On Wednesday, September 18th, one of our community’s wealthiest residents, Robin Arkley, called a public meeting to discuss homelessness. Before the public meeting, Mr. Arkley composed a message to the community and claimed: “Our City and County are being taken over by the homeless” and that city and county governments and local non-profits “actually encourage the homeless to come here and stay here.”
On the evening of the meeting, Mr. Arkley offered no evidence for his claims that Humboldt County is overrun with homeless people. Instead, he declared that the root causes of homelessness are not solvable and said:
“We can’t reunite the family, deal with drug issues, drug and alcohol issues, income inequality, et cetera. That is beyond what we can do.”
In response to this assumption, a voice asked: “Why not?”
Ignoring this crucial question, Mr. Arkley revealed his target of blame for the City and County being “taken over”: the County Department of Health and Human Services.
Rather than attempt to solve these problems, according to Mr. Arkley, our community should instead aim to eliminate programs funded by Health and Human Services. This, in Mr. Arkley’s view, will make Humboldt County less attractive to the homeless.
Mr. Arkley believes that the homeless flock to Humboldt County because of the generosity of services for poor people provided by Health and Human Services. Providing no evidence, Mr. Arkley stated, “We have become an absolute magnet for the homeless, unlike other communities…..We are literally being trampled.”
Mr. Arkley’s plan of attack on Health and Human Services, with the ultimate goal of driving the homeless out of Humboldt County, is summarized as follows:
1. Form a committee.
2. Scrutinize, or “tear apart” Humboldt County Health and Human Services’ budget, line-by-line.
3. “Identify which programs the Committee believes lead to homelessness.”
4. “Let’s find out which programs attract people to our area.”
5. Force the Board of Supervisors to consider the opinions of the “Committee” on homelessness.
6. Put pressure on the Board of Supervisors to consider the “downside to the community” to applying for a grant to help the homeless. Find out what “soft taxes” will be created by accepting grant money.
Mr. Arkley spoke for ten minutes, walked out of the room, and the rest of the 60 minute public meeting transpired without his presence.
This petition is for citizens that see the danger in Mr. Arkley and his supporters deciding what public services are available – and not available - for the poor.
Please sign this petition if you agree with the statements below:
Humboldt County’s residents want the Board of Supervisors to protect Health and Human Services’ budgeted programs that serve the mentally ill, the poverty-stricken, and homeless individuals and families.
Humboldt County’s residents want our Board of Supervisors to spend its time on advancing policy and social matters of substance and value. We don’t want our Board of Supervisors to take its marching orders from the community’s wealthiest residents.
Humboldt County’s residents don’t want a biased and privately-funded committee to have a disproportionate influence over a public body, such as the Board of Supervisors, than the rest of us who don’t enjoy that level of personal income or access to our elected representatives.
Humboldt County’s residents are concerned that simply because one wealthy resident called a public meeting to declare his frustration with homelessness, the Board of Supervisors will spend its time on an issue that requires much more than a committee and loud debate.
Alexis Milbank started this petition with a single signature, and now has 587 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.