Monthly Archives: September 2013

Max’s Journal 9/30/2013

By Max R. Weller

It was a perfectly relaxing night at my campsite, and a couple of times I threw back the tarp that covers my bedding and just enjoyed the gentle breeze. No drunks staggering around and yelling at 3AM, either. Then, of course, I returned to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and reality hit me in the face; this time, in the person of a 300-pound obnoxious loudmouthed bum who came here a month or so back to grab all the Free Stuff he can — and who claims that everyone including BSH staff is stealing from him. The fool carries more on his back than I own! On the SKIP bus this morning, the arrogant asshole told a handicapped guy in a wheelchair at Broadway & North St. (Norm, a regular rider I’ve known for years) that he should take the next bus because the one we were riding was full. Bear in mind, 300-pound bum took up one seat by himself and his gear took up another seat by itself. Everybody ignored him, and Norm got on the bus for his trip down to King Soopers on Table Mesa. In Kansas City, MO 300-pound bum would end up in a ditch someplace. We’re too laid back in Boulder, CO which only encourages increasingly bad behavior from the lowest common denominator of transients.

I shudder to think that BSH’s emergency overnight sheltering begins tomorrow night, October 1st, and only a minority of those showing up between 5 and 7PM for intake will be from Boulder County. I’ll continue to sleep outside . . .

Interesting commentary in the Daily Camera from Bob Greenlee. It occurs to me that we could be in for more flooding in the Spring if there is substantial snowfall at higher elevations this Winter, given that reservoirs are already at capacity.

I think I’ll finally use the Subway gift card in my wallet when I return to my north Boulder neighborhood, after finishing this post. A footlong meatball or tuna sandwich would be great! I’ll eat it in my usual spot and contemplate the whereabouts of Shouting Joe from St. Louis, who wasn’t around yesterday. Has he finally succumbed to drinking massive quantities of rotgut vodka on a daily basis? It’s almost impossible now for me to work up any sympathy for the drunks, in view of the fact that 31 of ’em will soon be housed in nice, new apartments at 1175 Lee Hill — while sober guys like the Homeless Philosopher sleep in a field. I envision a groundbreaking ceremony featuring golden shovels in the shaking hands of Drunk Cal, Drunk Brian, Mississippi Billy, Shouting Joe, et al who stagger back and forth before deciding to attack each other with these potentially lethal weapons. Then, they’ll all become friends again as they share a big ol’ jug of poison, while the do-gooders look on and pat themselves on the back . . .

Such is “compassion” Housing First-style.

Advertisements

Sometimes, I just have to shake my head

By Max R. Weller

I hear there’s a new strategy by transients from Denver and elsewhere across America. Simply flock to natural disasters and grab Free Stuff, which apparently is given away by the truckloads using the “honor system” in which folks are presumed to be actual victims of the event, whether it’s a flood or a hurricane or whatever. On the local level, recent events have demonstrated once again how important it is to REQUIRE VALID PHOTO ID WITH A BOULDER COUNTY ADDRESS before offering homeless shelter/services to anyone. Hell, I don’t recognize most of the homeless people I’m seeing at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless these mornings, nor have I known very many of ’em throughout this past summer. And to reiterate, illegal campers who were in the floodplains along Boulder Creek and other dangerous locations should have been taken in by BSH, which was and still is almost empty; it was never a Red Cross priority nor should it have been, and no chronically homeless individual should have demanded to be housed at the Boulder YMCA flood evacuation center. Can we expect Rainbows to demand housing at Red Cross evacuation centers during the next wildfire, which drives ’em out of the woodlands? The Rainbows, too, should be taken in by our very well-heeled shelter/services industry — which is set to break ground on the 31-unit $6 million plus Wet House project at 1175 Lee Hill any day now. A lot of misdirected anger at the American Red Cross in this case, manipulation of a gullible media by the usual suspects, and bums from outside the scope of the flooding descending like a swarm of locusts on the giveaways going on at various venues. If they lack valid photo ID, give ’em the $5 bus ticket on RTD back to Denver and a couple of PB&J sandwiches to-go . . .

It’s amazing and disgusting at the same time.

BTW, Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow was slow to respond to demands for housing the chronically homeless, but they’ve cleverly managed to divert attention to other groups once they finally got the emergency warming centers up and running.

I predict this much — there won’t be any accountability demanded by Boulder City Council, which is busily engaged in patting itself on the back.

