Plus Letters To The EDITOR
What heated times we live in. Blog haven turned über tabloid, The Huffington Post (at which, curiously, I am still a blogger), heads into live streaming, NBC gets flack over the Olympics and meteor showers streak across the sky. Meanwhile, Downtown Santa Cruz gets an economic boost with the arrival of Forever 21 yet still debates whether to make its main thoroughfare one-way or two-way. And let’s not forget all the commentary on the homeless camp situation (see letters). So, it seems as if each day ushers in a new series of “Look here/No, look there!” And somehow, we search for levity in between. And some fun.
It was with that idea in mind that we ventured forth in crafting this year’s Fashion Issue. In fact, three words came to mind: Fun, bold and adventurous. To that end, this year’s fashion soiree is dubbed Quantum Fashion, because “fashion” exists on all levels—inside and out; visible and invisible. It features a local posse who were ready to play in industrious new settings—literally. The grand theme? Archetypes. Because we move through life admiring and/or morphing into various “archetypes”—from The Cool Chick to The Daredevil—we thought it might be festive to illuminate a few of them... CONTEST ALERT: Head to gtweekly.com and vote for your favorite archetypes. In addition to a few extra online exclusive “looks,” there are a number of fashion slideshows to peruse. Vote for your favorite for a chance to win gift certificates to a local retailer. Winners be will chosen from a random drawing. Have fun.
All this fashion chatter reminds me of the fashion faux pas of yesteryear. Was I the only young person who really dug his brown ’70s pants and yellow pullover shirt? Hmm. Probably.
Have a playful week. More next time ...
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Letters to the Editor
Your recent article on police raids of homeless camps was downright bad journalism, reprinting the official police line—that homeless are all criminals who choose to be there for their own selfish reasons—without any fact-checking or investigation. I interact daily with homeless people in Downtown Santa Cruz, including some of them quite disturbed and/or with substance abuse problems. So I understand there are legitimate concerns, yet it is simply false, and offensive, to suggest that the entire class of very-poor individuals are all criminals and unworthy of basic human decency. In a society where even in boom times there is 5 percent official unemployment, how can we be so callous as to celebrate police charging in, guns drawn, to the makeshift homes of those poorest among us?
I also fail to see any benefit in such raids. We all know these people are not going away, they're just going to find a new place to camp. In the meantime, we may be throwing more fuel on the fire by harassing and intimidating a population with some already quite disturbed and unstable individuals. I have personally been threatened multiple times as a volunteer at the Bike Church, and once had to chase off an aggressive homeless man in Harvey West Park who was shouting obscenities at the Mission Hill students I had taken there on an after-school bike ride. I would surely rather not have to deal with such situations, and yet after watching the SCPD push homeless around for over 10 years it seems obvious to me that it is not helping in the slightest.
On ‘Homeless Camps’ ...
I am a person who lives in fear of being homeless. While I currently am collecting unemployment benefits, and paying my rent, I have exhausted all monetary resources, retirement accounts, etc.
I no longer have a car—it broke and there was no money to fix it. I owe money to the IRS for siphoning off my IRAs to survive and for collecting unemployment benefits. I haven't been able to find work, and well ... I read with interest how society would plan to treat me, especially as a single man. There's really no help if you are single and male.
—Down in the Dumps, But I Used to be Somebody!
What Don Lane, et al, do not mention about the 180/180 project is that it will displace those already waiting years in line for Housing Authority assistance. And, as far as I am able to ascertain, those chosen for this program do not have any obligation to clean up their act: go to rehab, counseling, work, make amends, be responsible. The main argument for the 180/180 project is that it will be cost effective in the long run. I have yet to be entirely convinced of this.
As a point of clarification, 180/180 does not displace anyone from the Housing Authority waiting list. We are asking the Housing Authority to establish a preference for disabled and medically vulnerable homeless people already on the waiting list, those with a high mortality risk (at risk of dying on the streets) as defined by the Vulnerability Index, which detects medical vulnerability and is based on research from Boston's Healthcare for the Homeless and has been implemented throughout the country through the national 100,000 Home campaign. To learn more, visit 180santacruz.org.
There are smart solutions to ending chronic homelessness that have been thoroughly tested and proven to work in other communities. One of the primary "smart solutions" is Permanent Supportive Housing. Check out an L.A. Times article about Project 50. Here in Santa Cruz County we're applying this proven methodology and expect to see similar cost-effective results with the 180/180 campaign.
—Phil Kramer, 180/180 Project Manager
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