Monthly Archives: May 2012

Update on panhandler in north Boulder

By Max R. Weller
 
I turned Drunk Steve away from the corner at N. Broadway & U.S. 36 about 5:15PM yesterday, when he came staggering up there wanting to panhandle. He was filthy. Nobody will make any money looking like that, and it’s bad for begging in general. He went over and passed out in the nearby ditch where he frequently trespasses (it belongs to the Dakota Ridge HOA). When I left there around 6PM, I saw him crossing the highway and trespassing on the property where that vacant house has been sitting for years. You know, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see Drunk Steve in a new $200,000 Housing First apartment at 1175 Lee Hill — until he finishes drinking himself to death.
 
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Transitional living program update

By Max R. Weller

Crackhead Dave from Milwaukee, a transient who came here to Boulder, CO about a year ago, and who was recently booted out of the phony program at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, has apparently been welcomed back into the program there — and he’s still puffing on that glass pipe. BSH doesn’t want to help anyone in the short-term to return to being a productive citizen; it’s all about making clients into permanent dependents on the shelter/services system and keeping the $$$ rolling in. More Homeless People = More Money.

It’s a travesty of compassion, but lots of people are making a living off of the poor and homeless all across America.

Why steal from other homeless people?

By Max R. Weller

The easy answer is that it’s because the thieves are worthless scumbags, but I’ll put that aside for the moment.

I have maintained a food cache near my campsite for many moons, as a matter of convenience so I don’t have to ride the bus all the way down to King Soopers to shop every day. (I don’t receive food stamps nor do I patronize the many venues serving food to the needy). Sometimes, the wild critters like mice and foxes have helped themselves to items like bread and chips, since they’re unable to open my canned goods despite their ingenuity, otherwise. This doesn’t bother me in the least; indeed, I often share chips with the mice and stale bread or chicken bones with the foxes and occasionally a skunk (I toss my donations far away from my sleeping spot, because Br’er Fox and Br’er Skunk tend to get into squabbles over food).

If any of the transients who wander around my neighborhood, apparently to no good purpose, asked me for food I’d gladly make it available to them. In fact, Boulder, CO has more resources for the poor and homeless to obtain food than any other city I know about — so any help I give would be gratuitous. As long as I’ve written a blog, since October of 2009, I’ve made it a point to list resources of all kinds for anyone seeking that info. Currently, I have about three dozen under the Page called “RESOURCES FOR THE HOMELESS IN BOULDER, CO” and it receives more hits daily than almost anything else here. A lot of food is given away in this city, and it’s no exaggeration to say that anyone who takes advantage of it all will soon be overweight, just like me.

Imagine my feelings of dismay and anger, then, on the occasions when I discover that some two-legged critter has stolen food from my cache! It happened again within the past few days; I was looking for one of my cans of Spam last night, to take with me for lunch today, and found that both were gone. Spam is a personal favorite of mine, in sandwiches on white bread with Miracle Whip. I regard it as a special treat and I look forward to wolfing it down like a starving refugee. (I know, I’d be much better off if I had the same passion for fruits and vegetables). During this past winter, I had all of my camping gear stolen in two separate incidents, a more serious loss than food — but there is something elemental to our survival about that which we eat and drink to fuel our daily activities, so it seems more important. There’s the issue also of invasion of my privacy, with a thief rifling through my stuff to find whatever might be most desirable to steal.

Those who can’t take advantage of free food giveaways in Boulder, CO are either ignorant or lazy. I despise ignorance and laziness. And yet, I would still help them in response to their humble requests for something like a bag of chips or (gasp!) a can of Spam. They have only to ask me.

On the other hand, if I catch a thief with his hands on my goods I’ll commit mayhem upon his person. I learned a long time ago that you have to set things right yourself in such cases, whenever the chance presents itself, or there will be no end to the thievery.

And that brings this post full circle: the thieves are indeed worthless scumbags.

Max’s Journal 5/30/2012

By Max R. Weller

See the arrest affidavit for Zoey Ripple here. To this point, the authorities are handling the case exactly as they should.

