Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Questions for John Kraintz and those who really [I mean REALLY] want the best for him

John Kraintz, the ubiquitous visage of Sacramento homelessness, will forevermore be a central character in a significant international drama: Homelessness in Sacramento in the year 2009.

He worked hard; he wanted the best for his brothers and sisters in Homeless World Sac; he was on lots of committees; he was scruffy; and he was fully committed to homelessness, and bad hair, as a permanent condition.

When he dies, many many decades from now, there won't just be an obit notice in the online Bee, there will be a long story, rehashing his significance to a drama that was played out in front of the whole wide world. And there'll be mention of the 2019 Tarantino movie, "Homeless World" where he was played by Sean Penn, in a starring role. [with Uma Thurman as Sr. Libby; Meryl Streep as Joan Burke; Chris Rock in a tour de force comic-relief performance as Mayor Johnson; Amy Adams as Cynthia Hubert; Madonna as Tracy Rice-Bailey; Drew Barrymore as Cat Williams; and Brad Pitt as Garren Bratcher. And, in an Oscar-winning supporting role, a CGIed Johnny Weismueller playing Arnold Swartzenegger.]

BUT, just in case I'm mostly wrong about the paragraph above this one, and Homeless World Sacramento 2009 ISN'T one of our planet's more significant episodes, life will go on and John Kraintz will advance from the cusp of old age — where he now is — to the harsh reality of really being old. What happens next?

John, a question for ya: Are you REALLY a player in the mix when the hidden decisions regarding homelessness are made? Or you left outside in the tule fog, being more played than player?

When Safe Ground was really really really recognized as being a fully lost cause, were you in on that conversation? that realization? Or were you patted on the head, like the actor who plays Ronald McDonald in that hamburger joint's commercials? I mean, when the substantitive thinking was really happening; when clear-eyed reality was being recognized and analysed and dealt with; were you in the Hot Kitchen!? or, did that occur when you were left in the backyard?

They wouldn't have thought to pay you off, John, if you were really on the First String. But they did pay you off, didn't they, John? Didn't they? You and your safe ground buds got motel rooms for the winter. You got a long article about you in last Sunday's Bee. THAT was your gold watch and pension check, John. THAT. Only that.

To Cynthia, Kevin, Joan, Mark Esq, and Libby: If you give a hangnail about John Kraintz, get him a paying job and a life and a haircut and some credits on his social security tab such that when he retires fifteen years from now all things will be a little healthier and happier for him.

Your job isn't to leave the homeless homeless. Leaving people well fed in their ditches isn't your job; it's what your job isn't.

Mr. Mayor: If John Kraintz intends to stay homeless, then he needs to be taken off all those committees. The job of those committees should be focused-like-a-laser on ending misery, not sustaining it. And money for homelessness should be treated as something precious, not something that gets thrown about, rather willy-nilly, to smooth over political indelicacies.

To John: Take a job.  You are mighty and can do constructive things for the world.  You and the world can have a beautiful, ongoing partnership that becomes productive.  And continue to be on homelessness committees, while you have paid employment, if you want to.  But insist, unconditionally and absolutely, to be a player and not be played.  Accept nothing less.  Do it for all of us left behind.
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See also a letter to the editor in the 11/20/09 Bee, written by Chip Powell, "Chasing a dollar on our dime."

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