Addendum: Read this bunch of baloney from Ardith Sehulster, Board President of BSH, published as a letter-to-the-editor of the Daily Camera. I’m there every morning, and I can attest to the fact that their First Step/Transitional Living program has about half the number of participants as Sehulster implies that it does; no more than 30. In addition, BSH had opened on October 1st as recently as 2010. To me, it’s all the same reading lies regardless of whether they come from the executive director or the board president.

The poor widow’s donation or gimme, gimme, gimme?

By Max R. Weller

The brief passage below, Mark 12:41-44 NIV, is copied from the BibleGateway.com website:

The Widow’s Offering

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible, agnostic as I am. I like the moral teaching here so much, in fact, that I’ve tried to follow it as often as possible in my life as Homeless Philosopher in Boulder, CO these past few years. After I began begging on the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 over three years ago — in order to gain the cash necessary to pay for life’s necessities, without applying for the numerous government benefits to which I’m legally “entitled” — I began to make cash donations to various worthy causes. $100 to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, $100 and then another $50 to Boulder County Cares, $100 to Attention Homes, etc. It had been a while since I felt I could afford to donate again, but yesterday I gave $50 to the American Red Cross. It seems to me that this latter group has gotten a bad rap here recently during the flooding disaster, because they initially mishandled their response to a few homeless people who showed up at the flood evacuation center operated by the Red Cross at Boulder YMCA.

BTW, I’m still scratching my head over what these chronically homeless creekside campers were thinking. It’s easy enough to move from one illegal campsite (happens all the time when the cops show up) in a local floodplain to another on higher ground, and subsequent days have shown how incredibly easy it is to replace lost camping gear, clothing, toiletries, RTD bus passes, etc. simply by showing up at Bridge House and Deacons’ Closet at First Presbyterian Church with your arms wide open. For the record, I don’t choose to patronize any of the free giveaway venues. Instead, I went over to Walmart in Lafayette just yesterday — courtesy of my kindhearted friend, Terzah, who also bought my lunch of double cheeseburgers at the nearby McDonald’s — and spent about $130 I’d saved up in my coffee jar to buy two pairs of new jeans, a belt, two longsleeve t-shirts, leather shoes, a new backpack, and a cheap watch that doesn’t do anything except keep the time. I feel much better about myself doing it this way, compared to the score or more of new faces I saw at BSH this morning, who have been loaded down with Free Stuff all this week and despite their good fortune can’t seem to do anything except PISS AND MOAN that they aren’t getting enough.

A pox on them, and on those who think that these greedy, grasping ways are typical of homeless people in general. In my experience in several cities over the course of the past decade plus, it’s only the lowest common denominator comprised of sociopathic transients who are such ungrateful assholes. There, I said it! The vast majority of us behave better than that, or try to as much as possible, which explains why good people in the community are willing to connect with us on a personal level. I’m sure it’s a greater challenge for my friend and her family to deal with me one-on-one than it would be to write a check to a homeless shelter/services provider and then consider the issue resolved.

As I said to the staff member at the front desk as I left BSH around 7:30AM, “I’m just grateful to get a shower every morning.”

Max’s Journal 9/22/2013

By Max R. Weller

Here I am at Norlin Library, which opened at 10AM. The CU students working security, who are supposed to unlock the front doors at the west entrance, still haven’t shown up as of 10:30. I went through the back doors which apparently open automatically, but had to sit in the dark at my public access computer for the first 20 minutes or so. A CU police officer just walked through, probably wondering the same thing I am: why hire students who stay out drinking all night and can’t show up to work on time?

I stayed up in my north Boulder neighborhood yesterday (after a quick trip to King Soopers for food and a couple of 3-packs of Ivory bar soap; the latter to be placed in the stacks at the Main Branch of Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe, for the unwashed patrons who might choose to bathe). It’s been very quiet there, around the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36, with none of the regular crew of rowdies showing up except for Shouting Joe from St. Louis. I wonder where they’ve gone? Haven’t seen ’em since before the flood. Shouting Joe looks very ill, and he must be smoking “spice” with his friends in addition to guzzling his daily quart of rotgut vodka. Only a couple of months ago, this guy looked fit and healthy; now, he resembles death warmed over.

