Dear Representative Kiley:

As a boots-on-the-ground advocate for our homeless people, I am appalled by your speech before the House of Representatives congratulating yourself for your support for Grants Pass, and I’m disturbed by your lack of comprehension of the purpose of Martin v. Boise.

Martin v. Boise ruled that you can't punish people who have no place to go if you can't provide them with at least a shelter bed. Cities and counties in California did not provide shelter beds when there was clear incentive to do so.

Grants Pass takes that incentive away.

You claim municipalities can now “regulate homelessness in a smart, common-sense and compassionate way.” Empty words. You don't offer any solutions other than, “We can get homeless individuals into shelters and connect them with the services that they need”

If Martin v Boise didn't get them into shelters, what makes you think local governments are going to do it now?

Are you going to vote for the money to build and staff the shelters? How about building enough affordable housing?

Or are you going to build more jails to incarcerate people for being homeless?

Two thirds of our homeless people are not addicts or mental cases. What about them? The real reason homelessness is so bad is because there's not enough housing combined with high rents and low wages.

There's nothing smart, common-sense or compassionate about your support of Grants Pass. You solved one problem by creating another one. Especially where I live, homeless people are going to fade further into the wildland, where they will pollute the environment, litter the landscape with waste and increase the risk of WILDFIRE! Not because they want to but because you give them no choice. You're turning our homeless citizens into outlaws, fugitives from arrest for fines they can't pay. Homelessness wasn't a crime until you helped make it one.

As for me, I work closely with Nevada County's elected officials with one simple policy: I never try to solve a problem without offering a solution. Maybe should consider the solutionless consequences of “solving” your problem.


Tom Durkin, Creative Director
Sierra Roots/No Place to Go Project
Upstate California Creative Corps