Skip to main content

Some Things You Should Know About 'Safe Ground'

Flyer to be distributed at the Safe Ground rally at City Hall on Dec 29 at ~2pm:

Some Things You Should Know
About 'Safe Ground'

written by Tom Armstrong
of Sacramento Homeless blog

Since "Safe Ground" and the organizations that sponsor it – Loaves & Fishes; Francis House; and SHOC (which is, itself, sponsored by the Sacramento Housing Alliance) – are all nonprofits that frequently seek donations from the public, you should be made aware that specific political beliefs, that carry national aspirations for change in America, are the core of the so-called Safe Ground Movement.

To the local media's discredit the politics that infuse much of the homeless-help industry in our metropolis is not told to the public. I believe this is so because the media fear the damage that might result to several charities who certainly direct the great majority of their effort to doing vital good work: saving the most disadvantaged of Sacramento citizens from utter destitution. I am a bit sympathetic with the Bee, SN&R and other local media who shirk their responsibilities to the public – to be truth-seeking and courageous, leaving to the public what is to be made of the news – for these reasons.

But nowadays things are getting mighty strange in Homeless World Sacramento and it is time that Sacramento businesses and individuals were fully apprised how some of their homeless-charity donation dollars are likely to be spent.

Tenets of the safe ground political movement are expressed in the online newspaper People's Tribune [], identified by several online sources1 as the publication of the Communist Labor Party of America (or what's left of it). Here, central elements in the movement:
  • There needs to be a revolution in America to overturn capitalism as the basis of the economy.
  • Technological advancement needs to be stopped since it displaces manual labor.
  • Jobs must be guaranteed for all.
If you search the archives of People's Tribune2 you will find that a great many of the articles and features of the online publication are written by Cathleen "Cat" Williams, an attorney with Mark Merin's organization, who is an uncredited force with the Sacramento Housing Alliance and SHOC. Ms. Williams is centrally involved in SHOC's weekly safe ground meetings, two of which I have attended, and in a Homeless Power Forum3 held in Loaves & Fishes' Delaney Center last October. Ms. Williams and her husband, Mark Merin, have hosted fundraisers for SHOC in their Sacramento home.

The meetings I attended were filmed (by Costa Mantis in two instances and, in the case of the Power Forum, by another fellow). I say to you that they were certainly centrally all meetings intending to indoctrinate homeless people with the principles of communism – without use of the "c" word.

Further, homeless people who attend weekly safe ground meetings, hosted by SHOC, are taught that they must think in terms of rights they are entitled to and must demand – rather than in terms of responsibilities they should shoulder.

I have written4 the Boards of Directors of Loaves & Fishes and Francis House urging that they disconnect the safe ground effort/campaign/movement from any national political aspirations, but they do not do so.

I personally support the initial, now-lost goals of safe ground: to secure a parcel of land where homeless people can legally camp. I cannot support safe ground as it is now constituted, as a tool of a failed political ideology that, whenever it "succeeds," leads inevitably to totalitarianism.
1 See;; and


Popular posts from this blog

The devastating effects of schizophrenia in one man's life

A powerful story of the deteriorating life and death of once-respectable Sacramento citizen, Mike Lehmkuhl,  is told by  reporter Cynthia Hubert in Sunday’s [7/31/16] Bee.
Lehmkuhl is described as a very likable guy with a sometimes-goofy personality that went along with a formidable intelligence. He was a “standout wrestler” in high school and an “accomplished gymnast at Sacramento State” where he graduated and then got into the building trade before going on to run a contracting business and have a home proximate to Country Club Plaza.
Friends describe him as being “happy” and “sanguine” at that time in his life, when he was about age 50.
But, by 2011, when Lehmkuhl was 53, he was hearing voices in his head and his life began to fall apart. He tumbled into a homeless life, combatting demons in his head that spoke to him. The Hubert piece provides a comprehensive picture of a good man beset by a devastating condition: schizophrenia. Lehmkuhl had good friends and loyal family members…

Homelessness and Remembrance

This is a follow-up on the matter of remembering homeless people who have died and the Wall that Libby Fernandez wants to build in remembrance of the deceased. [See earlier blogpost "Tell Libby NOT to build her wall."]

This blogpost is prompted by a Philosophy Bites podcast released in the last couple days -- titled "C├ęcile Fabre on Remembrance." Fabre's take on why we honor or grieve for certain individuals or certain collections of individuals is not greatly helpful -- since his focus is mainly one of fallen war heroes and war casualties -- but it does open up the issue of why should there be a remembrance effort for deceased homeless people at all. Who is served by it? And has the effort been perverted by the avarice of charities in their insatiable drive for donations.

It is, for starters, a curious thing for "homeless people" to be a collective that is honored. I write that NOT because I don't want the best for homeless people. But, homelessn…

The first-person dimension of homeless Sacramentans suffering from Schizophrenia

"Disabilities and dysfunction process from having been shunned and denied access to needed opportunitites and networks of support."
~ the brothers Lysaker in Schizophrenia and the Fate of the SelfWhat is schizophrenia? How many are homeless Sacramentans?

Perhaps 15% of the Sacramento homeless population suffers from schizophrenia. The percentage is difficult to determine for many reasons that branch from both the fuzzy definition of the malady and that many people within the homeless community who have the illness (1) are in denial and are undiagnosed and (2) have the illness as a diagnosis only – the disability can be faked by people who are successful claimants of social security and other benefits.

What is schizophrenia? One webspace gives us this definition: The most chronic and disabling of the severe mental disorders. Typically develops in the late teens or early twenties. The overt symptoms are hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing visions), delusions (false beliefs ab…