Monthly Archives: May 2017

Smartphone camera catches homeless woman in the act, and more

Donna, this is for you — in case you missed it the first time around.

homelessphilosopher

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING BAD BEHAVIOR!

By Max R. Weller

Boulder police have been called to the private property belonging to the Dakota Ridge HOA located at N. Broadway & Laramie, where the bums have been drinking and passing out underneath the pine trees for a few weeks now, many times recently. Saturday, a city officer found four or five of ’em partying there, and gave the bums one last warning before adding, “Next time we respond to a complaint from the property owners, all of you will be ticketed for Trespassing.”

The ringleader of these pickled idjits is Donna; read about her background as a troublemaker in my north Boulder neighborhood: Donna the homeless drama queen at N. Broadway & Laramie Blvd. originally published here on 9/21/2015.

Yesterday, Donna took the officer’s warning to heart, and she sat on the wall in front of the Mexican restaurant next to the…

View original post 753 more words

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Boulder, CO do-gooders on verge of winning Race To The Bottom

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, AND KEEP ON DEMANDING IT EVEN IF IT NEVER COMES!

By Max R. Weller

It doesn’t look hopeful at this point for all of us who see through the smokescreen of “compassion” put out by greedy — yes, GREEDY — nonprofits like Boulder Shelter for the HomelessBridge House, and now Attention Homes (no longer is their mission to help kids ages 12 through 17). Read Boulder board approves housing for homeless at 1440 Pine St. in the Daily Camera. Copied below in its entirety:

A rendering of the proposal to house chronically homeless young adults at 1440 Pine St., Boulder.

A rendering of the proposal to house chronically homeless young adults at 1440 Pine St., Boulder. (Courtesy image)

After 18 months of community debate — often unusually heated, even by Boulder’s standards — the city Planning Board on Tuesday night approved a proposal to build housing for homeless young adults in a new downtown facility.

The board voted 6-1, with member Crystal Gray representing the lone voice of dissent.

The approval will be final unless the City Council moves to call up the project for additional discussion and then overturns the vote. That seems unlikely, based on the strong support from a Planning Board with its members handpicked by the council.

Barring such action by the council, Tuesday’s OK means that the local nonprofit Attention Homes, working with Studio Architecture and the affordable housing developer Gardner Capital, can proceed with plans to construct a new three-story building on what is currently a surface parking lot at 1440 Pine St.

The building will have 40 housing units for chronically homeless people between the ages of 18 and 24.

Attention Homes will relocate its administrative offices into the facility, which will also have space for various support-based services for tenants who in most cases will be trauma victims at educational and job-training deficits.

On the ground floor of the building will be a small “grab-and-go” café — no more than nine seats will be allowed, which the local restaurant and butcher Blackbelly has agreed to operate.

The project was granted a 62 percent reduction under the amount of parking that would typically have been required.

Tuesday’s meeting was a special one called only after a May 18 public hearing on the development ran so late as to require a continuation.

That earlier hearing put on full display the myriad citizen disagreements that have long marked the project.

Many — including the dozens who offered supportive public comments at the hearing — will celebrate Tuesday’s vote as a victory for inclusivity.

Others felt the building was too tall and dense to fit in with the Whittier neighborhood. Certain project opponents said that it was too risky to put at-risk young people near a busy downtown area they said is filled with temptations.

Some took issue with the public process behind the project, and said they were not given genuine opportunities to impact the ultimate proposal.

Specifically controversial was the fact that the developers were virtually locked into the 40-unit density prior to public outreach, because the grant money they’d secured was contingent upon that level of density.

“Exactly what we’re voting on,” Gray said, “is what was put in that grant package before the concept review and before this board even got to hear the public, and before the applicant even got to hear our concerns.

“When you don’t involve people in a transparent and honest process … you’re going to have winners and losers, and we have to change that.”

Chair John Putnam pushed back.

