Homeless camps and driving ranges expose a widening gap

Good news for golfers. There’s a new driving range in the works.

There’s something wrong with our priorities when one minute you’re riding past sprawling homeless camps like something out of the Great Depression and the next minute you’re looking at a shiny new driving range that costs millions of dollar to build. It’s all here for your entertainment — in Alviso.

Yesterday I rode my usual route on San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail going north. Just before Walsh Avenue I found yet another homeless tent and the usual accompanying pile of junk surrounding it. It sprang up overnight. (He has relocated his tent and stuff close to the Caltrain tracks. Feb. 24: He’s gone.)

It took six months for the Santa Clara Valley Water District to remove another camp a mile south of Levi’s stadium. There’s a shantytown at Highway 237 and Guadalupe River, and that’s just to name a few. Downtown San Jose has hundreds of homeless camps.

I pine for the days when all we had was a tent city on Coyote Creek in south San Jose.

The new driving range replaces an old one on the same site. I don’t know if the original owner sold the land or what, but it doesn’t matter. The facility itself isn’t the problem. It’s just emblematic of where our priorities lie.

The wealthy are living it up, while the poor get poorer. The stock market has made a few people wealthy during this pandemic. How is that? I’m not sure, but there’s something wrong here.

There’s no denying we have a problem, but do you see anybody trying to fix it? I’ve complained and so have many others. All we see is court rulings that protect the rights of the homeless.

Homelessness is always going to be here, but it shouldn’t be so bad that it’s no longer safe to go for a walk or a bike ride. Cars are being smashed into so often that the police don’t even respond. Junkies will do anything for their next fix, and most of them are homeless.

As long as we continue building extravagant entertainment centers and burying our heads in the sand over a disaster unfolding without lifting a finger to address it, we’ll get what’s coming to us.

What irks me most is water departments that will arrest well-intentioned citizens trying to clear our waterways, and fine them, but ignore the homeless camps.

To address the problem we need strike teams representing an array of public agencies (police, social services, cleaning crews) dedicated to immediately going after new homeless camps.

Meanwhile, the main camps need to be shut down and the people who live there relocated to FEMA like housing where they can be evaluated and triaged. Some will go to jail, some will receive mental care, and some will receive drug treatment. Some will even turn their lives around. And a few will return to being homeless.

Will it happen? Or better, what will it take to make it happen?

Update: According to the San Jose Mercury News (2-16-2021) the city of San Jose will add housing and employ homeless to clean Guadalupe River. They currently pay them by the bag for trash. Covid 19 has complicated helping the homeless.

Homeless camp at 237 and Guadalupe River after a fire.

One Response to “Homeless camps and driving ranges expose a widening gap”

  1. Ted Pauly Says:

    Relevant stuff Ray!

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