Watching City Hall #279, (5-4-04)
People who have been demoralized
have become remoralized.
In Massachusetts, what kept us from
getting things done was the partisanship
of the Democratic members of the state
legislature. We have to get beyond
Theres a growing body of research
around the country that says that theres
an economic reason for the problem of
The San Diego study was not some bogus
research by some advocates (his emphasis) group.
I worked in the music industry down in L.A..
(All quotes from Philip Mangano, Bush Homeless Czar)
Probably, the last statement told the most about Mr. Mangano. I couldnt quite figure out how to describe Mangano, so I asked my colleague, Eileen Left who sat next to Mike DeNunzio for the presentation. Angela Alioto was introducing the guy the Council would be begging for money for the next 10 years.
Eileen: He reminds me of that character Roscoe made up.
h.: Which one?
Eileen: You know. Enrico Vaselino. This guy has all the attributes. Great dark looks. A quart of olive oil on his hair. Dangerous, severe angles all around. Perfectly tailored. Then, hes got that Ry Cooder thing going on.
h.: Ry Cooder!? Hows he like Ry Cooder, for Gods sake!?
Eileen: Wasnt it Cooder who did that continuous breathing thing when he played the sax? Yeah, Billy Teague played it for me once when we were in St. Louis. Played a friggin woodwind instrument without pausing to take a breath.
h.: The man was a bit long-winded.
Eileen: Thats no accident. Hes here to waste your time. Get you thinking about anything other than the fact that his boss is trying to cut a thousand million dollars from housing for the poor by slashing Section 8 vouchers. Here his boss is cutting a billion dollars in aid to the poor while Enrico slides around the country offering candy to farm girls.
Eileen: Read your handouts! Hes pushing Bushs Samaritan Initiative which is designed to have 120 local governments fighting each other over 70 million bucks, while they redirect a thousand million into the pockets of the rich.
h.: Was there anything positive?
Eileen: Hey, Angela looked great and Manganos got movie-star looks. Maybe we could double-date with them when he comes back to town.
h.: Youre worse than me. Besides, I think hes married. And, what makes you think that insulting people is a way to get to be great friends with them?
Eileen: I just watch you.
Speaking of Angela
Yall know I have a soft spot for the Alioto girl. Brains & looks. Passion and perseverance. I promised her Id give a San Francisco slant to the coverage of her 4 month labor to create a 10 year plan to alleviate the problem of homelessness here. Let me start on that now by relating a couple of local anecdotes.
Kudos to Matthew Brady
Brady wrote a column in the old Independent called: Old Town and I loved it. He must have spent most of his time reading San Francisco history and his renditions were wonderful. One that fits into the present conversation is his description of how the original 49ers handled the drunk and otherwise insane littering their raised wooden sidewalks after last call.
They cut the sidewalks into sections and put hinges every 10 or 12 feet. Then, they dug a shallow grave beneath the hinged sections. The worse the area, the more frequent the appearance of hinges along the walkway. Late at night, bouncers and neighborhood patrols came around and rolled the drunks into their graves. That was then.
Outsourcing the poor?
It is the determination of the Controller that the job of ______ can be _____ at a cost-savings to the City.
Hey, were tomorrow, right? Weve always been more in the future than in the present. (OK, we like the past too) Heres a story I picked up from my daughter who recruits for the Peace Corps here (she used to be a Volunteer in Africa) Story came up amongst volunteers telling tales at a cocktail party and originates in Papua, New Guinea.
Peace Corps volunteers from Chicago were showing slides of their hometown to the villagers in Papua (incidentally, Examiner, Political Editor Adriel Hampton was born thereabouts) villagers saw something in one slide that they didnt understand. There, behind the pictures of the American volunteers theyd come to know and respect were two black men huddled under blankets on the cold Chicago sidewalk.
Papua villagers: Who are these people?
Volunteers: Theyre homeless. We have them in every major city in our country. We cannot afford to house them all, so they sleep on the streets.