The young woman who had been in the transitional living program at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, whom I wrote about in my previous Journal post, told me this morning that she had cried and cried last night after staff told her she was booted out. Her Real Job made it impossible for her to meet the 8PM curfew at BSH and it wouldn’t always be possible to make a “reservation” for a later time in advance, with short notice being given to her, and it also wouldn’t always be possible to ignore customers at her job in order to phone BSH. All of this she had explained — in writing — before being accepted into the program. This is how things go in the Real World, but staff apparently isn’t willing to extend a helping hand to a client in the short-term, one who is employed full-time and who is clean and sober and who has no criminal record. When she told me that she wanted to talk to the director at BSH, I advised her not to waste her time and effort in doing so because he’s the knucklehead most responsible for creating the mess in the first place. I also told her she’d be better off living in her car and saving money, and avoiding being dragged down by the riff-raff who are program clients. She went on to tell me about her plans to return to college (all the more reason to stay out of the zoo which is BSH, where it would be impossible to study amidst all the noise and chaos). I think she felt better after our conversation, since I added that I’ve seen others over the years like her, who were shortchanged and f***ed over by the worthless transitional living program run by Greg Harms and his minions. 

Some good bargains at King Soopers this morning. I bought some Del Monte canned vegetables for $1 each (carrots and spinach), some discounted boneless bbq chicken nuggets from the deli, and some excellent potato salad on sale. Plus what has become my typical breakfast, two fresh-baked apple fritters. If some kind passerby at N. Broadway & U.S. 36 later on will hand me a bottle of ale from a local brewery, I’ll be set for an enjoyable late dinner; even better would be an IZZE Sparkling Juice.

Why in blazes are some of the homeless idjits who come here to Norlin Library on the CU campus so disrespectful and dumber than dirt? There’s some clown seated at the computer station next to me as this is being written, eating fruit cocktail from a can and some sort of sandwich still in its wrapper. Posted rules clearly state NO FOOD OR DRINK. I go outside to have lunch — are these yahoos special? I despise these assholes, with their ridiculous sense of self-entitlement encouraged by the apologists/enablers.

My Facebook friend Lorenza Andrade Smith, the United Methodist pastor from San Antonio, TX who has given up her salary and home and other worldly goods to live on the streets and learn about homelessness firsthand, tells me she’ll be returning to Colorado this summer. She visited me here in Boulder last October, and is the only guest I’ve welcomed to my campsite in the years I’ve been living outdoors. Certainly, I’ll welcome her again!

This is what FAILURE looks like

By Max R. Weller

See the Anchorage Daily News story updating Karluk Manor, that Alaska city’s Housing First facility for street drunks.

Quoting from the link above:

  • Nearly six months after opening Alaska’s first “Housing First” residence, founders say most tenants appear to be healthier and drinking less. But three residents have died of alcoholism-related causes at the facility, which provides chronic homeless alcoholics housing without the precondition that they stop drinking, since December.
  • Police say it’s hard to tell if housing some of Anchorage’s most prolific users of police and emergency services is having an effect . . .
  • Three people have died on the premises of the 46-unit residence, a converted motel.
  • Four people have been evicted for violent or destructive behavior. In April, a woman stabbed her boyfriend, who lived in a separate efficiency apartment, and is now jailed on assault charges. One tenant moved out on his own.
  • The residents of Karluk Manor, who were selected from an initial 150 applicants, are some of the neediest and most vulnerable chronic homeless alcoholics in Anchorage . . .
  • The nonprofit RurAL CAP says it spends $23,000 annually to house people who were each costing the public $60,600 a year in services.
  • Karluk Manor is funded with a mix of federal and state grant money and rent contributions from residents.
  • Anchorage police and paramedics have responded to calls from Karluk Manor 66 times, eight for someone feeling suicidal or attempting suicide, five for an intoxicated person and three for rape calls. The rape calls were investigated but did not lead to criminal charges nor did police find evidence that a sexual assault took place, a police spokeswoman said.
  • Sixty-six calls in six months is a lot, said Sgt. Mark Rein, who works in APD’s community policing unit. It’s not as high as some other locations, like low-end motels.
  • Paul Fuchs, head of the Fairview Business Association, said after six months his group still believes the project is a burden on a neighborhood already loaded with social service facilities. “We’re not objecting to Karluk Manor,” he said. “We think it’s in the wrong location.”
  • One remaining issue is the proximity of liquor stores. The corner of 13th and Gambell continues to be a hangout for people trying to buy booze at one of two nearby package stores, though it’s hard to say how much of the that traffic comes from Karluk Manor, Fuchs said.
  • Edwin and Geraldine Palmer are married but have separate units at Karluk Manor. “Being homeless is hard, dirty, wet and dangerous,” Edwin said. “You want to stay numb.”

