Two years ago I returned to Lodi, this time on the Mokelumne River — and adjacent to the homeless encampment to the east under the Mokelumne River bridge.
When a fire erupted that August, I contacted the city council about safety concerns and was pleased with the way the city responded. Since then, fire hazards have been removed, a sturdy fence has been erected by Caltrans, police patrol my street and the area, my park managers inform police about the homeless cars parked along Turner Road (yes, the homeless have cars), and some attempts have been made to remove the homeless from their encampment.
But let’s face it. Would you want to leave a free home on the river?
So, what about this irony?
Two hundred yards west of my property a man and woman and their dog live in a very nice tent on a bluff along the river. They have cleaned up their front yard and have chairs and an occasional hammock, plus use of their boat.
Meanwhile, upstream (thank goodness because I can imagine the sanitation/health problems down river) I cannot erect my tent screen house because it will be stolen. Last week an attempt to steal my park bench was thwarted because it was too heavy. I cannot use my boat because it, along with three of my children’s and six of neighbor’s, was stolen during the winter.