The Tribune was right in strongly admonishing me for my over-the-top attack on Bill Thoma (Dec. 21), for which I apologize to Bill, his family and friends, and to all those who have worked so hard to best address the crisis of homelessness in our community.
I have too often, and to too many, expressed myself in a manner too offensive. There are no excuses I will hide behind, and my critics and adversaries also deserve my apology and my pledge to adopt a more civil and decent attitude when communicating on any issue.
This holiday season allows me some time for reflection, and already doing so, I do understand the importance of not only better moderating my passions, but of embodying the sort of informed humility we all expect and deserve from our elected officials.
There is much discussion these days in our culture of the dismaying lack of civility, of the corrosive effects of hyper-partisanship and combative approaches to any and all disagreement. I am not sure we have made any tangible advances but we must keep trying.
We must keep trying because the venom that consumes respect and dishonors differences courses through our own community in a variety of ways, and I have thoughtlessly engaged in it with my own spiteful retorts and have surrendered to the temptation to broadcast it when my anger has overcome my judgment.
While I have prided myself on candor, there is a point where that candor becomes an easy justification for behavior that is not acceptable from anyone, be it an elected official or an anonymous commenter.
So I make a whole-hearted and community-wide apology and promise to live up to the moral ideals of a community that rightfully prides itself on friendliness and cooperation.
As to the issue of homelessness, it is of such critical importance that we must work together, more collaboratively, more sincerely and more generously to better address it, because it is at a crisis point and the good folks who work everyday to help those in need are overwhelmed.
The Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter is in a terrible state of dilapidation, and the Prado Day Center goes well beyond its capacity in trying to feed people and provide services. Every day and night is a struggle for those who are homeless, for those who help the homeless, and for those who have to deal with the collateral problems that result from our simply not having the necessary resources to deal with the wide variety of challenges.
Currently it is nearly impossible for those who work with the homeless to case manage all the clients that want to regain independence or to provide the needed mental health and substance rehabilitation services. This is true throughout our community, in every town and city.
So no matter what any of our philosophies about dealing with this situation may be, if we are to help people become self-sufficient, if we are to reduce the number of innocent children spending nights sleeping on cots or worse, if we are to experience a true decline in the safety, nuisance and sanitation issues that arise from the crushing number of homeless people in our community, than it will take much more work, sacrifice, and open-minded collaboration from all who want to see this crisis diminish.
So to that end, again I apologize for my many intemperate remarks to all, and ask that in this season of giving and celebration, we reflect seriously on how best to plan and create a homeless services center that will not only deal with so many of the problems but that also reflects the best values of our community.
There is so much to do, there is so much needed, but if we can come together as partners, as friends, as truly decent and civil fellow citizens, I believe we can make it happen. We have the opportunity before us with a parcel of land that can become one large part of the answer to many of the challenges. It is with sincere humility that I ask that we do it together.
Adam Hill represents District 3 on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.