JERRY NIEBLAS, San Juan Capistrano

The Capistrano Historical Alliance Committee is appalled at the homeless situation on Los Rios St.!

The street consists of all the elements that make San Juan Capistrano historically rich and so very important. It is home to several pre-Mission and early California families, the oldest being the Rios Adobe and the Stephen Rios Familia—they have been the most seriously impacted.

Have any of you bothered to take time to walk around the park, the Montanez Adobe, or along the creek on Los Rios St.? There’s not only extreme safety concerns, but overwhelming health hazards and liability issues: trash, human feces, needles . . . yet, this council says it prides itself on the City’s motto, “Preserving the past to enhance the future.”

Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano’s pride and joy and the oldest street in California, is being overrun with homeless. And, it appears this council has turned a blind eye and gone deaf to the community’s concerns. How is that “preserving the past”? Businesses are suffering, residents on the street are suffering. All of you were elected to represent the citizens of San Juan Capistrano. You are obligated to address and act regarding this horrific situation.

San Juan Capistrano needs the financial support of tourism. They come here (some return many times) to experience the uniqueness, history, peace and beauty of the street. Yet, the most sought-after area in town is now dangerous for its residents, businesses & tourists, and that is unacceptable!

Would you, the city council & staff allow this to be happening in your neighborhoods and backyards? In fact, Harrison Taylor, a resident of Los Rios St., once said, “Like you, I love Los Rios and preserving our history and historic homes.”

Time is of the essence. The residents, some who have lived there for decades, deserve a good quality of life. The businesses and the tourists deserve to see this council respond and act on their concerns. Los Rios Street belongs to San Juan Capistrano, and it’s time for this city to take affirmative action and restore Los Rios Street to the safe, peaceful environment it needs to be.

Editor’s note: This letter was originally emailed to city officials and staff.

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