I am not amazed in the least about this proposal from state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco, of course) to give the homeless people of the once Golden State a "bill of rights".
This Assemblyman Ammiano fellow was also pushing to legalize marijuana. You know, because it could be taxed to the hilt of course as a way to "solve" our perpetual budget fiasco.
But this, well this almost wants the pot to be legal because then I can use it to numb my mind to the dread that this state has become that this, more than likely, will get serious consideration in the legislature next year.
In general, the reality of homelessness is something that no society should be proud of. There are multiple layers of reasons why people are homeless. There are three major reasons why there are homeless people. One is mental illness. The overwhelming majority of homeless fall into this category. The two that follow, drug abuse and alcoholism, can be part of the mental illness. In that case, many homeless have the unfortunate trifecta. But some have one only of the three major factors.
So keep this in mind as I present the thrust of this bizarre legislation.
Here are the "highlights" of Assemblyman Ammiano's homeless "bill of rights":
-- Sleeping in public spaces such as sidewalks and parks
-- 24/7 access to bathrooms, showers, water and clean syringes.
-- Car camping on city streets without restrictions
-- "Life sustaining activities" such as urinating and collecting recycling trash
-- Welfare cash payments
-- Meditating or praying in public
-- Payment for possessions seized in a roust
-- Right to refuse the offer of a homeless shelter
-- Right to a lawyer in most encounters with the law
Oh goodness, where to start.
I guess I will go into the middle of the 10 "rights" this would start and that is welfare cash payments.
Nothing encourages homelessness more than allowing them to be on welfare of any kind and not in some kind of housing. Pray tell Assemblyman Ammiano, how is said homeless person to obtain welfare payments? Since most people who get public assistance are given a debit card, should we just start issuing John Doe or Jane Doe and guess how much to hand out to the homeless? And where will they be able to get one? Should they have a bank account? Inquiring minds want to know.
Oh this is a gasser. That the homeless can meditate and or pray in public. Hey, dude. When children are allowed to do the same in public schools, come back to me on that one.
I really, really love the "life sustaining activities" that include, I kid you not urinating and collecting recycling trash. I note that it stops at urinating and not number two, aka pooping, dumping and you know the rest.
I digress because this reminds me of something I saw a few years ago here in my fair, homeless-friendly burg.
In front of the local First Methodist Church along Colorado Blvd, the Rose Parade route, a cleanly homeless man whipped out his member in front of the church and proceeded to live life the way that Assemblyman Ammiano thinks the homeless should live. By taking a wiz right on some plants.
While the rest of us, you know, those that are not a special class by actually doing things right, would have been arrested for at the very least indecent exposure.
If this God-forsaken bill were to pass as is and signed by Gov. Moonbeam Brown, why it would create a two-class system.
One of my big issues is panhandling.
I hate it.
In the past, those that asked for a quarter or any change would be nice about it. Sheepish because they knew it was not a good thing to do. But now, now these people will ask for whole dollars. And not just a buck. Some have accosted me and asked for five bucks. Five frickin' bucks! Really?! It has happened. And many times, they do not take kindly to the no. They will follow and harass until people breakdown and give money. And let us not forget how some get a little inventive and think that if they have a squeegee and a bucket of water, that gives them a right to come up to your car, wash your windows and, yup, ask for money. Oh, and one is not always asked if they even want their car windows washed.
And here is another digression.
As a purveyor of public transit, let me share with you about the guy who just sits there and harasses people as they get on the bus for quarters. Yup, two Thursday's in a row, this dude who does not seem all that homeless is sitting there really bothering people that the bus driver has had to tell him to lay off.
But, in the old days, said dude would have been thrown off the bus. Not anymore. For those "on the margins" have extended rights us eeeeeevvvvviiiiilllll middle-class folks do not.
The "car camping" is not only wrong-headed but a clear threat to public safety to the homeless and the citizenry. What if a criminal should break into a car and end up killing a "car camper"? What would we say about that? And how about someone using car camping to stake-out places to rob? Ever think about that Assemblydude?!
But here is the kicker.
The "right" to refuse the offer of a homeless shelter.
The reason that there are homeless shelters is to give people a temporary place to stay rather than to be out on the streets, especially in inclement weather. These are places that help, not hurt, homeless people. The fact that most homeless are alcoholics, drug abusers, and mentally ill, a combo or all three is even more reason that they should be encouraged to get off the street.
This is what is wrong with modern liberalism.
They never want to address root causes of problems but they want to create unimaginable "rights" that no civil society can tolerate.
Giving the homeless "rights" to pee openly on the street, harass people for money, taking their lives and the lives of others to risk is not the way to go.
If Assemblyman Ammiano is serious about the homeless problem, he would seek ways towards getting the homeless OFF the streets, not encouraging more of them. What Assemblyman Ammiano should be doing is seeking ways to find common ground that will get as many homeless off the streets. If that means more state funding for mental health programs and hospitals and the like, we need to figure that out.
Treating the homeless like a different, yes privileged class, is not the solution. That means we need to write our legislators and tell them to vote no on this terrible proposed bill.
Because if not, then what would only be in California will spread across this nation. And that would not be a good thing.