Letter: Action, not talk, gets things done (Oct. 6, 2021)


Last week I attended the City Council meeting, having been assured it would include how to help the homeless, which I have been interested in for over a year. I believe nearly all the chairs were full; lots of interested people had come.

The council started with a lengthy description of all the wonderful things Samaritan has planned, which we read about some weeks ago in The New Era. Then some of the audience departed.

Two people had their three minutes each to state their positions on the homeless. One man especially objected to his taxes being used for this purpose. He felt this was the churches’ responsibility. The other objected to the proposed location of what is currently called the sleep center. (Call it Camp Nomad?)

There was no follow-up discussion, so more people left. This is bad policy. People lose their interest and willingness to cooperate and help if they are not heard and responded to.

The council proceeded to a discussion of the city water treatment plant, after which the meeting was adjourned. I think my son and I were the only ones who had stayed.

I was greatly disappointed, since I had previously written some questions to the council that I hoped would be touched upon. I kept waiting for “discussion” time.

My son had attended the previous month’s meeting, at which the reports of what Walla Walla, Wash., is doing was of great interest. I wanted to hear more.

As for taxes, we pay them to provide a community we want to live in, such as library, fire and police protection, swept streets, etc. Homeless people are a part of our current situation, so it is proper that if necessary some taxes be used to address this problem. After all, 40 years ago a lot of them would be in the hospital in Salem… supported by our taxes.

In no way are the homeless the responsibility of any church. Churches can offer help, but they are not required to provide it for the general populace. The fact is, a charitable organization is involved to a large financial extent, which is great. Grants and donations can help. By the way, any taxes used for this purpose should come from the whole school district, not just those within the city limits.

Do you want to know what Walla Walla is doing? They provide a board/chicken wire/insulated roof enclosure known as a Conestoga, more stable and warmer than a tent alone. It is easy to get into Walla Walla’s encampment, but easy to get thrown out because they are very strict in enforcing their rules. There is 24/7 surveillance and protection.

It seems to be going well. Complete wood cabins need not be provided. The intent is to quickly get them into real housing.

Somewhere there was a comment that maybe a review of the situation should be done, for $30,000. Hey, bureaucracy is too slow.

Skip that useless expense and use the money to just try out something for just this winter. Changes and adaptations can be made. Consider the three trips to Walla Walla by our council team to be “review” enough.

Back to water treatment: I have often wondered why it is so necessary to put fluoride in the city water. Figure it out: A huge amount goes down the toilet, the shower, the laundry, watering the yard, etc. Only a trickle goes down throats… and most of them don’t need it.

Proponents say the children need it for their developing teeth. Would it be cheaper for the city to make available for pickup or to deliver bottled fluoridated water for children under 15 whose parents want it? And not all of them do.

A gallon per child, in a reusable jug, twice a month, would do it, with a daily dose in one cup of water.

Joan Scofield

Sweet Home