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Debbie Downer here, reporting from the homeless front lines. Visiting Los Angeles recently, I drove to the old Spanish mission. I remembered a visit in 1970, when it was easily accessed. This time, however, all the sidewalks surrounding it as far as I could see were filled with hundreds of colorful tents occupied by homeless people, in part funded by a tax (Measure H) passed to deal with this. The current number of homeless in Los Angeles is close to 60,000, and it is rising.

Some 350,000 babies are born every day, replacing about 150,000 who die. This population growth will continue, and there really is no easy solution to it. Comedian Bill Burr suggests we could start by randomly sinking cruise ships, which I would oppose. It might be better to dock all the cruise ships together and use them to house half a million homeless, instead of dumping tons of trash in the Caribbean. Still, though, those ships would be filled in less than three days with newborns.

Basically, folks, we are ... a word that rhymes with prude. And none of the local candidates seemed to understand that while claiming their own “more than thou compassionate” qualifications. Here in Corvallis we will just have to accept that there are limits to what we can do, and that someday in the future, the hills surrounding Corvallis will be covered with brightly colored tents.

Michael Coolen

Corvallis (Oct. 29)

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