Oh no. Now I have gone and done it. I have offended some of Madison's most fragile sensibilities. The "homeless advocates" are in a snit. Someone has challenged their hegemony (a lib word) on this issue. ("Homeless advocates?" How can we characterize that term except those who advocate homelessness?)
At least Patricia Schneider of the Progressive Dane newspaper is now calling David Blaska before she suckles at "homeless advocate's" Kristen Petroshius's font of fecklessness. This, in Madison, is called progress.
Here is the Prog Dane quote:
Dean Loumis, director of Housing Initiatives, said arguments like those in Blaska's Blog, that the homeless should be put to work on public projects before receiving aid, work against civil discourse.
"A tone like that throws a bomb into the conversation," Loumis said. "It emboldens people to target the people most vulnerable in society."
"Work!" What a tone! What a bomb thrown into the conversation! Worse than throwing the race card!
"Work!" Shades of Maynard G. Krebs, footloose beatnik friend of Dobie G. Gilles. Maynard now runs a "homeless" advocacy group. Enabling victims is his trade.
Do not run when you see Blaska on the street
A rhetorical bomb thrower would suggest that if "homeless people" worked they might not be homeless. That some work leads to more work. That to inculcate the concept that the world does not owe them the means by which they can get their jones on might be a step in the right direction. But that is retrograde to those who worship at the golden calf of victimization.
"Target the most vulnerable?" Some would say it is the "homeless" -- proper term: vagrants -- who are targeting the rest of us. I am intimidating no one on any street. I am harassing no one, male or female.
You want civil discourse? I cannot repeat here the vile abuse hurled Fred Mohs' way. "Rich" is probably, in the Left's agitprop lexicon, the most hateful term that one can conjure.
Against the rising tide of revulsion at being played the victim, indeed, more grass roots than Tru Green, the Far Left is countering with its own verbal bombs. Read the Progressive Dane account, wherein words like "profiling" and "stereotyping" becloud the issue.
Forget for a moment, if you can, the recent murders. Perhaps the vagrants are not responsible. I never said they were. The police have said they might be.
Let's talk about the intimidation and the harassment, the cursing and the stalking, the aggressive panhandling, the public urination. Let's have that discourse.
Problem? What problem?
Blaska's policies did not create this problem. Doing some basic work for your hots and cots is, apparently, off limits. On the contrary, the sponsors of a press conference Thursday (not able to attend; I work) have had full rein for their concepts. Their policies are fully in place. Not funded to the great degree they would like, but their music and their lyrics.
Those sponsors being:
- Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin
- Madison-area Urban Ministry
- Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County
- Tenant Advocacy Group
- Affordable Housing Action Alliance
- Tenant Resource Center
- Housing Initiatives
And here is the nut graph: I have yet to read one single sentence of admission from any of the apologists that there is a problem out there. No aggression, no cursing, no nothing. I must therefore conclude that the libs are no better than the vagrants; not until you admit the problem can you hope to overcome it.
Discourse only if you agree with it
You want "civil discourse?" Then why have Madison's power elites dissed one Dan O'Rourke, resident of West Main Street. A full month ago, Mr. O'Rourke addressed the Mayor and the 20 city alders and the police department.
From: Dan O'Rourke
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:01 PM
Subject: action needed
Dear City Council,
Action needs to be taken to save State Street and Downtown. As a resident of downtown Madison I frequent State Street businesses often. I am appalled at the deterioration of the State Street area. Pan-handlers and various other vagrants have taken control. You can not walk a block (usually less) without being molested for money, insulted by some "crazy" and/or hearing and seeing a confrontation between these individuals and groups. And, it is NOT the students!
These are middle-aged white and African American males who either lurk or roam the area (mostly the 300-600 block of State Street) in search of money, drugs, alcohol and trouble. Over the past three months I have witnessed many shouting and shoving matches that involved profanities and racial slurs of the worst kind (and most of the racial slurs are between African Americans?).
These confrontations take place from across both sides of the street and up and down blocks. I have witnessed multiple harassments of women; from being verbally accosted to being followed for whole blocks. Several friends from out of town who visited for the holidays, Overture Center events, conventions and athletic events have told me they were shocked at the behaviors on the street and would not likely return to do business in the downtown area.
The City of Madison administration has failed in its responsibility to maintain a safe and attractive downtown Madison. It's time to step up and take action before State Street becomes a full-blown skid-row!
Thank you for your attention to this matter,
Dan O'Rourke, 123 W. Washington Ave.
Who'll hear the rain?
O'Rourke sent his email on March 11 to all 20 alders, the Police and the Mayor. Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele forwarded his email to some other players. As of today's date, he had heard back from exactly four entities -- only one of them an alderperson: Ald. Thuy. Who else? (The others being the Mayor, the Police Chief, and Downtown Madison Inc.)
But not his own rep on the Council, who would be District 4 Ald. Michael Verveer. I asked Mr. O'Rourke if he could share those emails with me and he declined, except to say that the responses were "positive." But only one alder out of 20?
Someone left Mr. O'Rourke on hold
Mr. O'Rourke, God bless him, is not going away. After the murder of 21-year-old Brittany Sue Zimmerman in her apartment on West Doty Street, Mr. O'Rourke sent the following to the usual suspects and copied me:
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2008 12:40 PM
To: PD Central Police District; DMI; council; Mayor
Cc: 'David Blaska'
Subject: a sad situation!
Dear Mayor, City Council, MPD,
Now are we getting the message of my letter of March 11, 2008 -- or do we need a few more people murdered? Maybe a little less focus on students raising a little hell and more focus on the real problem -- vagrants. LET'S GET CONTROL!
123 W. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI. 53703
In a postscript sent to Blaska's Blog, Mr. O'Rourke added:
FYI, my concerns are not about the homeless sheltering across the street from 123 W. Washington Ave. I understand that and can sympathize (but, for the grace of God...). My concern is with the pan-handlers and thugs congregating on State St. They are dragging down a once unique area of Madison and the city does nothing -- at least nothing I can see. It's a shame.
BTW, keep up the vigilance I'm glad somebody's watching them.
Here I must dissent to a small degree: we cannot rule out that the free goodies dispensed by the homeless industry in Madison is not subsidizing the intimidators and the harassers.
Read also the letter "Increasing Homeless Population Hurts Downtown Business":
I am a lawyer who represents women and men with job-related problems, many of whom are recently unemployed.
The increasing number of homeless who congregate and sleep in downtown Madison frightens my clients and presents a substantial challenge to the operation of my business. ... I have never seen it so bad.
Previously on Blaska's Blog: