Denver police Cmdr. Deborah Dilley has a message to the 3,900 homeless people who live in the city: You can stay where you are between Aug. 25 and 28.There will even be incentives for them to hang around:
Responding to rumors that Denver's homeless would be bused to Pueblo or hauled out of the hip Lower Downtown area during the Democratic National Convention, city officials say they'll bend over backward to treat them, well, democratically.
One man has loaned five flat-screen televisions for shelters so the homeless can watch the action live on cable television. An advocate is pushing for vouchers to movies, museums and the Denver Zoo so the population can enjoy the city's cultural scene for free. There are plans for a voter-registration drive. One of the city's ministries will run bingo games at night.Gee, why would anybody not want to be homeless?
"I think the city is saying the right things," said John Parvensky, president of the Colorado Coalition of the Homeless. "The wild card is when the rubber meets the road — when the Secret Service, the FBI and other federal agencies are putting pressure on the local police. I think there is some queasiness of people on the street."
The work on this front began in April, when Jamie Van Leeuwen started hearing concerns from homeless people about the projected hordes of expected visitors downtown during convention week. . . .Denver cops traditionally have been concerned about preventing trauma to the homeless. But there's an iron fist in the latex (for safe bum handling) glove:
Shelters are opening doors during the day so people — particularly those agitated by large crowds and robust security presence — have a place to go. . . .
"We have never hid the homeless in the past, and we won't hide them now," said Dilley, who works in District 6, which includes downtown. "This is going to be a traumatic time for . . . them."
While Dilley is adamant that it will be business as usual, she emphasized that some activities typically engaged in by the homeless are still illegal, and people could be cited.Guess what Loeb wants.
In the city's "Business Improvement District" — which roughly spans Speer Boulevard to 20th Street and Wynkoop to Grant streets — it is illegal to sit or lie on the ground during the daytime.
Panhandling is legal, but there are almost a dozen restrictions, including asking for money too close to a restaurant or a bar, a bus stop, or an automated teller machine.
This is all fine for Randle Loeb, who was homeless on Denver's streets for six years. He knows that most homeless people stay out of the limelight and try to avoid trouble.
"They want, at all possible costs, to stay away from that," said 58-year-old Loeb, who now works for his shelter at St. Paul United Methodist Church.
What the hell, why not? Let's have a bum roundtable (only non-agitated bums, please)!
What Loeb wants is dialogue.
Denver will have all the movers and shakers in the country talking about everything from global warming to health care to preschool, he says — so why not make a platform for homelessness? Why not get some of the people in their darkest days, those right out of jail or foster care, in on the discussion?
"We have a new generation of homeless people. . . . What are we going to do to put this front and center?" Loeb asked.A new generation. Bums are America's future.
Van Leeuwen understands. He's going to try to promote the success of Denver's Road Home while everyone is in town. Since it began in 2003, the organization has helped 972 people by providing housing and eviction assistance.Denver's Road Home, of course, is Mayor Chickenpooper's magical ten-year program to end homelessness in Denver.
Van Leeuwen is working to get an audience at the convention, but it's "been tricky," he said, "trying to confirm the logistics."Update: More bums.
Update II: A leftie responds to Recreate-68 founder Glenn Spagnuolo's lovely comment that with Barack Obama as a presidential candidate, "imperialism has a black face instead of a white one”:
Way to alienate EVERYBODY and their mothers, douchebag. While I know that even the perfect candidate doesn’t have the power to single-handedly fix an inherently broken and corrupt system, calling him the Black face of imperialism is kind of a slap in the face to communities of color who are thrilled at the propsect of having one of their own in office, and to see Obama as the face of change and the face of hope. People really want to believe, and you are only going to make them hate you by attacking their messiah. You can’t be effective in making change or smashing the system by alienating your potential supporters! The Black community is a formidable potential ally, but you just trampled their dreams with your rhetoric. Saying that having a Black man for president isn’t good enough just makes you sound like a jerk. Is it more important to assert that you are right than to have community-support, especially Black support, against a system Black people know we’ve been disenfranchised by? Can you be right without coming off like a racist?
Actually, Glenn's talent is being wrong while coming off like a racist.
Update III: Need to learn how to read. The writer, besides being a leftie, apparently is black ("we've been disenfranchised") as well. So let's tot up the score. Feminists hate !Recreate68 because it's a patriarchal hellhole stuffed full of imperialist "brother dicks"; Troofers hate R!68 because even R!68 figured out that Troofer-brand craziness is a liability; middle-class white peaceniks hate R6!8 because R68! wants violence; and now blacks hate R68!! because it comes off as, well, racist.
Sad, really. Not long ago, if tortured I would have said that however much I disagreed with Glenn Spagnuolo (very much indeedily doodie), I had to admire his drive in putting R68!!! together and garnering the attention for it (and of course himself) that he had. (The Drunkablog, tragically, has no drive.)
But not anymore. What exactly is left of !R68!? Glenn said there were still more than 40 groups participating under its umbrella. Since he reads this blog, perhaps he might enlighten us as to who they are.
And maybe one other thing, Glenn. Does the homeless story change your belief that they (the homeless) will be hidden away during the DNC, and that it's up to you to be their voice? Also, is R68 still going to have its homeless "feeds" during the convention, or has that been taken over by Tent City? How about that community health clinic? Also, isn't the reason you're trying for alternate parade routes on the 25th and 26th that the Alliance for Peaceniks has taken over yours?
That's several other things. Sorry.