Yikes: Transients Defecating in Missoula Park Drinking Fountains
How bad is the transient crisis in Missoula? There's people doing drugs in the middle of the street, there's transients masturbating in public, and one transient even defecated in a water fountain in a local park. She can't even take her toddler to the park near her own house.
That's what Missoula City Councilmember Sandra Vasecka told us on the radio Tuesday morning. This, as The Wall Street Journal highlighted the homeless crisis in Missoula with this headline: A Montana Town Faces a Homelessness Problem Similar to San Francisco and L.A.
As the WSJ reports, "Missoula had 60 homeless encampments in parks as of late August, according to a city report."
Sandra Vasecka, one of two common-sense conservatives on the Missoula City Council is up for re-election this year.
Sandra Vasecka: I have a two year old and we go to the parks, we go on the trails, we go underneath Russell Street bridge, and we can't go there anymore- even though our tax dollars go towards those trails and parks. And I keep saying, why can't we criminalize this criminal behavior? And they say, you can't criminalize being homeless. Yeah, I'm not criminalizing being homeless. I'm criminalizing criminal behavior.
Vasecka also gave her take on the City of Missoula re-opening the Johnson Street homeless shelter against the voters wishes. One of our radio listeners raised the following question: why aren't they putting one of these homeless shelters in the Rattlesnake or the University District where the liberal professors live?
Sandra Vasecka: According to Missoula municipal code that shelter location, because it's within 300 feet of a residentially zoned area, it is illegal according to our own code. And then when I pointed it out, they said- Oh no, it's an emergency shelter. And then I said, Well- in code you cannot have that. They said- Oh no, it's an emergency extreme weather shelter. And so that's for a specific weather event. And so when I called them out on that, they said- Oh no, we're just going to have a public hearing to say that we are blatantly going to be ignoring the rules.