Tuesday, September 8, 2009

SafeGround, Joan Burke and Truthiness

In an email I received from Joan Burke of Loaves & Fishes it says this [in bold] [My comments in red.]:

Peaceful SafeGround Rally at Sacramento City Hall

10 AM on Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sacramento City Hall
915 I Street
Sacramento, 95814

Why Hasn't Sacramento Provided a Safe and Legal Place to Camp? [As Ms. Burke knows better than anyone, the mayor is making an effort to create a legal campground, Stepping Stone, that has been waylaid, in part, by her organization and its lawyer with the misadventure on C Street, near 13th.] The number of homeless people has risen by 14% in just two years. [This is an example of misuse of statistics by discarding unfavorable data. The reasonable/normative timespan of change to observe here is one year. But that change was only 4.6%, and wouldn't have seemed alarming.] Shelters are turning away hundreds of men, woman and children every night for lack of space. [This implies that people are being turned away at the door and being forced onto the mean streets, but not so. Many people are on lists at St. John's and the Salvation Army seeking to move there from a shelter where they're currently staying.] Why would we arrest people who have nowhere to go? Shouldn't the city spend its money on housing for people rather than on jails? [For starters, jails are a county expenditure, but this is an odd comparison for other reasons, too. The problem, really, is a lack of affordable housing that should be fixed by legislation/ordinances encouraging construction of low-cost housing.] Criminalizing homelessness is unjust and solves nothing. ["Criminalizing homelessness" is an effort to "warehouse the rabble," as John Irwin's classic study showed. What Loaves & Fishes does at its Friendship Park, and VOA does with its Overflow shelter is ALSO warehousing the rabble, keeping homeless people out of sight from the general population.] Please support the more than 1,200 homeless people who will sleep outside in Sacramento tonight and every night. [Yes, but supporting the homeless people can mean NOT supporting Loaves & Fishes' activism efforts which include leadership that believes capitalism should be ended in this country and advances in technology suppressed. Also, there's the ongoing L&F truthiness problem.]
Come to the SafeGround Rally this Thursday at 10 AM at City Hall.
Ask our Mayor, City Council and City Manager to act immediately to:
1. Declare a moratorium on enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance. It is unjust to cite and arrest people who have nowhere else to go.
2. Provide SafeGround, a legal campground for homeless people who have signed a pledge of no drugs, no alcohol, no violence.
[Loaves & Fishes' SG pledge calls for no drugs nor alcohol usage within 50 feet of an encampment, not that people at one of their campgrounds not be on drugs or drunk.]

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