Saturday, October 8, 2011

Homelessness Meeting

I went to the meeting last night, mostly to watch Garberville sink to the lowest common denominator and see what could come of it. We made some great progress, we scheduled another meeting. What is this a government program?

As we listened, mostly to all the problems, it occurred to me that people really haven't taken the time to understand the people that live on our streets. Most are extremely dysfunctional, their bathroom habits are mostly the same as displayed in a mental ward, and they continually leave a trail of destruction and filth behind them.

I loathe to lump them all together, because some are pretty decent people, helpful and polite. Some have even done me favors and helped me out, those people are not the problem, but the mental cases and the thieves filter in amongst the simply disadvantaged. I won’t go into detail about the problems that some of them cause, because if you don’t take the time to know them, you won’t try to sort the good from the bad.

I have video’s of some of them shoplifting, very brazenly, like they have the right. One man from ***** park, came in every day, we charged his cell phone for him, no charge, it's the least that we can do for someone down on their luck. When someone pointed out that he was a thief, we went back through our store security videos and sure enough, he was a thief. In watching the video, he walked past a row of bright red radios. As he came to them, there were three on the shelf, after he passed, there were two, otherwise there was no indication that he took anything. He went to another corner and altered it for concealment. (Hey, I can’t reveal all of the security tricks that we have to use to catch thieves, but isn’t it sad that we have people in our town that think that somehow honest working people should provide for them.) We called the sheriff and they found him in ***** park proudly displaying his loot.

Now, the thing that runs through my mind is, do the people in the park know that he is a thief? Are they, compelled to rat him out, or are they complicit in the crime?

One lady got up and proudly stated the she bought the homeless a porta-potty for her birthday, and somewhat chided the townspeople for not providing toilet facilities for them. I mused about that, and remembered a time that we allowed the street people, and tourists, to use our store restrooms. Then the guy from up north came through town. He sued everybody that allowed people to use their restrooms for the general public that didn’t have a handicap accessible restroom. If you saw where our restrooms are, you wouldn’t question why we can’t make them accessible. By notice of our landlord, and by our own recognition of the problem, our restrooms are closed. Nobody is allowed to use them, that makes them equal access to all. No access! Seems like a shame, but I guess that it is fair.

The other thought that I had about the lady that proudly bought a porta-potty for the homeless. Does she know that she is in violation of a federal law, making it a Civil Rights Discrimination charge? For providing a restroom that discriminates against the handicapped? Quite a few of Garberville’s street people have been in wheelchairs, what do they do?

Anyway, I didn’t hear anything that I haven’t heard before. It was suggested that we all adopt a homeless person. I know that that might sound a little alien to you, but there was a young homeless person that came to town a few years ago that I could write book about. Myself and another fellow did adopt him. We eventually became his legal guardian. He was a paranoid-schizophrenic with a hopeless dependency to any mind-altering substance that would fit in his mouth. He proudly proclaimed that he was not a drug addict, because he would not stick a needle in his arm. He also proclaimed that he was not a bum, because he earned every penny that he ever had, which was true. He was too paranoid to seek help. He washed windows. As he would leave a job a person could see the other homeless gather around him and "borrow" his money from him. I got so I would let him out the back door with the hopes that he would have the time to get some use out of his money before it was extorted away.

Like I said earlier, I could write a book about this guy, our attempt to house him, his medical care, etc, but the long and short of it, I got an unsigned note in the mail, no return address, other than cancel stamp from some city in Oregon , that he had died.

They guy came and went, as a paraniod will do, I didn’t realize how close that I had gotten to him. It kind of took my heart away from getting too involved in helping the homeless, so I put it on the shelf for a while. Going to the Homeless meeting last night, reminded me of it all. I think that I probably won’t be attending any more meetings.


Dave Stancliff said...

Having worked with homeless veterans for years, I often find myself "burned out" from the emotional roller coaster that comes with the experience.

It's hard Ernie. I know what you mean. I had to back out of the last two North Coast Veteran Stand Downs because of the emotional impact.

That doesn't mean I don't care for people who are homeless. I do. And I also realize that a large percentage of them have mental problems.

I traveled around the country when I got out of the Army. I guess you could say I was homeless. I lived in parks and crash pads across the country. I met a lot of people who had mental problems.
I got help, or I wouldn't have been here today.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I know what you mean. I think that it would be better for people that don't give a rats-ass to get involved in saving the homeless. Once you get involved, you want to succeed. At some point you realize that you can't help people that won't, or can't help themselves. It's no fun to get an unsigned note in the mail that someone that you promised to help is dead.

I think that the note might have been from his father. Bill (his name)told me at one time that his father didn't like him, and that he didn't blame him. Pretty sad.

charlie two crows said...

Dave, my heart goes out to you for the work with the homeless vet's! My best friend in college died in the weeds behind Hanson's machine! I will never recover! Semper did all they could. But you know their isn't enough money spent to help my friend Gary! Seven of my friends have died from cancer! Two from the orange! Now I have a close friend that was in semper three times last month. And Dave I just can't fix it!
Now I have a son with PTSD like a lot of the guys in the park! My son says I'm the only one that understands him! Dave when you and I die! Who takes over?

charlie two crows said...

Dave, sorry I was rude before! I got on the soap box! Someday ill say to much and they'll come!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Window washer Bill was ex-military. He was on a tank crew, It was hard to make much sense out of the things that he talked about, and I avoided asking to many personal questions because I didn't want to upset him. But we were able to get a copy of his discharge papers. My co-adopter is an expert at details. He was also able to get his social security card and number. He gave Bill a wallet with copies of all of his information. Bill thought that was great that he was a real person again. A week later he had already lost everything. We kept giving him copies to carry with him. We also had our names on his In Case Of Emergency contact list. I think that is how I got the note that he had died.

