Palisades News Letters: Homeless Editorial Critique

October Transient Editorial Described the Situation

Thank you for the “no-nonsense” editorial in the October issue of the Post 283 News about the homeless problem in the Palisades (“The Homeless Problem Can Be Helped”). It was blunt and to the point and yet offered concrete steps each one of us can take.

I am saddened and mostly angered over this homeless problem in our Village.

Scott Dahlberg,
U.S. Marine Corps: 1965-69

Homeless Editorial Lacked Compassion and Insight

As a psychiatrist who has worked with the homeless and with veterans, this (October editorial in Post 283 News) is damaging to those already suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, a shortage of affordable housing, limited access to health care, a lack of family support, and much more. The editorial at best displays frustration about and ignorance of the plight of the homeless; at worst shows a damning lack of compassion, understanding gratitude, and more. Personally, I find it frightening that the editorial would suggest that we forget the platitude of “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

Stephen Scappa

(Editor’s note: Experts at the October 9 homeless forum held by the Pacific Palisades Community Council agreed, as the editorial expressed, that giving money to the homeless was not the correct way to solve the problem. Additional public frustration at that meeting revolved around homeless campfires in dry hills, nakedness and urination in public and LAPD’s inability to arrest or cite because of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU. To read interviews with those living on the streets near Gladstone’s, see Page 1 of Post 283 News, delivered with this edition of Palisades News.)

Football Hero John Huarte Is a Neighborhood Hero

When I arrived at the Palisades Recreation Center at dawn Saturday (October 25) to get soccer equipment for the Saturday AYSO games, it was a really depressing sight. Overnight someone had rolled over eight to 10 large, heavy trash barrels. They were on their sides and trash was strewn everywhere—in parking lots and on the grass. I suppose the vandals could have been dogs or coyotes, but those are awfully heavy trash barrels, so I doubt it. It’s sad to think that someone would do that in the middle of the night, at a park so many of our kids love. It almost makes you wonder what kind of community we have.

I sent Erich Haas [the park director] a text to let him know he would need a special clean-up effort before the Saturday afternoon Halloween event in the park. Then, as I was loading soccer goals into my SUV, I noticed an elderly gentleman, wearing work gloves, picking up trash. It was a messy job and he wasn’t shying away from it.

I couldn’t imagine Erich’s crew was on the job that quickly, so I introduced myself to the man and asked if he worked for the city. “Oh no,” he said, “I just had some work gloves in my car and wanted to help clean up this mess.” I asked his name, so I could pass it on to Erich for thanks, and he said. “John. John Huarte.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather! I knew the former Notre Dame football star and Heisman Trophy winner lived in the Palisades . . . but I didn’t know he was the kind of person who would clean up the community kids’ park before the sun came up, when half the Palisades was still asleep. Wow. Thanks, John—not just for being a neighborhood hero, but for reminding me that it’s our community and our responsibility to take care of it.

Peter Viles

We Must Recognize Our Super Volunteers

(The following letter was sent to Region 69 AYSO Commissioner Janet Anderson in response to Viles’ circulated letter.)

I believe it is fantastic and wonderful to recognize the efforts of a great neighbor. I am also continually blown away by the team of literally hundreds of volunteers who help make each and every weekend of AYSO soccer happen. Many are up before dawn every weekend of the season to set goals, check for safety, prepare match strategy, get players to their assigned fields . . .

. . . And many of these folks no longer have children in the program (or never did). I think it would be proper to include a sentence that shared this tidbit of info in order to help spread the magic of AYSO to a larger audience.

Mark Sleeper
U10G Referee Captain, Region 69

Palisades News welcomes all letters, which may be mailed to Please include a name, address and telephone number so we may reach you.

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