I read with dismay Paul Jenkins’s proposal (smdp, Feb. 2, 2022, Emily Sawicki) to put homeless people on the top floors of parking structures in Santa Monica. His reasoning and conclusions are without merit. 

Calling roof-top parking ‘inconvenient’ for visitors and shoppers and therefore “found land” under-utilized by the county mischaracterizes everything about shopping center and commercial property. Because it is there for peak usage, under used parking is temporary and therefore not a viable option for temporary housing. 

For lack of a better example: public streets cycle from under-use to peak usage every 24 hours. Homeless camps in our parking structures will exist right next to visitors and shoppers; a bouquet of one-room structures or tents 50 feet up, populated mostly by the drug addicted, criminals on the run and mentally unstable adults needing help and medicine. I shudder to think about the recent trend to hand out free needles and crack pipes. Just wait for one of them to fall or hurt someone below peaceably using the sidewalk.  

To even contemplate a cost/benefit analysis of housing the homeless in parking structures, three or more stories above the street, pedestrians and the general public, is a disaster in the making. Once this happens, we’re a step away from appropriating the roofs of the commercial buildings along Santa Monica Boulevard from 2nd Street to Centinela. 

And to say the parking structures are “under utilized” or “found land” is a set up. To even consider such a proposal invites dystopia with a red carpet. We are one proposal away from looking like India, where half the population rides on the roofs of trains. Mr. Jenkins’s proposal is not a stop-gap measure or a solution. It is another glaring example of incompetent elected officials turning the tap on, holding it open and trying to sell us more mops. Our elected officials have failed us.”

Philip A. Iadevaia, Simi Valley