by William Skink
The Zoom meeting about the new homeless camp featured all the old platitudes I remember from my days working at the homeless shelter, but with a NEW NORMAL Covid twist that alleviates public officials from having to take the normal steps of apprising the public of what they’re up to.
After the various spiels were given (which I’ve heard a hundred times before) the first comment came from a resident of Orchard Homes by the name of “Susie” who thanked everyone profusely. Here is how NBC Montana reported Susie’s contribution:
“I just want to say thank you for all your doing a lot of people think homeless people are homeless because they want to be homeless and all I can say is walk a mile in someone’s shoes before you think that,” Orchard Homes resident, Susie said.
Who is this Susie without a last name who set the tone by making the first comment? NBC Montana doesn’t provide her last name, but those tuning into the meeting know it was Susie Orr, an Orchard Homes resident and (it was pointed out to me by a more astute observer) someone who is on the Executive Board of the Missoula County Democrats.
What fun is doing a damage control Zoom meeting if you can’t seed the audience with a few friendly commenters?
Eventually there were some critical comments, but the critics are just stupid and hateful and ignorant and their small minds rely on stereotypes, which makes it very difficult for the illuminated braintrust to feign interest in what they have to say about their concerns.
There was some talk on whether or not this camp will truly be “temporary”. Don’t worry, Susan Hay Patrick assured listeners, there are no plans to make this camp permanent.
As for the emergency funding, I thought I heard that the money will dry up at the end of December, but the plan is to run the camp until March. NBC Montana is reporting that the Covid money will flow until March, so maybe I heard it wrong.
Regardless of when the money runs out, it WILL RUN OUT, and other funding sources are being applied for.
One welcome dose of reality came from Josh Decker, a self-described socialist who reminded the braintrust that massive evictions are looming; millions nationwide, and thousands in Missoula. Susan Hay Patrick did her best to respond to Decker by expressing her wonderfully simplistic mantra that the answer to homelessness is housing.
Another thing claimed by this United Way member of the braintrust is that THEY ARE FRUSTRATED AND ANGRY AS WELL. Also, Susan Hay Patrick is angry at the accusation that they are wasting money. The problem, claimed Patrick, is that we are not providing ENOUGH money to help people.
Wrapping up this summary of a wasted hour of my life, Susan Hay Patrick declared we need to move from fixing blame to fixing problems, and she further claimed that Missoula is farther along in addressing this societal problem than other communities.
If that were true, Missoula would have adopted inclusionary zoning years ago. So, once again, I am left with two options in assessing the statements of this community influencer: ignorance or deceit.
Having seen this show many times before, I think I know which one we’re dealing with.
The stuff I was interested to hear about, like who owns this land, and what is the connection to Blue Line Development, didn’t come up, so I spent a few minutes doing the legwork online and figured it out.
The land is owned by Spencer Properties LLC and the mailing address is to a residential property in the University district. That home is owned by Nathan Richmond, the president and CEO of Blue Line Development.
So there you have it.
For anyone interested in this line of inquiry, which leads to an incestuous money nexus of influence, stay tuned here for further exposure of these influences, because I’m doing what other, more traditional media sources either won’t do, or can’t.
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