Author Archives: homelessphilosopher

‘San Diego starts cleaning sidewalks, streets to combat hepatitis A’

Read the report from the San Diego Union-Tribune here. Copied below in its entirety:

Crews from the company Clean Harbors began power-washing sidewalks and street areas with a bleach and chlorine solution in downtown San Diego on Monday as part of an effort to stop the spread of hepatitis A among homeless people.

The area cleaned Monday included sidewalks around 17th Street and Imperial Avenue, where hundreds of homeless congregate and live in tents and other shelters along city streets. The cleanings will continue in other downtown areas on Wednesday and Friday and repeat every other week.

A hepatitis A outbreak has left 15 homeless people dead and hospitalized nearly 300 others over the past 10 months. A lack of adequate access to restrooms, showers and hand-washing stations is believed to have contributed to the spread.

Besides starting the washing program Monday, the city announced it was extending the hours of 14 restrooms in Balboa Park, which will be open 24 hours a day starting Tuesday.

“By disinfecting our sidewalks and making additional public restrooms available 24/7, we’re following the direction of County health officials to address the unsanitary conditions that have helped fuel this outbreak,” said Craig Gustafson, senior director of communications for Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “We’re taking swift action to eradicate this virus from our streets and keep our most vulnerable residents safe.”

On Friday, Gustafson said Faulconer expected to announce this week a plan to set up multiple large tents to provide temporary, immediate shelter relief for hundreds of homeless people. Those tents will be equipped with restrooms, hand-washing stations and showers, he said.

The sidewalk washings and extended restroom hours this week were in response to a letter sent by county health official Aug. 31 asking the city to move forward with a list of specific sanitation actions to help control the spread of hepatitis A.

The county gave the city five business days to respond with the plan for remedying what it called a “fecally contaminated environment” downtown.

On Monday, county Communications Director Michael Workman said health officials still were evaluating the city’s response to the request.

The county also has taken steps to address the outbreak and plans to expand its efforts to other cities in the region soon.

County health officials already have provided hepatitis vaccinations to 19,000 people, including 7,300 considered to be at-risk of contracting the disease. The county also hired its own contractor to install 40 hand-washing stations in areas where the homeless often gather, and it has plans to install more this week.

The city has identified three downtown areas to be cleaned every other week. Monday’s areas included the sidewalks along Imperial Avenue below the Interstate 5 overpass, where the city had installed jagged rocks in an attempt to deter homeless people from camping in April 2016. Homeless people still used the site, prompting a need to wash the area.

The Monday cleaning area also includes streets north of National Avenue, south of F Street, west of 22nd Street and east of 10th Avenue. It also includes several blocks north of F Street and south of B Street between 10th Avenue and 17th Street.

On Wednesdays, crews will move west and clean streets north of Broadway, south of Fir Street, west of 10th Avenue and east of Pacific Highway.

On Fridays, crews will clean streets north of Harbor Drive, south of Broadway, west of 10th Avenue and east of Pacific Highway.

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It wasn’t that long ago here in Boulder, CO that citizens were up in arms, and rightly so, over the worst-behaved transients peeing and pooping along Boulder Creek upstream from the downtown area. See: City struggles to manage human waste along Boulder Creek from the Daily Camera.

After observing the new and much-ballyhooed homelessness strategy at Boulder Shelter for the  Homeless for over a week, featuring something called Coordinated Entry, I can tell you that it’s more of the same as we’ve seen in years past: MORE TRANSIENTS without any ties to Boulder County consuming resources that should be prioritized for local homeless residents. No doubt, some of them have recently traveled through San Diego, CA and been exposed to hepatitis A, which has killed 19 homeless people and hospitalized 300 others in recent months in that city.

Yet, the do-gooders in our local homeless shelter / services industry continue to welcome the BUMS with open arms. Their creed: More Homeless People = More Money.

— MRW

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Commentary from the Westside Pioneer in Colorado Springs:

Read it here. Copied below in its entirety:

EDITOR’S DESK: How to solve the bum problem

By Kenyon Jordan

      The years roll by, and our “new normal” features increasing numbers of alarmingly grubby beard people in our commercial districts and neighborhoods. They shuffle about, alone or in groups, seldom engaging with everyday folk except to ask for things, often mumbling to themselves, always leaving messes behind. 

