Talk among ourselves and hope the decision makers are listening and will act....
To the citizen who wrote:
I think you guys are not understanding the big problem. In many of your solutions you state you want volunteers and downtown guides (red hats or whatever) to be able to cite people for law violations. You can cite all the people you want, but nothing is going to change because our Criminal Justice system is broke and every law violator knows it. Most police officers today don't even call it a "Justice System" because there is no "Justice" about it. I call it a "legal system" because I can't even say the word "Justice" anymore with a straight face. If you add fifty more people to write citations, but the courts can't jail people or enforce the fines because there is no jail space, these guys won't pay the citations and they will be right back downtown. Handing out citations isn't the answer if you don't have a plan in place to back it up." __________________________
EugeneAdvocates writes back:
Thank you for your response. We understand the main problem which is money. We are also realists that say the taxpayers are not going to give more money for a couple of reasons: 1. the economy, 2. they don't trust the politicians to spend it wisely ie public safety, 3. the disconnect between ideology in the community. Given no more money is available then how to improve public safety downtown. The solutions offered are based on that premise.
The main premise is if you take people, any people, out of their comfort zone then they will gravitate to other places where they feel more comfortable: Thus the citation program and enforcement of the existing laws. Flood downtown with officers for a couple of hours each day and write everyone up. Then ask the city council to enlarge the range of violations in the exclusion zone to any citation issued. Then the matter of jail space becomes an issue if in fact they violate the exclusion zone. More leased space from Lane County or Springfield once it opens might help. Open the work camp may help but staff is the problem. Erect a new misdemeanor jail on the same foot print with the Police Station instead of creating a sub-station for the Police Department in the downtown area. This may have merit.
Please believe us that we really do appreciate your perspective but money is the issue and lacking that we need to do some things that are a bit outside of the box. One of our writers suggested that we look at Emeryville, Ca, and Boise came up again. We have reviewed those places and their solution has been to enforce the laws on their books. We can look to Cottage Grove where the Mayor reports a panhandler license is required and if granted they require OSHA regs for safety which means panhandlers must have a hard hat, vest, etc. Do you see panhandlers in Cottage Grove--no--they moved to a more comfortable venue--namely Eugene. Same applied in Springfield and Roseburg. We are the comfort zone for too many and then they get hungry for their choices (alcohol or drugs) and create crimes to pay for their addiction at our expense. Simple but solutions are not. Hope this helps you understand what we are attempting to promote while all the study groups continue to study. In the meantime Eugene is setting new record highs for crime. We need to do something now! What do you say Mayor/Council/City Manager??
EugeneAdvocates for a Clean City