Skip to comments.Those who help the homeless survive feel sting of mayor's 'enabler' tag
Posted on 06/18/2005 7:11:18 AM PDT by Nevadan
Showing the sensitivity and compassion that earn him praise throughout "his" city, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman took time out from his busy schedule Thursday to insult a room full of people who try to help the homeless.
Goodman called the "good people" in the room "enablers" who, by feeding the homeless sandwiches and giving them water, "enable them to remain homeless." His words hit homeless advocates present like a stinging two-cheek slap challenging them to a duel.
The setting: A meeting of the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition's committee on homelessness, a workshop in Henderson at which elected officials would give staffers direction on priorities. The audience was packed with people who work with the homeless, including government workers, church workers and volunteers.
Calling someone an enabler is not a compliment. For Oscar Goodman to call people who hand out sandwiches and water "enablers" is outrageous. Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army are enablers?
He also said he was not optimistic about helping the homeless because of his personal experience with one homeless man who doesn't want any help. The man is known on the streets as Smiley, and in the summer he bundles up in coats and sweaters and every bit of clothing he has. It's pretty obvious he is mentally ill. Goodman said that over the years, "I offered him the moon and the stars to get him some assistance. He rejects it. If we can't get one man off the street, can we succeed? I'm not optimistic."
He did express empathy for the working homeless, people living out of their cars because affordable homes are becoming so hard to find in Las Vegas. And he suggested that a homeless court might be a good idea. But he told the committee on homelessness, which has been working on regional solutions for 18 months, that "what we're talking here is too theoretical; I'd like to be more pragmatic."
Well, it sounded as if his pragmatic solution for the homeless can be summarized in three words: Let them starve.
The people who work regularly with the homeless are amazing folks. They ignore the stench, the incoherent babblings of the mentally ill and the depressing interaction with people living without hope. Goodman, based on his experience with one man, concludes that the homeless "sort of like their lifestyle."
Clark County Commissioner Myrna Williams, a former social worker, didn't let his comments pass. "I feel very sorry for your gentleman who didn't want any help for any reason, but that doesn't negate the premise of the homeless committee."
Although Goodman had left for another event, the Rev. Charles Bowker also couldn't let Goodman's comments go unchallenged. "You are never going to get the chronic homeless off the streets; it's their right to refuse services," Bowker said.
Those people Goodman criticized as enablers are getting to know the homeless as individuals.
"They get to know people by name. They are telling the homeless `I care.' They are the great untapped resources, an army of angels," Bowker said.
Linda Lera-Randle El, who runs Straight From the Streets, said, "I don't think the mayor knows the difference between enabling and abling."
For every Smiley, she said, there is a Gerald Schmidt and a Danielle Waters, two formerly homeless people who changed their lives. "I can't let people die without food and water," she said.
Many will agree with the mayor. Stop feeding the homeless. Don't provide water. Every time I write about homelessness, I receive at least one communication spewing hatred for the homeless (and for me).
Realizing that helping the homeless isn't a priority for most locals, Clark County Manager Thom Reilly, who is trying to help, is appealing to the public's pocketbook. By failing to provide housing and medical care for the homeless, the taxpayer actually is paying millions more than necessary. If the public doesn't care about the people, maybe it will care about the cost.
Perhaps that's pragmatic enough for Mr. Mayor, the man with the big glass of gin surrounded by his own enablers (called city employees), who drive for him so he won't get a DUI.
Jane Ann Morrison's column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 383-0275.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
All of the present kook base of the 'rat party is in this catagory....Dean, Dingy Harry, John F'n, Pelosi, Deepwater Kennedy, and the notorious traitor Dick Durbin to name a few.
Typical Liberal Trash talk.
Stop enabling them and they might actually decide not to starve to death by actually doing something.
