By Sherman R. Frederick
San Jose leads the league for screwed up homeless “solutions.” The lesson from the debacle there is simple: It’s always a bad strategy for elected officials and homeless advocates to keep citizens in the dark until their controversial ideas become a fait accompli.
The Mercury News, outlines it pretty well:
“Thanks to the city and state’s COVID-19 emergency declarations, the city was able to bypass many key regulatory steps to develop the (homeless) sites, such as seeking public input at planning and housing commission meetings, conducting environmental studies and holding community meetings. Instead of spending years to obtain approval and complete construction, the city is hoping to turn the projects around in just about four to six months.”
Trying to govern without the consent of the people never works.
“They’ve used COVID-19 to force these projects in without a real plan for success,” said David Nettemeyer, one of the many angry folks in the city. “It spells a recipe for disaster.”
Pacifica made a similar mistake. The city created a homeless task force that met in secret. Without public input or meaningful update, the group hatched plans for a permit system for homeless RVs, including use of parking lots of residential churches.
In doing so, the task force produced a plan that satisfied the bias of the members of the task force without honestly addressing the concerns of the larger community. It’s now generated more heat than light. People are confused and angry.
Look, here’s the truth: By hiding in an echo chamber for almost a year, the task force made everything worse. I told the committee at their first meeting that if they didn’t open the process they’d get no buy-in along the way for whatever their conclusions may be.
I take no pleasure in being right on this. The shame of it all is that had the task force been balanced and open, we might have a workable solution by now.
Postscript: Tonight a City Council Zoom meeting is planned to discuss the plan. There will be push back.
MURDER IN NYC
As we contemplate the Black Lives Matter mantra “Defund The Police,” may I draw your attention to the spike in shootings in New York City.
In June, 205 shootings took place in the city, the most in June since 1996. All murder victims in June in NYC were people of color. Every … single … one.
These numbers should trouble anyone trying to understand the messy times in which we live. The big question for me is how does defunding the police help? Anyone?
NOT SO FAST, TRUMP HEADS
In light of the tell-all book by President Donald Trump’s niece, Mary, in which the president is portrayed as a narcissist (duh!) and an awful person (double duh!), I think we can hold off on these Mount Rushmore plans for just a bit, don’t you? There’s also a little thing called a national election coming up and things don’t look particularly good for the Orange One.
Of course, he’s running against Joe Biden. So anything can happen, I suppose.
IT’S CRAZY OUT THERE
— The president and five other board members of the National Book Critics Circle have resigned, amid allegations of racism and violations of privacy. The 24-member board was in the process of crafting a letter on Black Lives Matter issues when a board member turned rat and made public a private email discussion working out the wording of the statement.
Laurie Hertzel, president since 2019, quit last weekend saying the breach of privacy “made it impossible to continue with this discussion in good faith.”
— Black Lives Matters anarchists are coming for the play Hamilton for downplaying slavery. (I’m not making this up.) Lin-Manuel Miranda, the author of the celebrated play, has taken a knee to the mob and responds:
“All the criticisms are valid. The sheer tonnage of complexities & failings of these people I couldn’t get. Or wrestled with but cut. I took 6 years and fit as much as I could in a 2.5 hour musical. Did my best. It’s all fair game.”
Hamilton is racist? C’mon, man. By the way, it is on the Disney Channel now. So, give it a watch and get back to me on how “racist” it is.
ONE MORE THING
— I ate my exam paper. I’ll pass the exam for sure.
— I swallowed a small dictionary. It gave me thesaurus throat I ever had.
— You said everything would be back to normal in June. Julyed.
— For sale: One 2020 calendar. Barely used.
Can you hear that song in your head now? My apologies. I’ll pick up my knitting and let myself out. Until next week, stay well, wear a mask when you’re out and don’t let anyone tell you Pacifica is a racist town. It isn’t. Also, avoid soreheads.
Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, publisher of intensely local community newspapers in Nevada and Northern California, including the Novato Advance, the San Rafael News Pointer, the Mill Valley Herald, the Sausalito Marin Scope, the Twin Cities Times, the Ross Valley Reporter and the Pacifica Tribune. He may be reached at email@example.com.)