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After the Housing Dept meeting tonight on regulations for shelters and overnight parking programs

From: domainremoved <chuck>
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 01:42:24 -0700

1000 S. Bascom Rd. San Jose. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday Sept 26, 2016

Right from my first moment at the meeting I had to speak out against the
basic assumptions that were the premise of the meeting: That it's the
overnight parking houseless and the sheltered houseless who need regulating
to protect the housed and business people in the community.

I raised the issues of the Santa Barbara Safe Parking Program: that the
"Safe" was to protect the homeless; that people in the program were very
well behaved parkers because they had to wait five years for a housing
voucher and didn't want to be thrown out of the parking program while they
waited; that portapotties were nice but not necessary; that cops were one
of the groups we need safety FROM (I told the story of a mother and
daughter sleeping in their car in the parking lot of 24 Hour Fitness in
Mountain View with ALL the proper paperwork the cops could think of to ask
them for who were rousted and made to "move on" for no discernibly public
safety reason. Cops apparently have more recreational needs than just
shooting unarmed citizens of color. They also roust the disabled and
homeless. Who you REALLY don't want to be out on the street is a homeless,
disabled, LBGT, person of color! That's just way too tempting for some of
our armed and dangerous warriors who seem to have enough time left over
from protecting and serving for punishing and killing.

Phil Mastrocola (very active San Jose-based homeless advocate) and I both
argued (me more forcefully, him more calmly) that it's not homeless people
who need regulation. It's those who have the power over them/us who need
to be regulated: cops who find their recreation in rousting homeless folk;
the City of San Jose who evicts people from encampments
without/before/instead of resettling them/us FIRST; the County and City who
don't find or feel any obligation to provide sanitary facilities or shelter
and look for reasons to limit providing those and other services.

They actually spend their time and energy and our money trying to make the
cities they live in so UNATTRACTIVE that homeless people will go somewhere
else. That's actually a motivating policy of the land-greedy among us.
Just go to City Council meetings and listen for a while-- you'll hear it.
Some of the worst of them have shut down sanitary facilities at Cubberley
in Palo Alto and then had the nerve to complain and ask of us, "where do
you do your business?" Is this how you want your officials to act?

There was a secretary at tonight's meeting who was typing our comments but,
sadly, those jottings left out a lot of audience members' salient points
about what is fair and right to do about/for those without shelter. There
was a definite point of view and set of assumptions about the whole issue
of housing and homeless folk. As stated above-- that point of view is that
it is the presently-housed-- and their all-important property-- that need
protection from homeless people.

I tried to explain the lessons learned from researching the Santa Barbara
Safe Parking Program. Phil had done a lot of research about Safe Parking
in Santa Rosa, Santa Barbara, and a number of other places and shared what
he'd learned. There is no substitute for actual research. Unfortunately
the minds of those who think only of excluding the alternately sheltered
are cluttered by their pre-assumptions, fears, and worries about things
that haven't happened. They find it hard to do what the parents at Menlo
Park Presbyterian Church do. They sign up six months in advance to bring
their kids to the church when homeless people are being sheltered there as
part of the Hotel de Zink rotating shelter. The kids come in the pyjamas,
with their card tricks, and hang out with the homeless guests during dinner
and TV time. Those kids joke around and accept being joked with by
homeless people. Those kids will never grow up with fears of homeless
people. Which is as it should be. Do you really think your kids need
another aspect of life to be afraid of? Do you think that's good for a
kid's already over-stressed brain

There were maybe a dozen people there altogether in the audience, plus four
people from the Housing Dept (of the City of San Jose? County of Santa
Clara?) who ran the meeting. Of the dozen in the audience approximately
half were formerly or presently homeless folks. A number of the audience
members had worthwhile contributions (sometimes questions) that they raised.

Those of us with exposure to the Hotel de Zink (a friend I'd been in the
HdZ with a year ago and me and Phil who is familiar with it) told about
that.

The point of the meeting was to collect input from interested parties.
There will be another such meeting or two and an "End User Group" for which
I am grateful and which I endorsed. I called it a "revolutionary
development" to have end user input on homeless issues in and around Santa
Clara County. Literally unheard of. When you mention stuff like that
(homeless input) to those with power in this area-- they sit there
dumbstruck and the most you get from them is stuff like, "Homeless input
into homeless affairs! Interesting concept. We'll have to look into
that." Unbelievable, but, sadly, all too true.

(These folks are working on a time line which will result in an ordinance
by October I think).