I saw a special on one of the Boston TV stations a few years ago. It talked about how the homeless can stay that way very easily in the city because there are so many programs that make sure they get shelter, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only downside was that they had to leave the shelter in the morning, and couldn't come back until just before dinner. If they went to work in the meantime, fine, but if they didn't that was OK, too. There were absolutely NO incentives for them to change their homeless state.
The Bible tells us we are our brothers' keepers. I think it also tells us to kick our brother in the ass if they won't get off the dime. I think maybe that was what the Mayor was saying. Help those who cannot help themselves, but teach a man to fish so he can continue to eat, instead of just giving him a fish.
Remember that the homeless ultimately burned all the bridges to family members to be in the state they are in. Noone has to be homeless, except by choice.
I think I missed that part. Can you give me chapter and verse?
I know it tells us to use our talents, to do the best we can, but I don't remember it telling us to kick other people in the ass when they're down and out.
I used to know a homeless guy who lived on what he could scrounge out of garbage cans. He was mentally ill. He was one of those who didn't want to live in a homeless shelter and could not do what it took to have his own place.
I've never lived in a homeless shelter but I know people who have, and they are horrible places, lots of theft and other crime. I think I'd probably rather sleep outside. Thank the Good Lord I don't have to make that choice.
Eventually a group home of nuns took him in and made him caretaker, and gave him a place to stay.
The problems are all liberal-based. Liberals proselytize hopelessness and helplessness. Liberals punish productivity. Liberals encourage dependency and Me-ocratic selfishness. Liberals thwart and condemn unconsented medical intervention. And finally, liberals like to delude themselves that they are good people if they reach out and help others whom their liberal policies have helped to place in harm's way to begin with.
Well, five words: "Let them starve in California." ;)
Goodman is quite well aware that his city is becoming a magnet for bums from all over the country, just as San Francisco and Los Angeles did years ago. The homeless industry is trying to gain another beachhead in Las Vegas. It isn't like these people are life-long Las Vegas residents who, through no fault of their own, suddenly find themselves "down on their luck".
San Francisco has created ten times as many homeless people as it has helped out of homelessness, just by implementing similar policies.
Matthew 6:26, "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"
Who writes this treacle?
KJV 2 Thes 3:10
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you f rom the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in.
Naked, and ye clothed me I was sick and ye visited me I was in prison, and ye came unto me
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brehtern, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels
For I was hungred and ye gave me not meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in, naked and ye clothed me not, sick and in prison and ye viited me not..
46...And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous unto eternal life.
My baby brother, age 51, committed suicide by jumping in front of a train last month. Mentally ill and homeless, I presume that he just didn't like any of his options well enough to continue the struggle any longer.
Sorry about your brother. It must have been very difficult for you and your family, for many years, and such a sad ending. Maybe some day there will be better treatment for people like him.
Methinks the mayor is being given too much credit here. He has to decry private sector charities (organized or otherwise), because allowing them to flourish would decrease dependence on government.
There always have been, and always will be homeless...some people insist on the mendicant lifestyle (to include the likes of St. Francis of Assissi, so I do not mean this in a strictly negative connotation). Sometimes (i.e., Great Depression, Tsunami) circumstances leave relatively large segments of a population in need. When this happens, government abhors the efforts of the private sector to bring remedy and relief, and if it can not eliminate charity it will try its damndest to assume and assert control over it. I get the sense this is where the mayor is coming from....
The homeless problem stems from 2 primary issues.
Mainstreaming the mentally ill and drugs/alcholism.
People that are temporarily down on their luck are the most likely to get back out of the homeless ditch.
The mentally ill would be best served by being in a facility specifically for that purpose.
It is sad when someone doesn't get the point you are trying to make. Of course the Bible says nothing about kicking your brother in the ass when he won't get off the dime, but even more sad is the fact that folks like you imply much more than what was intended, and feel like you have superiority of thought. I suggest you reread my comment for its intent, and then try to use cognitive learning ability to see if you can figure out what I wrote and what was meant by it. Perhaps,with a little luck, you will succeed. If not, good luck in life !!
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