“I would strongly disagree with the suggestion that what happened wasn’t transparent or honest. I think they were following the rules and requirements as laid out, and there are no requirements that you go to the city before asking for grants.”

Offered member Liz Payton: “We need to operate in a way that it doesn’t look like people are taking advantage of loopholes.”

In her comments on the plan, Gray also said that the office and café uses are “so incompatible” with the neighborhood. Payton said it seemed to her “like kind of an incursion” on the surroundings.

Member David Engisn said “I don’t really see that” and member Bryan Bowen said he felt the café in particular would be “really useful in normalizing” the homeless clients who will move on-site.

As a result of this vote, Attention Homes will vacate its current offices at 1443 Spruce St. and move to 1440 Pine St.

The LGBTQ organization Out Boulder County, now located a few hundred feet from the site, has a tentative agreement to move its headquarters into what will be the former Attention Homes space on Spruce Street.

Included in the approval is a plan to designate the rest of the structures on the block — including the old house occupied by Lucile’s Creole Café — as historic landmarks.

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The precedent for this kind of crooked manipulation of zoning regulations was set a few short years ago by the 1175 Lee Hill Housing First project. Partners in that enterprise, BSH and Boulder Housing Partners, claimed this Wet House was “transitional housing” which is a “use by right” in that zoning. But as soon as approval was gained, up went the signs proclaiming 1175 Lee Hill as “permanent supportive housing” — in fact, a congregate care facility specifically prohibited under the zoning rules in place. I can attest to the fact that HF clients are causing all sorts of problems out in the surrounding neighborhood, where I’ve lived for over nine years, due to their drunken and loutish behavior. Deacon Chris Byrne and the rest of the enablers on staff there can deny it, but it’s as plain as the nose on your face.

BTW, a former resident at 1175 Lee Hill, Donna the Homeless Drama Queen, threatened me just yesterday with a lawsuit because I blogged about her return from a failed alcohol rehab at Ft. Lyon (costing Colorado taxpayers at least $100K). Every word I wrote in her case was TRUE, and there are records from emergency services providers to prove it. Her new “protector” is a homeless man who left Boulder way back around Christmastime in 2013, and many of us thought he’d gone home to another state to finish drinking himself to death. I think his feelings were hurt when I couldn’t remember his name right off the bat, even though he also warned me not to blog about his pickled shenanigans in public in the future. Of course, I’ll write what I please when the time comes . . .

What is Boulder’s city staff thinking about the Transient Migration here?

Here’s a BUM with so little respect for authority that he might as well pee and poop right in front of the Municipal Building . . . And the homeless advocates — including Isabel McDevitt at Bridge House — would be fine with it if he did!

The Homeless Philosopher says the only things he’s entitled to receive, on purely humanitarian grounds, are a bus ticket on RTD to Denver and a sack lunch to-go.

— MRW 

(E-mailed to Boulder City Council) 

‘Boulder taps Bridge House to implement summer sheltering program’

See the report in the Daily Camera here. Copied below in its entirety:

A homeless man, who declined to give his name, takes a nap in his sleeping bag near Boulder Creek in the downtown Civic Area on May 3.

A homeless man, who declined to give his name, takes a nap in his sleeping bag near Boulder Creek in the downtown Civic Area on May 3. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

Boulder has accepted Bridge House’s proposal to provide temporary summer homeless sheltering, but the organization is not sure it will have the service up and running by the June 1 date the city originally had targeted.

City officials sent out a call for proposals earlier this month as they sought to partner with a group to implement a homeless sheltering or camping program from June through September.

Two groups submitted letters of intent, and Boulder chose to go with Bridge House’s proposal partly because of the organization’s experience with providing similar homeless programs, and its contacts.

“Bridge House has been offering homeless services in Boulder for 20 years,” said Isabel McDevitt, Bridge House’s executive director. “We have a very deep understanding of the population and a really innovative style in terms of creating programs and employing best practices.”

