"Helping" The Homeless For Fun And Profit
Oops! I forgot -- thanks to advances in education, we no longer have "quizzes," "tests" or "essay questions!"
Let me start over:
Today, class we'll be having a "formal assessment." You will write a "constructed response" to the following question:
"Suppose you are in charge of spending $800,000 of taxpayers' hard-earned money to prevent the mentally ill, drunks and drug addicts from living on the sidewalks of Los Angeles. How would you spend it?"
According to the L.A. Daily News, the County's answer is to spend the $800,000 on an "outreach campaign to deal with 'anticipated adverse community reaction' to proposed homeless shelters and plans to locate centers throughout the county."
Great concept! I wish I had thought of that! Let's spend nearly a million dollars to try to convince people to embrace our plan to spend an additional $80 million building "regional stabilization centers" in their neighborhoods!
Have you ever noticed how the solution to every problem in L.A. is to spend tax dollars on public relations and construction? Why do you suppose that is?
How about we instead have some state legislators pass some laws so we can put the mentally ill in mental institutions regardless of whether they consent to it -- especially since the idea of a mentally ill person having the capacity to consent to anything is dubious at best. And how about we simply enforce the laws against public intoxication for those who are not mentally ill, but are instead drunk or high?
No, we won't do that. Proposals like that would not transfer enough of your money to developers and the "homeless industry."
Rather, what we need are lots of choreographed "fact finding" and "outreach" meetings, lots of concerned employees from "nonprofits," some "educational" campaigns, a number of disturbing photos, three or four tragic stories, a good soundtrack, and, of course, many many grants, low-interest loans and other programs to distribute your money to developers. That, my friend, is how you solve a problem in L.A. in 2006: give taxpayers' money to developers to build structures.
What if you dare speak out against this insanity? Well, then you're a heartless, selfish bastard. After all, as long as anyone claims he is acting on behalf of the homeless, it doesn't really matter whether his proposal makes any sense. The simple act of saying you are helping the hopeless, in and of itself, establishes the validity of your proposal. After all, any animal with four legs and wool must be a sheep.
Read it and weep: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_4383374.