Try to find a navigation shelter

AERIAL view of the Huntington Beach Navigation Center (City of Huntington Beach photo).

The most interesting news that happened at Tuesday night’s Garden Grove City Council was about something that didn’t happen.

At the conclusion of the session, City Manager Scott Stiles expressed his disappointment that he wasn’t able to bring before the council a plan to open a “navigation” center for the homeless.

His remarks came after several councilmembers told their frustration with what seems to be a rising number of the unsheltered appearing on street corners, freeway off-ramps and commercial districts.

Stiles cited the various efforts the city has made to address the problem, but noted that “the one missing piece is a navigation center.” No, that has nothing to do with sailing; it’s government-speak for a homeless center that also offers helping in guiding its “clients” into a better life.

“We lost out on a property we were looking at,” he said, a disheartening turn of events after what he described as “exhausting” efforts.

Now, the next step might be finding a location for a less permanent “sprung” structure such as is in place in Huntington Beach.

Most cities – frankly – have been slow to establish homeless shelters for a variety of reasons.  In Huntington, three locations were selected, all of which were hooted down by neighborhood outrage. Money has also been a consideration, along with the complications of such an operation.

Under the law, being homeless is not illegal. In Orange County, a federal judge has held that you can’t arrest folks for being transient unless you have a place to house them. But even if you do, you can’t force them to take advantage of the opportunity, as many of them suffer from addictions and mental illness and aren’t suited to following the rules of such a shelter.

Still, it’s good to know that Garden Grove is making an effort to find the “missing piece.” It will happen, and although it’s not the perfect solution, it will be a big step in the right direction … navigation-wise.

Waving the bloody red shirt

After the Civil War, Republicans used the effective tactic of “waving the bloody shirt,” which meant blaming the Democrats for the lives lost in the War Between the States. For a generation after Appomattox, this approach had some success in the political arena.

TED BUI, candidate for state Assembly.

Something similar continues to happen in Orange County. The wife of Ted Bui, a Fountain Valley City Councilmember who is running for the 70th Assembly District, is suing a Vietnamese-language YouTube program for making accusations of communist sympathies against her family.

Among the accusations leveled against Bui are that his relatives wore some clothing with red during the 2022 Tet Parade in Westminster and played “communist music.”

This would be laughable if not for the potential effects. Why would a candidate for public office openly embrace communist symbols while trying to appeal to an electorate that is fiercely anti-communist?

The cynical calculation, of course, is that some voters – especially elderly Vietnamese who do not read or speak English – might view these videos and become convinced.

We don’t know if Mr. Bui is a good candidate or not, but he’s almost certainly not a communist. We also are pretty certain that until this generation of Vietnamese-Americans stops trying to refight that lost cause, some elections in the Little Saigons will be more about political smears than public service.

“Usually Reliable Sources” alternates with Jim Tortolano’s “Retorts” column.


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