Letter: Antioch Resident Says Beede Lumber Yard Should Be Made Available to Homeless

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Homeless in Antioch at the Lynn House Gallery

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Ken Turnage II, an Antioch resident and business owner in the City.

Dear Editor:

The Homeless situation in Antioch is out of hand! There are countless groups trying to help and enable them to continue their way of existence. The City is throwing money at it and creating a six figure salaried job to try and manage it before there was even a candidate for the position (unless someone had a friend in mind). The Homeless are creating damage and blight at almost every vacant space or business available. The trail of filth throughout the City is beginning to look like a permanent stain that will never scrub off!

Before you think this is just another rant about Homeless, it’s not!

There is actually an idea that can be a win-win for everyone, if the City Officials truly want to make things better for all of their citizens. So please, do not start with a knee jerk reaction and instead process all the information. Plus keep in mind this an overview and not all items are fully detailed.

Taken Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 at 2nd Street & G St.

The City owns a property downtown that is just over 3 acres, it’s the Old Lumber Site or AKA “The Yard”. This property was a hot topic of debate a few years ago, when the City wanted develop condos on the property. The residents did not want them because they would block the view and proposed a community park/amphitheater. Well neither one has happened and the property sits vacant and unused.

This is property is already set with many improvements that are needed. There are multiple driveways cut into the curb system. There are sewer and water laterals already tied into the City infrastructure. The PG&E transformer does have capability for use if power is needed. Oh and did I mention its over 3 acres?

Here is the process.

There is more than enough room for a dumpster to be provided for their generated debris and multiple access points for pick up and drop off when it’s full. There is easy access for porta potty’s to be placed and easily accessible to for them to be serviced. The amount of space needed for these items would now bring the property down to 3 acres of land that can be divided up just like you would for camp sites at our Campgrounds and National Parks. Now we have debris collection, communal bathrooms to keep fecal matter off our streets and spaces allocated for the lifestyle they are currently living and this can all be set up and done in under one weeks time.

Now that the spaces are made the homeless can sign up for a space and have one assigned to them. It can be a first come first serve basis. The area can also be divided to where some spaces are animal friendly since so many have companion animals. Yes of course there will need to be rules developed for this site and potentially a curfew but this would not be a problem for the people that are truly looking for a hand up.

With having the vast majority of the homeless congregated in one area we can then help the homeless coordinator concentrate the efforts and minimize needed resources and maximize the use of the resources. We have countless church groups, individuals, other organizations and also County/City funds being directed at this issue. Now they can legitimately coordinate their efforts and resources to maximize the affects of relief. The coordinator could actually develop a schedule for the different groups for which days they can provide their services.

Having the spaces in use, with proper planning the spaces were sized to fit the tiny homes which can be built back to back and side by side over time. If done correctly this can be used as a training for unemployed homeless that are looking to return to work force by learning a valued and needed trades. If laid out properly the location of the porta potty’s is directly above or adjacent to the City sewer and water laterals. Then a communal multi-purpose bathroom can be constructed. It can have showers, toilets and urinals. This can easily be constructed and also used as training for people to re-enter the work force once again. The cost for a bathroom like this would be in the range of $500k which ironically is close to the amount of money the Council has already set aside for homeless issues from Measure W generated funds.

So we have developed an area where the Homeless can congregate and receive the resources to give them the hand up needed to reestablish themselves into being a productive part of society.

If the advocates are correct and all of our homeless want a true hand up and the problem is no resources then this should go a long way in satisfying it. The positive side effects for the community should be, cleaner streets, no homeless in the shopping centers making it uncomfortable for taxpaying Citizens to shop, less crime because they don’t need to steal due to being provided for, less damage to businesses and personal property to name just a few. With all these advantages it then adds even more, our Police Department will be responding to less calls for service on these topics, allowing them to focus on other crimes in Antioch. Our Code Enforcement will have a significant drop in homeless related issues because they will be centralized under the coordinator position.

Having cleaner streets, police freed up to do what police should do, code enforcement handling the cases that need to be handled, we as an entire city will benefit in multiple fold! From the day to day citizen to the largest stores and back to the small businesses that run our nation!

I am not naïve and think this is the cure or absolute solution, but I am logical enough to know that this will separate the homeless that truly want help and the ones that just want to get by and get high. Then we can address the later accordingly and help the ones that want to be part of society again.

This can be done, it can be done with the money already put aside by the city. Is it a perfect plan, no, but it’s a lot better than doing nothing which is what our city is currently doing.

