Skip to main content

Great article in the Sacramento News & Review about the $100,000 Homeless Man


There is an important story about homelessness in this week’s [2/16/17] Sacramento News & Review that is centrally about the tormented life of Russell Bartholow, titled “The $100,000 Homeless Man.”

Beyond telling Bartholow’s story, the cover article rightly relates elements of the mountain of problems Bartholow shouldered, to dysfunction in the way the police operate, the stunning befuddlement of the courts and awful decision-making at City Hall

These problems continue, unabated, for struggling homeless people of today.

Bartholow died, surrounded by loved ones, in October from self-administered pain medication that a doctor proscribed. Only then was he freed from a cancer that engorged his body and piles of police citations that exceeded $100,000 in fines

The story of their experience for a majority of today’s struggling homeless Sacramentans, is not as extreme as what Russell Bartholow had to forbear, but it has the same features in making people targets of near-sadistic police and unconscionable laws. The mindless formula of bad police enforcing bad law undermines homeless people’s best efforts to put themselves in control, walking a pathway they foresee that can lead them to a good, wholesome, satisfying life of their own making.

Congratulations go to the reporters who penned the piece, "contributors" John Flynn and Matt Kramer -- two fellas whose names I hadn't seen before in SNR. You rock, John and Matt! From the first page of Flynn & Kramer's "The $100,000 Homeless Man":
Bartholow didn't start out homeless. But, like thousands of others in Sacramento County, once he found himself on the streets, he entered an alternate reality where the government couldn't hear him; where those supposed to help, instead focused on erasing his existence; and where the only permanent home the county offered him was in jail.
Russell Bartholow's sad, trouble story is both painful -- because he seems, certainly, to have been a splendid fellow. And poignant -- because his death seems senseless. But it is a Must Read for people in our county who want a more-just and happy experience for the thousands of homeless folk who are struggling from one day to the next during our long and stormy winter. Pick up a copy of the current SN&R.

While the City council members and county supes have made some positive headway at addressing "the problem" of uplifting homeless people's lives, they fail to tackle the central, immediate issues, which include these: (1) Allowing homeless people to sleep where they can in the absence of there being sufficient shelter space or sufficient land set aside for people to set up tents. (2) The police need to be disallowed to confiscate homeless people's property that they need for warmth and shelter. (3) Homeless people must no longer receive tickets and citations for merely being alive and to suffer harassment from hateful police officers.

----

Addendum: A reader of this blog and a friend, Steve, alerted me to an ongoing project by the British newspaper, The Guardian, looking at homelessness in the United States, called "Outside in America." The project is funded by the Bill Gates Foundation. This is a series that interests me and that I am likely to write about in the near future. Having highly responsible outsiders review what America is doing re homeless people vis-a-vis what England is doing can be instructive.

One recent article from this "project" explores how homeless folk are counted biennially in the U.S. and why the count always seems to miss many people. Title of the piece is, appropriately, "How America counts its homeless -- and why so many are overlooked."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

After a Three-Month Hiatus, a Fall from a Ladder & a Broken Wrist, Evangelist Jimmy Roughton Returns to Union Gospel Mission to Preach

After being away from Union Gospel Mission for a quarter of a year, Jimmy Roughton returned to preach at UGM on the cold night of December 13 -- despite suffering [a little? a lot? dunno.] from a fall from a ladder that likely immediately preceded a significant injury (a wrist that was broken).


It was good to see his group from Capital Free Will Baptist Church up on the pulpit, with Roughton rough-and-ready to seduce and inspire the happily-captivate crowd at UGM.


Roughton told us in his opening words that he was now in his 27th year coming to the mission.

I recall the first preaching I had heard from Roughton on June 13, 2009. At that time and up to the current time, Roughton is the only preacher I had ever heard evoke Pascal's Wager -- which is something he would do, occasionally thereafter at the mission. He would evoke Pascal's wager, yet again, last night [12/13/17].


Pascal's wager

Last night, Jimmy evoked Pascal's Wager. He did so near the end of his talk, citing …