Menifee Mayor Scott Mann Clarifies Position on Homelessness

Editor's note: The following is a letter from Menifee Mayor Scott Mann to members of the Interfaith and Community Service Council. Mann ...

Editor's note: The following is a letter from Menifee Mayor Scott Mann to members of the Interfaith and Community Service Council. Mann shared this with Menifee 24/7 in an attempt to clarify for our readers his position on homelessness. Recently, the Menifee City Council unanimously approved a letter of opposition to Assembly Bill 5, which would increase homeless persons' rights in public places and require cities to provide 24-hour hygiene facilities. The Homeless Person's Bill of Rights and Fairness Act, introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), was introduced last December.


April 1, 2013
Chairwoman
Menifee Interfaith and Community Service Council

RE: Mayor Scott Mann's Opposition to AB 5 (Ammiano, D-San Francisco)

Dear Chairwoman and Council,

This letter attempts to clarify my personal position on homelessness which, I feel, may be misunderstood in light of the City Council's decision to unanimously oppose AB 5. Let me be clear that the views expressed in this letter are mine, and mine alone. I have not changed the view I expressed on several occasions during the 2012 mayoral campaign and previously in the 2008 inaugural city council campaign: I am in favor of a homeless shelter in, or near, Menifee.

I am, however, opposed to AB 5 (Ammiano), the “Homeless Person's Bill of Rights and Fairness Act." The Los Angeles Times says “While we sympathize with its (AB 5's) spirit, we don't support it. The solution is not to sanction the culture of homelessness or to offer blanket approval for a way of life that society generally agrees should be ended." (1/11/13)

This bill, which even its author, Assembly Member Ammiano, concedes is "aspirational," would impose unfunded mandates upon cities while adding homelessness to a listing of protected classes. Under the bill, “life-sustaining activities that must be carried out in public spaces because of homelessness," such as eating, urinating, amassing possessions and collecting trash to recycle, would be protected. The bill is silent as to the rights of residents, businesses and taxpayers to clean streets and safe, habitable neighborhoods.

As a public official, I feel that I must be compassionate and responsible at the same time. Assembly Member Ammíano's bill takes the wrong approach -- one which is goodhearted toward the homeless and hardhearted towards the rest of the community simultaneously. Round-the-clock public bathrooms and the "basic human right" to panhandle alone have huge implications for local budgets and law enforcement. The costs of AB 5 have not yet been counted, but I feel confident the State of California will not appropriate funds to support mandates imposed on cities and counties.

For all of the reasons outlined above, I oppose AB 5. I do not oppose giving our homeless a ‘hand up' through faith-based organizations and non-profit service organizations. I am in favor of a homeless shelter, especially one that has mental health, drug and alcohol counseling, and job placement components to help restore individuals and families to safe, productive lives. I would work with you toward that goal.

Lastly, I would call your attention to the UT-Californian's recent editorial under their "Roses and Raspberries" column of April 1, 2013. Let's work together in the spirit of our several religions to try and help the unfortunate among us. Let's not make community vitality more difficult by imposing expensive, unfair legislation upon our cities and their residents.

Very respectfully yours,
Scott A. Mann
Mayor, City of Menifee

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  1. Interesting and informational letter. However, let's put ourselves in the position of a family that perhaps just lost their home here in Menifee. Let's also assume that they have younger kids, perhaps even infants. Assume the father is working in an industry that has not made it back yet and he's having difficulty locating a job that can make a dent into a living wage. Where in Menifee would a family like that go? What faith based shelters exist in Menifee? What non-profit shelters exist in Menifee? Or, should the family just plan on getting out of town and trying to go somewhere else?

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    1. Exactly,Anonymous! Where in Menifee is there a shelter for our homeless? And I say, "our" homeless! There are a lot of citizens of Menifee that need our help. I, for one, would volunteer at this shelter.

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  2. Robert EntricanApril 02, 2013 9:30 AM

    Thank you for sharing Doug ...

    This story has created a great opportunity for all of us to remember that when we elect officials, we put them into positions of authority to carry out the people's business and NOT their own personal agenda.

    All too often, people cast votes with the "hope" that a chosen candidate thinks like they do and that somehow they have the superpower to read the minds of their constituents. This is clearly not the case and we must all remember that we should "regularly", "constructively", and openly "communicate" with our district representative to ensure our voice is heard.

    I feel great sadness for those families and individuals who are struggling with these challenging times, but it's a function of organizations like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and others to create the social safety net we need for these families in a momentary chaos - NOT local, state, or federal government.

    Many in Washington seem so focused on the bottom line profitability of private enterprise when they "could" be looking closer at the shrinking performance of non-profits yet contributions and executive salaries within those companies are at record levels. I'd really like to see more focus on those who "claim" to exist for the purpose helping those in need, because I see some pretty lavish empires surrounding those companies.