I’m pretty sure that I’m going to make a cash donation to the American Red Cross. No organization is perfect, and everybody makes mistakes (case in point: the Obama administration still has troops in Afghanistan), but I’m tired of the criticism directed at the Red Cross and the Boulder YMCA for turning away a few homeless people at their evacuation center last week. On the whole, the Red Cross does yeoman’s work. Time to move on and quit milking that isolated incident for sympathy — are you listening, self-styled homeless advocates? Because I have over $200 in my coffee jar savings, and won’t need it all for my shopping trip to Walmart in the near future, I can afford to donate $50 or more. Yes, I’m going to tout my own philanthropy — in order to send a message to the bums who only believe in “gimme, gimme, gimme” as their apologists/enablers have taught them. It would make a helluva lot more sense to criticize Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (opened to 50 homeless people for just one night during the deluge) and Longmont’s OUR Center (closed to the homeless throughout the emergency AND in the wintertime, too).

Great sleeping weather the past few nights! And there are fewer homeless people showing up at BSH in the mornings, but that will change on October 15th when scores of transients arrive from Denver and elsewhere across America. After that, it’s a zoo through April 15th when the overnight emergency dorms will close.

Tonight at my campsite: Bush’s beans flavored with bacon and brown sugar.

Max’s Journal 9/20/2013

By Max R. Weller

See the online article from the Denver Post. Quoting from it below:

“We have a list of 150 customers who want us to call them back — and many of them will be taken care of by the time we do call,” said Jim Minter, co-owner of Colorado Cleanup Services in Denver. “It’s challenging.”

It not only taxes patience but to a greater degree breeds impatience.

Call in the fly-by-night outfits, those businesses — many of them created just for this disaster — whose transient workforce smells a dollar through the musty aroma left from standing water.

And they can wreak havoc, not only financially by ripping off overly trusting homeowners but by doing a job so poorly that more problems are created.

“A lot of people are coming in from out of state,” Minter said. “Some of them are opportunistic. One guy was charging a flat four hours (of drying time) for $5,000.”

In fact, here in Boulder, CO there are out-of-state “contractors” hiring chronically homeless people. One such “worker” is an alcoholic who showed up on the doorstep of Boulder Shelter for the Homeless yesterday morning, drunk again, and told us all about her “job” helping to pump out flooded basements. She indicated that she was going back to work as soon as she could shower at BSH. I hope she ate something for breakfast there, before heading to the liquor store and meeting her “employer” after that. Bottom line: I wouldn’t hire this dipso to pick up dog turds.

The article goes on to recommend the following:

Ask for references, and call at least one of them.

Check to see if they’re registered as a business.

Ask for certifications, and check them out.

If a deposit is required, do not pay with cash, and have a signed contract specifically outlining the work.

Be suspicious of anyone who simply shows up and operates in nondescript vehicles with no business markings.

It’s a real disaster for Lyons, that’s for certain. See the report from the Times-Call. An acquaintance I see passing by the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 in the afternoon told me yesterday it will be six months before she can get back into her home in Lyons. She’s a sweet lady, who also said that she was glad to see that I’m okay. BTW, like me, she supported Mitt Romney last November. And where would we be without folks taking matters in hand to help their neighbors and themselves? If you sat around waiting for FEMA and other federal agencies to rescue you, it would be an ongoing disaster. Granted, government at all levels has an important role to play in disaster relief; that role, however, is a complementary one to what disaster survivors are doing right now. It’s disgusting to read and hear Obama worshippers pretending otherwise . . .

I debated with myself about posting this on my blog, but have decided to do so along with a few of the online comments which follow Mike Sandrock’s Daily Camera column. To wit:

settledmind — get over yourself. this article came across as inappropriately focused on your running, and perhaps your organic peach. are you sure they were organic. thanks for clarifying.

dothead — Not to mention Boulder Canyon is closed to everyone. Even special people.

Brewst — It’s incredibly unfortunate the DC chose to publish this rubbish, which only encourages access to flood damaged and unsafe areas by people that have no business whatsoever entering a disaster area. BCSO issued a statement last night advising they would cite and arrest anyone caught in the closed areas in the foothills, and my guess is that publishing this article was a great big reason the Sheriff has had to take this action.
DC and M Sandrock, you owe the community a big apology..by describing ingress and egress routes you’re also enabling possible theft and looting in the canyons.

cdan4th — “In their time of grieving, I speak for many in the running community in offering condolences to all who suffered losses in the flood. ”

You don’t speak for this member of the running community, Mike. Most of us respect the law and common sense. What you did was flagrant, arrogant, and irresponsible. It gives the rest of us a bad name by association. Shame on you!

