On March 5, Marcos Breton, infamously, posted a very long hateful opinion piece
expressing his annoyance with homeless people -- particularly those that might choose to be in Chavez Park.
Tre Borden, a Sacramento resident who identifies himself as a "consultant, entrepreneur and art enthusiast and the principal of Tre Borden and Co." wrote the primary paper taking issue with Breton's hatefulness and madness
A lot of what Breton wrote only SEEMS to make sense -- if that -- but is really just the usual crock of nonsense that he uses to create tension and pump up the passions of the elite among his usual dedicated readers.
So, let us dig in. Here are the first three short paragraphs at the beginning of Breton's editorial:
Good intentions can come at a cost, such as having to smell urine or see human feces on a daily basis.
Good intentions can scare away customers and damage
livelihoods. They can bring vandalism and theft to businesses run by
hardworking people who nevertheless feel compassion for those committing
crimes against them.
Good intentions can confirm the axiom that every action has a reaction, and the proverb that no good deed goes unpunished.
I welcome information from anybody who feels he/she can offer up a sensible explanation of what Breton means
by those three short, weird paragraphs.
I would claim that good intentions generally result in good results. This is so because a part of good intentions is one of doing a good thing in a good way. A person does not have a good intention and then perform an action and intend to mess things up or disrupt the lives of those unassociated with what one wants done.
In the third paragraph, Breton tells us that "Good intentions can confirm the axiom that every action has a reaction, and the proverb that no good deed goes unpunished." Actually, in the real world, good intentions almost always have absolutely nothing to do with negative reactions or any sort of punishment. There can be consequences, good or bad, -- that are usually foreseen -- coming from good intentions, but seldom is there much else.
I would aver that what mischievous Breton is doing is endeavoring to create conflict in the minds of his cohort of elitist readers such to suggest that what looks like (and IS) well-motivated actions coming from the City, has (dark and ominous and unnamed) sinister underpinnings that only Breton -- who knows all and sees all -- can understand, but won't explain.
A third of the way down the text of Breton's editorial, he writes,
Cesar Chavez Plaza is ground zero for the societal malady Steinberg is making the cornerstone of his political life.
"Societal malady" is an interesting term that is used.
It should be noted that every society is sure to have people who have not succeeded, who struggle and are unhappy and can't find their way. There are others, of course, "at the bottom" in society who are psychopathic or otherwise malevolent, who cause a lot of tumult.
We might, of course, want everyone to have a good job, a nice place to live, fashionable clothes and the knowledge such to be able to get along with others and thrive. But in our freedom-based country where people compete for good jobs and hope for affluence and admiration from others, there will be some who lose in the battlefield of success and in the battlefield of just being liked by others.
The whole of the paragraph that begins with "Cesar Chavez Plaza ..." is this:
Cesar Chavez Plaza is ground zero for the societal malady Steinberg is making the cornerstone of this political life. Created in the classic tradition of the city plaza and bordered on one side by City Hall and the stately Citizen Hotel on the other, Cesar Chavez Plaza has become the de facto staging ground for the warming center.
Breton presumes that with the hotel (which would of course be populated by well-off folks from out-of-town) and the City Hall (which apparently Breton thinks belongs to wealthier people, too) means that the Plaza between them is, ipso facto, Elite Territory that homeless folk have invaded.
But a better analysis of the circumstance of the park/plaza begins with recognition that it is named after Cesar Chavez, a leading figure in California, who represented the rights and struggles of poor people.
In the latter part of Breton's diatribe, the columnist writes ...
Clearly, Sacramento needs more housing options for homeless people – as
do most big cities in the United States. But what’s missing in
Sacramento, what Steinberg and his colleagues need to understand more
clearly, is that their policies are having negative consequences for
people who also care about downtown and share concerns about the
well-being of their fellow citizens.
Breton leaves an interesting omission in his words above. He doesn't tell us what Steinberg (and his colleagues) are doing that create any onerous negative consequences.
The circumstance for homeless people -- that Breton refuses to address -- is that a goodly number of homeless people must be somewhere. There is only so much shelter space. In the rainy season, certainly, all dorm space is occupied at night.
Homeless people do the very best they can to find some concrete next to a building or a patch of grass where they feel it is safe for them to sleep, unmolested.
The determinations that homeless people make when they have nowhere, other than outdoors, for a place to sleep seldom -- (probably, never) -- has any malevalent attributes.
Breton is uneducated on the subject of homeless people. His bosses -- if they care a wit about journalism -- should insist that Breton LEARN SOMETHING or they should take him off the "homeless beat" forevermore.
Tre Borden in his March 8 retort to Breton screed throws some good and mighty and funny punches.
Borden doesn't seem to think that Breton is quite the knuckleheaded manipulator that I see him as. [Though I'm not sure about that.] Borden, while being clever and funny, also takes what he can extract as meaning in Breton's words, approaching them seriously.
With tongue firmly in cheek, Borden begins his "Special to the Bee" response to Breton, thus:
Breton "bravely steps out on a limb to advocate for a downtrodden and beleaguered population in our city. No, it is not those who are homeless, it is for the apparently disenfranchised and underrepresented downtown business community."
And late in his retort, Borden writes this brilliant paragragh:
[Breton's] column misses the opportunity to explore the frustrating complexity of homelessness and advocate for an approach where all citizens understand their role in remedying this problem. This involves more than opening city-owned buildings downtown. To be successful, people in every neighborhood will have to open their mind to effective solutions.
I think that Breton, long a ridiculous figure on the staff of the Bee, has outdone even himself in his latest act of columnist buffoonery. He's gotten old, just as his shtick has gotten very old. It's time for you to retire, Marcos. Give it some thought.