Bill Walton is challenging San Diego city hall to get a grip on its homeless crisis.
Walton, a progressive Grateful Dead enthusiast who is hardly a Rush Limbaugh acolyte, has called out San Diego mayor Todd Gloria in multiple forums.
The website Voice of San Diego documented several letters that Walton wrote to Mayor Gloria on the issue, including one where the NBA and broadcasting legend said he was assaulted.
“Once again, while peacefully riding my bike early this Sunday morning in Balboa Park, I was threatened, chased, and assaulted by the homeless population, in our Park,” Walton wrote Aug. 28. “Once again, you’ve done, and continue to do, nothing.”
On Aug. 24, Walton wrote, “you speak of the rights of the [homeless], what about our rights, we follow the rules of a functioning society, why are others allowed to disregard those rules. your lack of action is unacceptable, as is the conduct of the homeless population.”
Mayor Gloria was elected in 2016.
The last several years have seen a spike in homelessness in many big cities across America, including New York, and it’s an issue San Diego has been grappling with for some time.
In addition to the letters he wrote, the 69-year-old Walton also made his frustrations public, calling out Mayor Gloria on Instagram this week to take action.
“Sadly, and with a broken heart, I can no longer say that my hometown of San Diego, is the greatest place in the world, I can no longer say that SD is a safe, healthy, clean, and beautiful place, I can no longer urge my family, friends, tourists, and businesses to come to SD to live, work, and play,” Walton wrote.
“I can no longer say that our neighborhood for the last 43 years is still my dream, I am brokenhearted, Mayor @toddgloria —clean up our city, and let us reclaim our lives, we must fix our homeless crisis, we need engagement, rehabilitation, and constant enforcement, and we need it now.”
This was the second time in under a week he challenged Mayor Gloria on Instagram.
“Will San Diego Mayor @toddgloria please give us our park, our bike paths, our neighborhood, our community and our lives back,” Walton wrote in a previous entry. “The homeless situation is getting worse instead of better & it costs more to keep people on the street then to get them off…… We need consistent engagement, more bridge shelters, combined with more services & consistent enforcement, and we need it NOW.”