Friday, April 17, 2009

Sometimes it comes down so heavy I feel like I should wear a hat.


Tangential thought #1:
Wisdom from Doubt

In the movie Doubt, both the main characters, who battle throughout the film, are rather heroic and rather terrible.

In each case the character's salvation rests on his/her ability to doubt. In both cases, the jury [and that might be a jury of One, if you're sure about God, btw] is out on how proper and righteous each is.

If, as a viewer of the film, you make it through, paying proper attention, you are uncertain how to assess the movie and the nature of its characters. And if you think deeply about the movie, you have to wonder about those judgments in your own life you are uncannily certain of. Is there room for doubt?

If it says Libby, Libby, Libby
on the label, label, label

I do wonder if Sister Libby of Loaves & Fishes is quite mad, incapable of seeing herself as Hypocrisy Manifested. In this mode of seeing her, she is dangerous to the well-being of homeless people in Sacramento, if not so very much in the short term, certainly in the long run.

Libby stood by the mayor's side when he announced the million-dollar plan to address homelessness, related to Tent City. A million dollars is a great deal of money when you're talking about an encampment with a population of approximately 200 people. [That's $5,000 per Tent City resident.]

Now, after the million-dollar plan went forward very much per expectations, Libby has spun on a dime and is now leading a civil-disobedience effort to protest the mayor's homeless initiative. [Effectively, this is so. She might argue that it is just the safe ground/no-more-rousting-of-the-homeless elements that she protests. But SHE STOOD BY THE MAYOR'S SIDE; SHE DRANK THE KOOL-AID, giving her imprimatur to the effort.]

Also, in the interim between December, when Loaves's Safe Ground Rallys started and now, Loaves [i.e., Libby] has changed the very definition of Safe Ground. NOW, the ideal of Safe Ground is only necessary so long as shelter space is unavailable or so long as the economy is tanking. BUT, TODAY, shelter space IS available: There were open beds at both Overflow and the mission last night. By Loaves's new definition, Eroded Ground -- err, I mean Safe Ground -- isn't called for. By Loaves's definition, there shouldn't be a tent encampment.

Tangential thought #2:
Don't defeat 'the good enough' in pursuit of 'the perfect.'
Wisdom from The Assassination of Richard Nixon.

In the rather obscure, and badly titled movie The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Sean Penn, in perhaps his very best performance, plays a man who lets not-insignificant, but relatively small, complaints unravel his relationships and his career success. Ultimately, the corrosive nature of his madness causes him to implode.

Some film reviewers thought the movie didn't have a point, but that is because they missed it. [Like how many may miss the point of this careening and confused blogpost, btw.] It was a psychological study of the downward spiral of a life. And a warning against high-blown idealism and how it can destroy the very thing it claims mightily to want to save. At least, that's what I think the film might be about. Maybe.

If it says Libby, Libby, Libby on the label,
label, label, redux, redux, redux

I do think I am right that Sister Libby is in direct odds in her direct management [or, should I say, neglect to manage the day-to-day] at L&F with the limelight she seeks as a leader of homeless causes.

Loaves & Fishes is part of a lawsuit to get damages for homeless people's confiscated property, while at the same time Sister Libby allowed Friendship Park management to threaten to destroy homeless people's property with only a day's warning.

Sister Libby sings "We Shall Overcome" with respect to Tent City, while her political activities have led to the problem that needs to be overcome! She's declared war against herself.

She goes around as this great advocate of the Sacramento Homeless, while at the same time she leads an organization that regularly closes Friendship Park at whim and without notice. The public remains mostly ignorant of Sister Libby's dark side. There is no reporting outside SacHo about park closures, for example, and God forbid there be any mention of it on the L&F website, which is a showcase to fake-out potential donors, and not a pathway for information of what's going on. [Note that Loaves & Fishes, unlike VOA, fails the Better Business Bureau's stamp-of-approval as an "Accredited Charity" test for nonprofits. (See VOA's BBB stamp at the bottom of the left sidebar of their home page; something that L&F doesn't quality for.)]

The politicians in town must be weary of play-both-sides Libby, whatever they might need to say publically. This could be to the detrement of the homeless in Sacramento, having Sister Libby continue to be the face of homelessness in Sacramento.

But I don't know for sure.

And I don't know for sure if I gave this blogpost a good title.

Tangential thought #3: Wisdom from Doubt
I don't think that Sister Libby doubts herself, thus she can do opposing things at the same time. Claim to be this great advocate for the homeless, while her policies at the organization she heads leaves them dumbfounded and less able to climb out of poverty.

She can appear as a leader on both sides of an issue.

She can redefine labels dynamically to suit the immediate purpose. SAFE GROUND, UNSAFE GROUND, GROUND ROUND.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friendship Park was closed due to illegal drug and alcohol use on the property. Funny how you refer to the closure often, yet never (I mean NEVER) refer to the actual reasons for it. I guess ou prefer to bag on Sr. Libby as it fits your already preconceived notions. Nice reporting, NOT!

April 20, 2009 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Anon,

In "Loaves & Fishes ends 'time out' for homeless" I wrote, "Management at Loaves has a longstanding backward policy of punishing all it serves to retaliate for the bad behaviour of a few. Last Monday, people in L&F's Friendship Park were using or dealing drugs and using alcohol, so the park, with all its services, and men's washroom and possibly other services, was closed – until today."

In "Loaves & Fishes to Homeless: Drop Dead" I quote my letter to the Board of Directors saying, "A sheet of paper was put up on the chainlink-fence gate telling those waiting to get into the park that the reason for the closure was evidence of alcohol and drug use yesterday in the park. The sheet ended with expression of thanks to those who do not use or deal drugs or drink alcohol in the park."

In "Loaves & Fishes management closes Friendship Park for indefinite period," I wrote "A sheet of paper was put up on the chain-link fence which informed people that evidence of drug and alcohol use was found in the park, yesterday, and this was the reason for the park closure. The sheet ended with an expression of thanks to park 'guests' who do not engage in drug or alcohol use in the park."

I "NEVER" refer to the reasons for the park closure? WRONG. I ALWAYS give the reasons that were given by mgmt for the park closure. However that 'reason' only explains closing the park for a short part of an hour, maybe -- not for three-plus day.

April 20, 2009 at 12:06 PM  

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