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Homelessness PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dan Petrey   
April 28, 2017

We have been in downtown Bakersfield since we opened in early 2009.  Since we have been downtown I have noticed (what seems to me) to be a growing homeless population.  While this can be entertaining at times, it is not a lighthearted issue and can sometimes be a little frightening.  Is this issue actually worse?  Was it an issue where you grew up?  What can we do better to combat the problem?

Most of you know I grew up in Taft, in what I would consider close to its prime as a thriving oil dependent economy.   I do not ever remember seeing any homeless people there.  I am sure the issue must have been there somewhere, (as this problem seems to be present everywhere) but for the life of me I don’t remember.  Maybe those were just great times in that community and homelessness did not exist.  I seriously doubt that, and believe it existed but was a minor problem. 

As I walk around downtown once in a while, I have witnessed people; laying down (happily sleeping I hope) at 1:00 in the afternoon. I had one throw a punch my way.   Thank goodness I still have my youthful agility and cat like reflexes.  I had one seem like he was ready to attack me as he was screaming something indiscernible, (but I am not even sure he could actually locate me).  I have seen some gesticulate to moving traffic as if they are getting ready to part the Red Sea.  We have even had to gently guide a few of them out of our office.   Now for the most part, any potential crossing of paths is usually benign and completely uneventful.  I can only ascertain that the problem seems worse than it was 30 or 35 years ago.  Is the American Dream still alive?  If so, is it only thriving for some people and not others?  I wish I had more answers than questions.  I must admit I do not have too much knowledge or experience on this issue, so I can only hypothesize. 

I was in Glendale the other day and witnessed a small homeless camp under the freeway.  It seemed to be a little thriving community.  There has to be thousands of these homeless camps of various sizes in the greater Los Angeles area.  (I still call anything south of the grapevine, Los Angeles)

Has our economy gotten so bad that we no longer have the funds to address this problem?  If people do not want help are we still compelled to provide it?  Of course as a Libertarian leaning individual, I don’t believe our government (the state) can adequately assist pretty much any issue.  Seems to me the more the state takes away from us in taxes (along with the overwhelming feeling of no representation regarding those taxes) the less the populace provides to local donations which can more adequately deal with local issues. 

I chalk this up as another example of why our great nation seems to be closer to the end than the beginning?  Are people as frustrated as they seem to be?  Do the youth of today still believe they can change the world, or are they more interested in surviving the world than shaping it?  Is our great nation strong enough to overcome the compulsion towards a destructive socialist path? As I write this the market seems to be testing the recent all-time highs and shaking off any company specific poor earnings announcement or geopolitical concern.  Is it indicative of a tremendously strong economy, or reflective of a stimulus induced binge the likes of which we have never seen?  Feel free to enlighten me if you have the answers or share any comments you may have.  A tremendous thank you to all of you who provide help to those in need and attempt to address those whom many choose to forget.  

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