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Let’s deal again with the Big Lie that Housing First is cost-effective, a point which all of its advocates try to peddle to a gullible public. And let’s bring it closer to home by considering the proposed Housing First project at 1175 Lee Hill here in Boulder, CO (a collaboration between Boulder Housing Partners and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless). Start by considering the total costs involved, rather than cherry-picking only the costs of ambulance rides and incarcerations for street drunks: 

  1. $800,000+ to purchase the property.
  2. $6 million plus to build the 31-unit project.
  3. Government benefits of all types for HF clients for as long as they live.
  4. Continuing medical treatment, hospitalizations, and prescription drugs for alcohol-related conditions suffered by HF clients.
  5. More incarcerations for some HF clients.
  6. Ongoing costs of staffing the facility with social workers, case managers, and security guards.
  7. Outpatient mental health and addiction counseling for HF clients.
  8. Loss of property tax revenue from the 1175 Lee Hill site, now owned by BHP, forever.
  9. Ongoing utility costs every month.

And the list goes on. So what if you save a few thousand $$$ per HF client each year — MAYBE — with fewer emergency room visits and trips to the hoosegow? There is no credible way to advance the claim that it will ever cancel out the humongous expenses listed above; and Betsey Martens, Greg Harms, Michael Block, Rene Brodeur, et al know it very well. But, Housing First is a big part of their livelihoods, so they’ll continue trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

I consider the whole deal to be unconscionable, especially with homeless families w/kids still on the streets here in Boulder County.

Max’s Journal 5/29/2012

By Max R. Weller

Memorial Day turned out to be a pleasant one for me, despite the libraries all being closed and the SKIP bus schedule becoming FUBAR (at one point during the afternoon while I was downtown, I saw four SKIPs within a few minutes of each other northbound on Broadway and NONE headed southbound). I had fresh-baked apple fritters for breakfast at King Soopers, and I stayed there in the little dining area long enough to read the Daily Camera. After that, I headed back to north Boulder and spent some time sitting underneath a shade tree in front of the small commercial district, just watching the world pass by, until dos borrachos left the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 about 11:30AM and I took my place as a humble beggar. I stayed for 3 hours, much longer than I usually do later in the day, and I made out like a bandit. I also got sunburned. Not only cash came my way; some good-looking young redhead (with her husband but sans kids, it being their anniversary) handed me a McDonald’s sack with fries and a Quarter Pounder w/cheese, then as I was leaving the corner an attractive older woman gave me a strawberry/banana smoothie from Barnes & Noble (of all places). I rode the SKIP around its circuit again, returned to my neighborhood to meditate in the shade a little longer, and finally retired to my campsite early around 7PM. There seemed to be fewer transient weirdos roaming around, too, which made for a more restful night.

Want an illustration of how worthless the transitional living program at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless truly is? There’s a young woman I met about three weeks ago while waiting for this facility to open at 6AM for us hardy outdoor-types to shower, pick up mail, etc. She’s been sleeping in her car while holding down a full-time job, and she thought that getting into the program at BSH would make her life a little easier as she works toward becoming independent once again. She tells me that she explained to the staff — in writing — that her work hours would sometimes be later than the 8PM curfew at BSH, that this could happen on very short notice, and it might not to be possible to always make a “reservation” to show up after 8PM in advance. Nor would it be possible to always phone staff while she was at work to reserve her bed for the night (bear in mind that during the summer there are well over 100 empty beds every night, because the emergency sheltering season ends on May 1st). She was accepted into the program. But now, when the circumstances she outlined to those in authority have come to pass and she shows up after 8PM from her job, she is being turned away. She is understandably perplexed, since she is one of the few clients at BSH with a Real Job rather than an income from monthly disability checks, and she is clean and sober as well and not on probation/parole for anything. I wasn’t surprised to hear her tale this morning, as we waited together from 5 until 6AM; it fits right in with the aim of the local homeless shelter/services industry to make homeless people into permanent dependents on the system, rather than giving them some short-term help to get them back to self-sufficiency. This woman has some grit, and I believe she’ll be okay with sleeping in her car — using BSH in the same limited way that I do almost every morning, and having nothing at all to do with their ill-conceived and mismanaged program, so-called.

Drunk chick wandering around the neighborhood looking for any unlocked door? See the 7NEWS story. Quoting from it below:

One neighbor told 7NEWS that Ripple may have been going from house to house. “I have two dogs, and they started barking really loudly,” said Tom Kellogg. “They woke me up around 3:00 in the morning.” Kellogg said another neighbor told him that his sensor light was activated. “Meaning that someone was near the house,” he said. “My guess is that she was going around the neighborhood, poking around and trying to find an open door somewhere.”

DA Garnett is doing the right thing, filing a felony trespassing charge against Zoey Ripple, which will no doubt become leverage to get her into inpatient treatment for her drinking problem in return for a reduced charge. BTW, this nonsense of drunkenly wandering into other people’s homes late at night rarely occurs elsewhere — it’s apparently another manifestation of Boulder stupidity.