Category Archives: Friends of the Homeless Philosopher

Comment posted to The Boulder Beat, an online news source

See: Second police confrontation with unarmed black man in Boulder may get independent review.

My two cents copied below:

Copied from the Boulder Police blotter for April 5, 2019:

“An officer was contacting three individuals with trash around them at the Mapleton Ballfields when he was approached by a man carrying a long walking stick. The officer asked the man to move back as he was not involved. The man indicated he was going to record the officer’s contact. The officer acknowledged that the man was video recording and asked him to either move back or place his walking stick on the ground so that the officer could finish his contact with the three individuals. The officer told the man that he would be arrested if he did not move back. He refused multiple requests from the officer. While being taken into custody the man fought with officers. The man was medically cleared at Boulder Community Health and then taken to jail. The man was arrested for obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest. Case# 19-3603”

I have used a cane to get around since 2011, due to a severely arthritic hip. On several occasions, I have been contacted by law enforcement officers from different agencies; a couple of times, I was asked to put aside my cane and also to keep my hands out of my pockets while we talked. I was happy to comply, because I fully realize there is an issue of officer safety that has nothing whatsoever to do with civil rights. BTW, in a decade spent as a homeless camper year-round in Boulder and its environs, I never received a ticket for anything nor was I arrested. The many contacts I had with law enforcement were of the “check welfare” variety in severe weather conditions, except for one incident which led to me filing a formal complaint against then-Officer Sam Carter for leaving the jurisdiction to contact me in the middle of the night; the matter was resolved in my favor, I received an apology, along with assurances that dispatchers in the future would be more careful to communicate the nature of a citizen’s call — check welfare and not a report of a disturbance. I handled my complaint as anyone should, and was satisfied with the outcome.

On my blog, I published a screenshot of a page from the City of Boulder newsletter for December 2016 / January 2017. It shows Sammie Lawrence in apparent earnest conversation with Officer Abel Ramos of the Boulder PD Homeless Outreach Team. (No walking stick can be seen in the photo. In addition, a Daily Camera article from 2016 states that Sammie Lawrence had arrived in Boulder just 20 days earlier, and wanted to become a Boulder firefighter. When did he become disabled by a seizure disorder? Something treated with skepticism, according to Sammie’s own account on Reddit r/Boulder, by police officers, hospital staff, and Boulder County jailers.)

Bottom line: Many of us in the broader community who have been around a long while believe that Sammie Lawrence is role-playing the victim of racist cops and of a society which treats the homeless badly (according to some homeless people).

Sadly, there are many apologists and enablers for bad behavior among homeless people. All it does is make the vast majority of us peaceful and law-abiding homeless folks look bad in the public’s eyes, because anyone who displays a belligerent attitude and then fights the police can play the victim card and gain a ton of support from a gullible populace.

Max R. Weller

A boost for my old neighborhood in north Boulder

There happens to be a long-term care facility nearby, and I may look into moving there so I could be back in the area I came to regard as home since 2008. Being able to walk to a full-service library branch every day would be ideal. And I can also dream about a full-size supermarket with reasonable prices (no $5+ cans of Spam like grossly overpriced Lucky’s Market down the street), where I might stock up on junk food to haul back to the Old Farts Home.

The naysayers, including Lisa Morzel on Boulder City Council, have been holding back progress long enough! STFU, and let the ordinary amenities that residents in other parts of the city have long enjoyed arrive in north Boulder at last . . .

BTW, I also think it’s time for a full-service homeless shelter, open 24/7/365, to be built in the exclusive Mapleton Hill neighborhood near downtown. After all, Boulder’s upper crust ought to do more than write checks to the nonprofits; in my view, they should experience the poor and homeless as neighbors.

— MRW

Hungry Asylum news

Another one of the worthless social workers (the adjective is redundant, I know) came by the other afternoon and asked me how things were going . . . (NEVER ask somebody as pissed off as me such an open-ended question.) I told her this place would run a lot better if someone with common sense would take charge. She suggested that I should attend the Resident Council and Food Committee; I reminded her that I’d already done so and nothing improved. Then I pointed out that I’d gone so far as contacting the state ombudswoman, but found that to be a dead end as well.

She suggested that Hungry Asylum could help me find another facility. I told her my experiences have taught me that other places would be worse than this one, and staff here needs to focus on solving problems rather than shipping people elsewhere.

