Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Joan Burke evokes Rosa Parks at Aug 24 City Council session

Many homeless people and executives with homeless-services nonprofits came to the city council meeting, yesterday, to express their opinions regarding the Sacramento City Council’s determination, last week, to move the period when citizens make two-minute comments to the council from the beginning of the weekly sessions to the end of the sessions.

Sentiment by most yesterday in the public-speaking period, were intolerant of the decision to move ‘public comments’ and expressed no understanding of the logic in doing so.

Tamie Dramer, Executive Director of SafeGround Sacramento, called the action of moving the comment period one of “disenfranchisement” and accused the council of punishing the whole of the public in an act endeavoring “to sideline a group of already marginalized people.”

Joan Burke, homeless-services nonprofit Loaves & Fishes executive, said that the message of moving the speaking period is the “same, exact message when you told people you have to go to the back of the bus.”

Burke’s sentiment, evoking an iconic moment in the civil rights movement, would be hilarious if it wasn’t so insensitive and odd.

While I and the great majority of homeless people would appreciate more and urgent action from the city council at enacting laws, or waiving some laws, to make homelessness less of a miserable and dangerous condition, the spectre of homelessness in Sacramento is not the equivalent to the effort to address rights relating to racism in the 50s and 60s.

Furthermore, SafeGround has been heard by the city council, and will continue to be. The members of the organization are more resourceful and have greater access than they pretend. Indeed, they have easy access to the ear of the mayor and other council members. Their persistent complaining is what is damnable, since it is harmful to the ends they claim to want to achieve. SafeGround’s effort to filibuster and annoy is childish. The group, in particular those who are, themselves, homeless, fail to even attempt to consider the needs of others that would make achievement of progress to address homeless misery most likely.

One very visible difference between the civil rights movement and the SafeGround effort is "the opposition" during the civil rights period were fervid racists with snapping German Shepard dogs. The Sacramento City Council is wholly composed of bright, nice and reasonable people who, for the most part, want to find ways to make the city a happier place for everyone.

Another difference is that the civil rights movement had the character associated with heroic people hoping to expand everyone's sense of the arena of humanity: Leaders included Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, John Lewis, and Roy Wilkins and attorney Thurgood Marshall. Meantime, SafeGround whines, endlessly, about victimization and has the characteristics of Libby Fernandez, Joan Burke, Tamie Dramer, John Kraintz and Tracie Rice-Bailey and attorneys Mark Merin and Cat Williams.

Woe, to be homeless in Sacramento.

This was not the first time Ms. Burke has evoked Rosa Parks as a suitable allusion to the SafeGround effort. Making a connection such as that is fanciful, ridiculous and truthy … and Ms. Burke should knock it off. Who does she think she is, Glenn Beck??

But there are features that campaigns for civil rights; gay rights; women's rights; rights for disabled people, and the effort to integrate homeless people into the community have in common: each expands the reach of humanity, making us all less tribal or insular. But success is always achieved if people understand the other's wariness and concerns.

Unhappily, the group of people in the far-far-Leftist homeless-services nonprofits, who are promoted as the homeless leaders in the vapid local media, promote victimization and denial of "rights" as the reason for their "protests via being annoying." Sheesh.

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