Skip to main content

Days of Rabble Rousing in 2010

Six years ago, I wrote some pieces for Sacramento Press that have now disappeared because when Sac Press 2.0, with its "fun things to do in Sacramento" theme, bought out Sac Press 1.0 -- which I wrote for and was newsy -- the 1.0 stuff was erased. As it happens, on a web search, I found something, on a friend's blog, that I wrote on May Day in 2010 for Sac Press 1.0. Now, sure, it's a bit of nostalgia for me -- not new news -- about a long Friendship Park closure that happened when I was 10% younger than I am today.

BUT, I do think it is instructive and a reminder and worth visiting for readers of sacHO.

My words come from David H. Luckenbill's American River Parkway Blog in a post titled "A Homeless Perspective."

Allow me to set things up, a bit.

I remember the early morning of the day I would write the post. Loaves & Fishes Director Libby Fernandez was in the middle of the cul-de-sac on North C Street, standing next to Tony Gonzales (a fellow whom she would give a free bungalow near Mustard Seed School without ever checking his identification). It would turn out that there was a Sacramento warrant out for Gonzales' arrest for a seven-year-old case that involved a molested child. Typical spectacularly incompetent Libby: She risks the well-being of children at L&F's Mustard Seed school while she putters around, oblivious to her duties.

Anyway. Below is my post to Sacramento Press on May 1, 2010. It is, for me, a reminder of the insane ever-ongoing incompetency of Libby Fernandez. 
This is part one of a ten-part daily series.
It's May Day, when people weave ribbons around a May Pole and there used to be parades with tanks past Red Square.
This year, it's the first day of a sudden, nine-straight-day, barely-announced cessation of some essential services at the nonprofit Loaves & Fishes, which advertises itself as offering "survival services" for the homeless.
Homeless people are used to surprise closes: In my two years of homelessness, there have been Friendship Park closures when empty hard-liquor bottles were found in the men's room trash or when people dash too fast into Friendship Park when it opens or when the L&F staff suddenly goes on retreat.
There have been closures for holidays, of course. And there have been closures when tree branches or whole trees have fallen in the park. And there have been closures for the park to be winterized and for the heaters to be put in (and six-months later taken out) and for the plastic around the gazebos to be removed.
This closure is of the latter kind, to remove the installations of winter. And to do other rather-ordinary work to perk up the grounds and facilities which suffer from unattended-to wear and disrepair.
The question that I and other homeless people have is Why doesn't Loaves & Fishes act like other organizations and do upkeep on an ongoing basis?
No profit-seeking business could survive if it operated with the laxity that L&F allows for itself. But Loaves & Fishes doesn't have to answer to anybody. Its donors give generously based on heart-rending pleas for cash and because the Bee, other Sacramento media and the mayor are smitten by the general concept of helping the poor, and don't take an interest in the hardscrabble reality of people trying to make do in a world where 'warehousing the rabble' is the operant philosophy.”
One thing I must give myself credit for, having to do with this blog, is putting the hard-heartedness of Fernandez on display such that the sleepy L&F Board of Directors puts an end to some of Fernandez's mean-spirited, cold-hearted, diabolical practices.

Closing Friendship Park to all homeless people just because a vodka bottle is found in the park's bathroom trash doesn't happen anymore because of a campaign with flyers distributed in Friendship Park and messages sent to the Board about Fernandez's "collective punishment" policy that she adapted from Adolph Hitler.

Some uninitiated readers of the post may wonder "Why don't homeless people, themselves, pitch in to keep the Park and other venues at Loaves & Fishes clean and in tip-top shape?"

Actually, homeless people are happy to pitch in. I worked in the Wash House as a volunteer for a number of months and had a great time of it. And, when there is a special need for things to be moved, the muscle of homeless men is used, in exchange for a McDonald's $5 gift card. But there is a reason that Loaves & Fishes' use of free or cheap homeless-people labor is limited: Libby's donations-appeal efforts are based on the idea that homeless people are pathetic, worthless scum and Libby is a modernday Mother Teresa saving their wretched lives.


Popular posts from this blog

Homeless Sacramentans lose case that would have given them the right to set up outdoor camping

8/11/13 I certainly give attorneys Mark Merin and Cat Williams credit for pursuing a case against the city of Sacramento to give homeless Sacramentans the right to set up tents and a campsite. I wanted them to win their case, but they didn't. They lost it.

BUT, it is also necessary to look at the particulars of the case that Merin and Williams brought and see that the situation underlying the court case was not very compelling.

During the period eight years ago when 22 homeless campers set up their tents and brought in supplies to Mark Merin's vacant lot at C Street, near 12th, there was loud noise and plenty of other mayhem. Drug dealers were on the street encouraging buys from the campers. The Hernandez couple that lived in a house nearby were constantly being taunted by the campers, disrupting their lives.

Per always with Safe Ground camps, calm was deserted for the sake of boisterousness.

Leader John Kraintz and the other Safe Grounders would claim to have signed strict a…

The Mission Five Years Ago, And Today

I have spent the night the past two weeks plus at the Union Gospel Mission and am having an excellent time of it -- not only regards to sleeping in the dorm that the mission has, but also listening to the sermons that are delivered in the early evening. The Christmas music that is performed is also splendid. [And the food -- the FOOD -- has been fantastic during my stay so far! A happier Tom there couldn't be.] I chatted with a pal last night about The Mish – about how things were about five years ago when we both used the mission’s services frequently, and how thing are, today.
Five years ago, there were a lot scuffles between the guys when the front gate was opened in the early afternoon and in the area near the contact window there were some brawls as guys fought over where guys were in line to get a bed in the dorm.
Nowadays, however, the mission is very much a peaceful place both on the grounds of the facility and and out on the street.
I do not know what transformative eve…

Railway Road Shelter opens near Globe Light Rail Station

The 200-bed shelter at Railway Road and Del Paso Blvd opened last night -- Friday, the 8th -- with fifty homeless people spending the first night there. The shelter -- as yet unnamed -- was scheduled to open on December 8, but is not as yet ready to be populated by the maximum number of people and their pets that, when the shelter is completed and ready, are expected to be staying there. The shelter, for winter, will be open through March 31.

An article written by Cynthia Hubert in the Sunday, Dec. 10 edition of the Bee, is the source of this news.

One peculiarity that is perhaps trivial, but maybe not, is Hubert's unfortunate use of the word "trudge" in describing the, um, walking style of those who first made use of the shelter. "Trudge" is a derogatory word associated with Libby Hernandez, the three-wheel nun. It has been noticed by homeless people, themselves, that they "walk," as opposed to "trudge" when they move forward.

In addition t…