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Letters to the editor – Oct. 23, 2015

Posted: October 23rd, 2015 | Featured, Letters to the editor, Opinion | No Comments

Regulate residential treatment homes

All of us in our neighborhood understand the need for rehabilitation and have no objection to the help being offered to the individuals housed in residential treatment houses, aka transitional homes. The issues we face are the severe concentration of these homes in our neighborhood and the lack of monitoring of the behavior of the residents of these homes.

Our enclave consists of 37 homes with zero property lines. We are bunched closely together and each neighbor has an effect on the community as a whole. Hanbleceya, the organization administering to the residents of the transitional homes in our neighborhood, relies on us, the neighbors, to monitor their behaviors outside the homes. A meeting with the managing partner of Hanbleceya, City Attorney Glenn Sabine and city staff on Thursday, July 23, 2015 addressing the issues that we are encountering proved to be unfruitful. Hanbleceya, however, agreed to setup a telephone number for the neighborhood to report any problems. Unfortunately, the burden of monitoring their patient/client behavior still fell on the citizens and the result has been that Hanbleceya has not always been responsive.

The city of La Mesa has been aware of the problems since 2008 and the problems are growing as each new home is set up in our community. Currently, there are three homes within 700 feet and another one just one block away. Hanbleceya claims it wants to be “a good neighbor,” however the actions of the residents prove otherwise. We are constantly bombarded with cigarette butts on our yards; liquor bottles on our yards; and panhandling. Also, people from the residential treatment homes attempting to enter our homes wanting to use the telephone or bathroom; riding bicycles and skateboards on the sidewalk; swearing at and harassing barking dogs; and making inappropriate comments to young ladies. In just one year (July 2014 to June 2015) the LMPD and LMFD received many calls for assistance: From Wellesley Street East and West – 15 calls; from Hanbleceya (5520 Wellesley St.) – 15 calls; from the three transitional homes – 5 calls. That is a total of 35 calls from an area approximately two blocks long, if you extend the perimeter to approximately three-tenths of a mile, the number of calls increased to 79. This is all a very disturbing scenario to all of us that live in the neighborhood.

A meeting has been set up at Hanbleceya’s office for Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. This is supposedly to air out any existing concerns in the neighborhood. These meetings are to take place every three months or so. It has been a seven-year struggle and Hanbleceya’s management has said that it would like to buy the office building in which they are currently located, 5520 Wellesley St., and expand their operation.

What this neighborhood is asking for is that the state require licensing of all residential treatment homes; regulate the distance between these homes; dispose of the unlicensed homes; have no more homes be placed in our neighborhood; and that the clients/patients of Hanbleceya be properly looked after and their behavior in the neighborhood be monitored as to comply with being a good neighbor.

Maria M. (Mercy) Graef, Neighborhood Watch Captain, Wellesley Street East and Wellesley Street West

Cap the soaring cost of utilities

The past 10 years has seen inflation between 2.5 percent to 3 percent. Social Security was held to 1.7 percent this year. The proposed increases in water, sewer, basic cable, gas and electricity are multiples of the government’s calculated cost of living.

When will the consumer be unable to pay for these utilities? We conserve water and our rates go up. Our unbridled suppliers have made costly mistakes like the San Onofre closure because of defective machinery and SDG&E because of fire liability in our backcountry. In the end, we get stuck with the bills, not management or shareholders.

In the absence of a free market system, maybe there should be an annual fixed 2 percent cap on our utilities like Proposition 13 is for property taxes.

–Chuck Miller, La Mesa

A sad day for democracy

If we do not participate and demand their attention, our “rights” to water will be lost on the authoritarian Helix Water District forever.

The board’s mind was made up long before the so-called “public meeting.” The board presented a flurry of glossy parchment, with no less than 32 pages and containing mind-boggling charts, and an insulting pabulum of spoon-fed information in its redundant PowerPoint presentation that attempted to justify their increase. Additionally, several expensive, outside hired-guns piled on to justify their pay.

When the concerned citizen’s right to question their government over a multi-year, draconian water rate increase is denied, our freedoms are no more.

Thank you Directors Hedberg (District 4) and Scalzitti (District 5) for listening.

––Chuck Miller, La Mesa

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