Bardwell, a Tracy resident, was introduced to the Tracy Press on June 20 by Marvin Rothschild — now the former director of the Coalition of Tracy Citizens to Assist the Homeless — as overseer of the residence at 26 W. Emerson Ave.
The coalition is leasing the house on a month-to-month basis and is prepared to accept six men and four women for about a year each while they find jobs, sustainable income and housing of their own.
In a four-sentence statement delivered to the Press on Tuesday, July 10, Bardwell stated that “Due to conflicts of interest between ‘old director’ and ‘new director,’ I am not able to perform my job that I was elected and qualified for.”
“I do not wish to be part of a program that (is) full of confusion and conflict, with no direction,” his statement continues. “I wish the coalition success in helping the homeless of Tracy.”
He closed his statement with, “Thank you for the opportunity to serve with you.”
Bardwell declined to comment any further when he hand-delivered his statement to the newspaper.
From the beginning, Bardwell’s service was marked by hostility from Emerson Avenue neighbors. Several accused Bardwell of lying to the Press during an interview for a June 22 story.
Bardwell was quoted in that story saying the coalition chose the home after “receiving the blessing from neighbors.” He and Rothschild reportedly knocked on neighbors’ doors seeking input.
About 20 people living on and around the first block of West Emerson Avenue gathered at the home June 27, responding to an invitation by the coalition to voice their opposition to the project.
When confronted by neighbors, Bardwell said he was misquoted in the story and that he and Rothschild spoke to at least two people.
Bardwell has never made a claim to the Tracy Press about being misquoted.
Rothschild, who officially resigned as coalition director July 5, said the coalition was treating the pastor’s resignation as an “internal issue” and “will not discuss the matter publicly.” Rothschild remains a coalition board member.
“It’s just not in our best interest to discuss this at any time,” Rothschild said.
Tracy City Councilman Steve Abercrombie said Thursday, July 12, that the house’s full time live-in manager would remain with the home. The coalition has approved the background checks of five people who have moved into the home since it opened July 1, he said.
The councilman relayed information to the Press about the coalition after acting Director Lisa Encarnacion declined to comment for this report.
“The house is moving forward,” Abercrombie said. “I admit that the way they went about doing this made it very difficult for neighbors to accept, but we can’t turn back the hands of time. But they are there to stay, and they want to work with the neighborhood.”
Abercrombie said neighbors have formed a Neighborhood Watch group and scheduled the first meeting for Thursday, July 12.
He said ways to report “legitimate concerns” about the transitional home to Tracy police should be one of the topics discussed.
Guillermo Rodriguez, who lives two houses down from 26 W. Emerson, said Thursday that Bardwell’s sudden resignation raised concerns about the coalition’s organization and ability to run the transitional home.
“They all made mistakes, and right now they need to get organized and show they can run this house,” he said. “Right now, it’s scary, because it’s like they have no control. That’s scary, because how can they keep track of these people if they can’t even keep the reverend?”
Rodriguez said other residents on the block told him they “feel like no one is helping us.”
“The coalition is doing one thing and saying another,” he said. “I want this gone from my street, especially since there is no organization and no direction.”