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OPINION: Homeless make Dunne Park unwelcoming

Dunne Park is a favorite recreation site near the downtown area, but some in the homeless population live there

I saw first-hand at Dunne Park how the homeless population impacts our community. It took the efforts of two good Samaritans to come to the rescue of a wheelchair-bound homeless woman screaming for someone to take her to the park bathroom. She was in pain and needed assistance.  

In the ensuing minutes, medical help arrived, along with four police officers, two firefighters and EMT staff. The woman in question was transported to destination unknown.  

The Hollister community is trying to resolve a growing problem of dealing with homelessness. Currently, the planned shelter is a step toward helping individuals cope with the realities of day-to-day living. Dunne Park and the surrounding neighborhood should be a safe and welcoming experience for families.  

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

John E.Bessa, Dunne Park tennis player



John E. Bessa (John E. Bessa)

John E. Bessa Retired Educator


Submitted by (Kristi Sanders) on

Thank you for sharing this. It is important to note that this situation has become a regular occurrence at Dunne Park. At least a couple of times of week, Emergency Services is tasked with assisting this particular individual as she can be heard screaming for assistance because her wheelchair is stuck in the street, etc. She is clearly in need of more care than she is getting by the people who continue to drop her off by the park every day. Ignoring this growing problem is becoming very costly for the taxpayers of this community.

The threat of infrastructure abuse and lawsuits by every party has caused a massive reduction in public facilities in California.  I take some medication that has me running to a bathroom on short notice, but public bathrooms - and especially useable, reasonably clean, public bathrooms - are harder and harder to find.

In Anaheim, near Disneyland, they are busy taking all the bus stop benches away because the homeless are encamped on them and so on and so forth.  When that does not work, the sun shades will be next to go. 

I'm all for helping people out, but some people are beyond help and are abusing the community facilities.  Since we cannot force anyone into treatment, and more than a few homeless are intentionally nomadic, substance abusers, and/or have mental problems ranging from mild to serious, no one really has a solution and neither do I.

Do you want a public park in your neighborhood?  Maybe the best answer is "no thanks"?  There is a reason people live in gated communities, I don't, but I don't throw rocks at those who do as so many others enjoy doing.  Much of America is coming down to the lowest common denominator because those folks are judgment-proof.

Marty Richman


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