       Lately, their legions have been joined by a younger crowd, able-bodied men as well as women, who seem to look on this lifestyle as a new career choice. Not a total surprise there, their formative years having taken place under Obama and legalized marijuana. 

       But they’re all bums. They pollute our creeks, set damaging fires, steal what they can, pick through our trash, pass out in public, exploit our emergency services, squat on bus benches, turn public parks and trails into scary places and, when their disability or SSI funds run low, stand on street corners proclaiming they’re hungry.

 
       If you’re wondering why the pavilion is being removed from Bancroft Park, it’s because of the vagrancy there. A Colorado Springs Parks representative said so at a public meeting. Ever wonder why the pretty landscaping got removed around the Old Colorado City History Center? Bums used it for… well, you figure it out. 

       For too long, our governments have foolishly handed off this problem to the most compassionate among us. I’m serious. These are people who fear desperately that our unwashed angels might freeze or starve. This tends to eclipse their common sense. They hand out sleeping bags when they know the recipients will use them to camp outside illegally and unsanitarily. They don’t discourage pet ownership, despite the odds that the animals will be ill-used. They devote hours to reform individuals who see them only as a mark. They give money to panhandlers, who (police say) frequently use the freebies to kill themselves with booze and drugs. 

       Believe it or not, when the Colorado Springs Parks Board heard that improvements in Bancroft Park would let the city shut off electrical service after hours, the response from two of its members was alarm that their outdoor friends were losing a place to charge their cell phones. 

       Many of these enablers are well-meaning Christians. In the old days, churches would at least make lost souls hear a sermon, but nowadays the compassioneers don’t even require identification. Who are we helping? We don’t know, but it sure feels good. 

       In recent years, the bum sympathizers have found an unlikely ally – the atheistic American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). I doubt its diversity-minded donors care much about solving mass vagrancy or how that phenomenon drains communities – emotionally and financially – but you can bet they celebrate when ACLU lawyers find dubious enforcement loopholes in the U.S. Constitution. Meanwhile, undoubtedly, many of the ACLU supporters live in gated communities, where hired guards keep out the riff-raff.  

      The ACLU also has a love affair with Big Media, who adore stories that let them picture layabouts as innocent victims (“we’re all just a paycheck away from homelessness,” etc.), portray cops as bad guys and throw out incendiary accusations – as was done to Colorado Springs a year or so ago – i.e., running “debtors’ prisons.” Charles Dickens, who wrote about the true version of that practice in the mid-1800s, would laugh himself hoarse. 

       One of the most sensible things I’ve heard from the compassion crowd is that a big part of the problem is “mental issues.” That’s a nice way to say that many members of the grubby gang are off their rockers. Truly, who else but crazy people would choose to live under bridges like trolls, disdain employment and indoor plumbing, beg on street corners and drink or needle themselves into comas? 

       Do you think I’m exaggerating? Ask any cop. Or the crews on Cimarron/I-25, who frequently have to call in the CSPD’s HOT Team to clear out areas they’ll be working in. Or the business owners in Old Colorado City. Or the long-suffering residents in the neighborhoods near the Marian House. 

        So my suggestion – which I’m certain will be ignored and/or despised by Decision Makers, big and small – is that we reinvigorate our mental institutions. From what I’ve read, scaling them back was a trendy thing in the 1950s, and Ronald Reagan sealed the deal during his presidency in the ’80s. The pendulum needs to swing the other way. 

       Sure it would cost money. But right now, with all our ineffective programs and legal restraints, we’re just throwing good money after bad (taxpayer as well as donor) and wasting the energies of well-meaning city officials, church people and other volunteers – not to mention squandering any chances (however slim) of rehabilitating the shuffling mumblers themselves. 

       Details? How about requiring that after the third time someone is cited for camping outside with zero prospects, it’s off to the institution. It sounds like a win-win to me, moving poor losers off the streets and into the care of specialists who could dry them out, then diagnose whatever’s meandering around inside their ailing skulls. Better for them. Better for us. 

       Plus, I predict a side benefit. Once the word gets out that uncooperative campers are being shipped away to shrink-land, I think we’ll suddenly see a lot of those layabouts acting in ways that aren’t so crazy after all. Getting off the streets. Buying a razor. Applying for jobs. Maybe even finding Jesus and joining those churches they’ve been leeching from.

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A friend of mine (who is also homeless) came across this column and printed it out for my benefit. So now, I’m passing it along to you.

