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Letter: Comments on Mr. Morrell's take on homelessness in Davis

I am writing to share my deep concern about the comments that Adam Morrill, a candidate for city council (District 4) has made regarding homelessness and those who experience homelessness.  His comments should trouble all of us. Despite our move to district elections, we remain one city and one community. I have spent well over decade working on issues related to homelessness, serving on the boards of Davis Opportunity Village, the Yolo County Homeless and Poverty. I am also a member of the Interfaith Housing Justice Group. Mr. Morrell’s approach to dealing with the homeless issue lacks an awareness of the scope of the problem as well as an understanding of the limits of the resources of local nonprofits.

In the Davis Chamber of Commerce forum, he was asked about his approach to addressing homelessness. Early in the forum he referred to unhoused individuals as “violent transients.” He said that he thought a better solution to addressing homelessness than “kind of moving people along who are continually problems, people who aren’t interested in services” is “deeding over the sidewalks to the landlords because then it results in a “trespassing issue rather than just a camping issue.”” This approach will lead to criminalizing unhoused people. But he didn’t stop there, he went on to say that the city shouldn’t be in the business of social services and that these efforts are duplicative of what the nonprofits have already been doing. The nonprofits cannot solve the issue—they simply do not have the resources.

My deeply held view is that all humans deserve to live with dignity, and that includes the right to be in stable housing and to receive appropriate services. And I believe local government – because of its role in housing policy, enforcing building codes, and protecting public health -- has an important role in dealing with issue.  Mr. Morrill has a very restricted and troubling view of what it takes to build a community where everyone is safe.

I urge those who live in District 4 to vote for Gloria Partida.

Helen Roland Cramer


Todd Edelman

Housing equity is indeed an important goal of government, and politically this means fighting property owners and developers as necessary, rather than treating them by default as lords and partners.

Hopefully new candidates for office learn this and take it to heart and action; with our incumbents in Davis it's sorely and painfully lacking.

Bob Milbrodt

This is not an endorsement letter. You didn’t mention one reason why voters should support your candidate. This is a disingenuous attack on Adam Morrill. You deliberately distorted Adam’s comments at the council forum, you bolded an inflammatory political slogan, and you didn’t bother to offer your solution to homelessness.
Don’t you agree that the city should support the efforts of the County, nonprofit and faith-based groups in helping the less fortunate? That is part of Adam’s approach. That’s a far cry from “criminalizing unhoused people.” Do you believe it is acceptable for people to camp in front of downtown shops? If not, what is your solution, or Gloria’s?
One council member does not make the rules for the city, it takes three. Getting to three begins with the community brainstorming and developing solutions. Adam has offered some ideas; particularly, updating and following a citizen based General Plan. That’s where community wide discussion can take place. What are your ideas? What are Gloria’s ideas?
Have you reached out to Adam to discuss this topic? Given the tone of your letter, I suspect not. Hence, your letter demonstrates a restricted and troubling view of how to build a community. That’s disappointing and reflects poorly upon you and your candidate.
Given your more than a decade of experience, you must have something constructive to offer on this topic. Lead with that. Davis is filled with creative, compassionate, and generous people who are eager to help. Enlisting that energy requires more than just finger wagging.

Crilly Butler

Ms. Cramer writes, "My deeply held view is that all humans deserve to live with dignity, and that includes the right to be in stable housing and to receive appropriate services." If I understand Mr. Morrill's statement, it was directed specifically at those "who aren’t interested in services". As a homeless advocate, you must know that there is s certain subpopulation of the unhoused that prefer to stay that way, refusing all services. I believe Mr. Morrill was talking about that specific problem.

Kunzang Roesler

Dear Ms. Helen Cramer:
My gratitude to you for emphasizing how un-okay Adam Morrill would be in addressing our homeless situation...actually UN-okay in any public office as far as I'm concerned.
He refers to the houseless people as "violent transients"-- yes, some can be violent and some steal bicycles, etc....but if you walk into a meeting designed to focus on how to help them and you carry this crude opinion in your pocket (you know, that they're to be pushed away for trespassing at the same time public aid should dry up)....violence will soar, our prisons will burst at the seams...and suffering-- in all of us-- will increase. You cannot mistreat another being and not slide deeper into darkness, yourself.
In Austin, every Tuesday for 6 years, I cut the hair of the homeless. A barber is a lot like a bartender--people tell you things. Especially, when you cup their face with both hands (ostensibly to make sure their sideburns--or bangs-- are even) and then you look them in their eyes..... WATCH OUT 'cause your heart is at risk for breaking. (It's a beautiful risk)
PS: Please, we don't need more bullies in public office.
Do I think Mr. Morrill is a bad person? Absolutely not. However, I feel he would benefit from sitting quietly and letting his dark opinions clear away. Everyone has to do this...I do it daily, several times a day because otherwise I'm going to believe everything I think.


