Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Criminalization Flowchart


For those of you who remain confused about the Mayors new sweeps protocols, the city has helpfully provided a flowchart in response to a documents disclosure request. As you see, all camping is clearly unlawful. Got that? In case anyone missed this, it's Against The Law.

We see that some unlawful camping rates notification, outreach, and services, and others do not. Where there is trash, some possibility of drug use, or someone thinks these were the guys who broke into the garage, there's just a direct police response. The whole notification/outreach thing won't work if there's trash around. Or if people use drugs. Just send in the cops, throw their shit away, and get on with things.

Beyond this, we see that the unsociable types who don't hang out in bottle gangs are pretty much screwed. No notification or outreach for them. They were probably loners in high school, and nobody liked them then either. Losers.

We see also that once Unlawful Camping reaches the magical threshold of becoming an Unlawful Encampment, then notification and services will be allowed, as well as some half-assed attempt at resource referral on the cheap.

Unless, of course, encampments reoccur within the area three times within 60 days. Then it gets permanent posting, and anyone who goes there to sleep is a criminal who has no rights, and will either have their stuff tossed without warning or be cited or arrested. Within six months to a year, more or less everywhere in the City that homeless people camp will have reached this status.

I added the indirect red line to more accurately reflect written policy. The astute observer will note that just one scenario in five is a potential path to "services and shelter."

So a year from now, where exactly will these protocols that define City responsibility be applied? Nowhere.

The Mayor had an opportunity here to move to higher ground. City rhetoric, which has been all about compassion and ending homelessness, has taken the high road. Their actions, however, have taken the low road of covert policy formulation, consistent media manipulation, and shameful avoidance of responsibility.

The Dalai Lama speaks of compassion as being more than some squishy idea that’s up for grabs by anyone capable of forming three consecutive syllables. Compassion, he says, is a verb. It is action. This action is informed by empathy and driven by personal responsibility.

The Mayor’s policy, which exempts the City from taking responsibility by denying services and basic rights to the majority of homeless campers, falls far short of this very useful definition.

16 comments:

Pastor Rick said...

Define "illegal activity." You've got the "no trespass" signs in place, by definition they're breaking the law, ergo. . .

This whole thing is so ridiculous. If a dog is loose and running through the neighborhood, we give it more concern and care than human beings. Oh yeah, I forgot, we lock it in a kennel. Never mind.

Squirrelman for mayor.

katia said...

The compassion of which the Dalai Lama speaks does not discriminate.
That means your compassion felt for homeless people would be equal to your compassion felt for the mayor.
And all other beings for that matter.
(not that I have achieved that.)

But I honestly think that is what is needed.

Michaelann Bewsee said...

I can really picture some single-visioned person staying up to the wee hours getting all the lines straight and the circles even like maybe the flowchart's perfection will help us forget we're talking about real human beings.

Bill said...

It is all quite chaotic. Missing from the chart his, "Mayor Nickels Declares!" at the top. About compassion,... I never equate it with action directly. It may sound semantic, but the word means, "to suffer with." It is a presence with one suffering. When equated with action, would you mean "any damn action?" One of our problems has been we skip compassion and go to remedy, solution, and the like, when we have no decent remedy et al at hand. Compassion is becoming as much as possible a peer, at best we can, listening. Love to debate, but it may start sound like preaching,... and mostly this is the choir already

Bill said...

btw, compassion for homeless person is not measured by compassion for Mayor. It is about suffering. If Mayor is persecuting us, the christian take is turn the other cheek, whioh simply means "treat me as equal," since it was a backhanded slap that demeaned the one hit. Turning the cheek that would be hit in a fight among equals was another matter. To strike this cheek would mean the offender considered you an equal. The Mayor is not directly offending me, but ones he thinks have less power than he has. In short, he is a bully. There is no other way to describe his abuse of power against the poor. He does not treat us like this, because a bully has no courage against peers. It makes his actions all the more offensive. It is nothing more than observing reality and describing it to call him by what he is. It is not unchristian; in truth, it is the fulfillment of speaking truth to power. It is not name-calling, which also demeans; rather, it describes the relationship he has with the poor. Would he accept a mentor, this is what a mentor would say to him about his tretment of the poor. But he will not accept anyone's assessment. Thus it is revealed that most bullies, at their core, live in fear of the truth. 2 units credit in the cosmic school of rainy days if you read this far.

Sally said...

A little Jewish thundering:

"Ha! Those who write out evil writs
And compose iniquitous documents,
To subvert the cause of the poor,
To rob of their rights the needy of My people;
That widows may be their spoil,
And fatherless children their booty!
What will you do on the day of punishment,
When the calamity comes from afar?
To whom will you flee for help,
And how will you save your carcasses
From collapsing under {fellow} prisoners,
From falling beneath the slain?" Isaiah 10:1-4

Compassion for Nickels? Ha!

Anonymous said...

So, letting people live in a cold, damp park is OK?

Where's your humanity!

Tim Harris said...

So Anonymous, here's my question: Are you too stupid to grasp the point, or do you just prefer arguing with strawmen?

Anonymous said...

Stupid enough to know that living out in the Seattle elements isn't healthy or safe!

Now, Santa Barbara I could see.

Stephanie said...

Tiny (aka Lisa Garcia) might have a new chapter for the next edition of "Criminal of Poverty." I thought debtor's jail was a thing of the past..we're moving on to homeless jail. Do you think DESC will open a housing unit called "Park Place" for all the people who used to live in parks but are now jailed?

And to anonymous, you lack courage or character.

Anonymous said...

I lack both character and courage, I suppose. However, I'm not lacking in compassion or empathy.

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