Letters to the Editor – July 2018

Working Class Contradiction

Close to 100% of Republican legislators know that 94%–96% of Planned Parenthood funding goes to healthcare services having nothing to do with abortion. So why are they calling attention to abortion? As a diversionary tactic, anti-abortion propaganda riles up their Bible-thumping base to hate a specific scapegoat.

While unemployment and underemployment threaten working-class White people, they do not reeducate or retrain themselves for better financial gain. Also, if they are thinking about hating a non-White or female scapegoat, they are not paying attention to the enormous wealth inequality provided by the wealthy buying politicians at all levels, which threatens the democracy that provides all with opportunity and the free flow of knowledge.

The wealthy don’t care about working-class people who want to get ahead. Their politicians care about their billionaire and millionaire donors who donate to get them elected.

Mike Starry

Fresno


Shopping Carts, Camping and Housing

I recently completed my thesis for a master’s in social work. I studied how the shopping cart law and the more recent anti-camping law impact access to housing for the homeless. I did a survey and interviewed people about their experiences with the Coordinated Entry System, aka MAP Point. I talked to clients who applied for housing and to workers who assist people to get housing.

The results showed that most participants thought the two laws had an indirect negative effect on the ability to get through the housing process. Less than half said they thought it had no effect. However, not one person indicated that either law improved the housing application process.

The participants reported the laws resulted in the loss of personal property and increased how often they had to leave an area. They had to spend more time replacing food, clothing, hygiene items, bedding and trekking from place to place. One worker described how the camping law made them lose track of clients for so long their paperwork expired.

I also want to share some information that didn’t make it into my thesis. One person became homeless after caretaking a family member for 18 months. Another discussed how landlords discriminate against the homeless by using loopholes to deny valid applications. This person feared that if put in jail for breaking a law, then her therapy dog would be confiscated and lost forever.

One worker pointed out that the major benefit of these laws goes to the person who calls the police to report a homeless person “where I can see them, with my not wanting to know about this aspect of life in Fresno.”

Finally, I want to quote a client who has been doing all the right things for two years to find housing, but without success. This person called for the city to implement alternative and transitional housing programs that have been successful in other cities. “Have something to compromise, and not down everybody because they’re homeless.”

Leah Haymond

Fresno

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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