I'd like to hear more about how Gloria has been successfully dealing with the issues of homelessness.

J.J. Surbeck

My deeply held view is that all humans deserve to live with dignity, and that includes the right to be in stable housing and to receive appropriate services. Sure. Sounds good and indeed compassionate. But with rights comes personal responsibility. Many homeless people are quite capable of behaving responsibly, but they choose not to. We can respect that choice, but there is no reason to support it in any way or make the community pay for the consequences of their choices. The ones that are mentally ill and therefore can't act responsibly are a problem for the community and need therefore to be taken to places where they can receive the treatment they need. The same goes for drug addicts. Infinite and unbridled compassion does little to address, let alone solve the problem. If anything, it perpetuates it.

J.J. Surbeck

I just watched "Beyond Homeless - Finding Hope", an excellent documentary that just came out. Anyone interested in solving the problem should make a point of watching it to the end (for free): The focus is - predictably - on San Francisco, but many aspects of the problem are the same nationwide. What makes this film particularly interesting is its focus on a) finding out the main causes of the problem, and b) examining what other cities have done, in particular San Antonio, with far more success than San Francisco. Does all of this apply to Davis? Maybe, in proportion. Just the same, there is a lot of good food for thought here.

KZ Roesler

I just watched "Beyond Homeless-Finding Hope" comparing San Francisco's homeless awfulness with San Antonio's homeless success. Thank you J.J. Surbeck for providing the link--where we can watch for free.. --- At one point, in the film, something like this is said:
"You can't arrest homelessness;
you can't arrest addiction;
you can't arrest mental illness"
For me, per my understanding of what Morrill is saying---that he supports depending upon the police to control the homeless problem--"this hasn't worked in the past; isn't working now...won't work in the future".
While I feel that stable housing is a critical element of helping the homeless, it cannot stand alone. There needs to be a wrap-around system of medical care, meals, counseling, job training, etc. Please take the time to see the film about the success of San Antonio's Haven for Hope.

catherine L portman

I hope all you compassionate folks will go to and buy tickets to Empty Bowls fundraiser on Oct 19 at Life Pointe church in woodland. There's lunch and dinner seatings

Alan C. Miller

Early in the forum he referred to unhoused individuals as “violent transients.”

While Greenwald provided a link to the full context of his other comments, he left out the link to the full context of this comment. Given that I doubt Morrells is Satan in human form, I suspect that what he was saying, since there isn't even a quote - only an interpretation by the article author, is that violent transients are violent transients. Not that all the so-called homeless are violent.

Kunzang Roesler's comments sicken me. The comments colorfully embody the finger-pointing self-righteousness of so-many of the do-gooders of Davis. Those of you doing good, keep doing good, but to those of you also pointing fingers at those of us with a different view of what is effective as 'sliding into darkness' --> that is not a way to keep from slipping deeper into darkness yourselves.

Don Shor's comment in the Vanguard "The cities have limits on what they can enforce" is odd because I just had a conversation with a friend in Winters who said the police there quite effectively keep the homeless out of the downtown business district. He said there are homeless camps in the creek and elsewhere, but they keep out of sight there because Winters doesn't put up with this shit, as does not most towns across the US except those that are the most blue. It's all about attitude and enforcement.

Don Shor once called me 'heartless' towards the homeless. I would say I more align with most of the commenters who don't believe giving free reign for others to shit on basic societal norms is any kind of kindness nor any kind of solution. Example: the rose garden park in the Amtrak station looks like shit, as it has for several years now. The civil pride of Davis for all to see as they pass through on the train, along with the graffiti facing the tracks on the PG&E substation wall, including a prominent display of the word "FUCK". This 100% due to the city giving up and letting trash be dumped by so-called homeless people. Litter: It's not just for breakfast anymore.

Ron O

So, I'm kind of reluctant to bring this up - but I've been hearing that Gloria Partida was charged with several felonies (NOT related to driving), back in the 1990s. And I now see that someone has posted the details on NextDoor.

Seems to me that she didn't address this in a forthright manner in the referenced video (where she was blaming her car for her other encounters with the police).

Seems to me that she should just address this in a forthright manner. The manner in which she recently responded indicated more of a desire to mislead and hide. Which might even be more concerning than the charges, themselves.

