I had the opportunity today to take Jose Rodriguez, Councilman Alarcon’s Deputy, on a tour of the Tujunga Wash and Sunland Park. I wanted to familiarize Mr. Rodriguez with our ongoing homeless and transient problems with a focus on the camps in the Wash and the transient issues in the Park.
Mr. Rodriguez was attentive, and is eager to help us work to find ways to manage the problems and get help to those that will accept it. Today, we took a hike through the Wash near Riverwood Ranch.The Tujunga Wash still has camps, but nowhere near the number it did before the clean-outs started 2 years ago. We are now planning a 3rd Wash Clean-Out to take place in another month or two. The Clean-Outs are working but they’ll need to be done on a regular basis to prevent the wash from returning to its previous state. I’m also hoping that the next clean out can take place on a weekend, as many of you have expressed an interest in helping out if it can be done on any day but a weekday.
We also toured Sunland Park and discussed the issues of overnight camping, drinking, etc. The recent increased police presence at the park has improved the situation somewhat, but I think a long term program of stepped up patrols needs to happen before we’ll see a possibility of turning the park around so that families feel safe to enjoy the grounds again.
It’s a slow, methodical, process, and it often feels like 2 steps forward and 3 steps back, but we all need to work together and work to take back the park by holding events there ( movies in the park? food trucks? art camps?).
I would like to thank Mr. Rodriguez for his time and interest today! I look forward to working closely with him and Councilman Alarcon in getting our homeless citizens into safe housing, and protecting our Wash and Sunland Park from further degradation.