NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton has always been a major supporter of, and advocate for, his hometown San Diego. However, as homelessness is getting out of hand in the city, Walton is admitting that he has lost the love for his hometown, publicly calling out Mayor Todd Gloria for not taking the proper political action to address the growing crisis.
Although Walton agrees with many of the San Diego mayor’s politics, he has begun to strongly criticize the mayor’s action – or lack thereof – to take care of the city’s homeless problem.
On August 24, Walton sent an email to Mayor Gloria’s office, saying, “You speak of the rights of the [homeless], what about our rights, we follow the rules of a functioning society, why are others allowed to disregard those rules.”
“Your lack of action is unacceptable, as is the conduct of the homeless population.”
On August 28 he wrote another email, saying, “Once again, while peacefully riding my bike early this Sunday morning in Balboa Park, I was threatened, chased, and assaulted by the homeless population, in our Park. Once again, you’ve done, and continue to do, nothing.”
“You have failed, us and yourself,” Walton wrote on September 2, complaining of “bad personal encounters he had,” according to the ‘Voice of San Diego.’
Taking to social media, Walton shared his call to action for Mayor Gloria on a more public forum. In an Instagram post, Walton wrote,
“Will San Diego Mayor @toddgloria please give us our park, our bike paths, our neighborhood, our community and our lives back. The homeless situation is getting worse instead of better & it costs more to keep people on the street then to get them off…… We need consistent engagement, more bridge shelters, combined with more services & consistent enforcement, and we need it NOW”
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In a second post, Walton wrote,
“sadly, and with a broken heart, I can no longer say that my hometown of San Diego, is the greatest place in the world, I can no longer say that SD is a safe, healthy, clean, and beautiful place, I can no longer urge my family, friends, tourists, and businesses to come to SD to live, work, and play, I can no longer say that our neighborhood for the last 43 years is still my dream, I am brokenhearted,
Mayor @toddgloria – clean up our city, and let us reclaim our lives, we must fix our homeless crisis, we need engagement, rehabilitation, and constant enforcement, and we need it now”
The mayor’s staff publically responded to the complaints they have received from Walton, a very important figure in their community, saying, “Bill’s frustration over our homelessness crisis is shared by people across our city, including the mayor himself, in cities across the United States.”