Seldom do we see a commentary from any Boulder County citizen who manages to see through the smoke screen put out by the do-gooders in our local homeless shelter / services industry, but this Guest Opinion from the Daily Camera is spot-on! Copied below in its entirety:
The Daily Camera front-page story of Sept. 20 about Boulder policies regarding the homeless leads with a picture of a young “homeless” couple sitting on Pearl Street Mall on a Monday, a workday — one reading a book and the other playing a guitar. The picture and the article present starkly the following question: “Should people who work (teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, city and county workers, reporters and others) be taxed to provide food and shelter for those who, instead of working, wish to spend their day playing the guitar on the Pearl Street Mall?”.
Like most people, I learned at an early age that it was my responsibility to provide for my own food and shelter and, eventually, for my family. It never would have occurred to me, or to 99.9 percent of the population, that I/we could sit around playing the guitar and expect others to be taxed to support us.
With currently proposed budget, Boulder City and County will be spending millions of dollars annually to support programs, infrastructure and personnel for the “homeless.” As an alternative I would suggest the following three-part part program:
1. Identify the limited number of truly local Boulder citizens who have fallen on hard times and need our help, being generous in making those determinations.
2. Give them money to enable them to get food and housing — again being generous in calculating their needs.
3. Tell the young people who do not understand personal responsibility, and who wish to spend their days playing the guitar on the mall, to get a job like the rest of us.
We have a clear moral responsibility to help our neighbors who have fallen on hard times. That is something we must do. But, fundamentally it is immoral to tax hard-working (and often underpaid) teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, city and county workers, reporters and others to pay for food and shelter for young people who do not understand personal responsibility and who wish to spend their days playing the guitar on Pearl Street Mall.
I may be wrong (it has happened before), but I am guessing that simply giving money — generously — to our real neighbors who are in genuine distress would cost a fraction of the cost of the “homeless” programs, infrastructure and personnel currently contemplated by our civic leaders.
Preston Padden lives in Lafayette.
Everyone in Boulder County (including the Homeless Philosopher) pays the Worthy Cause sales tax and most county residents pay much more to support lazy young travelers playing guitar (badly) on Pearl Street Mall:
Poster kids for “Boulder Rights Watch”
As a homeless RESIDENT of Boulder County since early 2008, all I need is to be left alone to live outdoors, take my morning shower at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and keep a small locker there as well, blog about the terrible effects on all of society caused by inappropriate compassion for BUMS, and occasionally donate to various charities which really do help people in need. (I regret ever having given as much as I did to BSH — but it was before I learned enough to know better.)