Homeless camps must go - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 27, 2021
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Homeless camps must go

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One need only read headlines such as “Homeless camps put Alaska creek cleanup future in question” to realize how bad things have gotten in this city.

The story, the Anchorage Daily News reports, is that the Anchorage Waterways Council wonders whether the makeshift homeless camps dotting Anchorage’s public spaces pose a threat to its volunteers, which include children, who annually clean up the city’s creeks.

The encampments often include human waste, trash of all kinds and discarded drug paraphernalia, such as needles.

That the camps pose a health and safety danger is unarguable. That they are, for the most part, illegally trespassing on public land also is unarguable. City law is quite clear. It is illegal, under 8.45.010 of the city code, to:

Knowingly enter or remain on undeveloped public or private property:

a. In violation of a prominently posted notice against trespass or use; or,
b. When the person has had other actual or constructive notice that the property is not open to the person; or,
c. After the person has been requested to leave by someone with the apparent authority to do so.

Then it gets complicated, courtesy of the oft-overturned, San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

[Read the rest of this editorial at the Anchorage Daily Planet]

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • The San Francisco 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would do very well to clean up their own mess before mandating the same filth on other communities. I watched a short video of San Fran workers cleaning up human waste and drug paraphernalia on the streets, city hall steps and promenade. Part of the video was junkies shooting up on the steps of city hall, needles, human waste and dopers everywhere. Disgusting. It was a beautiful area, about 20 years ago. Now, it’s filthy and dangerous. According to the video, the city of San Fran is paying about $187,000 per month to hire “hazardous waste” clean up crews. The main streets of San Fran, i.e. Van Ness, Franklin, etc. are biological mine fields now. Is that what’s coming to Anchorage? With the dims in control, I won’t be, in the least, surprised. Anchorage already has the second highest, per capita, crime rate in the U.S. (very true). What will that distinction do for much needed tourism, if coupled with uncontrolled “homeless” swarming and filth, even more than now? If I were a tourist, I would completely avoid Anchorage. How will that work out for private businesses? Not well, I assure you. Stop the dim/lib/socialist madness before Anchorage is completely lost to “political correctness” and socialism. It will happen, is happening, if steps aren’t taken to curb the madness.

  • Tonight I got a call back for a CAP team member who suggested that we start a campaign to be the “squeaky wheel,” if we want to even get our camps posted. Apparently the Berkowitz administration has been getting flack for how long it has been taking to clean up the camps. Their solution is to hold on posting the camp, until they have resources available to cleanup.

    Historically in their public safety role have told citizens not to cleanup the camps due to the hazardous wastes produced in the camps. That resulted in the camps being left for weeks to months before the cleanup crew got to them. As a result, our children and grand children were exposed to this hazardous waste. Under their new approach, the expose continues, but they save face.

    Last year after experiencing the lack of timely response to identified threats to our citizens, we started cleaning them up immediately after the posting deadline passed. With this latest policy, I wouldn’t be surprised if camps don’t start getting hauled off as soon as they are found.

    The solution advocated last week is the real solution. Our law enforcers need to sbe allowed to do their job and the politicians need to stop interfering.


    Another homeless camp season is upon us and while there are already groups working to try to solve their concerns and needs, we need to address the problems they create every year on the public and private lands around our city. Their camps are a safety and security threat to our citizens, and a blight on the public image of Alaska as the “Last Frontier,” an untouched, pristine wilderness for people the world over to enjoy.
    We have had a few camps through the winter in the Scenic Foothills Community Council area parks, but things are cranking up again. I got a call tonight of a couple of camps in Arnold Muldoon Park and advised them to call the camps in. However, we have had a poor track record of the camps we call in getting cleaned up. The CAP Team gets them posted in a timely fashion, but the cleanup crew’s list quickly grows from weeks to months past the posting deadlines , and members of our Scenic Foothills Park Cleanup Coalition have had to step in.

    We need a real, long term solution to control and eliminate this source of pollution on our public and private lands. Fifteen years ago, when we were starting our campaign to cleanup the wildfire fuels our parks, I contacted several public officials, including a member of the MOA Assembly seeking assistance. His initial response was that we should use prison chain gangs. At the time I thought that was an extreme answer. Time has made it an acceptable solution.

    Over those years we have organized our neighbors and friends into a labor force and worked for five years to sweep through Arnold Muldoon Park. We have also experienced a five-fold increase of homeless camps in our parks and on other adjacent public lands and we have had to play a role in cleaning them up too. I can think of two instance I was involved in where the occupants of those camps turned out to be paroled prison inmates. One was identified when we found his parole officer’s appointment card among a camp’s litter. The other involve the recovery of a prison ID card from a camp and identifying the owner as a person found died in midtown last February. Apparently, they are already in our parks and we should organize and employ them to clean up their own camps rather than citizens or paid public employees.

