WOODLAND (CBS13) — As the city of Woodland considers opening a tent city for the homeless, a new controversy is brewing over signage that targets the city’s growing homeless population.
The signs are sending a strong message, but some say their language is offensive while the man who made the signs says that’s the point.
“Do not be a filthy, dirty, nasty pig! Please do not litter, leave your garbage here or illegally dump your trash here! You wouldn’t do it at your home, so don’t do it here.”
That’s the message written on a new sign posted in the front of a Woodland business. Even Stephen Chaundry admits his words are harsh, but that didn’t stop him from crafting the signs now posted in Woodland’s Shade Tree Plaza.
“It’s harsh but it’s done in a playfully harsh tone,” said Chaundry, “When I see a transient, I will usually read the sign to them and remind them and they’ll usually laugh with me. They understand the point.”
Chaundry owns a security company and says he sees problems in the streets first hand as a growing homeless and transient population leaves behind trash and commits crimes.
Another sign he made reads, “Woodland has thousands of good people! If you are a tweeker [sic] and wish to do crimes in our community, we are not scared of you, you need to be scared of us! We are united to take back our city.”
Chaundry says he can see how the message could be viewed as threatening.
“I think the signs are open to interpretation, but again the most important thing is they’re attracting attention and bringing people to the table to discuss this.”
“I love them,” said Chris Jackson.
Jackson says he is all for the message. He’s been homeless for five years due to a disability, but says many living on the streets don’t want to get help.
“It’s a mess. It’s a nightmare,” said Jackson.
Others say the message went too far.
“I feel like nobody deserves to be talked to like that,” said Woodland resident Chelsey Simpson.
Simpson understands the frustrations but says the signs are insensitive.
“I definitely think there should be a sign, ‘Please pick up after yourself,’ but to say it like that, it just makes people feel worthless,” she said.
Chaundry says he’s not trying to hurt the homeless and offers many of them work from time to time, but he says it’s time Woodland take its streets back from those who are trashing it.
“We’ve been more than compassionate, we’ve been more than kind, but you know we’re to the point now where enough is enough. We love everybody but part of love is called tough love,” he said.