Boulder officials also said Bridge House’s proposal included plans for building-based sheltering, which was something they’d said the city would prefer over an outdoor camping proposal.

This comes after the city said it would spend more than $300,000 to increase police patrols and up the frequency of homeless encampment sweeps along Boulder Creek and in the downtown area.

“I think the city and many stakeholders are focused on a long-term plan, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have immediate needs,” McDevitt said. “Homeless folks have needs during the summer as well as winter.”

Zach McGee, a spokesman for Boulder, said Bridge House and the city have not yet selected which actual buildings will be used.

“The next step of this process is to investigate these options further with them,” McGee said. “They have had conversations with some of the faith-based communities they have worked with.”

McDevitt said that while Bridge House has not received any commitments yet, she don’t foresee it being an issue.

“The timeline for the (request for information) and the subsequent letters was very tight, but we’re confident we can find a location based on our relationships,” McDevitt said. “We just haven’t gotten anything 100 percent confirmed.”

Because no sites have been selected and this is the first time Boulder has taken on a program like this, McGee said the city is not sure how much it will cost.

“It’s really not something we’ve offered before,” McGee said. “It’s all dependent on what services they are able to provide and what locations they will use. We’re trying to determine the cost and see what the capacity is in the community for supporting this type of program.”

McGee said the city still hopes it will have the temporary sheltering program up and running by June 1. The program would run through Sept. 30.

“Barring any issues, problems or delays that is still what we’re working toward,” McGee said. “Based on that short timeline, they are going to be really aggressive with it.”

But McDevitt was not as optimistic.

“I think Bridge House is well suited to get up and running as soon as humanly possible, but I do think it will take a bit longer,” McDevitt said. “There is still quite a bit to negotiate with the city of Boulder just around the budget and how this fits into the long-term plan.”

And while this is a temporary sheltering program, McDevitt said the city and Bridge House should use it as an opportunity to try to test out new practices with building-based shelters that could help in the long run.

“This is not just a stop-gap for the summer,” McDevitt said. “We envision something consistent with the city’s long-term plan that will pilot a new and different approach toward sheltering.”

McDevitt said that included doing vulnerability assessments on people who come into the shelter and offering services to help them find stable housing.

“This is an opportunity to put forth a model that can address needs year-round,” McDevitt said. “We want to move the needle on some systemic changes around how we address homelessness in Boulder.”

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Seems to me that the “fix” was in from the get-go, to have Bridge House put into a position to coddle the worst-behaved transients from all across America. Folks, we’re SCREWED! I hope I’m wrong, but I trust Isabel McDevitt about as far as I can pick her up and toss her . . .

— MRW

Betsey Martens of Boulder Housing Partners admits her #1 priority

DONATING TO A BOULDER, CO NONPROFIT DOES NOT HELP THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

Ms. Martens is soon leaving her position as executive director of Boulder Housing Partners (which might explain why she was so candid in the following comment to the Daily Camera): “For over a decade, Boulder Housing Partners, the housing authority for the city of Boulder, has partnered with the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Together, we have created programs that now bring in more than $1 million a year in federal funds to support the homeless in Boulder County. This includes the highly successful 1175 Lee Hill project for the chronically homeless.” This is a case of More Homeless People = More Money, and so long as the $$$ keep coming in from both public and private funding sources homelessness will NEVER be ended.

Read her entire letter-to-editor of the Daily Camera here. In case you didn’t know, Betsey Martens used to serve as a board member at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Naturally, she will seek to trumpet a partnership with that refuge for transients and sex offenders right across the street from her own Boulder Housing Partners.

However, one’s perspective matters — the Homeless Philosopher has NO financial incentive for publishing what he observes firsthand. Here’s an example (from 9/21/2015) of what Ms. Martens call “highly successful” as it relates to an erstwhile resident of Housing First at 1175 Lee Hill: Donna the homeless drama queen at N. Broadway & Laramie Blvd. Copied below in its entirety:

Donna is her Real Name, and after all of her efforts to gain attention I’m no longer going to call her “Doris” to protect her identity.

