Tuesday, October 12, 2010

At the Sacramento Community Homeless Forum

I showed up at the so-called Sacramento Community Homeless Forum at Sacramento State University, put on and taught by ‘the usual suspects’ in the Leftist wing of the homeless services industry, here. I didn’t come to see the event, but to pass out fliers to attendees.

SafeGround was, somehow, the prime sponsor — though that group is tauted as homeless persons and not scholarly homeless experts — but, hey, wherever they want to funnel the money. [At the bottom of their poster, there’s a form that advises “All proceeds benefit Safe Ground Sacramento, Inc.”]

The poster for the event reads thus:

Join distinguished and innovative — scholars, social service providers, homeless leaders, advocates, law enforcement and business and civic leaders from our community — engaging in an interactive dialogue about homelessness in a time of crisis.
I didn’t see anybody that was “distinguished and innovative,” though people of that depiction did arrive later. Any audience, from the university or public, they might have wanted was surely far under expectations. I printed up 100 fliers, but had forty-two left over after having been out front from thirty minutes before the event to twenty minutes past its scheduled start.

This is a guess that is a little wild, perhaps, but the Redwood Room at the university, where the event was held, was pretty fair sized, big enough for 300 people in 'lecture configuration.' If fifty students or others from the university or pubic were there, I’d be surprised. UPDATE: While attendence early at the event probably was very low, later on, long after I'd left, many showed up to hear Mayor Johnson, and others. I saw no homeless people outside the SafeGround mob. [The presenters weren't there in the array advertised, unless they ducked in the back or, very possibly, many were coming much later to the, yowza, four-hour event.]

I’m giving y’all this information since, according to form, the homeless-services usual suspects (and, possibly, their media toadies) will taut the event as A Success! It Was a Success! in the usual straight-out-of-the-Chairman-Mao-guidebook style. [Everything's a success, damnit!  Never admit to problems.]

You know, my “problem” is I wouldn’t mind some success (that is, some real success). I am by no means doing cartwheels because if their event was a bust under attended and not meaningful. Winter will come and there will be people suffering from that out on the streets. It is just that the people putting on today’s event are the crowd of oblivious automatons that are the city’s Keystone Cops of Homelessness, not key players at enacting any remedies. They’ve proved a dearth of worth more than a few times, now. Homeless people have died and almost gotten killed, and things get run in ways so lacking in competence … that sometimes the shit comes down SO heavy I feel like I should wear a hat1.
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1 Quote from the movie Body Heat.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jenny Piccolo said...

I am a Sac State student and attended the forum today and I can attest to the attendance and there were well over 100 professors and students over the 4 hour period.
Although I myself have never been homeless, I have several close family members who have spent years on the streets. Getting people off of the streets and guaranteed jobs is a right that all American's deserve to have!
I don't know what country you live in, but our system is flawed and set up for failure. If it weren't, homelessness wouldn't exist.
Unfortunately, every organization is corrupt, some more than others. I'm not defending SafeGround because I think that the logic behind its steps is stupid and it makes no sense to me BUT it's a step in the right direction. Hopefully it's mishaps and failure will help future generations figure out how to do it right!

October 12, 2010 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Tom Armstrong said...

Jenny,

Thanks for your comment. I defer to your better take on the attendance to the event. [And I'll take out the "Audience-lacking" bit to the title of this post.]

As for the politics, I'm not a fan of making capitalism a purely greedheaded thing, as has happened over the course of the last fifty years or so.

But you simple have to properly-incentivize the economy and a REGULATED capitalism is a central part. I believe the prime mistake, causing our economic tailspin, was the deregulation of capitalism during the G.W.Bush Administration. That is being reversed and more regulation should be imposed.

Also, we greatly undertax the wealthy. Ours used to be a middle-class country; now, we are in a new Guilded Age with huge numbers of very poor and obscenely rich.

Yes, something's wrong. But you can't force people to be the way you want them to be with the heavy-hand of government. You have to allow people the freedom to make mistakes and chase after their own idea of what makes them happy (within limits).

October 13, 2010 at 8:31 AM  

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