless population. However, you lower yourself when you belittle, even the homeless, by calling them bums. Do you seriously think that “NORMAL” thinking individuals would openly CHOOSE to live like that? There is ALWAYS a reason. Regardless if you find it relative or not. It is their reason. MOST of these homeless, “able-bodied” young individuals you speak of, may be able to physically work, but may not mentally. Mental illiness is a wide spread disorder, that many fear to educate themselves about, sometimes in fear of finding something out about themselves. Such as, you, Mr. Lee. I think you need to take a long look into why YOU feel you are better then these “bums” and what makes you feel entitled to belittle them, publicly.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Dear Judgemental, ok, so what makes you think you are entitle to come here and belittle me? Talk about hypocrisy. At least I wasn’t targeting anyone by name like you just did.

      Did you really read what I was saying here? I was not belittling those with serious issues… so, shame on you for implying I was!

      You make a lot of false assumptions. The travelers I refer to as (bums) are in Chico for a reason that has little do with being down on their luck. They come here for the free stuff and easy living. Soon after they arrive they start to steal, they swipe bikes, swipe liquor, etc. They bring drugs to sell and some of the women turn tricks for money and they bring lots of crime. Stabbings in Chico have skyrocketed and we have to pay the price for this crime!

      The people I was doing this expose’ on know how to play the system and as a retired cop I can say this with some authority.

      In article after article here on PS, I go to a great effort to draw a fair distinction between the truly mentally disabled, the unfortunate homeless, the poor elderly, the battered and abused and those I call “travelers” that are playing the system.

      The truly needy people I support with my charity and my labor and always have, shame on you for implying otherwise! Those who choose the lifestyle of a “taker” to live off the hard work of others I do not encourage with my charity. They take away from the truly unfortunate among us, because charity has its limits.

      You don’t need to lecture me about the mentally disabled, I’ve worked for many years with the disabled, mental and otherwise, and so has my son and my daughter. However, we are experienced enough and street smart enough to recognize a con-job when it comes along. Hint: There are people in this world who deliberately take the easy path and they love to play the system and all the codependents like yourself, who can’t discern those takers from the truly needy. These are the sharks feasting off the charity meant for needy and that’s just wrong!

      In our small town we have few resources, we are not rich, but we make the most of what have and we are very generous! Apparently our charity was too good and the word got out we were a soft touch. Travelers post on the net all the good places for free stuff. Once the word was out on the net they started coming in from all over the United States! The story was simple, Chico is a great place for free stuff! Eventually the locals, even our bleeding heart liberals, realized this was a dangerous situation and it was not sustainable. Our resources were being drained faster than we could replace them. Even the police were have trouble keeping up with the new crime. Now, whatever we can do to discourage them from coming here that is fair game.

      Here’s an idea, how about you just take care of your business on your end and we’ll take care of ours…how’s that?

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