City Council Meeting 3/1/2023 – Response from Holli Morton

Dear Mayor Bristol and Council Members:

I attended the City Council meeting last night and spoke on the subject of low barrier shelters.  I had a front row seat in the theater of other people’s drug and alcoholism my entire childhood and about twenty years of my adult life — first being victimized by and then trying to help people who refused to help themselves.  In the brief three minutes allowed, I sited two examples, but I could give you many.  

In short:  LOW-BARRIER HOUSING NEVER WORKS!  If you can give me a single example of one that worked, I’m all ears.  My observation is that building  low barrier shelters does the following:

  • Allows naive, virtue-signaling council members and citizens to pat themselves on the back, thinking they have done something of value while keeping the problem at arms length
  • Creates a destination resort for dependent people from surrounding counties and states to become a burden to Grants Pass
  • Draws  a significant liability to the city.  Active drug addicts and alcoholics don’t make wonderful roommates or citizens
  • Burns up millions of dollars of taxpayers hard-earned money
  • Requires grants to fund and, at the end of the day, after THAT taxpayer money burns up, you still have a tribe of homeless, dependent drug addicts in Grants Pass
  • Allows people to remain SICK for their entire lives instead of getting into recovery

We need to continue to offer services to veterans, the mentally ill and low-income seniors and families who need help — so long as they maintain  drug-free lifestyles.  When we throw our money away on those who are willing to throw their own lives away, we are left without resources to help those truly in need.

I was struck last night with how Sarah Bristol and Brian DeLaGrange kept sharing their smug, “aren’t these people stupid” smiles while people were begging the council to wake up and pouring their hearts out.  I’m not sure what is so damn funny!  Your policies of allowing lawlessness have turned a problem into a the  “emergency” that now exists.  It has turned our once-lovely city into a mess!!!  And you wonder why we don’t trust you to solve the problem.  The best predictor of the future is the past.  You don’t seem to have figured this out yet.  Why would we expect you to fix it in the future?

Now, we will appeal to the State to give taxpayer money back — yes, it is our money to start with — so we can dole it out to the homeless,  most of whom are drug addicts.  We will burn through the money quickly and then have to reach back to government to continue to solve the growing problem.  Watch out folks, this is a slippery slope that leads to Communism:  where we are dependent on government to take care of us.

Why do we not get grants?  Because we are mostly a red county.  Once we run out of money and are forced to become state-dependent, the money will flow back.  

Sarah Bristol has had the benefit of having a husband who is the City Editor of the local paper, so can control the local narrative.  “Sarah is the great savior of Grants Pass.”  Are you kidding me?  She is loathed by most people in the know.  Loathed because she continues to shove down the throats of taxpayers plans that simply don’t work and are leading to the city’s financial destruction.  At a time when simply enforcing the law might have slowed down the problem, the council was asleep at the wheel.  Now that we have an “emergency” you wake up.

In conclusion:  focus on drug recovery.  Demand it!  It will be much cheaper than kicking the can down the road with low-barrier facilities: the great money pits of America.  Have a numbers person pencil it out.  I can promise you that, investing in sobriety is the answer.  Those against low-barrier shelters are not lacking empathy — they are realists, probably experienced with the crisis of drug addiction.  Get out of your virtue-signaling bubble and actually solve the problem.

Holli Morton