The following question and answers were from the Oct. 12 Meet the Candidates forum in Winslow. Each candidate was given two minutes to answer the question. Due to spatial issues, the remaining questions will be published in the Nov. 2 issue.
What would be your solution for Winslow's street people problem?
Jim Boles: "First of all, if I had a pat answer for that, and could patent it, I could make a few dollars from all the folks in the surrounding areas that have the same problem. I could be flippant and say we could make the city dry and that would solve it, but it would not. It is a multifaceted problem that not only doesn't begin here and doesn't end here. We have done some things that have tempered the problem. We have certain bars and sources that have not been legal, and some of those have been eliminated. We have had (success), with efforts of some of our merchants not selling until a later time in the day. And I use the number of OP cases, but that is only a Band-Aid approach. One of the things we can continue to do is work and make demands of the liquor industry that they are a part of the solution and they nee to come and help us with that solution. We need to go to the tribes and the other entities that are able to perhaps address their problems as well. Again, it's not a problem we can turn our backs on. You can't sock 'em, knock 'em and lock 'em. That won't solve the problem either. We just need to continue to work and continue to pray that we will make life for those individuals that are vigilant of their own (failings) perhaps a little better for them and a little better for us, as well."
Robert Carr: "First of all, I have been involved with this project since I first started at the city in the year 2000. The problem is so hard; it is so hard and it gets so frustrating that you try to talk with people, but the thing about it is that I have to admit that the city is in denial. And it is everybody's problem. We need to do this together, we need to work with our neighboring tribes because they have their tribal representatives here in town and we have, due to the lack of attention, a lot of them feel hurt. It hurts all the workers here in town and the people out there have hearts, feelings and tears, just like every one of us. We need to work together no matter what, because it is all of our problem."
Judy Howell: "We need to work on the behaviors that come from alcohol affliction. We have laws for trespassing, we have laws for urinating in public, for blocking a public right of way, for stealing money. We need to be focusing on these behaviors. Blocking of the alleys is not the answer. What needs to be done, or what I think needs to be done, is that we need to have a task force or a liaison that will talk to the street people and get them to go to some kind of a therapy- based treatment program, and try to change the behavior. Whether to try to build them, or get them out, or try to run them out of town, that does not solve the problem. We need to come up with a solution that will. In 1995 there was a street people task force created that came up with many suggestions for the city. My understanding is that those are still at the city, and I think it's time we take them out and dust them off, look at the suggestions and start from there."
Stephanie Lugo: "Like the mayor said, the street people problem is the million dollar question. It's a tough situation, but I believe that if we had a liaison that could work with the police department, the city, the Navajo and the Hopi tribes, possibly the city of Joseph City and Holbrook, because we are all in the same situation here. We are a border town, and I think we need to have somebody that is not affiliated with those entities themselves to work together to come up with an idea. It isn't a crime to be intoxicated in the streets, unfortunately, but its not. These people do have a disease, they have to recognize that disease their ownselves, we cannot just put them in a treatment facility and hope they become sober and become a thriving member of the community. they have to decide that they don't want to be that way anymore. obviously we have to come up with some type of training to teach them to become a member of society. The hardest thing is that they are right her in your back yard and my back yard. But I think we can work together, each one of these entities, to become some sort of solution to the problem."
Allen Affeldt: "I understand the street people problem from a very personal experience my mother has been an alcoholic for over 30 years. I have repeatedly had to take her in to live with me. I understand the disease. When we bought the La Posada it was very common for downtown Winslow to look like a scene from Night of the Living Dead. There were so many people staggering around the streets. The bar across the street, quite frequently when it would let out, there would be fights in front of it. This is not just a problem for the street people themselves, but for everyone of us who try to run businesses and try to lead healthy lives. Its not enough to say we have to keep doing what we have been doing, which seems to be the city's motto. What we've been doing obviously hasn't been enough. We consistently produce plans to address various issues, downtown development, tourism. The problem is those plans get put on the shelf. What we need to address this problem is the power to take those plans off the shelf and implement them. Winslow is not the only community that is facing this problem. Obviously there are intoxicated street people problems all over this country. What we need to be is willing to go out side the box and find other communities that have had success in addressing this issue. If I where elected as mayor, that is what I would do. Go out side the community to find other experts who have addressed this, revisit the plans we have on the shelf to make sure that in those plans we establish a shelter and make some progress."
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