Down and out in Jacksonville

Jacksonville’s downtown area once again is looking like Homelessland, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Two years ago, Lenny Curry, mayor of Jacksonville, got motivated and rounded up hundreds of bums, eventually moving them out of town.

But Curry is a lame duck and Union Street and various others once again have become tramp camps.

This puts them near facilities that offer food and shelter, and that is part of the problem.

Why are these facilities downtown for the convenience of homeless people?

How about some taxpayer convenience, for a change?

No one likes the sights, the sounds, the illegal activity and the panhandling, although that is now illegal as well.

It is noteworthy that in California, which is a bum magnet because of the liberal tolerance it exudes, vagrants and junkies fill the streets in major cities – but one mayor had enough and took action.

In Coronado, the mayor ordered them rounded up and provided them with services so that they did not return to the streets. Coronado has a zero-tolerance policy for violations of the law, such as peeing in the street.

Mayor Richard Bailey, a Republican of course, said there are two kinds of homeless people – those who want to be and those who don’t want to be.

Therefore, people living on the street are offered services and if they refuse, get the choice to leave or get jailed.

The local media in Coronado portray the bums as victims and the politicians who are trying to clean up the city as villains.

This despite the fact that many of the bums get money from the state and federal government and most could work. They simply prefer to use the money they could spend on housing for drugs or other things.

The unexplainable thing is why liberals don’t take these people into their homes.

Jacksonville’s main facility for vagrants is the Sulzbacher Center. It claims that last year it provided temporary shelter for 678 people and found permanent housing for 487 people. It also says in its annual report that it found employment for 417 people.

That came at a cost of $20 million, with 41 percent in state and federal funds, 12 percent from the local government and almost 5 percent from private donations.

There is no apparent reason Jacksonville can’t follow Coronado’s lead and eliminate the vagrancy problem in the city. But we don’t hear the people running for election talking about it at all.

EOMC Editor

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