Saturday, May 6, 2017

Homeward Street Journal

Page 1, above the fold, of the current May & June, 2017 HSJ
The Homeward Street Journal, a slim bimonthly publication that has been around for twenty years, has as its stated mission one of  "[alleviating] miscommunication between communities by educating the public about housing and poverty issues, and by giving homeless people a voice in the public forum."

Its REAL mission, at least in recent years, is clearly something different than the above, but is no less noble -- indeed, it is MORE noble. It wants homeless people in Greater Sacramento to have better lives and a pathway to get housing in the near future.

There are problems with HSJ in that it can be skimpy and dumpy and badly edited [in the current issue for May and June 2017, the mayor's first name is misspelled. Whoops.] and it will often fill what little space there is in the publication with articles that have absolutely nothing to do with Sacramento.. In the current edition the headline has to do with something going on in the legislature in Oregon. States operate independently; what may be happening in Oregon is fully apart from the hopes and dreams of California homeless folk surviving on the streets in Sacramento county.

A major positive thing about the publication is that a piece by Suzanne Hastings is often published in HSJ. Hastings writes in high-style. Her pieces are evocative, colorful, quirky, magical and delicious when she is in top form, as she nearly is in the current issue with her bottom-of-the-front-page piece, titled "Stake-Down 2017: 'Where am I supposed to Live'"

Here, the first paragraph from "Stake-Down 2017":
An ancient now dark neon "Diet Pepsi" sign sits frozen in mid revolution. The kind of sign that was prevalent in the 50's and 60's. It is all that's left of the Torpedo diner that once stood here. The normally vacant lot at 12th and C Streets was for a few hours to be turned into a small community.
A few edits, and what Hastings writes would be consistently brilliant: In the opening paragraph, above, I'm not keen on use of the word "ancient," though I don't have an alternate word in mind; "now dark" should be hyphenated; Diet Pepsi needn't be in quotes; And as for the last sentence, the lot was turned into a venue for the community; it wasn't turned into the community, itself.

Another problem the publication has is its cartoonish fonts.

At right is the headline used for Hastings' piece, which is a meaningful article-with-commentary about an event held for the purpose of aiding homeless people in knowing some or their rights, and for those who attended to bond such that they could forward the effort of getting housing. While we're told it was not a wholly serious function -- there was food! music! poetry! comedy! -- it certainly wasn't a cartoon.

There are places on-line where fonts can be purchased or, sometimes, had for free. Homeward Street Journal should upgrade its appearance. I think that Paula Lomazzi, the unaccredited Editor in Chief, should try to improve the publication's appearance. "How it looks" is not unimportant. Readers of HSJ make determinations about how serious and accurate and professional the publication is by the aesthetics.

Speaking of Paula, in the current issue of HSJ, she is the author of an important story about Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Joan Burke, L&F Director of Advocacy, joining forces in hope of enlarging the number of beds for homeless folk by changing current law such that perhaps 20 churches could each provide sleep space for perhaps 20 homeless people. Sleeping out on the street can be dangerous and it can be a bear. It is hard to work to create a better life for oneself if you haven't had a good-night's sleep after you open your eyes in the morning.

I think the church sleep space article -- that included mention of other important efforts to create increased night-shelter space for homeless folk -- is excellent and should not have been buried on page five.

In an important area, I have disagreements with Homeward Street Journal, generally. HSJ is the product of way, way, way, way far-leftist politics.

We are told on the upper-righthand corner of the 7th page in the current issue of HSJ -- and, no doubt there in the past many dozens of issues -- that ...
Homeward Street Journal has been publishing since 1997 as a nonprofit project of the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, which is a member of the Sacramento Housing Alliance.
SHOC, an organization that Paula Lomazzi heads is (or was) staunchly Stalinist Communist. SHOC came into being after the California Communist Party disintegrated in the 1980s and a Stalinist group from that party, headed by Nelson Peery, created a new group called, simply, the Organizing Committee. Subgroups of the Organizing Committee were identifiable by (1) The city where they were centered and (2) by the grouping of people they concentrated on. Thus SACRAMENTO HOMELESS ORGANIZING COMMITTEE is the name that Paula's group was given (years before Paula came along to be its head person).

Now, to be a true Stalinist Communist you have to be readily in favor of murdering ten or a hundred million people, now and then. I do not believe Paula favors most -- and maybe none -- of the tenets of the Stalinist variant of Communism. She hasn't even murdered anybody that I know of. I have suggested to Paula that she should abandon SHOC or DESTROY IT IF SHE CAN, MERCIFULLY BLOW IT UP and create a new, wholesome charity that has no connection whatever to stinking Stalinist Communism, but she has not done that. Shame on you, Paula.


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