A curious piece from Colorado Independent on the city’s winky-wink hyperbole with regard to assuring us all that Denver’s homeless will be treated pretty much no differently than they are today when the Democrats come to town in August.
The scene on the left was captured in 2005 when David and I hiked downtown early one Sunday morning. The scene across the street from the Fourteenth Street Entrance to the Colorado Convention Center. And, yes, there was a convention going on at the time and conventioneers were forced to navigate their way over/around the street residents otherwise know as the “homeless.”
Now to the Colorado Independent piece entitled “Denver won’t hide homeless for DNC.”
I guess my first thought here is what planet do the good folks who run the Denver’s Road Home program live on? Indeed–quoting from the Independent piece–“‘Denver’s homeless have no need to worry,’ say Bachar and Jamie Van Leeuwen, project manager for Denver’s Road Home. ‘Nobody [the homeless] will be moved anywhere…'”
Um, may we be a little skeptical about the assurances from the Denver’s Road Home honchos? May we suspect that the same kind of secrecy from the city with regard to security measures to be enforced during the DNC is being applied to the very real specter of the homeless doing what they do during the DNC as captured in the above picture?
The piece in the Independent provides the following: “Denver’s approach to the convention has come under fire from at least one advocate for the homeless. Randle Loeb, vice president of the board of Metro Denver Homeless Initiative and former homeless person himself. Loeb says that the city’s plans to involve the homeless amount to sugarcoating the intractable issue.
“I am devastated,” Loeb continued, “by our lack of planning and action to deal with these innumerable, very difficult, hard-core people with long histories of substance abuse and personal problems and God knows what else. It is going to have an impact on the convention no matter what.”
Okay. Well said. And, what is it the Denver Road Home folks plan to do with the homeless during the convention? Well, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is going to sponsor a voter registration drive for the homeless during the convention as well as provide big-screen TVs so the homeless can watch the convention coverage.
Yeah, that’ll solve the issue. I’m sure the homeless will flock to the big-screen TVs and savor the opportunity to register to vote. Surely nothing would enrich a homeless person’s life more.
One final observation. Commander Dilley of the Denver Police Department warns in the Independent piece that, during the convention she is more concerned with “…protesters taking advantage of homeless people by hiring them to show up at rallies.” WTF moment here. It gets better. Dilley also warns that during the convention, “We want to make sure that the homeless are making appropriate decisions.”
Ah, the rub is in that word “appropriate.” Climb in a big tent, register to vote and watch the convention on a big-screen TV? If that’s what Dilley believes to be an “appropriate decision” for a homeless person, then I can only suggest Commander Dilley and more than a few Denver police officers will be very, very busy enforcing their notion of “appropriateness” amongst the homeless of Denver during the convention.