She’s the ringleader of the bunch of inebriates who have caused so much trouble in the 4900 block of N. Broadway over the course of the past month or so, which has required the intervention of law enforcement more than once prior to this past weekend. Two Native American women (including Donna), two white male pedophiles, and another white male who came to Boulder, CO just recently comprise this group.

On Friday, as they were camped out underneath the pine trees on nicely-landscaped property belonging to the Dakote Ridge HOA, and taking turns staggering in the median at the corner of U.S. 36 while “flying a sign” to gain more booze money, I took my brief turn as a Humble Beggar to gain a few dollars to buy life’s necessities (as I receive no taxpayer-funded benefits of any kind, nor do I patronize any of the Free Giveaway venues except Boulder Shelter for my morning shower and to maintain a small locker) such as food, clothing, camping gear, bus fare, etc. As I held up my sign — HELP SAVE LIVES / NO CASH / FOR DRUNKS — her male friends left first, and then Donna practically crawled from the pine trees down the sidewalk to the spot where I normally sit, on the wall in front of the Mexican restaurant (where business owners, workers, and neighbors greet me as I’m reading a newspaper or a book).

Then, she sort of fell into the roadside ditch there. I went over to see if she was okay, and another person was already doing the same, and Donna was lying facedown at the bottom of that ditch on a long piece of cardboard with a “disaster blanket” or two from BSH as a makeshift bed. BTW, when it rains that ditch quickly fills up with water a foot or more deep. She did NOT respond to our shouts, and since I don’t own a cell phone I asked the other person to call 9-1-1. You never know about these drunkards; they could be sleeping it off or they could be suffering alcohol poisoning which can, of course, be fatal.

Anyway, the Boulder Rural Fire Dept. and paramedics responded, along with both Boulder County deputies and City of Boulder police (this spot is right on the border between county and city). A short minute before they all arrived, after I’d continued to shout at Donna that emergency help was on the way, she’d managed to crawl up out of the ditch and stagger on down the sidewalk in an attempt to make her escape. The paramedics stopped her, spoke to her, and in the end decided against transporting her to detox. In the meantime, I spoke with the deputies and city officers and showed them the mess these drunkards were making on private property that Dakota Ridge residents are paying to maintain.

Now we come to the events of Saturday: Donna and one of her male crew members were passed out again, same place, and she decided to go topless. When she put her bra and shirt back on and staggered out to the corner to panhandle, she decided to “flash” passersby. Certainly, this constitutes Disorderly Conduct in the context of being intoxicated. I figured she was headed for jail this time. Someone who had a cell phone saw Donna topless and called law enforcement. Both a Boulder county deputy and a City of Boulder police officer responded, and after talking to her briefly the deputy put her in handcuffs and took her away . . . To detox, as we learned yesterday morning.

Yes, she was back in the neighborhood yesterday! More than one interested party, including the Homeless Philosopher, told her flat out that she was NOT going back on the corner and making us all look like drunken degenerates. She obeyed us, for a wonder.

You can thank Housing First at 1175 Lee Hill for this whole mess — that’s how she came to be in the neighborhood in the first place, in a brand new apartment, until she was evicted for inviting her street friends to stay overnight and party. She has been hanging around the area ever since then, and I’ve heard that homeless people downtown and on Baseline have threatened to do great bodily harm to her if she returns to either one of those transient hangouts.

Gee, I wonder why these other bums despise her so much . . . Oh yeah, I’ve heard she’s a sneak thief, too.

I’m told that Donna came here to Boulder a few years ago from Denver.

My blog post is “evidence-based” in the same way that Ms. Martens’ letter-to-editor in the DC is; it’s actually a matter of perspective. Or, to put it another way, WHO DO YOU TRUST MORE?

