I have recently heard accounts, from two separate people, that two female employees who work at the ASL were instructed to lie about speaking to me for about a half hour the second night I spent at the ASL. I was told they denied speaking to me but to ask me to leave. I asked Dawn Price of the Friendship Shelter to please let me speak to them. I have notes I took at the time. I told her I knew one of them was a psychology major and we discussed she had the same name as my grandmother. I told them a trick that if someone is hysterical, “you bear hug them and lift their feet off the ground.” It’s an old psychologist trick. It calms them immediately. 

However, this is all much to do about nothing. Dawn refuses to tell me who at the Friendship Shelter wrote the article. She just said “we” wrote it. Big deal. I can handle the BS. This is not why I’m so terribly sad. 

Three women living at the ASL came to me and told me that they were raped and sexually assaulted in the shelter by known sex offenders. They told me they have told the people at the shelter. The ASL is set up as one room. Women on one side and men on the other separated only by folding tables. After everyone is asleep, the predators go to work telling the women to be quiet. There are some good men who have stepped in, but the violations have continued. 

I looked up these men on meganslaw.ca.gov. These are registered, dangerous sex offenders. The women don’t think they will be believed because they know they are hated in town. I have even heard of sex trafficking happening, but haven’t dived into that topic yet. I’m trying to give confidence to these women to come forward, but naturally, the odds are against them. Why aren’t these men being checked before coming to the shelter? It takes a minute. I’ve been thinking a lot about the expression, “deer hunters go where the deer are.” These women are vulnerable and they often won’t be believed, despite the fact that the names they gave me of the violators checked out on the sex offenders’ list. 

We have people running around stealing signs. We have people gossiping about others and saying terrible things. People have said horrible things about me. We are worried about the inconvenience of traffic as businesses that have been here for years are loosing their stores because their rent has just increased. 

We are worried about traffic when the middle class, artists, seniors, students and the young professionals can’t get housing and are scared for their futures. A lot of people spend their time smiling at one another while turning around and trashing that person once their back is turned. 

There isn’t one millionaire in this town who didn’t get to where they are without help from someone. But that fact is easily forgotten. They are so scared their little worlds will be threatened. They are fueled by fear and are totally irrational. Or, maybe, they are worried the “wrong people” will be given the same opportunity in the High School that their children were blessed to have. God help their children if this is what is being taught to them. 

I’m an ordained minister and certified celebrant. I haven’t brought this up before because I believe in the separation of Church and State. I’m not a preacher. I consider myself a pastor who goes to where help is needed the most. On the subject of addiction, a crisis that claims lives daily, I can confidently say the Friendship Shelter is merely a revolving door. I took an oath. I don’t lie nor do I repeat the words of those who confide in me. I am not used to people calling themselves “Christians”. Where I come from, you are an Episcopalian or Methodist, and so on. But those who call themselves “Christians”, I challenge you to look at your actions when you bring people down. I challenge you to look in the mirror when you are only concerned with your own self-interest. 

If being new means I want to save this town from dying, and I want to breath new life into the village with vitality and young professionals and people who will love the little given to them, then so be it. Maybe I’m not right for this town – I don’t know. In the last few months, I’ve seen adults act worse than children, pointing fingers at everyone but themselves. They are scared and cowardly. They hide behind fake smiles and turn around, stabbing people in the back. I haven’t seen anything like this in all my life. The lack of humility and gratefulness, by some, is astonishing. 

I wanted to make a difference. I went to the ASL to find out if the homeless were being bussed here, and I fell down a rabbit hole. If you don’t want accessible housing, if you want corruption and you want an incredibly elite few holding all the power, don’t vote for me. I’ll disappoint you. I want a future for this town, not a bunch of middle-aged inheritors who will be left with homes and property they won’t be able to afford. 

I couldn’t care less if you are rich or poor. Don’t worry. I’m not trying to steal your bag of gold at night. Live behind your gates and walls. I’m a bridge builder. I hate exclusivity. You should know that before you cast your ballot. I want criminals in jail if they break the law, rich or poor. I want clean coastlines and to protect our incredibly beautiful land. But enough is enough. I’m angry at the lack of integrity and the blind eyes to the cruelty. 

To all my opponents – I have only the greatest respect for all of you. What you are doing is hard and thankless. You have all shown great courage. 

To the Establishment who are feeding off the taxpayers’ money and making backroom deals, I will stop you. I will call you out. I will no longer put up with any façades of kindness while I see you stab someone in the back. The problem with “going low” is that there is no bottom. When you “go high”, you occasionally get a Lincoln, a King...or an Obama. I will never be in that category, obviously. But, I can least try to walk in their footsteps. You get the Village you vote for; God bless Laguna Beach if this direction doesn’t change. meganslaw.ca.gov.

Allison Mathews

Laguna Beach