Madame Mayor and her council were given a wake-up call that leaves no room for doubt on behalf of the residents they were elected to represent. Ordinance No.9, Series of 2022 was voted down by all but one city council member, even staunch homeless advocate Mayor Ashley Smith voted to cast out the proposed ordinance.

No Safe Outdoor Space for the homeless will be allowed in Cañon City. Residents are not amiable to having tent cities spring up in their backyards. Mayor Smith and her council claim it would be a way to remove the homeless from our parks, solving the problem of indigents who leave trash and needles where our children play. One must wonder Madame Mayor if it might not be wiser to spend the grant monies, tax dollars, and other funds we throw at the homeless criminal on arresting and incarcerating those who break our laws?

A steady stream of concerned Cañon City residents approached the podium and voiced their concerns yet a second time. The message was mind-numbingly clear; these folks are not going to put up with a tent city in their town. No summer of love, no loafers who want nothing more than their next fix and they do not mind stealing from you and/or your children to achieve their not so lofty goals. These are sick individuals in need of help we simply are not qualified to give. In the following paragraphs, I will endeavor to paraphrase some of what the individual speakers shared with the audience and council members. I am not including speaker names because I did not manage to visit with each of them and verify their names.

This speaker asks, “Does the city charter require that we solve homelessness, is that part of your job description?” Mayor Smith countered by claiming that past efforts had reduced homelessness by 50 percent; however, the public was not buying. They did not have faith in the correctness of the numbers. Another speaker added, “We are putting out more free stuff, freebies welcome in more homeless and add to the problems we already have.” Yet another gentleman added, “We have already said what we feel…we do not need more tools. Why should we try to help one hundred people and 'p**s off' (his words not mine) 15,000?”

A registered nurse who formerly worked at Parkview shared some of her experience with homeless who were disrespectful of professionals who were trying to help them. She spoke of how many of these folks were transported to Cañon City to our emergency room for assistance when Parkview became overwhelmed. These homeless folks were actually transported to us by our local law enforcement agencies. They will not, however, be taken back to Pueblo. Cañon City will now be there home. Even one council member said he wanted to be sure the homeless encampments would not be near schools. He shared that his son has been approached by homeless. It seems everyone wants the homeless population to have showers, just not in their backyards.

This speaker I think touched the hearts and minds of many in the audience as he spoke of the failings of the proposed ordinance. The regulations in the ordinance are not viable, it needs to be tossed out it is c**p. A distinction must be made between those who need a hand up and those who only want a handout. It is our community's responsibility to solve the homeless problem not city council. Council's responsibility is to protect the general public from those who are violating our rules. Madame Mayor I think you have expressed yourself in such a way that tries to encourage the thinking that ending homelessness is the duty of City Council. He ended with this, “When my own children do something wrong, I do not enable them and I love them, I do things to prevent them from continuing down that path.” Very sound advice indeed.

There will be workshops to work out the problems and I sincerely hope the council will heed the advice of the people. Bad Actors are people who flub their lines, mess up the scene in a play or movie. Criminals are those who break the law of the land. We must face the truth of who and with what we are dealing. No amount of love or understanding can help an addict or someone with mental challenges. If we could face the problems honestly and do something helpful for these folks in need, there would likely be plenty of real help to offer those who simply need a hand up.

And remember to VOTE.

Be Informed***Get Involved.