As far as I can tell, from over nine years of direct observation of Boulder’s homeless shelter / services industry, all of the do-gooders involved — including Joy Eckstine-Redstone, George Epp, Greg Harms, Betsey Martens, et al — are utterly clueless and they also possess NO love for awkward facts which tend to expose their narrative for what it really is:

(This post e-mailed to Boulder City Council)

‘Around Denver’s Central Library, crime and no punishment’

See the editorial in the Denver Post here. Copied below in its entirety:

By

Denver’s flagship Central Library needs some love and attention. And soon.

Regular users know this. Sadly, those who regularly walk or drive by the famous Michael Graves structure at the edge of Civic Center know it also. Now that 9News investigators went undercover to record stomach-turning videos of crowds of street people and the homeless sprawled along the grand arcade — some of them shooting up heroin — the depressing fact has been vividly documented for the world to see.

Reporter Jeremy Jojola reports that emergency calls for fights and sexual assaults are spiking at the library.  Also worrisome is that, while there were no calls for overdoses during the first four months of last year, there were 44 this year.

The findings showcase Denver’s overall problem with opioid addiction, a problem not isolated to our city. Not only does it challenge users of the library, it drains money from library budgets. As City Librarian Michelle Jeske tells us, the library is shifting resources that could be spent beefing up library staff to hiring additional security forces and equipment meant to protect it.

“I’m horrified by it,” Jeske told Jojola. “And I’m sad for those people who have that drug addiction at the same time.”

The report horrifies us as well. Count us as fans of the library’s mission.

What a shame it would be if one of the city’s crown jewels were left to its own defenses, and to the degradation that we’ve seen in so many other areas, like the 16th Street Mall and the Cherry Creek trail. While Jeske is right to add security personnel and equipment, her guards aren’t empowered to make arrests. And banning bad actors, which the library does, is but a Band-Aid solution.

City Hall and the Denver Police Department must step up protection of this valuable resource. While the massive building is no doubt difficult to patrol, its public areas are hardly as welcoming to illegal actors as the above-mentioned outdoor amenities. It’s time for a crackdown, with a visible and undercover police presence in the area around the library, the Denver Art Museum, and, as always, Civic Center.

Hancock’s spokeswoman, Amber Miller, tells us that police will upgrade patrols. Miller rightly notes that the real problem is the dealers and pimps who move among the addicted and the struggling. Police should make them feel completely unwelcome.

A critical point that all of us should keep top-of-mind as officials work to bring order to this situation: The mission of the library and the city is to serve all members of the public. A backlash of negativity would be a regrettable and unhelpful result indeed. The Denver Public Library helps those down on their luck. Its many resources and experts offer those in poverty with the means to improve their education and skills and find jobs. Social workers among the stacks guide those with mental illnesses and addiction to assistance.

That mission isn’t just altruistic, it is also the law. Advocates for the homeless vigorously pursue legal challenges when rights and freedoms are curtailed.

We get it that addressing the problem won’t be easy, and in some ways can never be solved. But making the library safe, for both the downtrodden and the comfortable, is what residents of a great city should expect, and deserve.

(Editor’s note: Editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett, a member of The Denver Post’s editorial board, is married to a Denver Public Library official.)

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This is what happens when you bow down to the Lowest Common Denominator of humanity, who do NOT care about DCL’s “many resources and experts” any more than they care about being clean and sober or practicing good hygiene. The BUMS have NO respect for themselves, NO respect for others, and NO respect for any community they happen to be in at the moment.

And it’s NOT the law! So-called homeless advocates file frivolous lawsuits all the time, and gain NOTHING in the process except the media attention they crave. So, let ’em! The City of Denver has many attorneys on staff drawing salaries, anyway.

There’s a valuable lesson here for the City of Boulder . . .

— MRW 

(E-mailed to Boulder City Council)