    Thank you to Scott for clarifying his position and kudos for a well written letter that felt more personal than political.

    Respectfully,


    Robert Entrican

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    1. “Let me be clear that the views expressed in this letter are mine, and mine alone.”
      “As a public official, I feel.........”
      “Mayor, City of Menifee”
      Well written?

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    2. How hard is this, dude? What's your point? Since the City Council did just unanimously approve a letter of opposition to Assembly Bill 5, the Mayor is simply saying that the views he's expressing are his, and his alone, that they are not being expressed on behalf of the entire City Council. You act as though you have a point, .. but you don't. You're obviously the same person who wrote the "Anonymous April 02, 2013 11:25 AM" comment below, and you can say it ten more times, and it still won't turn your "non point" into a point.

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  3. The only thing this letter clarifies is the lack of sensibility of the author. The letter is nothing more than a crudely written PR piece. While it is widely recognized this bill places an undo burden on cities and has little benefit for the recipients, this letter does nothing to clarify that. Instead it is a self aggrandizing attempt to tout what a compassionate person he is to veterans and homelessness.
    The truth of the matter is the only thing he has done about these issues is talk about them. He starts out with the insincere statement that the views are as a private individual, yet he signs it as “Mayor”. The only thing that surprises me is he didn’t send along a photo with it.

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    1. To the "Anonymous" commenter above. It is so improper to publicly publish a statement that is written solely out of meanness and with no consideration for substance or fairness. It's obvious you didn't like the mayor even before you read this article and you've simply found an opportunity to express your dislike regardless of what the mayor wrote.

      How cowardly to attack "the author" as insensible, .. self-aggrandizing, .. just a talker and not a doer, .. and claim that he was improper to sign the letter as "Mayor". Your "opinion" obviously comes from a previous bias and not from a fair analysis of what he wrote. And no one here cares about listening to anyone's previous biases because we all know that EVERYONE in public office has venomous enemies, usually because the haters have their own personal agenda.

      Most of the people I know who have interacted with the Mayor -- whether they agree with all his views or not -- respect him as a VERY sensible person, .. the OPPOSITE of self-aggrandizing while at the same time able to appropriately apply the authority that he's expected to as Mayor, .. and a hard-working doer.

      The only way you concocted a "legitimate" point was to first make a false statement about him and then attack your own false statement. You said that the Mayor started out with the statement that "the views are as a private individual", and then you attacked him for signing as "Mayor". Well, as every honest person can read, he did NOT say that the views are as a private individual; he said, "the views expressed in this letter are mine, and mine alone", simply meaning that he wasn't speaking for the Council. But you knew that. Whether or not he's solely expressing his own personal opinion or making a statement expressing the official opinion of the entire Council, it is not only appropriate but responsibly expected for him to sign, as "Mayor", every statement he makes, in writing, to any organization or public forum, since that's who he is.

      Also, you are apparently so wrapped up in your own negativity that you didn't even notice -- or care -- that at the beginning of the article, the website Editor clearly noted that the Mayor's letter wasn't even written for the general public; it was written to the Interfaith and Community Service Council of Menifee .. and then shared with Menifee 24/7 for the practical additional purpose of providing the public with an opportunity to also be informed regarding his simple but well-considered and well-written stand on the matter.

      I'm not in politics, so I can just take Mr. Mann at face value without any biased motive to unfairly ( and very cheaply, without any real substance, I might add ) put him down publicly as you did. I guess, since no one is perfect ( except probably you ), everyone can legitimately find something negative to write about anyone else if they look long and hard enough, but if you're going to do it publicly, you should at least have some genuine substance to share with us. I guess that's why you just wrote your opinion anonymously; that way, only you alone have to know that you just made yourself out to be a mean-spirited and unfair coward.

      I don't mind reading -- and I can even respect -- negative comments that have substance and are constructive, but frankly, your negativity pretty much just "stinks up the page" with no honest point or purpose other than to tell readers that you don't like the mayor; and since you're "anonymous", .. who cares?

      If I'm wrong about you and you actually have some substance, maybe you could write your own opinion on Assembly Bill 5, and publish it in Menifee 24/7 and let the public evaluate if it's as well written and well rounded as Mayor Mann's written letter.

      Richard Melrose

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  4. Writing a private letter and then sending it to the media for publication is one of the oldest ruses used by a political lightweight to garner attention.
    Regardless of what spin (which sycophants are wont to do) you put on this self-serving communiqué it remains pompous bloviating.
    Blowing your own horn is akin to giving yourself a haircut: Unless you are shaving your head, who the barber was is obvious.

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