Written by T. Logan Sheek
As the homelessness crisis continues in San Diego, Bill Walton took a moment to call out Mayor Todd Gloria for the failures in protecting what was once America’s Finest City. San Diego County is now poised to declare homelessness a public health crisis as a record number of the homeless is recorded in downtown San Diego alone. In July, a record number of deaths was noted among the homeless with little sign of the crisis slowing down. San Diego business owners lamented as they face rent increases combined with less business, claiming that much of the foot traffic they’d once received has had a dramatic drop off due to homelessness on the sidewalks. Pedestrians have been harassed in Balboa Park including Bill Walton who was attacked while riding his bike near a large homelessness encampment he dubbed “Gloriaville”.
“Sadly, and with broken heart, I can no longer say that my hometown of San Diego is a safe, healthy, clean, and beautiful place…I am brokenhearted,” Walton shared on social media along with a call to Mayor Todd Gloria to fix the homelessness crisis. After saying he had raised the issue privately with the mayor, Walton decided to go public claiming that the mayor will do anything to benefit himself, but nothing to benefit the people of San Diego. He also warned San Diegans to “beware of people who keep telling you what a great job they’re doing.” At a Lucky Duck Foundation press conference, a homelessness-focused non-profit, Walton lambasted Todd Gloria for his failures to keep the city clean and healthy, also claiming that in all their conversations Todd Gloria has come up with multiple excuses and claimed that much of the problem was understaffed police, a problem that has also been exacerbated under Todd Gloria’s term.
Mayor Todd Gloria’s office responded by saying that Walton was simply throwing a tantrum full of “outright lies”, also claiming that homelessness is Mayor Gloria’s top priority. The response was sent by Mayor Todd Gloria’s director of communications as he himself was in the Netherlands at the time.