California Mayor Closes Park To Get Rid Of Homeless People

| by Michael Allen

San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips ordered the closure of Boyd Memorial Park in the California town on Monday in order to drive out the homeless Americans living there.

"I want to break the cycle so this is not a place for them to hang out," Phillips told the Marin Independent Journal. "I want to return this place to the community and have some family-friendly events here."

San Rafael City Council members have received emails and phone calls from local businesses complaining about the homeless people allegedly taking drugs, littering and drinking in the park.

Some residents are reportedly afraid to take their children to the park because the sight of poor people makes the kids feel uncomfortable.

Phillips claimed that the homeless people in the park are not trying to better their lives, but didn't provide any evidence.

"Reportedly this group is not of this nature," he said. "They sit here, have their methamphetamine and go get a meal at St. Vincent de Paul."

St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin is a local charity that offers poor Americans free meals.

Homeless man Richard Davis countered: "There are people that bring their kids here. We put out our cigarettes and put our drinks away while they are here. Nobody bothers them."

"When one person messes up, the [police] blame it on everyone," added homeless man Bill Lima.

"[The police] wait for a catastrophe to happen," said Marquita Robinson, who is also homeless. "Then they only go after the people they recognize."

San Rafael Police Officer Jonathan Bean recalled an incident last Thursday in which the public bathroom at the park had the city locks cut off, and was locked by an unknown person.

The city is also planning to eliminate the public restroom, which homeless people say will just drive them to other parks and facilities.

According to the City of San Rafael website, the city park will be closed for 30 days while officials "enforce local ordinances, clean and clear the property, communicate with park users and the public, and strategize on further steps to restore Boyd Park as a safe and inviting park facility."

Sources: City of San Rafael, Marin Independent Journal / Image Credit: Alex Proimos