While walking in the Orange County Civic Center in Santa Ana yesterday to take care of some paperwork, I was walking past the homeless, but a familiar voice speaking caught my attention. When I started searching for the voice, I was stunned to see Supervisor Andrew Do seated with a homeless gentleman.
I looked to see if anyone else was around, but I didn’t see his staff, the media, County staff, or anybody else accompanying him. As far as I could tell, it looked like he was alone with the homeless.
Do demonstrated a humility rarely seen in politics. Normally, an elected official doing this would seek some sort of publicity, at least a photo opportunity if not a full-blown media event. (If I were involved, I would certainly advise an elected official or candidate to turn this into a photo op.)
Upon walking back after dealing with my papers, I was surprised to see Supervisor Do was still in the same area (okay, he had moved maybe 50 feet) speaking to another homeless person. (It wasn’t until I looked at the photos on my computer that I saw that the man seated with Do in the first photo was the man walking in the second photo.)
I don’t see this mentioned at all on his Facebook, Twitter, campaign web site, or government web site. While I question the political wisdom of not capitalizing on this, I do find it impressive from both my public policy and moral sensibilities that he took (what I assume to be) a lengthy amount of time to actually have meaningful interactions with the homeless.
I’ll be curious to see what insights Do will bring to discussions on homelessness and if this will be an ongoing interaction with the homeless. Other than the legendary former Tustin Councilman Jim Palmer (who has headed the Orange County Rescue Mission for 23 years), I can’t recall any elected officials interacting with the homeless in such a prolonged fashion as Supervisor Andrew Do.