Urge Pasadena to Approve the Measures to Address Homelessness

Holly brings smiles to Green Street and S. Lake Avenue in Pasadena. Holly told me she lives behind a commercial building near a dumpster within blocks of this corner.

Read my editorial “Urge Pasadena to Approve the Measures to Address Homelessness” published today on UrbDeZine.

The Pasadena City Council’s Public Safety Committee will take up the vote in a special public meeting tomorrow, March 23, 2016.

The proposed “Measures” are reasonable, well balanced, comprehensive, empathetic, and narrowly tailored to address the homeless crisis in Pasadena.






Urge Pasadena City Council to Approve Homeless Response Plan

Homeless campground behind Ralphs Supermarket on Lake Avenue in Pasadena

On February 22, 2016, Pasadena City Council Public Safety Committee considered measures to address rising homelessness in the city. Pasadena Now reports that the item was tabled for a month due to the absence of district 6 Councilmember Steven Madison, whose Old Pasadena district contends with persistent homelessness.

The City Council has a month to assess community concerns raised at the meeting. During this time, the Council can also revisit the particulars of the plan. In doing so, I believe they’ll affirm that this plan is an appropriate response to homelessness in Pasadena. City staff has prepared a reasonable and narrowly tailored plan to tackle the homeless crisis. The ambitious proposal calls for building more supportive housing, providing housing vouchers, embedding case workers in libraries frequented by homeless, and strengthening laws targeting aggressive panhandling, among other initiatives.

I reviewed and fully support the proposal. The plan balances the interests of a homeless population needing shelter and services and stakeholders concerned about Pasadena’s quality-of-life and property values. Below is a copy of my emailed public comment letter to city officials supporting their plan.

I encourage all Pasadenans to support the measures to address homelessness in our city.


From: Jonathan Bell
Sent: Sunday, January 31, 2016 1:07 PM
To: Jomsky, Mark
Cc: De La Cuba, Vannia; Gordo, Victor; Tornek, Terry; Huang, William; S. Gossett
Subject: Public Comment: SUPPORT for Measures to Address Homelessness in Pasadena


Dear Mayor, City Council, City Manager, Department Heads, and Public Safety Committee:

SUPPORT the proposed measures and staff’s recommendations to address homelessness in Pasadena, as outlined in this agenda packet (Agenda Report to City Council dated February 22, 2016): http://ww5.cityofpasadena.net/commissions/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2016/01/2015-02-02-Public-Safety-Committee-Special-Meeting.pdf

Staff’s proposed ordinances and land-development options are reasonable, sensitive, and narrowly tailored to address the concern of increasing homelessness within Pasadena city limits.

I’ve lived in Pasadena since 2008, first as a renter in Old Pasadena and now a first-time homeowner in Council District 5. The homelessness issue has been ever-present in our city, though it seems to have gotten markedly worse in the last two years. Pasadena Police Department has been very responsive to our reports, but they’re also busy responding to emergencies. Increasingly, community members are investing their personal time to proactively identify and report homeless campgrounds, accumulation of personal property in the public right of way, and aggressive panhandlers, all of which diminish quality-of-life in Pasadena. Below is a sampling of my recent emails to Councilman Victor Gordo’s Office reporting homeless campgrounds, loitering, and aggressive panhandlers within our district. We work in partnership with Councilman Gordo to remove these problems, only to see other actors come in to fill the void weeks later. We must do more. I believe staff’s proposed ordinances and land-development options are a great start.

In conclusion, I support the city’s proposed measures to address the homelessness crisis in Pasadena.

Please include this letter in the public comments on the item.

Thank you,
Jonathan Bell, Pasadena CD5
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jonathan Bell
Date: Sat, Jan 30, 2016 at 11:27 AM
Subject: Homeless campground behind Ralphs on private property
To: Vannia De La Cuba, Victor Gordo

Hi Vannia,

I am submitting this report so its on record with our council district. There’s a homeless campground on Ralphs Supermarket property, visible from Mentor and Walnut. I reported it via the city app.


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jonathan Bell 
Date: Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 12:46 PM
Subject: Aggressive panhandling and squeegee men: 76 gas station Lake and Union
To: Vannia De La Cuba, Victor Gordo
Cc: S. Gossett 

Hello Vannia,

No doubt an offshoot of the current homeless crisis, another quality of life issue in our council district is the rise of aggressive panhandlers such as the ones Im encountered at the 76 gas station at the NE corner of Lake Av and Union St. What we are dealing with is male adults loitering on the islands in the gas station and demanding money from people getting gas. The other tactic is that they start squeegeeing your car windows when you pull up, even if you tell them no. Then they demand money for their “help”. Please see attached recent photo. The on-site gas station attendant has been less than proactive in dealing with this nuisance. Its gotten me bothered enough that Im now getting gas in City of South Pasadena where there are fewer problems like this. It dawned on me that this problem thus undercuts our tax base while diminishing our quality of life. This is a terrible outcome for our council district.

Therefore, Id like to ask for your help on this matter. Please refer my concerns to our Pasadena Police Department and any other appropriate city/county agency for follow up at this 76 gas station.

Thanks to Bill Huang at Pasadena Housing, Im now aware of the upcoming city council item on homelessness. Ill see about making public comments in support of the draft ordinances and actions addressing homelessness.


Thank you,
Jonathan Bell

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jonathan Bell
Date: Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:46 PM
Subject: Another homeless camp at Pep Boys
To: Vannia De La Cuba, Victor Gordo
Cc: S. Culligan, S. Gossett

Greetings: I found another homeless camp at the Pep Boys on Mar Vista and Colorado. He was there last night and right now. I took this photo and walked into Pep Boys and notified the manager. He said he’d take care of it as they were already told to vacate before. Please note this incident for follow up. Ill also call it in.

Thank you,
Jonathan Bell