Monthly Archives: March 2013

No surrender to the lowest common denominator

(Also submitted as a Guest Opinion to the Daily Camera).

By Max R. Weller

Once again, the benighted attorney who wants to enable homeless camping by the worst-behaved transients inside the city limits of Boulder, CO has written another letter-to-the-editor of the Daily Camera. And once again, I’m here to refute his opinion, based on my own experiences as a homeless camper in Boulder and its environs during the past five years.

I’ve never gotten a ticket for illegal camping, nor for any of the other petty crimes commonly committed by members of the homeless rat packs (such as having an open container of alcohol or smoking marijuana in public). Central Park has long since been given over to these characters during the daytime, and Bridge House supports them and serves as a base from which the bums can wander over to Pearl Street Mall and University Hill, as well as Boulder Creek Path and Boulder Public Library. I haven’t patronized Bridge House, the so-called homeless people’s day center (actually a firetrap which can hold only 25 occupants per order of the Boulder Fire Marshal) in the past four years, and I rarely visit BPL, because I continue to identify with the mainstream of society and conform my behavior to ordinary standards of decency, which are not to be found among unwashed transients from Denver and elsewhere who have descended on our city like locusts. 80% of all other homeless people (my estimate) are likewise good folks, who find themselves in trying circumstances for a variety of reasons, and most will be on the streets only for a month or so. It’s the chronically homeless Bad Actors — the 20% who cause almost all of the problems and consume almost all of the resources — who have a high profile in the public eye and have caused public policy to become more restrictive. As far as I’m concerned, Bridge House ought to be shut down as a public nuisance, and transients without photo ID showing a Boulder County address should be given the $5 bus tickets on RTD back to Denver. Currently, they are being catered to far beyond the minimal level of emergency sheltering/services necessary to keep them from freezing to death on the streets in the wintertime.

I support every one of the laws enacted by the City of Boulder, including the ban on public camping within the city limits. (What’s more, I’ll take this opportunity to again urge the passage of a municipal ordinance against Public Intoxication, which would be another tool that law enforcement could use to limit the bums’ misbehavior). As bad as things are now in the daytime at Central Park and elsewhere, it would be far worse if camping were permitted there at night; numbers of transients would quickly increase, as would the numbers of problems caused by them. It’s a most family-unfriendly place now; who in their right minds wants to see it made still worse?

Having said that, I’ll point out that a well-behaved homeless camper (or two) can readily gain the permission of private property owners inside Boulder to stay overnight; I’ve done so, myself. It has only become a problem for everyone when half-a-dozen or more drunken idiots show up uninvited, and want to party all night, yell and fight, and trash their surroundings. Then, the property owner has no choice but to “evict” all of us. A few of the bums followed me from one spot to another for 2 1/2 years, before I finally shook them off back in October of 2010. They still prowl around sometimes, looking for stuff they can steal from other homeless people . . .

More to the point, homeless campers can simply leave the city limits and find a place to stay at nighttime — taking care to avoid Open Space, where camping is also prohibited. One or two at a spot, being sober and quiet and respectful of their surroundings (whether public or privately-owned), will be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep. The only times I’ve been contacted by Boulder County deputies, who are well aware of my presence, have been for the routine “check welfare” during really cold weather conditions. Since I’m equipped with enough camping gear to stay warm, including a minus 40 degree-rated down sleeping bag given to me by a friend (who used it during his trek to Mt. Everest), nobody needs to fear for either my safety or my comfort.

Of course, I welcome the occasional indoor vacations at a motel or in my friends’ home; troublemakers won’t be invited to enjoy such hospitality.

BOTTOM LINE: Boulder’s apologists and enablers need to stop surrendering to the bums who disrespect themselves, disrespect others, and disrespect our community. Putting it another way: just say “NO!” to Bad Behavior.

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Boulder Froot Loops detained in Ohio

By Max R. Weller

See the story from the Daily Camera.

Does it make you wonder about the sort of people who might be approved by Boulder Housing Partners and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless as residents at the new 1175 Lee Hill Housing First project?

Robert and Catharine Pierce, shown here during their dispute with Boulder Housing Partners over Catharine Pierce’s topless gardening, were detained in Ohio over the weekend after police say Robert Pierce threatened to “kill Obama and take him down.” (Mark Leffingwell / Camera file photo)

Oxycodone and MMJ. They didn’t need to drive a rental car from Colorado, they could have flown . . .

Max’s Journal 3/28/2013

By Max R. Weller

Two articles from the Denver Post: 1) Dope corrupts everything and 2) Obey the federal law, instead.

I’m in the midst of reading “The Golden Warrior” about the life of T.E. Lawrence, a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia. See a brief online bio here. Who else but Peter O’Toole could have played the role in David Lean’s 1962 epic? The real Lawrence was truly a rugged individualist and a rather strange duck, too.

Maybe the HOPE van was stolen by some homeless folks who have been turned away from the OUR Center, since it closed down the emergency overnight shelter this winter, and they’re driving to a warmer part of the country. I “hope” so, anyway.

Facebook conversation in re Erie Mayor Joe Wilson, on the Daily Camera FB page, copied below:

Max Weller: It’s all the revenge of the anti-frackers, and a waste of time and taxpayer $$$.

Bill Hayes: A waste of taxpayer money, because of course a person who profits from land deals is never the type to run for public office. Pfft.

Max Weller: Better to profit from land deals, so long as it’s done legally, than from a lot of other activities around here; pretending to be a mental health counselor, for example.

Sean Brady: “A waste of taxpayer money” says a man who lives off of taxpayer money, and trolls the Internet on a taxpayer purchased computer.