    Our current lenient policy of posting homeless camps and cleaning up the messes they leave behind hasn’t worked so we need to take a different approach. We already have laws in place, that apply to the rest of us, make littering a crime punishable by being “… sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000. In addition, the court may order the person to gather and dispose of litter in an area and for a length of time determined by the court.” We should formally charge them for their crime and create some form of work parties to take over the homeless camp cleanup that tax payers are currently paying the bill for and pulling government employees away from their other responsibilities.

    AS 46.06.080. Littering Prohibited. (c) A person who violates this section is guilty of a violation and may be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000. In addition, the court may order the person to gather and dispose of litter in an area and for a length of time determined by the court.

  • What a punch line!
    “…It is illegal, under 8.45.010 of the city code, to: Knowingly enter or remain on undeveloped public or private property”.
    Here’s the joke:
    Members of Anchorage Assembly and an oft-published “Daily Planet” columnist knowingly trespass on an Anchorage resident’s private property, harass his family, but despite posted signs and complaints to APD, APD does nothing, resident’s got pics and clips to prove it.
    And this motley mob expects to enforce the same law on bums?
    No, Mr. Editor, this mob is way much more about bear-proof trash cans than trashed-out bum camps.
    This mob is about getting money to put bums in subsidized housing so said bums can get physical addresses and be registered to vote in Anchorage’s mail-in ballot system which is so clearly vulnerable to ballot harvesting and ballot “corrections” of dubious authenticity.
    This mob’ll get their money by –deliberately– letting crime and bums reach a critical mass that only left-leaning saviors with small, fair, sustainable taxes and a couple of City Charter changes can fix.
    No? What was the most powerful, lasting message from the Lt. Governor’s crime town-hall meeting at the Loussac building?
    Answer: Not one damned person from the Mayor’s office, Assembly, or APD attended, testified, conferenced in, or otherwise expressed what they were going to do about what these poor people suffered and continue to suffer.
    Not one!
    Reality check, Mr. Editor: Anchorage residents already surrendered any pretense to parks, public lands, private-property rights, and representative democracy when they surrendered their traditional voting process to the Assembly-mandated, easily corruptible mail-in ballot scam.
    Formal surrender may be a done deal, but the resistance is alive and well and will take more than social-media censorship to squash.
    What resistance? People who invest their lives and life savings to creating, and keeping, decent places to live which can be passed on to their well-educated children. People who’re fed up with bums in and out of government, an overpriced, underperforming education industry, and everything represented by the Party of Hillary Clinton and Baby Butchery. People who’ve read SunTzu’s “Art of War’, Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals”, and Art Chance’s “Red on Blue: Establishing Republican Governance” to figure out how to regain control of their government and what to do with it when they get control.
    First, we have to figure out how to get our traditional voting system back.

    Then maybe we can learn about, and be ready to invoke, jury nullification to help, say, someone who does better than APD at recovering stolen cars, or someone who chooses to “stand his ground”.
    Maybe we could petition the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce hazmat cleanup on every damned bum camp in town. Keep in mind what EPA would do to business or private property owners for allowing this kind of biohazard contamination.
    Think about this: According to the IRS, nearly any debt you owe that’s canceled, forgiven or discharged becomes taxable income to you. You get a Form 1099-C, “Cancellation of Debt,” from the lender who forgave the debt.
    So, for every bum who got kicked out of a village into Anchorage, or is a Native Corporation beneficiary, maybe we could figure out how to serve that village and its Native Corporation an IRS Form 1099C reflecting the cost to the city of Anchorage for supporting their castoffs, which means these groups could be stuck with massive federal tax bills.
    Maybe, in lieu thereof, we could negotiate a city-wide mass cleanup and bio-remediation with Alaska’s 13 multibillion-dollar Alaska Native Corporations.
    Drugs? Maybe the Anchorage drug trade might be less problematic if city, state, and feds collaborated on vigorous RICO Act prosecutions.
    Of course, if the City’s only growth industries are government, “health care”, and Medicaid expansion, maybe the human wreckage from a burgeoning drug trade is exactly what city officials want.
    Maybe a more sinister, but equally logical, obvious possibility explains why so many people at the Lt. Governor’s town-hall meeting talked –again– about “known” drug houses in their neighborhoods, and the indifference of city officials to their complaints… which might explain why –no– vigorous RICO Act initiatives, or conversations, seem to be forthcoming from city government officials.
    Maybe we could persuade America’s reconstituted Justice Department to help us understand why we must tolerate “known” drug houses in our neighborhoods. Could be an Equal Housing thing, you never know…
    There’s your city’s future, Mr./Madam Editor. What are we going to do about it?

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