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The New War Against the Homeless
by Keith McHenry
Tuesday Jun 25th, 2019 9:18 AM
Political recalls and the campaign to dehumanize those who live without housing.
Millions of America’s 140 million poor are already living without housing and many of us are a medical crisis, layoff or car repair away from joining the ranks our country’s unhoused. Cities across America are increasing the sweeping of camps discarding people’s tents, blankets and other survival property. At the same time economist are warning that there could be a global recession as a result of a number of issues including the trade wars, tax breaks for the super wealthy, and the student loan debt. There is a potential catastrophic increase in the number of America’s being forced to live on our streets.

This impending could be one reason for the new attacks against those living outside that attempts to paint the homeless as mentally ill drug addicts beyond help or redemption and the wave of Recall Campaigns of political leaders who attempt to introduce humane solutions for the growing homeless crisis.

The Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth, Poverty, & Morality is initiating a media campaign against the construction of shelters and affordable housing solutions by claiming the homeless are basically mentally ill drug addicts who will never have the resources to rent housing so there is no reason to build it.

The new campaign is even more disturbing than the Manhattan Institute’s first anti-homeless attacks which included a vigorous promotion of the Broken Window Theory and Quality of Life Crimes like those against sitting on commercial streets, so called aggressive pan handling and public sleeping that justified the municipal criminalization those without housing in the mid-eighties.

The Discovery Institute’s June 2019 essay in the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal “An Addiction Crisis Disguised as a Housing Crisis” by Christopher F. Rufo suggests that there is a scholarly argument against claims that high rents, low wages or other economic policies have anything to do with the increase in those living without housing.

Rufo ends “No matter how much local governments pour into affordable-housing projects, homeless opioid addicts—nearly all unemployed—will never be able to afford the rent in expensive West Coast cities. The first step in solving these intractable issues is to address the real problem: addiction is the common denominator for most of the homeless and must be confronted honestly if we have any hope of solving it.

Sinclair Broadcasting’s hate film Seattle Dying is the first shot in this new well-financed and nationally coordinated effort to dehumanize the homeless.

Former Democratic California State Assembly Person Mike Gatto had advanced this theory in a June 2019 OpEd in the San Jose Mercury News, “So if economics aren’t the issue, what is?  Two things. About 40 percent of homeless are addicts and another 25 percent have severe mental illness. In other words, over two-thirds of the homeless suffer afflictions that diminish rational behavior.”

Another disturbing development is the use of the recall process against politicians who advance solutions to the homeless crisis as is the case in Chico, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles.

Alexandra Datig creator of the Front Page Index whose tagline is “God, Country, Liberty, Freedom” introduced a “Petition to recall Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for the homelessness crisis plaguing the city,” claiming that they are responding to the June 4, 2019, report of a 16% increase in the number of homeless in the county.

The petition claims “Mayor Garcetti’s inaction and lack of prioritization for the citizens of Los Angeles has caused third-world conditions, with disease breeding devastation on the homeless of Los Angeles who are forced to live in conditions that are a danger to all of the public health.”

Another group hostile to the homeless calling themselves One Chico launched a recall campaign in May 2019 to unseat Mayor Randall Stone and Councilman Karl Ory. Two of their main justification for the recall is the “Inability to uphold Chico’s mission to make Chico a safeplace to raise a family, an ideal location for business and a premier place to live.” and, “Promotes failed homeless solutions that attract and coddle criminals.” The members of One Chico, Nichole Nava, Jaime Jin, Kim Burke and Tim Lynch supported a tough sit-lie law against those without housing and organized to block a shelter on Orange Street.

A coalition of anti-homeless hate groups dubbed Santa Cruz United filed a petition in June 2019 to remove Council members Drew Glover and Chris Krohn they “repeatedly voted against closing the Ross Camp, while falling to pursue legal, realistic, and humane solutions to homelessness in the City of Santa Cruz. By opposing the closure of the Ross Camp, he (they) contradicted the recommendations of Fire Chief Hajduk and County Health Officer Leff, and endangered the health and safety of Santa Cruz residents, both housed and unhoused.”

Members of Santa Cruz United have remained silent about threats and claims of violence against those living outside on their social media platforms. They have also championed sit-lie laws, the continued ban on sleeping outside at night and blocked efforts at the creation of shelters and addiction services. This group include Pamela Comstock, Analicia Cube, of Take Back Santa Cruz, Deborah Elston, President of Santa Cruz Neighbors, and Kevin Vogel, Former Police Chief City of Santa Cruz.

All three recall campaigns us the fear of the homeless spreading disease and lawlessness. None of the politicians facing recall have been accused of anything but voting the wrong way.

If the history of past dehumanization campaigns against those without housing is any indication the framing of the crisis facing millions of Americans as “An Addiction Crisis Disguised as a Housing Crisis” and the use of the recall to stop political leaders from advancing realistic and humane solutions suggests a dramatic increase in the passage and enforcement of harsher laws, destruction of people’s survival property and the possibly of internment as is already the case with people fleeing the chaos and violence caused by decades of US wars in Central America.

An Addiction Crisis Disguised as a Housing Crisis
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
City Councilmember Cynthia Mathews trying to cement hold on powerJohn Cohen-ColbyMonday Jul 22nd, 2019 4:03 AM
#stateofjeffersondavis recallSteven KingWednesday Jun 26th, 2019 4:57 PM
Does the author disagree with this claim?I don't.Tuesday Jun 25th, 2019 11:09 AM
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