When Bill Walton passed away on Monday, fans recalled the UCLA star, two-time NBA champion, and one of the great centers of all time. Walton became a broadcaster and last year he called a foul on misguided government policies in San Diego, the same policies now causing misery across California.

“I love San Diego and it breaks my heart what’s happening to it now,” said Walton in a 27-minute speech last October. The dream had become a “nightmare” and the city faced an “existential challenge.”

Balboa Park, near Walton’s residence, is “not safe,” and “downtown for same reason.” Bike trails were jammed with trash and the Embarcadero “a travesty.” For Walton, this was due to homeless people who failed to grasp “the first thing you learn in life—clean up after yourself.” As Walton saw it, the homeless were also into criminality.

“They steal everything,” Walton said, including water, electricity, and “our mail.” This forced Walton to “call the police every single day.” In his speech, he called out career politicians who “never had another job,” especially San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. He had done “a lot of preaching” but had “no plan whatsoever.”

Gloria had “instructed our police force to not enforce the rules on homeless people. That is unacceptable.” On the other hand, it wasn’t quite true that Gloria had no plan. He was an advocate of the Housing First policy of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“‘Housing First’ is not working, has never worked, and will not work,” contended Walton. If Californians have doubts, economist Lawrence McQuillan shows why Newsom’s plan is not working.

Only Hawaii surpasses California as the most expensive place to build housing, and it takes about five years “from concept to move-in.” This expense, largely due to excessive regulation, has saddled California with a “severe housing shortage.”

Housing First makes few demands on the homeless themselves, and crowds out both shelter space and treatment solutions. For every person housed under the current plan, “up to four more become newly homeless.” Simply putting a roof over the head of people with substance abuse and mental illness “does not resolve their root causes of homelessness and may make matters worse.”

Housing First, McQuillan has explained, is “a misguided, budget-busting, Sisyphean pipe dream of the state’s political class, which has produced concentrated urban areas of human misery such as The Jungle (San Jose), Skid Row (Los Angeles), the Tenderloin (San Francisco), and Wood Street (Oakland).”

Squalor also prevails in many parts of Sacramento and San Diego, once billed as “America’s Finest City.”

Like McQuillan, Bill Walton supported high-tech shelter tents as a stop-gap measure, but the “political will” is not there. With the departure of Walton, the city, state and nation have lost an eloquent advocate for common-sense policies. Still, there’s more about him people should know.

Walton was a big fan of Lithuanian center Arvydas Sabonis, “a combination of Kareem, Larry Bird, and Pete Maravich.” Before 1991, the Lithuanians were forced to play for the Soviet Union. They wanted to field their own national team for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, but their country lay in ruins. Golden State Warriors assistant coach Donnie Nelson sought out the Grateful Dead.

The group’s foundation cut the Lithuanians a big check and had their logo designer send a box of tie-dyed T-shirts in Lithuania’s national colors, with an image of a skeleton dunking a basketball. The Lithuanians defeated Russia for the bronze medal and the victors posed in their T-shirts.

In 2011, when Sabonis was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he asked Bill Walton to be his presenter. Before the ceremony, Sabonis slipped Walton one of the original T-shirts from 1992. For Walton, a huge Grateful Dead fan, “It was as emotional and powerful of a moment as I’ve ever had in my life.”

It was a life like no other. Rest in peace big fella.