Yes, I’ll also be e-mailing this post to Boulder City Council; I know of no group of elected officials anywhere more in need of a huge dose of COMMON SENSE.

— MRW

WANTED: Shed or other outbuilding for shelter this winter

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

I can’t afford to pay rent, but I can provide references from solid citizens attesting to my cleanliness, sobriety, and peaceful behavior.

I spent all of last winter, including 3 or 4 nights with the temperature below zero, sleeping under a tarp with several sleeping bags and wool blankets — and bundled up in my winter coat, insulated gloves, and balaclava — but at age 61 with an arthritic hip and a few other medical issues, I’d be better off with a roof and four walls to more effectively protect me from the elements.

If you live in my north Boulder neighborhood, around the intersection of N. Broadway & U.S. 36, and have a shed or other outbuilding where I could safely sleep overnight this coming winter, please leave a comment here on my blog or on my Facebook page.

Thank you!

(E-mailed to Boulder City Council.)

Indigenous Peoples Day in Boulder, CO

Perhaps you’re wondering how the worst-behaved transients feel about the Native Americans:

Clothes and gear drying out on the Chief Niwot statue.

While we can’t allow transients to freeze to death here during wintertime, and therefore need adequate emergency overnight shelter available on a walk-up basis, the goal should be to assist them in returning to wherever they came from — other counties in Colorado or even other states. As far as I can determine, this is NOT the focus now. WTF?

— MRW

‘As fall colors take hold, Boulder County braces for first snow, up to 4 inches could fall Monday’

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING INCOMPETENT DO-GOODERS!

By Max R. Weller

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

One year after recording its latest first measurable snow, Boulder County is expected to see its inaugural blanket of white for the fall season by Monday, about a week ahead of its average date for that benchmark.

Forecasters are calling for up to 4 inches of snow in Boulder County, with the event starting off as rain before midnight Sunday, turning to snow and then snowing much of the day Monday, which in Boulder is celebrated as Indigenous Peoples Day and is recognized at the federal level as Columbus Day.

“This is a system coming in from the west. We’re getting the downslope winds now, coming out of the Pacific west,” said Nezette Rydell, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Boulder. “It’s a normal wintertime system coming at us.”

hazardous weather warning on the NWS website Friday stated “Enough snow may accumulate on trees to cause damage. As temperatures fall Sunday night into early Monday, some snow or slush accumulation will be possible on roads as well. A hard freeze is also likely across the entire area Monday night as skies clear behind the storm system.”

In 2016, Boulder County did not see its first autumn snow until Nov. 17, with Boulder recording 3 inches that day and Longmont 1.7 inches. Previously, the latest first snow in Boulder had fallen Nov. 15, which occurred in 1987, 1988 and 2005.

The average date for first snow of the season in Boulder for the period 1948 to 2014 was Oct. 15.

The coming storm, Rydell said, “is a little early” for the first snowfall. “Most are mid-October or later. It’s a little bit early, but it’s not out of the realm of the usual. We’ve been having later (first) snow the last few years, mostly in the last half of October or early November.”

Boulder meteorologist Matt Kelsch on his weather blog Friday said “the questions are whether there will be substantial precipitation and whether that precipitation will last long enough to change to snow. Right now it appears likely that there will be at least measurable snow Monday or Monday evening along the Front Range and adjacent plains.”

He also noted, “Get ready for widespread frosts and freezes early next week, too.”

Summer only bowed out just over two weeks ago and fall foliage is only now coming into its own. But Rydell believes Boulderites won’t mind seeing their first glimpse of white in the city.

“I think the winter activists among us are ready for the winter snows, so bring it on,” she said. “It’s a holiday, so that helps.”

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What about emergency overnight shelter for the hundreds of homeless people — many of them transients from warmer climes who are not prepared for winter conditions here in Colorado — currently on the streets due to the inadequate number of beds available at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (160)?