Alan C. Miller

Ron O., could you just copy it here? Nextdoor is social media, and I do not participate in social media. In fact, unlike some social media that at least lets you access articles, Nextdoor does not. AND, they know where you live!

Ron O

Alan M. I can't figure out a way to post it on here, as it's a screenshot. I'll do my best to describe it, instead:

It's from Superior Court (Yolo county). There are five felony charges, one of which is "fraud to obtain aid", while the other four are for forgery.

Under "Disposition Events" (dated 2/2/2000) only "Fraud to Obtain Aid" remains. There's an asterisk next to that, stating "Plea of guilty/Nolo - Before prelim".

The linked video (in which a question was asked about previous encounters with police) is part of the larger videotaped debate between the two candidates. (It might be the same debate that the author of this article is referencing.) In it, Gloria only mentions her encounters with police due to her car being a "magnet" for police. She does so in a joking manner.

Ron O

I was able to find the referenced video. To clarify, the candidates were asked about their previous encounters with the criminal justice system; not just police encounters.

Gloria's response can be found just after the 50 minute mark.

Ron O

Apparently, anyone can look up criminal records (including Gloria's). Click on the link for the felony, to see the detail. (I don't know if it remained a felony after disposition. As noted above, it appears that she plead guilty to the fraud charge.)

Alan C. Miller

OK, I'll look at the video. I don't even know what you mean by 'referenced video' as I don't have Nextdoor, and I don't know what an 'article' means in this context, do you mean a posting? Also, you mention an 'author'. Who was it that posted this? Sorry for all the questions; I feel being on social media should not be a requirement to be part of society -- especially because social media is the evil spawn of Satan.

Seems to me this whole campaign has gotten weirdly ugly for a district council race. Twisting one candidates words to make it look like they set homeless people on fire for kicks, oppositewise bringing up some legal issues with the other candidate from twenty-plus years ago; over decades I believe we can allow for forgiveness and change in people.

The good news is by the time the voting is concluded, I'm sure we'll learn which candidate eats newborn babies for breakfast. Maybe they both do :-|

Ron O

It was posted on NextDoor by someone whom I don't know.

It is kind of ugly, but again - Gloria is not "owning up" to it in that video. I'd call that misleading (in response to the question), at best.

So, even if pleading guilty to fraud doesn't bother anyone, shouldn't she at least acknowledge it when recently asked about previous encounters with the criminal justice system? Did she "forget" to acknowledge it when asked?

Sure, forgive people - but wouldn't that be predicated on honestly acknowledging one's past when asked?

And as a council member, are those previous fraud charges (to obtain a benefit) related to public funds? The same type of funds that you're responsible for administering, as a council member? Others have stated that if it remained a felony, it actually (legally) disqualifies someone to be a council member. It's apparently a requirement to disclose it, in that case.

In fact, she's sort of blaming the police in regard to what she did acknowledge. (Which had nothing to do with the more serious charges - totally unacknowledged.)

In reference to the "author", I'm referring to the author of this Davisite article. Probably referencing the same video in which the candidates are asked about their encounters with the criminal justice system.)

Ron O

To clarify, others have stated that it's a requirement to disclose it (e.g., if it's a felony) when running for council. And that the crime itself does not disqualify someone.

It is unclear in this case if Gloria was required to disclose it (or if she did so, if required).

I suspect (but don't know) that Gloria did adhere to the law regarding that. I doubt that she would take that kind of risk just to be on the council. (I would hope not, as it's not worth it.)

