Halfway house proposal brings Lemon Hill together

I’m inspired by the community action being undertaken by Lemon Hill residents about the proposed “halfway house” for Federal parolees. From the media coverage I have seen, the residents seem to be taking a direct approach to protecting themselves, while the government at all levels appears to have no concern for doing so. It is disheartening though that the existing problems in that area are taken to be so obvious that they don’t even have to be spelled out for us. Most of the media reports are including simply a mention of this being a high crime area without bothering to recount any recent stats.

News10′s coverage seems biased in favor of the proposal, featuring specific evidence supporting rehabilitation, but lacking any specific numbers on the crime in the area. KCRA is heavier on specifics but also includes a head-scratcher of an argument from a former halfway house resident. Much of the coverage seems to employ a false dilemma between allowing the parolees to be located near playgrounds and preventing them from becoming functioning members of society again. “Some would say the Roman Empire tortured Christians for sport, but others would say it built lots of necessary infrastructure.”

I would love to know more about this quote in the Bee’s coverage from Richard Ertola, chief U.S. probation officer for the Eastern District of California: “These clients are from this community.” Does he mean this literally? These inmates are all from this specific neighborhood? There are 50 Federal inmates scheduled to be released at the same time, all from Lemon Hill? Because the other, more likely meaning is pretty sinister.

I would also like to know what the county officials think about this. It is a federal program, but it seems like residents of that area deserve a little in the way of advocacy on their behalf from the county. They seem to be getting a rubber stamp on the federal government’s decision. Not sure why none of the media outlets seemed able to get any kind of comment from the county, though I know the meeting went long into the night.

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"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

6 Responses to Halfway house proposal brings Lemon Hill together

  1. Scooter says:

    I don’t know much, but I do know that the County Counsel who advises the Planning Commission is a shockingly attractive man. Perhaps you could get an answer from him? That is, if you could resist those eyes that stare into your soul.

  2. Danielle Bavecker says:

    Nothing can pull a community together like NIMBYism.

  3. CoolDMZ says:

    I guess I never really understood why people consider “Not In My Backyard” to be an irresponsible thing to say. It seems like people only say this when it is *not* their backyard in question. Representative government means that we have at least a general say in what happens in our lives, and at this level, our neighborhoods. What’s wrong with getting together to say “Hey, maybe not in our backyard”?

  4. CoolDMZ says:

    “Representative government” is a bit awkward there, I was going to go off on a tangent about it but I guess I just mean “Democracy”

  5. Moe Hong says:

    I have several halfway houses in my neighborhood. They have to be somewhere. It seems like the people protesting their location nearby are, inherently, suggesting they be in another neighborhood. I think that unless one is advocating an equal distribution of such services – possibly clumping in the communities where those served would otherwise live/work – then one is being logically inconsistent and expecting preferential treatment.

    Democracy does not mean you have to fight for ghettoization of other neighborhoods. Wanting something preferential for you is not the same as wanting something unfair for others.

  6. cogmeyer says:

    Interesting that we have become so dependent on the debt borrowing and redistribution powers of the Federal government that it becomes news when a community (gasp!) objects to having Federal inmates placed in their neighborhood.

    The Federal court should invite the prospective neighbors to the parole hearings if they don’t like the reaction they are getting.