[UPDATED:] Santa Ana Civic Center's New Solution to the Homeless Problem
|Have a seat.|
Smith also feeds the homeless at Santa Ana's Civic Center, in the hotspot promenade where the homeless have been making use of the benches for years. The way it typically works: the homeless wait in line for a hot meal, sit down on a bench, eat, and enjoy. Simple!
No, not really. Last week Smith found a chain-link fence surrounding the lawn and the benches, ostensibly to protect the unsprouted grass seed. Smith claims it's a calculated effort by the city to keep the homeless away for as long as possible, and that the laborers who planted the mix of perennial Rye and Bermuda grass seed heard as much from the foreman.
And it's just plain mean, in the case of Connie, a disabled woman.
"Her specific injury makes standing during the process of obtaining food from our soup lines very painful--she really needs those benches," said Smith.
Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Superintendent Mike Lopez says the claim of nefarious scheming is "absolutely untrue."
"We renovate the Civic Center grounds once a year. It's a little different this year because we have a new contractor."
In prevoius years, laying grass had been a union job. But those workers got the ax to save money, and a contractor moved in on the cheap. Lopez says the contractor is 100 percent responsible for the germination of the seed.
"If he fails at that, he has to do it again, and pay out of his own pocket. They put up fencing to protect the turf."
To summarize: the keeper of the lawn says the fence is protecting their green investment (and some asphalt?). The Catholic Woker says the fence is to keep the homeless from getting too comfortable.
But there is a solution! Put the fence between the grass and the benches! Ta Da! I should run for public office.
Your move, Lopez.