Really, life in this setting would dramatically improve for ALL residents if they simply gave more consideration to matching roommates more carefully. Someone like me, who is relatively independent and here for medication management and ready access to the care of doctors and nurses, is NOT a match for any of the mentally ill and profoundly disabled men I’ve had to share space with during the past 15 months. Common sense. And I’ve seen other men at Hungry Asylum who would be okay as roommates.

If I thought I’d be able to survive outdoors again, that’s where I’d go. Never will I go to another homeless shelter or a ghetto housing project, and it doesn’t seem as if the cost-effective Tiny House Community model (where I might receive home health care services through Medicaid) will gain any traction here in Colorado.

Image result for tiny house images

Social workers: Bah! Humbug! They’ve been the bane of my existence in prison, homeless shelters, and now in the Old Farts Home.

— MRW

New North Boulder Branch Library location chosen

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Yes, it’s right along Four Mile Creek. You may recall the scene back in September, 2013:

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Boulder Flood 2013 — Four Mile Creek Rage at Broadway West View

Turn around in your mind, look east from this vantage, and less than a block away is the new site for the much-needed and long-delayed North Boulder Branch Library, a full-size and full-service facility.

Well, it was a 1,000 Year Flood . . . Or was it a 500 Year Flood? Maybe it’s nothing to be worried about.

Of more concern is the close proximity of the homeless ghetto on N. Broadway between Lee Hill Road and Front Range Drive. Consisting of the Housing First project with 31 apartments for chronically homeless alcoholics with a dual diagnosis of mental illness, right next to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless with up to 160 residents identified as the most needy and disabled (we know what that means) among those who have been screened by the new Coordinated Entry process (and including 7 registered sex offenders at present), that’s nearly 200 sketchy characters who will be overjoyed to hang out all day at a new library so close by.

With this in mind, special care must be taken with the design of the new facility, to ensure the safety of other patrons as well as staff. I envision something like Bent’s Old Fort, able to withstand attacks by transient savages made crazy with firewater, which will be available right across Broadway at Red’s Liquor. Several private security guards will be needed inside to maintain order, and perhaps they could wear period military dress from the time of Bent’s Old Fort:

Image result for us dragoons

U.S. Dragoons circa 1836.

Knowing how much the typical bum likes to play with knives, I’m convinced that the mere sight of a cavalry saber will put the fear of God into all of ’em . . .

— MRW

Neither Denver nor Boulder wants to embrace the innovative concept of Tiny Houses for the homeless

Why not? Based on what I’ve seen since arriving in Colorado for good back in early 2008, I’d say it’s because the corrupt homeless shelter / services industry — comprised of government agencies and private nonprofits with funding from both public and private sources — does NOT want to give up any control over how the issue of homelessness is addressed. There are, after all, tens-of-millions of dollars being spent to advance Housing First and similar models; never mind that they serve only a relatively small percentage of homeless people on the streets!

And the worst-behaved BUMS continue to make all of the poor and homeless in need look bad, even though most of us (80% is my guesstimate) are not drunken, drugged-up derelicts preying on innocent folks all around us; in fact, we’re pretty decent and respectful despite the struggles we face every day. BUT, look at the media portrayal and that’s all you see: BUMS.

Image result for denver bums on sidewalks images

Adding to the dysfunction, self-styled homeless advocates have arrived too late to a reasonable position in full support of Tiny Houses, as a cost-effective alternative to grossly overpriced apartments in homeless ghetto projects. The johnny-come-lately bunch at Boulder Rights Watch are probably the worst in this regard.

More people on the streets in Colorado’s cities than ever, and those in charge spurn the best solution, one that could have put a roof over everyone’s head for much less money than has already been expended . . .

— MRW

Escape from Hungry Asylum sure is tempting!

There’s nobody on this hall, besides me, who can walk with just a cane or tell you what day of the week it is. This is officially part of a wing called the Garden Unit, and now I’m convinced of it — vegetables in every room.

I’m on seven or eight different meds (not counting ordinary Tylenol for my bad hip), and I don’t know what would happen if those are discontinued suddenly upon my departure, but it’s probably not good.

I fully understand why nursing home residents who still have their wits about them hate these places. This is much tougher than sleeping outdoors and flying a sign a couple of hours every other day; I slept much better listening to the owls and coyotes and ate much better using donations to buy food at King Soopers every morning.

Thanks for letting me vent a bit . . . Now, will someone please bring me a large bottle of the old family recipe?

— MRW