I’m just glad that these characters weren’t injured, which would have caused emergency response personnel to be diverted from other tasks. Gotta rescue the organic peaches! ONLY IN BOULDER. Thank goodness my friend, who runs marathons, isn’t like the incredibly self-absorbed Mr. Sandrock . . .

I’ll no longer be posting notices about the emergency warming centers here until the weather takes a turn for the worse with the arrival of Winter. Nor will I post the link to the National Weather Service 7-Day Forecast for Boulder, CO before then.

On a happy note, it’s new day at Boulder Public Library with the departure of Valerie Maginnis.

Trash dump on CDOT property at N. Broadway & U.S. 36

By Max R. Weller

I first saw this lot, which belongs to the Colorado Department of Transportation and lies just outside Boulder city limits, being used as a drop-off site for flood debris (mostly from inside homes) when I returned to my north Boulder neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon. In the past, CDOT has allowed this property to be used by the contractors who were rebuilding Broadway back around 2009 (from downtown up to Iris), and by others for legitimate purposes. However, the lot is clearly posted NO TRESPASSING and NO LITTERING. Of course, with tons and tons of debris needing to be disposed of ASAP, there are drop-off sites all over Boulder County. Tuesday afternoon I watched a lady (wearing a puce-colored minidress), whom I presume was a county bureaucrat, supervising the offloading of numerous loads of trash which quickly overwhelmed the available industrial-size dumpsters. No matter; people simply tossed their debris on the ground.

Yesterday afternoon, the proverbial shit hit the fan and I saw it all unfold. A CDOT supervisor arrived, and judging by his body language he was VERY UPSET by the mess he saw (I’d guesstimate the trash heap’s size at about 30′ x 100′ and as tall as a man). He immediately confronted the county bureaucrat (a munchkin of indeterminate sex, driving a marked Boulder County vehicle) who was pretending to run things there, words were exchanged, and the drop-off site on the CDOT lot was shut down. Munchkin drove away in his/her vehicle, as the CDOT supervisor took charge and began turning people away. A short while later, a Colorado State Patrol vehicle arrived. The trooper spoke at length with the CDOT supervisor, as other CDOT employees in trucks arrived. The trooper returned to his vehicle, which he’d positioned to partially block the entrance to the property, and began writing a report (I saw the paperwork in his hand later on). By 5PM, the entrance had been blocked off by two ROAD CLOSED signs and a couple of orange barrels, along with yellow caution tape strung along the barricade, reaching over to a nearby light pole. BTW, CDOT guy took numerous photos from different vantage points around the trash heap. Everybody went on their way around 5:30PM.

As dusk was falling, three trucks arrived loaded with more flood debris. Two of ’em parked in front of the barricade at the entrance, then carried their trash over to the pile. Another driver got out, tore down the caution tape, then drove through the narrow gap. Two CDOT supervisors came along and caught this jerk as he was finishing unloading his trailer; they admonished him and sent him on his way. He could have been ticketed by the CSP for trespassing (a $200 fine, I think) and littering (a $1,000 fine). The CDOT guys placed a third ROAD CLOSED barricade between the other two, replaced the yellow caution tape, and all was still intact when I walked by this morning at 5AM.

Obviously, all of this trash poses a health hazard and could quickly become home to an army of vermin. But, praise be, as I left Boulder Shelter for the Homeless this morning about 7:30, I saw new dumpsters on the scene being loaded by a Bobcat using the pincer attachment, instead of the bucket. Soaked mattresses, ruined drywall, furniture, all manner of stuff. A few people may have been taking the opportunity to clean out basements and garages which were NOT flooded, it seems to me.

I hope that the site will be squared away by the time I return to my shady spot across the street in front of the Mexican restaurant, probably before noon.

Somebody at the local newspaper ought to look into this conflict between CDOT and Boulder County . . .

Note: I’ve submitted this as a letter-to-the-editor of the Daily Camera. Don’t hold your breath, however.

Facebook post by Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow

*** Due to Continual Flooding and Ground Saturation in Boulder, BOHO will open again tonight***

There will be a Emergency Warming Center Tonight Wednesday September 18th, 2013 at Congregation St Andrew Presbyterian Church, 3700 Baseline Rd.

Please Do Not Arrive before 6:00 PM! Door’s will open at 7:00 PM.
***The driveway to St. Andrew’s is washed out – plan to access through the Har HaShem driveway – please do not try to cut through the properties of the two houses.***

RTD INFO: 203 and 225

Stay safe and look out for each other. Locate as many friends as you can!