Letters for October 4, 2012

Sanity on homelessness

Re “War on homelessness” by Nick Miller (SN&R Midtown&Down, September 27):

The most responsible solutions to homelessness have been eloquently made by Safe Ground [Sacramento].

What’s needed to implement them is a simple declaration of a shelter crisis under existing state law for that purpose. Such a declaration by the mayor, city council or board of supervisors would ease zoning requirements. It would have allowed now-decimated properties, such as the retired military barracks or the California Youth Authority—all lost for now—and other vacant properties to be utilized.

Where is the sanity? Where is the political will? Rousting the homeless does absolutely nothing.

Courage to deal with the problem is by far the most economical and effective path. The revolving door of hospitalizations, incarcerations and emergency-room visits are far more expensive than would be housing every single homeless person in Sacramento County—far more expensive, and proven to be so by many national and international studies.

Frank L. Topping

Bee should find its heart

Re “War on homelessness” by Nick Miller (SN&R Midtown&Down, September 27):

Huzzah! Good for the return to reality with Nick Miller’s column. After [The Sacramento] Bee’s half-month crusade of denunciation to abet a “roundup” of the homeless on the American River Parkway, Miller’s sentiment was a breeze of good clearing air. Again, we can see that the trees are still standing, and the river is onward flowing.

At the end of the the anti-homeless campaign by The Sacramento Bee’s Marcos Breton (putative leader of in-print efforts to be rid of homeless folk), he wrote that he thinks things have been made better by a complete rousting of the homeless on the parkway and continual enforcement of current law requiring the park to be empty of people from dusk ’til dawn.

There are more homeless people seeking food and shelter beds at the Union Gospel Mission now than I have ever seen in my four years of homelessness. With the warm weather we’ve been having, this shouldn’t be the case. A part of the influx: Prison populations have come to the county jails, and from there been released early onto the streets. There is a glut of guys in need of a roof and sustenance.

These are people who, if you prick them, they bleed; if you tickle them, they laugh; and if the Bee continues to poison the dialogue, it increases the chance that some may die. People are not disposable. The Bee should find its heart and change its ways so as to not make very difficult situations impossible.

Tom Armstrong
via email

Expensive and futile

Re “War on homelessness” by Nick Miller (SN&R Midtown&Down, September 27):

Bravo, Nick Miller, for countering whatever Kool-Aid the city and the daily have been drinking.

Do they really think a problem like homelessness, which is so systemic and complex, will go away just because they move it? How silly and shortsighted can our city leaders be? I guess we’ll find out.

Marcos Breton seems to be blowing the bugle for removing all the homeless people (let’s not forget the “people” in the phrase; “homeless” is an adjective, not a noun) from the new River District. That may please developers that want to move in there, but what about the next place that homeless people go? Until the city—and, to be fair, the surrounding suburbs and the county need to be kicking in, because homelessness is a regional thing—addresses homelessness systematically, they’ll just be moving these unfortunate people from place to place.

That’s expensive and futile, which means it’s just business as usual in Sacramento.

Jan Kline

More unemployment math

Re “Do the math” by Tony Sheppard (SN&R Guest Comment, September 27):

Too many people probably don’t realize that when you receive unemployment benefits, you must pay federal taxes. My husband has been unemployed for two-and-a-half years, and we owed over $1,000 in taxes in 2011.

This is all well and good if for a short time one receives unemployment and then can find a job. But with the poor growth economy, he must pay his unemployment taxes while receiving unemployment. Or it can be deducted each month at a 10-percent rate, leaving less money to live with—but we’re already living on less money.

Jo Ann Jackson-Holt
Cameron Park

SN&R has balls

Re SN&R advertisement (SN&R Best of Sacramento, September 20):

Yikes! Open the Best of Sacramento issue to a full-page ad of guns, gold and ammo.

SN&R has balls.

When no other Northern California newspaper was gung ho with ads for marijuana cooperatives, there was SN&R. The paper has found a good balance and drives fundamentalists up a wall. It gives us something to do, uncovering the stacks of SN&R that mysteriously and continuously get covered up.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City

PTA’s overblown Master

Re “Hip, hip, hooey” by Jim Lane (SN&R Film, September 20):

I have been trying to figure out who Joaquin Phoenix was trying to be in The Master, and you hit the nail on the head: Popeye! Brilliant.

This was the most disappointing movie I have seen in years. I wish I had walked out in protest, but there were only three people in the theater. What was the point of this trash? I have greatly admired a lot of Paul Thomas Anderson’s work, but this is overblown crap. Why is he trying to make us believe that any woman with eyes would ever be attracted to Freddie Quell, with his ugly face and stoop-shouldered stance? Why was he so bent over? I generally like Phoenix, but I hated this performance.

Lucretia Good
via email