My 16-month-old granddaughter, Raimy Mitchell, squeals with joy when grandma takes her down the hill in Palmer Park and she sees CAMDEN Playground.

Her little hazel eyes just light up.

She's my only grandbaby. She started walking not too long ago, and she loves to toddle from the swing to the slide to the teeter-totter on her brand new legs.

Her namesake is her uncle Mitchy, my only son, whom she never met.

Mitchell Allen Ragnar Peterson died of a heroin overdose March 19, 2017. He was 25, homeless, and living in his car in parks in New Orleans when he died. He had no valid driver's license, no insurance and no job. He was wanted in several states for theft, failure to appear, driving without a valid license and goodness knows what else.

He did not have to be homeless. He had a mother who loved him beyond measure who would have traded her life for his without a second thought. It was that needle and his love for it that forced his homelessness.

Today’s homeless living in cars are not looking for another chance; they’re looking for another score. The proposal, if passed, to encourage the homeless to sleep in their cars in the park will have devastating consequences for this community, including, but not limited to, an increase in death and crime and shiny little discarded needles.

Homelessness is a community problem. This proposal must not be this community’s solution.



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