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Cat and Mark's Spooky Bullshit

Cat and Mark Merin's spooky Viewpoints piece in the Bee.
Mark Merin and wife Cat Williams, associates at the Mark Merin Law Firm and two of Safe Ground, Sacramento’s Board members, wrote a spooky, surreal Viewpoints piece that was printed in the Bee on Oct. 7.

Their piece, titled “To help city’s homeless, finally create Safe Ground,” fully ignores the awful track record that the organization SafeGround, Sacramento has with homeless camps and supposes, somehow, the city or county might now sanction a whole bunch of Safe Ground villages that consist of cabins and come with services, including job training, drug and alcohol treatment and medical care.

That is one hell of a long, deranged, impossible Hail Mary pass attempt when you consider Safe Ground’s disastrous record with their much-troubled illicit campsites! [And campsites that were illicit is all they've had.]

I haven’t been keeping tabs lately, but Safe Ground’s record in regard to the other thing they do, their Pilgrimage program – setting up and overseeing “overnights” on the floor of churches such that perhaps as many as a hundred homeless people get dinner, a night’s sleep and breakfast – has been a success. Kudos for that, Safe Grounders!

But for Safe Ground to get an OK from the city to have use of property to create a cabin village would require city council members to forget a horrific, ugly past. As for outside the city but in the county, I would be wildly surprised if the Supervisors, with their knowledge of Safe Ground, would allow any SG community to come into being. Likewise, they'd have to be deranged to allow for that.

One special-bonus problem the Merins’ opinion piece has is that it is truth-averse about a lot of things.

They write, “What will reduce the number of homeless people … is housing. But before that, we need … specially built communities of affordable cabins, communal facilities and essential services.”

NO.  We don’t. The Merins’ cabin villages would leech money from the direct effort of “Housing First”; it would be that which would continue the Great Delay in allowing homeless people to establish a good, meaningful life. What is needed in the interim before homeless people get a fresh start is more quite ordinary shelter space, and failing that, places where sleeping in a bag or tent in a park won't get you ticketed by the police.

The Union Gospel Mission had wanted to extent what help they provide. Allow them to create a women’s dorm or extend their men’s dorm.

A shelter can be created at most any building not now in use. All that’s needed is floor space and adequate bathroom facilities. Of course, toilets and a set-up to wash one's hand can be rented and brought to an empty building, if necessary. West Sacramento took a small rundown motel and used it to house maybe 50 homeless people for about a year before the motel was razed. Sacramento should look for an opportunity to do something like that.

Certainly, the city and county have to allow homeless people to sleep somewhere when there is inadequate shelter space. THEY MUST TELL US WHERE PEOPLE MAY SLEEP.

There are ZERO prospects for the Marins to get what they seek any time in the foreseeable future. Especially when they are truthy in what they write/say.

The Merins write that their bloated Safe Ground solution has “wide public support.” Bullshit.

The Merins absurdly write that “hundreds of new people join the ranks of the homeless every month in this region. This growing number of homeless people has alarmed the city and county.” Bullshit. HUNDREDS PER MONTH? Net!? Ridiculous. Laughable. Complete horseshit. A scare tactic.

The Marins, and with them Safe Ground, seem to be bent on establishing themselves as utterly absolutely totally untrustworthy.

I have advocated for a plot of land for Safe Ground to run a test community with a small number of tents that is simple, with no frills or fancy touches. But at this point I think it would have to be overseen by a trustworthy group fully outside Safe Ground to overcome and report problems. Indeed, unless there are very few problems and only insignificant ones, the effort to create a Safe Ground safe ground should be abandoned for evermore. Send Safe Ground to the dumping ground of forgotten history where now is laid to rest Enron and New Coke. Wipe our memories clear of Safe Ground, O Lord, such that the meadowlark sings a prettier tune and daffodils seem even more lovely.

I think that all the Cat-Mark Viewpoint piece was truly about was to bring in donations. Steve Watters, the beloved-by-homeless-people Safe Ground director for a spell of a year and a half or so, was canned when he was making a gallant effort to truly, really create a Safe Ground site. His sin that resulted in Cat and Mark and the rest of a bare majority of the Safe Ground Board of Directors of the time to fire him? He wasn't bringing in enough mullah to satisfy. As with most homeless charities, bringing in money is the alpha and omega. Accomplishing something real is something that gets yakked about, but always, always gets waylaid..

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