Friday, March 1, 2013

Those inconvenient people

“We want to make it inconvenient but within the law.”

It was all good when I was reading the article in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago until this quote came up. I was glad to see that a storage trailer was being made available at Venice Beach where the homeless can stash their stuff. Then Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents Venice, opened his mouth. He also said this: “We’re not going to let [homeless people] keep items on the beach anymore. We’re going to bag and tag [them].”

What’s being bagged and tagged here? The homeless?

I couldn’t help wondering, as Mr. Rosendahl made it perfectly clear that the storage program really wasn’t about being compassionate and charitable towards the homeless, making their lives easier. The pilot program was about tolerating the homeless and co-exist with them and their stuff - and not necessarily in a way that is easy for them. People could only store things for a week at a time, and the trailer was only accessible from 3 to 5 and scheduled to close today, March 1, when the city’s homeless shelters close, now that winter is supposedly over.

I thought about this on a recent Sunday morning at the close of Quaker meeting when the children reported learning about the homeless and not thinking that a person who is homeless because of a drinking problem is any worse or less worthy than a person on the streets simply due to dire financial straits.

Then there was the news yesterday that Los Angeles asking the Supreme Court to throw out a lower court ruling that the City can’t throw away items left unattended by the homeless. The City says it’s a public health issue.

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