By Christie Post - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The first reading of the proposed ordinance to regulate and prohibit the presence of any person on the premises of four public buildings between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. passed Thursday morning during the City Council Meeting.
"I was homeless for almost 12 months here in Lubbock. I just want to let you know that not all the homeless are without jobs. I actually had a job for about 5 months before I got into an apartment of my own," said a concerned citizen during citizen comments.
With six votes for the ordinance and one against, Councilman Todd Klein, the ordinance needs one more reading to be put into effect.
"451,000 items were checked out at Mahom by the 250,000 visitors. And I am firmly convinced that in the past several weeks we have had a dozen or a dozen in a half people holding one of our public facilities hostage," said Paul Beane, a member of the Lubbock City Council.
But, if that happens, police said they will first issue warnings for people violating curfew.
"I have no reason to believe this would be any different from the park curfew. If we ask someone to leave I believe they'll leave," said Chief Dale Holton, Lubbock Police Department.
And if they don't leave, violators after they have been warning; the charge is a misdemeanor with a fine up to $500. The buildings in the ordinance include: Mahon Library, Civic Center, Lubbock Business Center and City Hall, all popular places for the homeless community.
"This is simply going to displace the homeless problem into the surrounding community," said a concerned citizen during citizen comments.
Unlike last city council meeting about this issue, those who spoke in opposition sat quietly, instead of clapping and cheering after each individual spoke.
"We don't need to look down on people that are already down, but we need to reach down and give them a hand up," said a concerned citizen during citizen comments.
About 20 people came forward during the Thursday morning City Council meeting to discuss their concerns with the proposed ordinance. Concerns citizens ranged from currently homeless to those concerned for the sake of people with next to nothing.
Unlike the last City Council meeting surrounding this issue, everyone was respectful and unified; all wanting to find a solution, not to turn the issue into a battle between the city and the homeless. They just want a solution to the problem.
"These people do not need money from the city. They need to know where a city would approve a shelter. They need an approved bus route to carry folks around town that provide services that the indigent in our community need," said a concern citizen during citizen comments.
City council members who voted in favor of the ordinance said they hope it will tackle the growing safety and health concerns at the four proposed public building, for the sake of the employees and Lubbock citizens.
"It has been several weeks that our service entrance was used as a toilet. Thank goodness that we can enter our place of employment without walking through human waste," said an employee at Mahon library.
More than 50 people attended a meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss growing concerns over the homelessness issue.
In November, Lubbock's City Council voted to approve a resolution for homeless advisory committee to help look for a solution to the Hub City's homeless problem. The committee consists of:
KCBD NewsChannel 11 is at the City Council Meeting and will bring you the latest at Noon, 5, 6, and 10.
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