And Now, A Message From The City Of Ventura About its Homeless Issue


In the wake of the tragic story of Anthony Mele Jr., the man who was stabbed by a homeless man at Aloha Steakhouse in Ventura, residents there are up in arms, asking what exactly city officials plan on doing to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

Well Ventura leaders put their heads together and came up with a magic bullet! A letter addressed to all residents reassuring them that their fearless leaders are on the case. 

Read it in full below: 

Dear Ventura Resident,

Thank you for contacting us about the recent tragedy involving Mr. Mele and the issue of vagrancy in our community. We have heard from numerous residents about this shocking crime and other recent attacks in our community. Like you, we are heartbroken for Mr. Mele’s family and offer sincere condolences to his loved ones.

Well, that's a good start, but let's see if they have any actual plans to get things done. 

The City Council and every leader at Ventura City Hall hears you loud and clear, and we take your concerns to heart. We vow to do whatever is necessary to keep our neighborhoods, parks, downtown, and promenade safe.

Mayor Andrews recently said, “We will not accept such awful crimes in our community.” And Deputy Mayor Matt LaVere added, “We cannot stand by passively and allow criminal vagrancy in Ventura. We will commit whatever resources are necessary to make sure a senseless crime like Mr. Mele’s killing never happens again.”

So, we're still hanging out in platitude-ville, but OK, maybe it'll get better? 

In response, the City Council has authorized the following immediate action to protect our community:

Ahha! Here we go. 

-The Ventura Police Department immediately added additional officers on the promenade: 20 hours per day on foot, bike or vehicle to deter illegal activity

-Additional security cameras have been installed on the promenade

Uhh... a whole 20 hours huh? Wow... thanks... ?

-Park Ambassadors adding patrols to the promenade to ensure our parks and public spaces are safe and welcoming to all

Sure, because the homeless have been so welcoming to everyone who shops, lives and works there, right?

-The Ventura City Fire Department will utilize response units to watch, observe and report any criminal activity.

Well, thank goodness. 

In addition, Ventura will continue to take a multi-agency approach to address the difficult and complex issue. For many years, Ventura has worked in collaboration with the state, county, and local non-profits to address this problem. Some of these efforts and programs include:

-Increased the Patrol Task Force and adding approximately 25 police and civilian staff. The City is more than half-way through this effort.

-Expanded and enhanced Ventura’s Safe and Clean Initiative

-Park Ambassador Program 

-Chronic Offender Program

-Community Intervention Court

-Homeless Court

-Safe Sleep Program

-Emergency Shelter Overlay Zone 

-Family Reconnection Program

-Rehabilitated River Haven Transitional Housing

-Ventura County Health Care Agency Care Pods

-Approved Development Team for Purchase/Lease of Ventura Veterans Home Development Site

-We are also addressing visible blight and other issues that can contribute to vagrancy.

So, you're repeating the same laundry list of mostly ineffective programs as a way to actually get things cleaned up this time? There's something about insanity and repeating it that comes to mind.... 

Here’s how you can make a difference:

Oh, so it's on citizens and residents now? Great, thanks. 

-Do not give money to panhandlers.

-Give a hand-up, not a handout, by donating money to local assistance programs and non-profits

that help the homeless get access to the services they need to get off the streets.

-Attend your neighborhood Community Council meetings. Call (805) 654-7740 for information.

-Continue to provide feedback to city council. Call (805) 654-7827, or email council@cityofventura.ca.gov.

-Follow City of Ventura and Ventura Police Department Facebook pages for the latest developments.

We have complete confidence in and are grateful to the Ventura Police Department for its hard work in keeping our community safe. Now is the time for our community to come together. We all love Ventura, and together we will be resilient and create a safer and stronger community.

Thank you for your support.

Well, I feel much safer now. How about you? 


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