Only a Tramp

Art by Rob Goldstein
Clarion Alley, July 19, 2016

Only a tramp was Lazarus that begged.
He lay down by the rich man’s gate.
He begged for crumbs from the rich man to eat
But they left him to die, like a tramp on the street.

And, Jesus who died on Calvary’s tree
Shed his life’s blood for you and for me.
They pierced his side, his hands, and his feet
And, they left him to die just like a tramp on the street.

He was Mary’s own darling; he was Mary’s own son.
Once he was fair and once he was young.
And, Mary she rocked him, her little darlin’ to sleep
But, they left him to die like a tramp on the street.

When the battles are over and the victory’s won
Everyone mourns for the poor man’s son.
Red, white, and blue and victory sweet
And, they left them to die like a tramp on the street.

Joan Baez
The Internet Archives
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Nothing Motivates our Can-Do Spirit like Hunger, Disease and Homelessness!

Art by Rob Goldstein
Just Imagine

Today is primary day in California.

Here’s an interesting letter to the San Francisco Chronicle.

I sense a sardonic tone to this, but it’s hard to be sure these days:

Letters to the editor, June 2

Pampered youth

Regarding “Why Millennials love Sanders” (Open Forum, June 1): Kudos to the Opinion Page for publishing Ann Fishman’s fact-filled, deeply insightful analysis of our pampered young folks. Finally, a scholarly rebuttal to those who claim that stagnant wages, rising medical insurance profits, the student loan industry, deregulation of banking, and Citizen’s United are responsible for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ resonance with Millennials. The rightful function of government under both parties is the upward transfer of wealth. This singular goal serves us all. Nothing motivates our can-do spirit like hunger, disease and homelessness! She, however, failed to mention the destructive impact of recent increases in the minimum wage. Such coddling runs the risk of fostering an expectation that government policies could serve to support families and enhance the quality of life of working people. This socialistic ideology is indeed a dangerous virus that must be stopped before it spreads. Fishman reminds us of the “self-discipline and self-reliance” that energized our nation before New Deal organizers brought about Social Security and child-labor laws. It’s not too late.

Erich Keefe, Berkeley

Happy Primary Day California!

 

It’s Groundhog Day for the Mentally Ill in the United States

Art by Rob Goldstein
Judas Kiss

I discovered an essay in the Los Angeles Times while doing research for a recent post on mental illness and euthanasia.

The essay is dated 1987.

No mental health month is complete without pointing out that our media noticed the failure of deinstitutionalization decades ago. Read on:

Many of the people living on Los Angeles’ streets lack health as well as homes. They were put there by social policy, legacies of the mid-1960s when California was a laboratory for reform–and they sit there as another reminder of reform gone awry.

In 1967 the California Legislature passed the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) which changed the state’s mental-commitment laws to limit involuntary detention of all but the most gravely mentally ill and to provide a “patients bill of rights” regarding treatment.

 

With the help of conservative Republican Assemblyman Frank Lanterman of La Canada (who liked to tell the American Civil Liberties Union that he had championed the rights of mental patients long before it did), the bill was pushed primarily by a group of young, liberal activists on the Assembly Office of Research staff. It was sold to Democrats as a civil-rights measure and sold to Republican Gov. Ronald Reagan as a savings–community care, without the long-term costs of custodial care in state hospitals, would cut California’s mental health care costs.

Other interesting snippets from this essay published nearly THIRTY years ago:

What the reformers didn’t know–or didn’t understand at the time–was that neither local governments nor private agencies would provide sufficient community services. That is where Lanterman-Petris-Short truly failed.

One mental health professional who helped draft and move the original legislation said, “In our zeal to move people out of very restrictive, very inhumane places, we forgot that there were a whole variety of supports that were being provided (by institutions) and we neglected to find adequate ways of replicating them . . . we had a simplistic notion that basically what you could do is take people out of the institutions, move them into the community and provide outpatient mental health care. But what we forgot is that institutions provide people shelter, food, health care and a whole variety of other basic human needs.”

As the political and economic climate continued a conservative shift, a trend the reformers hadn’t expected, state and county programs offering community services were cut back. For a while federal agencies, often by default, undertook major responsibility for maintaining housing, job training and counseling programs. Then federal cutbacks in such appropriations and the Reagan Administration’s shift to block grants for mental-health funding exacerbated the problems that LPS didn’t address–more shrinkages the reformers failed to predict.

How is this possible? Why is it Groundhog Day for the mentally ill in the United States?

Here is the entire essay published 29 years ago: March 22, 1987 California: Good Aims, Bad Results

Oh, and if you think this was an isolated moment of clarity here’s an essay from 1991:

August 25, 1991 When Jail Is a Mental Institution

And 1999

November 23, 1999 Rights of Mentally Ill Pitted Against Public, Patient Safety

And it goes on….

How many people have died from neglect on the streets of the U.S. since 1987?

How many people have died from this failed social experiment that our government should have fixed thirty years ago?

Is it cynical to think that the United States has a homeless population because that’s the real agenda?

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Home-B-Gone Vacation Rentals: San Francisco

We have a problem with affordable housing in San Francisco.

It’s exacerbated by landlords who turn their properties into short-term
rentals for visitors.

The sugary tone of the ads on the Airbnb website inspired this post.

Beautiful San Francisco!

Tour the hipster Mission District or swish the sassy Castro.

This rollicking city thrives on variety and makes it deliciously
easy to live the good life!

Here are just a few of the select vacation rentals exclusive to Home B Gone Rentals:

Balmy Alley

Art by Rob Goldstein
Just a 5 minute walk to a public waste container;  great for a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  This luxurious corner is quiet,  East and West exposed, and it is amazingly sunny and bright all day long.  

The decor is a blend of classic and modern styles. Welcome to San Francisco!

Capp Street

Art by Rob Goldstein

A clean space with furnished cart. The alley is filled with light!  An ample crawl space provides a private playground for pets and children!

Just blocks from Precita Park and Bernal Heights

Church Street at Market

Art by Rob Goldstein

This Pristine corner is located near the historic Duboce Triangle neighborhood. Visitors will find a range of transportation options: all MUNI train lines are within a couple blocks, including the Historic F line which travels down Market Street to Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, farmer’s markets, shopping, museums and more.

Market at Dolores

Art by Rob Goldstein
Fully furnished spot, clean with manicured garden. This is Ideally located near the vibrant and historic Mission Dolores across the street from the newly built Whole Foods Store  and just steps away from the dumpsters behind the Safeway on Church and Market. Try the freshly discarded pastries and croissants!

Historic Clarion Alley

Art by Rob Goldstein

Do you love art? You’ll love this quiet alley in San Francisco’s Mission District. Two blocks from BART this alley features modern paintings,  an ample supply of cigarette butts and a concrete deck for passing the day.

Mission at 17th Street

Art by Rob Goldstein

Your private oasis in San Francisco

This luxury spot is located in San Francisco’s thrilling Mission District.  You’ll have the best sleep of your life on our memory mattress with 500 thread count cotton blanket.  So kick off your heels and unwind! You’re home.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Narratives of Displacement

 

All images and text (c) Rob Goldstein 2016

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