by Travis Mateer
Is being homeless in a public park now illegal? What about watching sunrises in a park? Maybe we need a system reboot, like one council person suggested. Or maybe we should fund homes, not sweeps.
But what about the kids in summer camp programs? And the young woman working at Secret Seconds who regularly picks up poop and vomit? And the mom with the kid who knows what to do when she finds syringes?
I know, tell them the answer is simple: the ONLY answer to “houselessness” is housing. I agree, and am in total support of JAIL housing and NURSING HOME housing and LOONY BIN housing while we tear down every institution and rebuild this entire clusterfuck of a nation from scratch.
Sound like a plan?
Near the end of the six hour meeting I found out there WAS a plan to address all this, but guess what? According to Mayor Hess, “Our long term plan failed at the ballot box last year…”
While a totally ineffective labor personality (I wouldn’t call him a leader) tried to help the naysayers of this 90 day measure by depicting the removal of the Russell Street encampment in the most dire terms he could muster, it’s hard to say how many people actually support this emergency measure compared to how many oppose it because, frankly, it’s hard to say how many conversations we are even having.
One guy (who I couldn’t understand at all) wanted to make a SECOND comment, but was told no by our Mayor, so the man finally left after flipping Mayor Hess the bird. Was that before or after the commenter who got feint from a medical condition?
You gotta love us, the public, for doing our part sending the civic choo-choo train off the rails. Mayor Hess must have sensed the public’s desire to comment would be prolific, so there was almost NO time restraint imposed. Did I exploit this latitude graciously provided by our Mayor? No, I kept my shit tight, and as focused as possible.
One of the things I appreciated about our Mayor’s attempt at candor last night was the admission that the Authorized Camping Site (ACS) was a failed experiment where stuff like human trafficking had been occurring. In one of my comments (I made three) I conveyed this appreciation, since I had just been talking with someone about local homeless services and human trafficking earlier in the day.
At the end of the night everything passed with ease, and if it wasn’t 1:30am I might try to anticipate what this will mean in the weeks and months to come, but Heidi West asked too many questions, and thanks to the lengthy conversation about when the sun makes the outside bright enough to be considered DAY, I just don’t have anything left in the tank.
When I regain my cognitive abilities I’ll check local media and see what THEY made of the urban camping conversation. I’m sure it will be as helpful as Jim Nugent’s guidance “from above”, whatever that means.
If you appreciate my ability to sit through 6 hours of City Council without stabbing myself in the leg with my pen, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is waiting for your support, or you can make a donation at my about page.
Thanks for reading!