Hope and dignity

It can be difficult to think about death, to talk about death. Raheem F. Hosseni did a lot of both last year, as he lived through his mother’s death with her, and wrote a powerful piece about it for this newspaper (read “Killing Mom,” Feature, June 15, 2017). The article got Raheem an invitation to testify before a state Senate committee last week; you’ll find that story on page 8.

In the piece, Raheem points out that the unnecessary anguish that accompanied his mother through her final months and minutes could have been prevented if the state of California, that is to say, if we had more compassion and courage. It’s a tragic tale with a hopeful ending.

Scott Thomas Anderson this week delivers his umpteenth article about the city’s and the county’s insufficient efforts—which is to say our insufficient efforts—to provide shelter for our homeless neighbors. Again there is a hopeful note: Scott found that the triage centers spearheaded by Mayor Darrel Steinberg are providing genuine solace for the folks who are able to access them. And he found support for Steinberg’s proposal to built 1,000 affordable “tiny homes.” And, both neighborhood activists and advocates for the homeless seem to be confronting the difficult issue of trash in our streets and pollution in our creeks and rivers; the solution probably involves a multi-agency task-force, which, yes, is a bureaucracy made up of bureaucracies… But still. That’s a lot better than saying the problem is too big to fix.

I spoke briefly with the mayor at the annual Martin Luther King Dinner at Sac State Saturday night. He wanted to be certain I understood his commitment to providing his homeless constituents not just a roof, but dignity. This is a start.