Skip to main content

South Natomas group seeks an answer

written by Tom Armstrong
posted 4/16/17
A group called “Nextdoor” made up of citizens from South Natomas has a video they posted to YouTube that shows a lot of garbage and waste and needles and human misery in the southern part of the north section of Sacramento.
The video was posted a while ago -- on April 1 -- but because of the ongoing rainy weather we’ve been having, doubtless most of what can be seen in the video is much like conditions are, today, for many homeless folk.
The video shows abandoned campsites and garbage that drifted to the side of the river.

Nextdoor has a five-point list of things it would like to see happen to protect American River Parkway, protect their neighborhoods and to make life better for the many homeless people in the area who do not now have a place in the world. It's this ...
1.       Homeless cannot be allowed to remain camping in neighborhoods, along streets, or in the River Parkway.
2.       Homeless are not going to disappear.
3.       Designated tent city location holding no more than 50 people each must be set up around the county and city.
4.       There should be no initial barriers to enter so they have a place to go instead of our neighborhoods. (Example: Drug tests should not be an initial requirement to enter.)
5.       Tent cities should be equipped with toilets, showers, security and social services for those who want them.
The list is both commonsensical and more-than-a-bit ignorant as hell. The group and charity Safe Ground came into being about eight years ago and was supposed to set up a campground – much like what Nextdoor calls for -- and the campers were going to act like adults and make everything work beautifully. The homeless people involved with Safe Ground signed these covenants – where they swore absolutely to behave properly and make things work. Safe Ground, then, immediately fell on its face, over and over and over again and again and again. The initial groups were tiny, but they made big messes; could have started a massive fire, at one point; made life miserable for a couple in a home nearby; drank and smoked and attracted the ready attention of drug dealers.
In theory, I applaud what Nextdoor is wanting the city and county to do. What Nextdoor suggests is the sensible thing to do, plotted out in a commonsensical manner. The problem, though, is that old bugaboo REALITY.
I love homeless people. I want the world for them. I want them to be happy and healthy and to have a speedy pathway to a life more ordinary. It is just that they SCREW UP the camping thing BIG TIME, over and over and over and over again. How can you keep the “SCREW UP” thing from continuing to happen? I don’t know.
The Nextdoor group suggests that campgrounds have no more than fifty people in each.
The Hindenburg disaster.
I think that -- because of the history -- a couple of dozen-person campgrounds should serve as a starting place. Yes, the need is urgent. And helping 50 is significant, whereas helping a dozen is a pittance. But this REALITY thing, the size of the Hindenburg, hovers over me and I hear the word BEWARE playing in my ear from loudspeakers. And I envision Natomas aflame.

I'm just sayin'.


Popular posts from this blog

More Homeless Hate from Marcos Breton

There was a long spell a handful of years ago when Marcos Breton said something so fully ridiculous in one of his hateful screeds against homeless folk that it appeared to be very apparent he had been taken off the Homeless Beat by his superiors. Unhappily, after a few months, Breton was again writing disparaging columns about homeless folk

In today's Bee [3/5/17], Breton has written one of his longest columns. Online, it is titled "The price downtown Sacramento is paying for Mayor Steinberg’s homeless crusade
Read more here: It goes on for days. The message, essentially, is this: Homeless people poop; they're getting a great deal of what they want from the overmuch-helpful mayor; and business people proximate to Chavez Park are made miserable by the forever-disgusting homeless that are there in great number.

O.K. Let's get into all this a bit. Except in Breton's mind, homeless pe…

The first-person dimension of homeless Sacramentans suffering from Schizophrenia

"Disabilities and dysfunction process from having been shunned and denied access to needed opportunitites and networks of support."
~ the brothers Lysaker in Schizophrenia and the Fate of the Self What is schizophrenia? How many are homeless Sacramentans?

Perhaps 15% of the Sacramento homeless population suffers from schizophrenia. The percentage is difficult to determine for many reasons that branch from both the fuzzy definition of the malady and that many people within the homeless community who have the illness (1) are in denial and are undiagnosed and (2) have the illness as a diagnosis only – the disability can be faked by people who are successful claimants of social security and other benefits.

What is schizophrenia? One webspace gives us this definition: The most chronic and disabling of the severe mental disorders. Typically develops in the late teens or early twenties. The overt symptoms are hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing visions), delusions (false beliefs ab…

Homelessness and Remembrance

This is a follow-up on the matter of remembering homeless people who have died and the Wall that Libby Fernandez wants to build in remembrance of the deceased. [See earlier blogpost "Tell Libby NOT to build her wall."]

This blogpost is prompted by a Philosophy Bites podcast released in the last couple days -- titled "Cécile Fabre on Remembrance." Fabre's take on why we honor or grieve for certain individuals or certain collections of individuals is not greatly helpful -- since his focus is mainly one of fallen war heroes and war casualties -- but it does open up the issue of why should there be a remembrance effort for deceased homeless people at all. Who is served by it? And has the effort been perverted by the avarice of charities in their insatiable drive for donations.

It is, for starters, a curious thing for "homeless people" to be a collective that is honored. I write that NOT because I don't want the best for homeless people. But, homelessn…