Light at the tunnel’s end?

THE TUNNEL under the freeway is clean, for now.

We’re only a little past halfway through the year, and things are already weird enough for a full 12 months, or even a decade.

Looking at or reading the national news is likely to make one lose faith in the dull but comforting rhythms of life we used to accept, so routine they barely justified a passing comment.

The investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the tragically-bungled police response to the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and the ever-mounting toll of civilian dead in Ukraine because a former KBG agent has a grisly longing for the good old days of the monstrous Soviet Union … all of this and more would make one want to reach for something chemically comforting like – in my case – a can of Coke Cherry Vanilla.

However, not all the news is bad, especially locally. After years of hoping for a miracle – or simply looking the other way (in large part) – all four of our local cities have finally moved toward effective responses to the homelessness crisis which has engulfed much of the county, state and nation.

Huntington Beach has led the way with its temporary Navigation Center and is so far along that the city is already planning on replacing it with a permanent structure on the same spot.

Stanton is converting marginal motels into housing for the unsheltered as well as adding some other services for them.

Garden Grove and Westminster (along with Fountain Valley) are partnering up to establish a regional navigation center (temporary housing, along with health and employment services), probably somewhere in an industrial area in east Garden Grove.

But those things take time; it gets frustrating to have to wait and wait and complain and wait …

Sometimes, though, your expectations are exceeded. You may remember how – a short while ago – we complained in The Tribune about “Little Orphan Alley,” the trash-strewn and graffiti-marred tunnel beneath the Garden Grove Freeway, a well-used (and abused) pathway to Bolsa Grande High School and Garden Grove Park.

We published photos of this ugly gash on local pride, a mess which no one seemed to be taking responsibility for.

But it wasn’t long after that we revisited “The Alley” and found it had been freshly painted and cleaned. And more than once. It looks … dare I say it? … nice.

We at The Trib are not claiming credit for this … exactly. But this small improvement in a world of “what can you do?” rekindles the possibilities of better days ahead.
So speak up. Don’t give up. It doesn’t always hurt to hope.

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

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