Local business owner and resident,
Ken Turnage II

20 COMMENTS

  1. I see what you did here Mr. Turnage. This would never happen, but your point is well taken and it makes a lot of sense while highlighting the City of Antioch has talked for months, yet have done next to nothing while pandering to people. This also begs the question of just what is going on with the Beede Lumber Yard property, why after all this time has it remained vacant? Looks like Mr. Bernal and Joy Motts have some explaining to do, maybe they can issue an update during the next council meeting.

    • Do not worry about an update from Joy & Ron. No doubt that Joy is working on giving it away to one of her friends like they are doing with the Lynn House Gallery. She is not only a hypocrite, she is also a crook and should be replaced in 2020 by someone with a spine and integrity. Just for a little bit more of how disgusting this is, Joy wants a park because of the view it provides to her property which equals more home value.

  2. ECT hates the homeless, that is why he is publishing this garbage. I don’t ever see him submitting a pro homeless article.

    • Hey Hater! Are you saying that you want more and more homeless moving here? Why don’t you house them on your property! Maybe move out and let them take over your residence.

    • Bull! The ” homeless” are mostly dropouts and meth heads. While there are some genuinely unhoused and unlucky people among them, most are are a drain on our resources. Ken’s idea is one that deserves consideration. It’s a positive approach to the problem, and not a bunch of do-gooder enablers. Antioch cannot be like Oakland and turn over the streets to filth

  3. That’s it! LET’S PUT THEM ON DISPLAY! It will really add a nice touch to all the downtown activates and parades.

  4. Unfortunately Ken, you have not taken the time to understand the homeless. Yes, your plan will help the city manage the people more efficiently and give the appearance of doing good. But what will happen is more homeless will come filling the 3 acres half full of the homeless who tolerate the city intrusion and all the rest still hiding themselves in there own personal bush cave in Antioch and surrounding cities. A Pandora box in every city is leaving the homeless to roam among us.

  5. Thank you Kenny. Agree. Obviously you are not running for city council in district 1. Motts will go after you full bore with Lamar and Wilson in lock step. They rule this city.

  6. Why don’t we just ship them to the French Riviera where they can also have a nice view of the water? Watch the big yachts sail by. The area under discussion here is where we take our walks and walk our dogs and there are residential structure with people living there who would have the encampment in full view.

    Most of these homeless are from other areas — other states and cities — yet WE are the ones who have to shell out our hard-earned tax dollars to take care of them. NO FREAKIN’ WAY! A lot of them are mentally ill or simply bat-shit-crazy and do not want housing nor to abide by any rules! Do you want them wandering through the old downtown? Haven’t the local merchants there have enough problem with them as it is? A good little restaurant shut down after being broken into time-after-time.

    They will not use port-a-potties, but crap right on the sidewalk no matter how many of those are put up.

    I would like to see some money freed up to buy them one-way Greyhound tickets back to their original states, cities and towns. We should sent those states a bill to reimburse California for all the money we have already spent on them. San Francisco has such a program called “HOMEWARD BOUND” and it’s working.

  7. Why don’t we just use the old Japanese internment camps from the 1940’s? Turn an American atrocity into something positive. There’s plenty of shelter available out there and since we throw trillions of dollars into the military, they can oversee it out there.

    • We have plenty of military installations which are no longer used. These would be perfect places to house them and open up a PX for them to shop in. Most don’t want to work anyway and maybe some churches could help support them with donations.

      • Brad, you have the only real common sense idea out of all the ideas. We have so much vacant military housing it’s pathetic and our politicians would rather spend new money on new stuff for these careless homeless people to destroy.

        Stop spending unneeded money on homeless when you already have homes at Concord naval, hunters point, camp parks, and so many more places the government owns. Let the homeless take them and govern themselves

        This is a no win situation regardless. By pumping new homes and more money into the problem you will attract every homeless person in the U.S. including non US illegals.

  8. With well thought planning and ideas, this is the best way to drive homeless out of here.. you see,homeless guys like to live independently and go where he damn please .. They dont want to be embraced by people with bounty of empathy and so forth.. They will feel eerily uncomfortable .. many of them do drugs, booze, begging, etc.. and to think that they would let us watch them doing them? They prefer to hide out and away from sightings.. This is how they are.. Most of them are not exactly like those guys yo watch on TV news explaining their plight and what they want.. etc. Most of them are wild ..

  9. Wherever they are put, most do not like rules! Many just want the freedom to roam around, do a little panhandling, break into a few houses or cars, pick up a few packages from porches …

  10. if you create a homeless friendly environment, more homeless people will be drawn to Antioch. Build it and they will come!

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