Another website (from which I’ve long since been blocked) is claiming that Bridge House Path to Home will expand the number of homeless people it takes in BEYOND THE CURRENT 50 PERSON LIMIT during the coming life-threatening weather. Here are the locations:

Path to Home Locations

Line-up is after 6:30 PM

Doors Open from 7:00 PM– 9:00 PM

Monday
Atonement Lutheran
Inca at Baseline Bus 225

Tuesday
Boulder Mennonite
Broadway at Table Mesa Bus Skip

Wednesday and Thursday
St. Andrew
37th at Baseline Bus 225

Friday
Atonement Lutheran
Inca at Baseline Bus 225

Saturday
To be announced

Sunday
Congregation Har HaShem
37th at Baseline Bus 225

I advise calling ahead to be sure you can get in at (303) 442-8300 . . . The local news media has done a POOR job in getting word out, and the City of Boulder website is full of info irrelevant to homeless people’s immediate needs in this predicted snowstorm.

I hope nobody suffers frostbite or worse because bureaucrats and do-gooders in nonprofits have no idea how to prioritize a much-needed service like emergency overnight shelter for the homeless, both Boulder County residents and so-called travelers alike.

The homeless shelter / services providers in Boulder, CO have lost their minds

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

Earlier today, I received an e-mail from someone who inquired about my welfare in view of the snowy forecast. This is my reply:

I’m prepared for the predicted snow, thanks to my previous experience here in wintertime and also to my friends. However, I’m wondering about all of the transients who will NOT have any walk-up emergency overnight shelter as of 10/8, NOR bus tickets back to their point of origin (and it seems that many are from the sunny South). It’s of no benefit to think about housing them several years down the road, while risking their lives in sub-freezing snowstorms. This is one reason I refuse to engage with the social services system in Boulder County, CO.

How extreme is self-styled homeless advocate Darren O’Connor, anyway?

HELP BOULDER COUNTY’S OWN HOMELESS PEOPLE, NOT TRANSIENTS!

By Max R. Weller

Excerpt copied from the Daily Camera Facebook page:

Darren O’Connor: Council Member Andrew Shoemaker ran on an anti-homeless platform and has argued against expanding services because it will bring more homeless people to Boulder, but when he does, Human Services staff rebut this false assertion. They rebut it, because they’ve looked at the data and it doesn’t support this argument.

Robert Nelson: This Bridge House survey from 2013 is in line with what homeless people have been telling me for years: http://www.dailycamera.com/…/survey-more-than-half…

Darren O’Connor: 31% come from other parts of Colorado. About like the percentage of employees who come to Boulder every single day to fill our jobs.

Robert Nelson: Darren O’Connor, other parts of Colorado means (primarily) Denver, which we’ve known and opposed all along. Equating workers who commute to Boulder daily with transients coming to grab all the Free Stuff they can is just crazy.

Darren O’Connor: So you wish, Robert. You might be shocked to realize that people without money to spend in our town or work to do here have the same rights as anyone else. And your assertion that they come to grab free stuff is just that, an assertion. Have you talked with people and done a statistical sample to learn this, or just make it up because it fits your narrative?

Supreme Court Justice Stevens ruled in 1999 that the Constitution provides “the right to enter one state and leave another, the right to be treated as a welcome visitor rather than a hostile stranger.”

Robert Nelson: I’m homeless myself and have rubbed elbows with the good, the bad, and the ugly among both transients and Boulder County’s own homeless residents (who are being shortchanged on limited resources by so-called travelers) for many years now. Are you now or have you ever been homeless yourself? Are you now or have you ever been an employee of any homeless shelter / services provider? (I have extensive work experience doing so.) It seems to me that you engage in a lot of self-promotion and do NOTHING whatsoever for those of us who are homeless residents of Boulder. Things are changing now, and I hope that travelers will get all the consideration they deserve: Bus tickets back to wherever they came from, inside or outside of Colorado, and sack lunches to-go.

Darren O’Connor:  So you’re unable to get a meal, unable to stay in a shelter, and unable to get any mental health or other services because so-called travelers are eating up the resources? I doubt any of that is true.

Robert Nelson: Darren O’Connor, you’re just full of unwarranted assumptions! FYI, I buy my own food at King Soopers, live outdoors year-round with appropriate camping gear (NEVER gotten a ticket), and I don’t use any other services except for my morning shower at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (where I also keep a small locker). I donate to various charities, including BSH, and NOT just nickels and dimes. Maybe you should expand your horizons, and begin to meet the 80% (my estimate) of the homeless in Boulder who are able to behave decently.

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And that’s where I’ll leave the debate, which really is more of a glimpse into the mind of one priggish and condescending do-gooder, Darren O’Connor of Boulder Rights Watch: