Monday, April 13, 2015

The Hard Times Camping Calamity

A supposed NEWS item in the Sacramento News & Report, titled "No silver bullets," on the status of anti-homeless-people laws in the city and efforts to beat them back by self-identified “homeless advocates” is, likely, substantially right with its purported facts, but annoying in the way that SNR near-always is when it writes about Homeless World.

Camping NEWS in 4/9/15 SNR.
The piece is touted as NEWS, but is written by SNR Editor Nick Miller as if what is told to us comes from an Oracle (or, similarly, SSR's astrology columnist or a blogger), and not a journalist. And, too, there is the ongoing, distressing problem in that no homeless people are consulted or quoted in the piece. It’s as if an article on the Selma March written in 1965, appeared in the Montgomery Advertiser (Yep. That’s the name of the Montgomery, Alabama, paper that’s been around for over a century), and only quoted Governor George Wallace and his cronies, absent any mention from black people about their reasons for the march and how it felt to confront the unjust status quo.

Had what Miller wrote been an article, it would have been reported objectively with all claims being substantiated by evidence or sources. And to justify being as long as it is, there’d have been a wide net of people pulled in to tell how they felt and what they know.

Miller does quote some specific people,  most from among the usual collective of charity adminis-traitors, identified quite properly as “homelessness advocates” [They’re advocating for “homelessness” thus to keep the so-called advocates, themselves, employed.], but much of what he writes are his unsubstantiated mutterings on what he supposes is going on.

Miller “trusts” his usual suspect sources, thus to be in sync with SNR’s New Year’s Resolution regarding what it prints relating to the homeless situation:
We will reach out—in words and in deed—to the neediest among us, our homeless neighbors and our fellows who struggle with mental-health issues, with poverty and with physical disabilities. We will strive to help others not because they’ve earned it or because they deserve it, but simply because they need it.
cover of the
04/09/15 SNR
That is sentiment worthy of Pravda, the former Soviet (now, Russian Communist) newspaper, headquartered in Moscow, that manages – rather than reports – the news. The word “Pravda” translates to the English word “Truth,” which is diabolical (and Orwellian) since Pravda’s mission has always been to distort the truth. Like Pravda, SNR has taken on the role, given to it by its arms-akimbo publisher, of NOT being a product of journalism. It gives people what "they need," not the unadulterated truth, which is the Constitution-given justification for a free press in the U.S. of A.

The goal of Communism is to make the world a Utopia. The problem with that is that it allows itself a means of getting there by use of ANY means. Lying, deception, murder, mayhem, enslaving the masses, are all welcomed resources for furthering their effort. Then what happens is that all the corruption takes hold of the leaders and any once-lofty-seeming goals get waylaid. All that's left is a dictatorship and a population in misery.

I submit that the current Soviet Socialist News & Review should give up its aspirations for being the herald for peace and prosperity and should just seek the TRUTH and report THAT. Leave it to the public as to what it should do with the TRUTH of things that the SNR prints. Managing the news is NOT your freakin’ role, SSNR, so get the hell out of the way.

Early in the article, Miller puts up a common-for-SNR numbers jungle -- that is, data with no context nor easily discernible reason for being reported. Numbers are provided for camping citations in the city for 2014 and for the first 2 1/2 months of this year. Left open is what point Miller intends to make with his undigested data. An analysis would show that the rate of issuance of citations is DOWN from last year to this year. The citations given, as a function of the number of unsheltered homeless people in the county -- which is data that's available -- are not obviously outrageous: an average of roughly one citation per homeless person per year.

Of course, ANY camping citations are outrageous with our situation in Sacramento County of there being greatly inadequate shelter space, making camping outside by homeless folk ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. People have evolved to need sleep, after all.

At the end of the first section of Miller's article, he quotes councilman Jay Schenirer saying, "My goal is that [the homeless advocates] will become partners [with the city council in an effort to end homelessness]."

Miller then muses:
A worthy goal. And perhaps even one that is mutual. But although both sides probably have more in common than they realize, they remain at odds.
I have to ask: What the hell does THAT mean?  Is it a Bretonian brain fart? A writer's equivalent to styrofoam peanuts to fill empty space? The "but although" alone should have told any copy editor [Does SNR HAVE a copy editor?] that Miller nodded off when composing his muttering.

The "advocates" and council being at loggerheads does not address the current situation which has one simple, necessary (albeit perhaps short-term) solution: Repeal or do not enforce the city's anti-camping ordinance. People have to lie down to sleep somewhere. The "solution" cannot be that homeless people are required to sleep standing up. Contrary to what Councilman Schenirer is quoted saying later in the article -- "The city should not become a provider of services for the homeless." -- the city has a PRIMARY duty to look after the rights and welfare of its citizens and not fop off that duty to the myriad dysfunction religious charities in our town. HOMELESS SACRAMENTANS ARE SACRAMENTO CITIZENS. They eat, they sleep, they vote, they suffer. The homeless charities have not been elected as spokespeople for homeless folk. Schenirer and his fellow council members can and must act on their own to address the tragic injustice of homeless people having nowhere to legally sleep without being subject to receiving a citation.

The mid-term solution is SHELTER SPACE, SHELTER SPACE, SHELTER SPACE, until our city/county/advocates gear up to push Housing First very very aggressively, in ways that mean the homeless charities start thinking of themselves as being in a quick walk toward oblivion. No New Friendship Park is needed, for one thing. Tear up the blueprints for that monstrosity, Libby. And SELL the warehouse. The women who head Loaves & Fishes can move their offices back into the OLD Ivory Tower [a name given to top L&F administrators' offices by lower-than-top-level L&F employees] until the happy day arrives when when Loaves & Fishes is no longer needed and can be dismantled.

Speaking of Loaves & Fishes, a truth Nick Miller may have known, but didn't report, is that "six hours of community service" at Loaves in lieu of paying each $100 of a fine is near never the full "six hours" of service rendered. Indeed, I'm told that doing two hours of work before being released from service is unlikely. Of course, I'm happy to have homeless folk do NO community service for the absurd "crime" of refusing to sleep standing up, but the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH is what I hope to "report" in my little blog, here. Let the hoi polloi make of of it what they will.

As a matter of leaving the wrong impression, Miller inserts this one-sentence paragraph into his article:
The Sacramento Police Department would not discuss the illegal-camping ordinance with SN&R.
SNR's outrageous, offensive
cover to its Christmas 2014 issue.
The implication would seem to be that the SPD was discourteous in being unwilling to do its duty to provide information to the press. But the county sheriff was treated in a venal manner by Miller's publication last December when it pictured Sheriff Jones in greenface, as a grinch, in its Christmas issue.

Sheriff Jones' prime crime? In sorrow over the deaths of two policemen from a shoot-out last October, Jones produced a polite video, as a message to the President, about what he thought should be done about immigration. The killer, last October, was an illegal immigrant who had crossed the border into America four times. Nick Miller shared writing credit for the SNR text, which said in part, that Sheriff Jones "... used the tragic deaths of two officers to burnish his political rep on YouTube while trashing the president’s immigration policy."

I think that Nick Miller, himself, and his two co-writers are the true "Grinches of the Year," and they shouldn't expect any callbacks from anyone in the county who wears a badge until 2045. Policemen don't forget severe disrespect hurled at their slain comrades.

In the last section of his article -- titled "The bigger picture" -- Miller tell us one thing up-front that should startle readers and fully deter people from further contributing to Sacramento poverty charities:
On one end of the debate [are] local poverty activists. They're not happy with the city's efforts to get people into housing.
Now, I don't know who these poverty-charity people are, that in the context of the article are separate from "homelessness advocates", nor is their complaint explained. Do they hate homeless people in contrast to housed poor people? Or, do they just object to the city's way of doing things?  The article doesn't tell us.

Speaking of Orwell, the article talks some about a new group with the absurd name Common Cents. It's an outreach program from the numbskull organization Steps Forward -- infamous for its Rick Cole stunt. Calling any organization Common Cents makes no commonsense. If people hear the name and try to google it online by the spelling they would believe has to be right, they are unlikely to find it. Also, what sense is there in calling a program to promote Housing First "Common Cents"? What connects the name to its purported purpose? Nothing. It's all non-sensical. Makes No Cents. Steps Forward tripping and landing on its head, again.

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