Look, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. Homelessness in America is serious as cancer.
That’s why I give the city of Sausalito props for it’s brave decision last week.
A tent city cropped up in Dunphy Park about 40 days ago. Nine tents were present as of this writing, complete with a portable potty, a make-shift mess hall, stolen shopping carts, lounge chairs, outdoor grills and all other kinds of stuff.
Sausalito’s leaders visited the camp to determine what was going on. If, indeed, people were down-and-out and needed to camp on the beach because they were homeless, the town created a safe place for the homeless to spend the night — at Marinship Park, where the city has running water and clean indoor bathrooms. It would be the city’s place of centralized refuge for which social workers do what they do to help.
That’s compassionate, right? Not according to the people living the beachside camping life at Dunphy Park.
These folks spat hateful accusations and stomped their feet at the city’s attempt to help. I’m sorry if this sounds heartless, but somebody has to tell the truth. Anyone who watched the Dunphy brigade testify before the council, as I did, knows the whole deal needs to be called out.
It started with Robbie Powelson, a gadfly homeless advocate who camps out at a number of “homeless” sites and says he speaks for the homeless. His standard line is that Marin is a racist county, filled with homeless hating bigots, from Novato to Sausalito. And what he wants is for the homeless to be able to pitch a tent anywhere they want and not be “harassed” by the police.
He actually sent out a press release saying that the police should not “decamp” Dunphy Park for the more humane option of Marinship Park because — wait for it — COVID resides in tent fabric, so if the homeless have to take their tents down it will release the virus on them.
C’mon, man. Get serious.
After a lengthy diatribe against the rich people “on the hill,” Powelson passed the mic to a woman who seemed to cry on demand about how she was being “treated like dirt.” She wore nice sunglasses on her head and jewelry around her neck. (I ain’t sayin’, I’m just sayin’.) Another guy with a pointy gnome hat addressed the Council with the greeting “ahoy” and then proceeded to ramble on about nothing in particular. And finally, another woman in the Powelson sphere told the council that it was “fun” to camp on the beach and everyone should be able to do it if it “pleases them.”
This was not a serious presentation on homelessness. It was a clown show unworthy of serious debate. The Council put an end to it and essentially said you can’t camp anywhere on public property and call yourself homeless in Sausalito. If you are truly down and out in Sausalito, the city is going to provide a sanctioned place for you to camp overnight and then get the services you need to live and get back on your feet.
That’s compassion, brothers and sisters. That’s giving the homeless a real shot at getting their stuff together, whereas the Dunphy Park protest crowd is a circus for which the show must be over.
ONE MORE THING
— I’m trying to organize a hide and seek tournament, but good players are really hard to find.
— Dad, are we pyromaniacs? Yes, we arson.
— Never buy flowers from a monk. Only you can prevent florist friars.
Don’t get up, I’ll pick up my knitting and let myself out. Thanks for reading. Be safe, be kind and mask-up.
(Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, a newspaper company dedicated to the preservation of community newspapers. You can follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/sherm.frederick/. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)