Max Weller: You’re lying again, Sean. Can you show proof that I receive anything from the taxpayers? No benefits of any kind, nor am I using a “taxpayer purchased computer” as you call it. Joe Wilson is a Great American, bless his heart. Put that in your bong.

BTW, Bill and Sean are like a lot of other haters in Boulder, CO — if they see an unwashed transient passed out drunk in a city park, that’s okay; but the Homeless Philosopher doesn’t “know his place” so he should STFU. Well, the fact is that at least 80% of the homeless will never live down to the negative stereotypes, despite what is believed by arrogant and judgmental yahoos living in America’s Smartest City (self-proclaimed).

It’s odd to report, but I enjoy washing the few dirty dishes I find in my friends’ kitchen. I’ve also gotten a kick out of baking a spice cake and biscuits to share with them. It seems like the least I can do in return for their hospitality, but it also takes me back to happier days and I find it satisfying for that reason.

Great pic of sunset from Alaska’s Cook Inlet below:

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Anchorage Daily News photo

I wish that i’d visited Alaska when I was much younger and in good physical shape. It’s a fascinating place full of Real People.

Max’s Journal 3/26/2013

By Max R. Weller

I think the City of Boulder will be inciting a riot, with their Mobile Food Vehicle Pilot Program for Parks this summer at the municipal parking lot next to Central Park. It’s tentatively scheduled for Sundays between the hours of 11AM and 4PM. I foresee scores of transients swarming these vendors and demanding Free Food. I took the time to complete the City’s survey (click on the link above) and I told them of my concern. It’s certainly NOT going to be a family-friendly venue, unless we mean the Rainbow Family of stinkers.

Rob Smoke in Boulder, CO should read this report from the Denver Post; he wants to blame wildfires on homeless campers. I understand that he’s once again homeless himself, but I trust he’s no more of a firebug than I am. In all my years of camping outdoors, I’ve never had any sort of open flame for either warmth or cooking. I don’t even smoke, although Rob apparently has abused marijuana to the point that his cognitive functioning is now permanently impaired.

At a time when marriage is less popular than ever, with more and more couples simply cohabiting, it’s bewildering to see gay couples so eager to embrace convention. How shocked they will be to discover that many gay marriages are bound to suffer the same fate as those of straight couples — turning sour almost as soon as the honeymoon is over. Can we look forward to a sitcom like Married . . . with Children featuring the characters of Al and Joe (or Peggy and Sue) Bundy? It’s going to be a financial boon to divorce attorneys, that much is certain.

For all of you spammers who want to send a Facebook friend request to me, you should know that I prefer mature women, so don’t include photos of youngsters like this one on your phony FB page:

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You should also realize that the Homeless Philosopher doesn’t own a cell phone, so the implied promise to send me naughty pics is a waste of everyone’s time. (If I were still in high school myself, I’d love to meet this girl). And I have several female friends who are quite prepared to protect me, as much as I need it.

You won’t find folks in Alaska foolishly trying to adopt a large wild animal as a pet, unlike the sheltered trustafarians in the Mapleton neighborhood of Boulder, CO. The typical moose is bigger than an elk, too:

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Anchorage Daily News photo

Consider this from the Denver Post, a story which should bear the headline: Well, duh!

Time to shower, then read more of “The Golden Warrior” before I take a nap. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

‘They pay people to do that?’

By Max R. Weller

See the column by Enid Ablowitz in the Daily Camera. It was posted online a month-and-a-half ago, and I apologize for not noticing it sooner; I usually follow Ms. Ablowitz in the DC’s business section because she frequently writes about nonprofits. Quoting from her insightful report below:

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, nonprofit organizations account for more than 9 percent of all wages and salaries paid in the U.S., with nearly 1.6 million tax-exempt organizations reporting more than $1.5 trillion in total revenues.

Interestingly, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that nonprofit hiring is expected to increase significantly in 2013.

Many of those jobs are for fundraisers.

Welcome to the Brave New World of charity. It’s a business, and like any other business the primary focus is on increasing the amount of $$$ coming in. Granted, nonprofits do not have shareholders to divvy up the surplus proceeds left over after expenses, but they do have employees whose job it is to maximize the nonprofits’ income.

BTW, money isn’t the only motivation for professional fundraisers and others working in the nonprofit industry. Power and prestige can be just as important, and we can see that right here in Boulder, CO with Bridge House, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, and the quasi-governmental Boulder Housing Partners. It’s also painfully obvious at Longmont, CO’s OUR Center, which no longer operates an emergency overnight shelter in wintertime for that city’s homeless people (not much glory nor many $$$ in helping the most vulnerable among us).

This is precisely the reason there needs to be GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY — beyond the scope of Annual Reports and IRS Form 990s to meet the minimal legal requirements for maintaining nonprofit, tax-exempt status.

A boondoggle like the proposed 1175 Lee Hill Wet House should never be allowed to occur. With 750 homeless people on the streets in Boulder, according to the 2012 MDHI Point-in-Time Report, it’s completely irresponsible to spend well over $6 million on just 31 new apartments for chronically homeless, single adult alcoholics/drug addicts with a dual diagnosis of mental illness. Especially so when the Housing First model used in this case will permit the clients to continue drinking alcohol in their apartments, sobriety being optional.

Nonprofits themselves are bloated and wasteful in their spending as a matter of policy; this should be everyone’s focus, not on possible criminal acts by employees, which are relatively rare. I’ve said it before, however: if somebody did abscond with millions of dollars and hopped on a plane to Brazil, it wouldn’t be much worse.