And as time goes by, the geniuses in charge have managed to cut down on the
number of shelter beds available. When I started my homeless career here
(seven years ago), there was Clare Mateo Women's Shelter on the Palo
Alto/Menlo Park border and the armory in Sunnyvale. Both have been closed
and not replaced. That yields a net LOSS of shelter beds. While this
county and it's cities are world famous for being very, very wealthy and
having the a huge number of homeless. And the disparity between the wealth
and the poverty is greater in Santa Clara County than anywhere else. You
couldn't write this stuff.

(I wonder if anyone's calculated the cost of being hard hearted has on good
will, PR, and business/wealth/economic attraction to Silicon Valley?
Everything has a cost. I wonder what the economic (I'm not even going to
mention the moral/psychological/spiritual costs to your peace of mind) cost
is to the Blue Meanies of Silicon Valley who spend their time and money on
making/keeping bathrooms out of parks, parks closed to camping in, and any
other clever ways of criminalizing poverty--- that they profit from! Oh,
the nerve of some people!

I may have been more antagonistic and accusatory than usual tonight, but I
just get so frustrated to see and hear the assumptions implied in the
actions of the cities and the county.

I made points tonight (as did Phil) about churches' right to shelter the
homeless. And the lack of proper focus and concerns on homelessness and
allied issues.

It was clear to me that the City feels some drive to accommodate those
without shelter but are being very, very careful about proceeding along the
road to actually DOING helpful things. They're SO careful, so reluctant---
worrying about insurance for the churches when (as Phil pointed out) the
whole Diocese of San Jose has insurance to cover all their churches for
damages or liability that result from the churches carrying out the
teachings of those worshipped in those churches. It's just hard to imagine
or accept. You'd think they were tiptoeing through mine-fields.

Can you imagine? People with education and religious upbringing somehow
confusing the hierarchy we live in. Not a good sign. There are us ordinary
people. Yes, our elected and hired officials are more powerful than we.
But God? You actually think you can take thousands of years of religion--
the most basic tenet of many of which is to take care of those in need--
and OVERRULE it just for land greed of the already obscenely rich? Oh,
what fools these immoral mortals be!

It's amazing to watch the Powers That Be (be they the Palo Alto City
Council or the San Jose City Council or a group of building managers near
the Cold Weather Shelter in North Sunnyvale or the Menlo Park City Council)
squirm and tread ever so lightly in their clumsy attempts to stop churches
from doing what their constituted to do-- minister to the poor. Or to do
the jobs THEY--- our elected and contract public employees-- are
constitutionally supposed to do. Talk about LACK of political will!

Political will is what is needed. And they have a bushel of it.
Unfortunately it's aimed and full of assumptions-- all in the wrong
direction.


The bozos in charge of the welfare of homeless people are SO lame,
reluctant, and misfeasant, it's sickening to witness them working so hard
to avoid doing the right thing and preventing others from doing the right
thing. And we pay them to do this to us. Aphreakingmazing!

The only thing that's missing is Marie Antoinette quipping, "Let them eat
cake!"

The rich have become so bloated, their brain arteries are closed. If we
poor can't save them from their greed, food dragging, and ANTI helpful
political will--- they will destroy not only all their wealth and toys, but
our whole society. They will find out someday, in a lot less time than you
might think-- after they've gotten all our money-- that you can't eat
money. They may even find out what it's like to be on the receiving end of
homeless policy. They may listen then.

*Dear Richie Riches*: Get a clue. You can't keep cutting food stamp
budgets and adding to the welfare for the rich. We're broke! You sucked
all the resources from us already. There are no more working poor. We are
now the homeless. There is very little of the former middle class left.
They've become the working poor you are forcing to move further and further
away from rich Palo Alto and add to the traffic we all have to endure. You
have and are squeezing us dry, you greedy, greedy pigs.

If you're rich, check yourself. Ask yourself honestly if you're giving
enough of your extra wealth to those who can't feed/house their children.
How long would YOU put up with that?

There was a reporter from The Bay Area News Group at tonight's meeting who
found my comments especially well thought out. So, at least someone
learned from the contributions of those who have been homeless and our
advocates.

As you probably can tell, I can't be very patient and objective about all
this. Sorry, if that offends anyone. I think it would be good for ALL
concerned to try to take on, learn, understand, and even ARGUE the points
of view of those with whom they disagree. Including me.

​​

Chuck
Received on Tue Sep 27 2016 - 01:48:02 PDT

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