[Hpn] Some people do not know "Squat from a Shelter"?

William Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Mon, 23 Jun 2003 07:29:14 -0400

As a national/international world wide community of displaced persons we
watch with tongue in cheek,and belt cinched up tight as second guessers
pedel their thoughts the homeless still die in the streets.
Lets get them real affordable permanent housing, not more bandaid spend
millions for more shelter beds bull feces!!
A Brother In The Squatting Tradition
Bill Tinker
SF supes thumb nose at voters

Ken Garcia Monday, June 23, 2003

THE NEXT TIME San Francisco's elected officials decide to debate an issue
mandated by the voters, they should hold the hearing in the space that used
to house the concrete interchange known as the Central Freeway.
The chilly setting might serve to remind them what happens when political
infighting, ideological agendas and chronic haggling substitute for real
leadership in the business of running the city.
Extended delays. Rising costs. A decade of circular debate and endless
ballot battles. Come to think of it, it's not unlike the Board of
Supervisors' stance on homelessness during the past 10 years when the
hapless guardians threw mountains of money at the problem only to watch it
fester and multiply.
The board could take a rare step in the right direction today when a
committee is once again expected to debate the merits of Care Not Cash, the
welfare reform plan overwhelmingly approved by San Francisco voters in
November. Some simple advice: Stop quibbling over the numbers. Approve the
program. And then watch the results as the homeless numbers decline
Last week, supervisors spent five hours bashing Supervisor Gavin Newsom's
reform plan to provide people with treatment and housing in lieu of cash -- 
a public display of such personal animosity that it almost obscured the
fundamental debate over homelessness. Proposition N could cost more than the
$13.9 million now spent on cash grants to homeless adults who qualify for
assistance, it was argued. The city's budget analyst said it might take
longer to put into effect than originally planned. Chris Daly, long a puppet
of the city's homeless lobby, tried to push forward his own unoriginal
The numbers don't exactly match up? Who cares? San Francisco is spending
between $100 million and $200 million a year providing homeless services and
payments and look at the state of the city's streets. If the cost of
providing housing and treatment programs under Care Not Cash were $17
million instead of $14 million, I sincerely doubt that the 125,000 people
who voted in favor of it will be overly concerned. They'd probably cheer.
It may take a little longer to get the program into full swing than first
thought? I'd happily settle for a few more months than several more years of
failed social experiments and political jockeying.
And a quick word to all those mayoral candidates who are trying to use the
board's ill will toward Newsom to launch their own half-baked solutions to
the town's most vexing problem: We already have an approved plan of action.
It would be best to find another springboard issue.
That so-called scathing report by city budget analyst Harvey Rose, which
said the costs of providing services under Prop. N might exceed the $13.9
million now paid out in general assistance, is flawed in one critical area.
It suggests that even by cutting the cash payments to $59 a month from $395,
the number of general assistance recipients will remain constant.
But as has been proved by almost every city and county that has moved away
from a cash-based service program, the numbers decline dramatically when the
monetary gravy train is stopped. Trent Rhorer, the city's welfare director,
said he anticipates that at least half of the 2,800 people on general
assistance in San Francisco will disappear.
The reason Care Not Cash enjoyed such wide support among medical
professionals is that every day they see the devastating impact of drug and
alcohol abuse on the city's streets -- a scenario directly fueled by handing
out money to addicts. But no one at the board is talking about that -- the
other supervisors are too busy trying to find flaws in Newsom's plan and
using the debate for their own political purposes.
"All the fundamental questions are being lost in the debate over the
details," Newsom said. "Moving away from a cash-based system has been
successful everywhere else. For that to happen, it's going to require the
cooperation of my colleagues. But Care Not Cash will go into effect."
The board owes it to the voters to accede to their wishes. Supervisors could
certainly do a lot worse. In fact, for years, they have.

2003 San Francisco Chronicle