Villagers stayed up all night talking about the problem. In the morning, they appear at the dwellings of the volunteers.
Villagers: We will take them in.
Volunteers: Take who in?
Villagers: Your homeless. We have agreed that we will build them a home and that the women will start a garden for them to that they can feed themselves. We have agreed that they shall have a couple of coffee trees so that they will have some cash money. Just have your government send them to us. Like they sent you.
Thats a true story. It resonates, doesnt it? Lets not get too hung up on truth though, huh? Given the American experience, attempts to export our homeless problem is more likely to end thusly:
Czar Mongano: I am happy to announce that we have adopted the San Francisco Plan as a starting point as a launch window, really no, its more than that its more like a new beginning and I just want to say
President Bush: Aheeem!
Mongano: Sorry, Mr. President. We have adopted the San Francisco Plan.
Bush: (smiling smugly) Tell the people how it works.
Mongano: Well, I should actually have the San Francisco Mayor explain it. Here he is, Mayor Gavin Newsom!
Newsom: (to loud applause from the Secret Service & Chronicle reporters) Well, weve always relied upon the free enterprise system. Competition in the market place. That kind of thing. When h. brown came up with the idea of outsourcing this problem, it sounded interesting. Hey, I know the guy has slandered me in the past but, this was a good idea & I agree with my predecessor, Willie Brown: You come into my office with a good idea & when you leave, it will be OUR idea. You know.
Bush: (smirking) Were a lot more alike than you think, Gavin.
Newsom: So, we used the Alioto Council to look over 110 million dollars spent yearly by the City to alleviate homelessness. It was h.s idea to bid the new contracts internationally &, though I, of course, would never offer him a job, Ive decided to offer him a 10x10 Jim Reid Original dwelling in a District of his choice as a reward.
Bush: I have no idea what the hell youre talking about.
Newsom: Sorry, Mr. President. So, we bid these things out and we had some really incredible responses.
Bush: Responses as to how the world community could do the job cheaper?
Newsom: It wasnt just that. I mean, we were amazed at the value these other countries and cultures found in people who are essentially rejects here.
Bush: Fill me in.
Newsom: Well, we spent 110 million dollars on 15,000 people last year. We hoped to get that number down to half if we were lucky. We finally settled on a bid of 10 million dollars!
Bush: Why thats wonderful! Who made the bid?
Newsom: Al Qaeda, oddly enough. They offered to send all of them to Paradise! They only had one stipulation.
Bush: What was that?
Newsom: Well, they want to sell us this new meat product thats lots like Spam but is supposedly higher in protein content. The price is right. About $1 a pound. For every 15,000 homeless people we send them, we have to agree to purchase back around two and a quarter million pounds of this stuff.
Bush: Whats it called?
Newsom: Solyent Green.
In my travels, I ended up in front of a tube yesterday watching the Department of Building Inspections tv encounter with the world (mostly, Joe ODonoghue & Randy Shaw take turns blowing smoke up their own arses not that easy) They did allow one item upon the agenda that neither would have liked. Jim Reids Shelter I was on the agenda.
If Alioto and Newsom and Bush and Mongano want to do a truly positive thing, they should support (nationally) Reids Shelter I. Locally, the Board of Supervisors should vote to have one demonstration model of the shelter built in each District. Theyll have to get through Randy Shaw who is the ultimate poverty pimp and has no conscience (he outed the head of rival tndcs sexual orientation as a trump card in a battle over one housing project) have to get through Shaw. Building the model Shelter Is makes sense.
In the event of a catastrophe (read: earthquake/fire) in such an occurrence, it is better to have a plan in place. One that works. In 06, we built cottages far inferior to Reids module to house our homeless and we did it all within a couple of months. We can do it faster this time. Even if we dont use the little cottages to house this generation of homeless, we can nail down a formula for ordering and positioning the things. Theyd beat the hell out of a tent while youre waiting for your home to be rebuilt. thats enuff
Go to your happy place: