Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s at University and Marion, a couple of blocks West of the Capitol. 7:00 a.m. and already, there are scruffy people carrying backpacks, strolling aimlessly around the parking lot, sidewalks, sitting on the lawn. Not school kids waiting for the bus – I passed them at their assigned corner, every eye glued to a cell phone. These were people with nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to do it with, watching me get out of my car.
Inside, the restaurant is staffed entirely by employees with Hispanic name tags, speaking to each other in Spanish. The food appears promptly, the order is correct, the dining area is immaculately clean, but it’s also totally deserted. The drive-through does steady business. Nobody wants to get out of the car to dine in, for fear of being panhandled, or worse.
This is the picture of an area in decline. Providing food and shelter for homeless people attracts homeless people, same as putting out bird food and building birdhouses attracts birds. How hard is that to understand?
Note to Mr. Doakes; Please address this to the city’s Resiliency staff.