NBA legend Bill Walton, who said he was recently assaulted by homeless persons while bicycling, has called out San Diego’s Democratic Mayor Todd Gloria for the city’s homeless crisis.
Walton said he sent numerous emails to the mayor’s office and is now going public with what he sees as City Hall’s failure to address the growing problem.
Bill Walton calls out Mayor @ToddGloria for allowing the homeless crisis to destroy San Diego.
Walton has personally been "threatened, chased and assaulted" by the homeless.
Adding that San Diego is "no longer the greatest place in the world."https://t.co/LSAPOl8xqP
— KUSI News (@KUSINews) September 19, 2022
The city counted a record 1,609 homeless people in the downtown area earlier this month, and many besides Walton are calling for action. But it’s Walton who reported on Aug. 28 that he was “threatened, chased, and assaulted” by homeless persons while riding his bike in a park.
Walton is not just a pampered ex-athlete who complains when city life infringes on his good time. He is an icon and unofficial spokesperson for San Diego, having lived in the same neighborhood for the past 43 years.
Walton is a well-known Democrat who falls on the same side of the spectrum as Gloria. To have him tell the mayor, “You have failed, us and yourself,” in a Sept. 2 email must be troubling for city leadership.
Seeing that his string of emails went nowhere, Walton took to Instagram to voice his displeasure in the city’s plight. Speaking “sadly, and with a broken heart,” the 69-year-old ex-NBA star said that he can no longer declare San Diego to be “the greatest place in the world.”
He continued that he can no longer say that “SD is a safe, healthy, clean, and beautiful place.”
Walton said that his neighborhood of the past 43 years is no longer his dream, and he cannot urge family, friends, tourists, and businesses to come to the city to “live, work, and play.”
A July report showed a record number of homeless people have died in the city in 2022. Even as the 475 deaths were reported, Mayor Gloria was criticized for ignoring a large throng of homeless people while giving a speech at the opening of Comic-Con and opening a women’s shelter.
Walton urged that the homeless crisis be “fixed” and the city be cleaned. In a clear call to action, he said “we need engagement, rehabilitation, and constant enforcement, and we need it now.”