KZ Roesler

Alan C Miller-- sorry if I upset your stomach. Sincerely, I say this.
Can you go back & read what I wrote? Especially the last 3 sentences about how everyone slips into darkness ---everyone includes me. I must sit daily to clear away my negative thinking/the darkness/the habit of believing everything I think. Am I self-righteous? hmm anyone who knows me, knows that's pretty far from the truth...since you don't know me--want to meet for coffee/tea sometime? I'd like that.
As for the Homeless challenge -- Please take out about l/2 hour to watch the video "Finding Hope" which focuses on San Francisco's homeless challenge & how San Antonio (which had a similar # of homeless in 2010) is making a difference, is helping the homeless thru their "Haven for Hope" campus--located smack dab in the center of that Texas city.
The Haven's approach is a 'wrap-around' program of not simply offering housing but also medical care, therapy, job training, gym, playground for children, for pets, etc.
Offering only housing doesn't work. (I thought it did--so I've learned a lot thru this discussion)
Reportedly, from 2019-2020, using funds from the city of San Francisco, plus the state, plus federal government plus private donations ended up spending $1 BILLION on the homeless problem BUT the SF problem has increased. Why? There are such factors as spending $ without a workable plan in place, before accepting the $--It's suggested that a healthy, successful plan needs to involve helping agencies already in existence, etc.-... also a lot of $ was spent on such things as $60,000 for a single tent in safe tenting areas. etc ETC.
Did you know that San Francisco has the most anti-homeless laws in the nation? I didn't 'til I watched the video.
And with all the anti = laws, in 2019, there were only 35 detox beds in the SF for an estimated homeless-drug-addicted population of 25,000. No wonder so many people were living on the streets--especially in SF's TenderLoin, ground zero for the homeless problem.
Alan, have you ever walked thru the Tenderloin? I have--several times. It's a sad, unbelievable plnet. ( It's also where the largest concentration of children in SF are living--due to cheap housing.)
When "Haven for Hope"opened in San Antonio in 2010, its homeless population & San Francisco's were comparable. BUT from 2010 - 2019 while San Antonio's homeless pop declined by 10%, San Francisco's exploded to 80%.
Now, there is a glimmer of hope in SF. "Harbor Light" facility within Salvation Army is now offering some wrap around services as well as housing. SF is partnering better. May it continue.
I repeated something I wrote earlier & below I do the same=== sorry. I feel it's important for me, for you, for everyone to consider. (It's something that Art Vela, director of safety at Haven for Hope, said last year):
"You cannot arrest homelessness away.
You cannot arrest addiction away.
You cannot arrest mental addiction away."

Alan C. Miller

I'm mystified as to why so many people want to have coffee with me.

One of these days, far too busy for a spell here. Much impressed that you did not attack me, but instead offered to talk. You got my attention.

Odd what you wrote here seems to be more in line with what I believe, whereas what you wrote yesterday I took as what I believe sounds good but does not work. So I retract my stomach statement. Remind me again in early 2023 and perhaps I will take you up on the meeting for tea.

And I'll watch the vid.

Kunzang Roeslere

Dear Alan, My new friend to be :))
Ok, gonna get back to you early 2023 as you suggest.--- If I don't, I'm on Facebook, just message me & then we can make a plan :))
So glad your stomach is ok. I think everyone wants to have tea 'cause you seem like an open, intelligent person-- who sincerely wants to help Davis on many levels--rather than simply complain (which is easy for all of us to fall into--whew! is it ever!)
All the best.
PS: I just knew we had more in common than not === thanks for verifying.

Alan C. Miller

> Dear Alan, My new friend to be :))

Well, this has taken an odd turn. Can we just keep it to Tea in '23 before a declaration of friendship? I have mightily more friends than I know what to do with already. It'll take a mighty strong resume and interview to get past tea.

> Ok, gonna get back to you early 2023 as you suggest.

2023, 2024, somewhere in there. Maybe even Christmas Day 2022. I'm Jewish so it's a good day for Chinese food. And tea.

> If I don't, I'm on Facebook, just message me & then we can make a plan :))

Social media is the spawn of Satan. So you won't see me venture that far past the gates of Hell.

> So glad your stomach is ok.

Well, you seem to again be promoting solutions I don't believe are a good idea. Actually I'm not even of the belief there are solutions for most, unless the rare mystery of why a smal handful will reach out for themselves takes place - for them solutions should well be available. The issue is most don't, most never will, and that is hard for the public most to accept so they blame people who point this tragic fact out. Reality is not negotiable.

> I think everyone wants to have tea 'cause you seem like an open, intelligent person--

Hmmm . . . David Greenwald believes I am a man in his 50's or 60's who criticizes the journalistic work of women barely in their 20's (when I am actually complimenting them). Riddle me that one.

Me, I prefer to think of myself as an asshole. But open and intelligent works too.

> who sincerely wants to help Davis on many levels--

I created Davis in my own image. Who ruined it?

> rather than simply complain

I complain difficultly, while most people keep it simple.

> (which is easy for all of us to fall into--whew! is it ever!)

Complaining well is an art form. Few are masters.

> All the best.

Beats the alternative.

> PS: I just knew we had more in common than not === thanks for verifying.

We'll see,
At tea,
In '23
If I can stand you
And you can stand me

And I'll report on this chance encounter as an article in the Davis Vanguard . . .

. . . or on Al's Corner. Whichever one didn't ban me.

It'll be the talk of the town. The City Council might have to agendize it.

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