By Suzanne Moore
During the 7/15/20 special council meeting on motor home permits, I found myself asking, “Is the majority on Council listening?” There are several recent episodes when council did not:
- Council did not listen to the majority of attendees at November’s Task Force Forum in which 70% supported a safe parking program before an oversize vehicle (OV) ordinance is enforced.
- Council was deaf 12/9/19 when the Task Force presented a report Council requested and Council chose to delay discussion until 7/15/20.
- In January when, in spite of many in opposition, Council implemented the OV ordinance.
- And in March, when COVID halted public debate, Council chose to let the ordinance take effect 3/30/20 without public input, and Council then relegated $40,000 for cost of signs in spite of stated budgetary constraints due to COVID’s economic downturn.
- Council apparently is deaf to the County – Chris Hunter of Supervisor Horsely’s office, offered help with a safe parking program if Council moved forward, but Council ignored that offer.
- Council ignored experts serving the homeless in our County who in position statements support safe parking; and Council denied to act on a plan, drafted by our own Pacifica Resource Center, done in collaboration with the Task Force and faith-based leaders.
- And Council certainly chose to ignore the 50% of oral comments to the 7/15/20 special meeting in support of the PRC pilot.
This Council is failing in its duties. I would have thought this Council would not need to be reminded of their oaths to protect all Pacificans, that we are in a pandemic surge, and a second wave is expected in our flu season. The Oversize Vehicle Ordinance has unintended consequences that put public health at risk, and Council is failing to address an urgent problem of their own making.
Safe parking will provide hygiene services, temporary shelter, and case management for stable housing to Pacifica’s homeless who are 5 times more likely to become exposed and critically ill from COVID. Safe parking will reduce displacement and facilitate COVID tracing. Safe parking gives expanded public health protection to the benefit of us all. Safe parking will save lives.
A member on Council spoke of division or dichotomy when community members asked Council to demonstrate compassion at this time. That member seems unaware that compassion does not divide – it unifies, heals, and inspires.
Here are the options verbalized by Council that deserve urgent attention:
- lease 5 spaces from the SF RV Park,
- collaborate with Daly City for safe parking at Mussel Rock,
- waive permit fees for private hosts,
- wait to enforce the Oversize Vehicle Ordinance until a safe parking program is in place.
This Council has failed – to duty to protect the public as sworn, to plans to slow the virus as supported by homeless experts, to practice leadership and make difficult decisions in this pandemic, and yes, to demonstrate compassion for those residents at risk for displacement.
The majority on Council appear to be taking a different path for purposes known only to them. Call on Council and demand they take the steps listed above immediately. Support the Pacifica Resource Center serving an increased number of Pacificans in this pandemic and economic downturn.
“When you see something not right, you have an obligation to say something, to do something.” The late congressman, John Lewis, reminds us all of our duty even if our majority Council has forgotten theirs.
Suzanne Moore is one of the editors of Pacifica Voice. She is a retired Family Nurse Practitioner, former Unhoused in Pacifica Task Force member, current board member of San Mateo County Healthcare for the Homeless and Farmworkers Program, a member of Pacifica Housing 4 All and Pacifica Social Justice, and a volunteer for Pacifica Resource Center. This first appeared in the Pacifica Voice.)