Letters for November 27, 2014

Re “Development forces West Sacramento to clear out longtime homeless camp” by Brooke Purves (SN&R News, November 20):

Thank you, Brooke, for a good overview of this latest attempt by the city to pretend to care about the homeless.

You covered most of the bases, and fairly mentioned some of the goodies being passed out to make the project appear to be sensitive and useful. But at the end of the day, it is a load of crap, and most of us know that. This city doesn't care a whit about the homeless. Its policies and enforcements are little more than move-along sticks meant to rid us of noxious litter. Because that is all the homeless are to those in control.

The only time we even get a charade about caring is when Oprah shines a flashlight on us. Mark Merin provided well-run safe haven on his private property and within a few days the police showed up (the usual “we had a complaint” excuse) and rousted the homeless.

This time, we have a developer deal in the wings that is thinly disguised as some humane “relocation” program—with clean underwear to prove it! Hogwash. It's the same old story: the collision of real values with market values. And in this town, real values don't even sit at the table where decisions are made and policy is formed and implemented.

At best, beyond cutting a few more paychecks for (well-intentioned) social workers and a couple of homeless photo-ops, there's not much left under it all but our contempt for those that have nothing. Certainly, there is nothing in it that values them for who they are, or considers the contributions they can make, beyond getting upgraded to the lowest rung on the mainstream ladder—as interchangeable, expendable units of fuel for the engines of commerce, like the rest of us. Some say we should pray for the homeless.

I say the homeless should pray for us. For what community, what society could be so degenerate and deranged as to deny its own kind a place to stand, sit or even lay on the earth? Like we said, it's a load of crap. Unfortunately, changing anything is going to take some very big shovels, which we haven't got. Not now, at any rate.

Red Slider

editor, The Sacramento Z

Goo-goos and ethics reform

Re “Underdogs and overlords” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, November 13):

Mayor Kevin Johnson has spent almost six years trying to get himself more mayoral authority and power. Do you really think “Team K.J.” will approve any reforms that actually limit what authority and power he does have? Sacramento’s goo-goos (good-government types) like Common Cause, League of Women Voters, Organize Sacramento, Eye on Sacramento and neighborhood associations should come together to draft ordinances that will enact the ethics and accountability reforms promised in Measure L. These draft ordinances should then be presented to the city council with the promise that if they are not adopted or are adopted in watered-down versions, then they will be presented directly to the voters for approval at the November 2016 election, like they did in Tallahassee this month.

Jan Bergeron