Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2021  
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  What a Difference Three Weeks Makes
February 23, 2021

The one thing everyone agrees on is that they don’t want any homeless people in THEIR neighborhood. The leaders of the Fairmede-Hilltop and Hilltop neighborhood councils have organized a 1,700 signature petition against the proposed safe park at the virtually abandoned Hilltop Mall. Five City Council members who voted on February 2 to consider Hilltop as their first priority couldn’t backpedal fast enough.

What the Hilltoppers pushed single mindedly an alternative that would be a much smaller project across the street from GRIP to be operated by GRIP. Unfortunately for an otherwise really great organization, GRIP is in deep trouble with Contra Costa County and is not likely to be the recipient of more County funds. Click here for a letter from Contra Costa County to GRIP. In addition, the site across from GRIP needs to be paved, which would consume half the available project funding, and it would only accommodate a fraction of the RVs from Rydin Road alone. It simply will not meet the broader objective of moving RVs from Rydin Road and the Richmond parkway to a Safe park location.

It turns out that the GRIP Board of Directors never approved the pitch made by GRIP Executive Director Kathleen Sullivan and Board Member Cesar Zepeda or GRIP to manage the proposed Safe Park across the street from GRIP. Both have been free lancing the idea without authorization.

Detractor of the Hilltop site say it is too close to homes and schools, which it is not. See the site plan below showing how isolated it is from anything. It could be located anywhere in the north half of the parking area if that would make people happier. Once it is fenced, it would not even be visible. Unlike the current RV camps at Rydin Road and the Richmond Parkway, it would be secure and managed, not filling up with junk and trash.

Figure 1 – Vicinity plan of proposed Hilltop Mall Safe Park

Figure 2 - Site Plan of proposed Hilltop Mall Safe park

It’s to be a long night tonight as we hash this out. There is a good chance that it will not be resolved, but if it is, it will end up being located wherever the adjoining neighborhood is least organized least able to mount a resistance. It will be a political  decision, not a rational decision.