Anna Meeks | Insight from Sandwiches

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

On Aug. 25, the Valley Industry Association hosted a candidates forum for the upcoming City Council race Nov. 8. It was a question-and-answer format, with boxed Jersey Mike’s sandwiches provided for all speakers and guests. 

When I first found out about the candidate forum, I didn’t know what to expect. And wow, did I learn a lot. We heard from all the candidates on everything including public safety, the Fentanyl crisis, COVID businesses closures and more.

Throughout the presentation I was struck, in particular by one of the candidates for City Council: Cody Amour. Cody told the audience that he is a homeless resident of Santa Clarita. He appeared to be a young man (approx. 25-30 if I had to guess) and he explained that he is and was a mathemetician and has been homeless for the last three years. 

Cody challenged the stereotype that all (or most) homeless are on drugs. He was clear, articulate and offered a perspective on homelessness in this city that was incredible. He talked about the ineffective leadership on the current City Council as it pertains to homelessness and the lack of persuasive advocacy by the council members on the Homeless Ad Hoc committee. 

He talked about the waste of money that is to allegedly go to fighting homelessness and the wasteland that is the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority when it came to getting additional shelter beds into our community. 

As a mom, I wanted to give Cody a giant hug. Listening to him was so compelling, even more so knowing he was going to leave the candidate forum event, hop on his scooter, and go back to the shelter. 

As the candidates were talking, I found myself thinking how I could help Cody. Maybe someone I knew was hiring. Maybe we could find him housing, My brain was racing. Was he going to eat tonight? Did he have food?

The city’s Ad Hoc committee on homelessness was formed in 2017. According to a May 29, 2018, letter penned by Ad Hoc Committee Member and mayor pro tem at that time, Marsha Mclean, she and the other members of the City Council were “all hands on deck when it comes to preventing and combatting homelessness in our community.” Sounds good. Sounds official, right?

All hands is right. When the candidate forum was over, council member Marsha McLean picked up three of the leftover boxes of Jersey Mike’s sandwiches to take home. 

Really? A homeless candidate who just spoke for two hours about his existence on the street, and the best idea one of our sitting council members had was to take sandwiches home, for HERSELF? 

I was in utter disbelief. 

And yet, at that moment, it was confirmed.

Our leaders can ride through campaign season talking about all the “hot button issues” and pretend to be concerned about issues like homelessness, but their ACTIONS tell us everything we need to know. 

Anna Meeks.

Santa Clarita 

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