Bill had many health problems. When Doctor Hunter was here in Redway, he would take care of him. We were able to get the clinic paid for some of his health problems after we got him identified.

The last time he went to Doctor Hunter, he had overdosed on Tylenol. I asked Bill why the hell anybody would take too many Tylenol. He answered that "if you take enough, you can get high". Do you began to see the Problem?

charlie two crows said...

Ernie.. My sons have found a creek running into EEl that's paying well. Maybe we could give all the homeless Gold pans and send them down to the river every day! I'm not joking! Sutters Mill happened the same way. We know its there we just have to find the mother lode!

skippy said...

I'm always amazed at how well and patiently you describe things while telling an interesting story, Ernie. The voice of reason. It's like listening to the wisdom of Sheriff Andy Taylor back in the day. Except Andy didn't know where all the bodies were buried.

Charlie two crows, you may be very close to that golden cache. Good luck, best wishes, and more gilded AU nuggets for you and yours.

Bunny said...

Blue Moon Gift Shop knew Bill very well and he used our phone as an office whenHe had to talk to the county folks. You and Bill did a great job. Remember the wires around each finger stage? I thought he moved up north when his dad got sick and he kinda took care of him. Bill was one of a handful that I have given favor to. What a bunch of characters we have in this town from homeless to very rich. It's a circus and I'm just another Bozo on this bus. We all are.

charlie two crows said...

Skippy, If Ernie is Andy! Who's the Barney?
Ernie, thinkin bout buyin Kerosene Fridge. Ever work on one?
Woke up to to Ravens peckin on the tent. Good omen.
Peace* from the Desert

Ernie Branscomb said...

Actually, I fit the character of Ernest T. Bass better. He was the crazy guy that would through a brick though a widow just to hear it break, laugh maniacally, then run away.

Charlie, as you probably already know, I accept the raven as my totem bird. But, if they are pecking on your tent it is because they trust you, and you are a good sign for THEM. The world is about to become a better place.

Peace back at you.

Anonymous said...

Oregon's got a bullet in his pocket.

charlie two crows said...

Ernie.... Went to mexican store to day. They say Ravens at my fifth wheel place all week looking for me. Said they were into everything. I will have to go check. Sometimes they tear up for fun then laugh. Raven was six feet away and looked me in the eye! Mexicans know its big medicine. Some won't understand. Ernie you and I do. I tell raven come see you!
Peace* from the desert

To Dave: Raven calling Bird dog! Raven calling Bird Dog!
This is indian!
Indian to Cricket! Bird dog's gone in!
Dave will understand!

Charles Douglas said...

Two questions:

Were there any elected representatives, candidates, or their reps present?

Who was “disrupting the meeting before she left of her own volition (I’m really scared for her after tonight)” as noted by Eric Kirk?

You can contact me privately if you like on #2.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Clif Clendenen was there for the first hour. He was in the back of the room. After the first four or five speakers had their say, a good percentage of the back row left. Clif left after about 1 hour. I really don't think that anything that he had to say would have changed much. Most of the comments were rants about what everybody already knew.

Estelle Fennell did speak, she thanked all of the players involved, which was appropriate. She made a few comments about (My paraphrase) common decency, and the inappropriateness of some of the street peoples actions. She gave a good presentation that indicated she understood why the people were at the meeting.

I don’t know the woman that Eric feared for, but I think that it is already to late for her. She is deep into insanity, she made no sense, and showed no indication that she was following the comments. She held an 8” cross in the air the whole time that she was there. She interrupted several speakers with no reason. When she interrupted John Casali for about the third time, he stopped what he was saying and told her, loudly, to “Shut-up or leave” the room applauded loudly. She got up, held her cross high and backed out of the room. That was the very last interruption from anyone.

I seriously question the purpose of these meetings, they only tend to deepen the divide between the homeless and balance of the community. I really don’t think that many people in our community are qualified to say what should happen. Most of these people die before their time. Some from a total loss of contact with reality. When I was growing up here, before Reagan closed the mental hospitals, anyone that couldn’t care for themselves was placed in an institution. If you were found passed out drunk on the street you woke up in a hospital bed in the insane asylum. They gave you one week to dry out, then they released you. After three weeklong trips to the hospital, you got to stay a year. Most people cleaned up their lives pretty good. They didn’t relish the thought of being institutionalized.

Ernie Branscomb said...

It's time to revisit a post that I did in April 2009

California Mental Hospitals


charlie two crows said...

Ernie, let's talk about the old hospital in Ukiah. There was rape and murder. A Steven King Book the place was.
Now its a temple. Maybe this place is just the place the park homeless are looking for.
The temple has collective living, Restrooms,Collective gardening, and spiritual guidance. The temple could take the homeless in as potential new converts.
They would give the homeless the a place of being!
I would rather the homeless that are mentally challenged be come Budist! Than have no help at all! What do you think?

spyrock said...

the first one percenters i knew about were some girls in high school who went all the way. of course, that was back in the early 60's.
the next batch of one percenters were some local bikers that actually had a spread printed about them in a national biker mag back in the early 70's. these guys went all the way too. now you have the corporate criminal one percent. these guys want all the money. that's why you have homeless up in garberville. there is enough food to feed everyone in the world. but the greedy 1% control the media and would rather waste it to raise prices that feed the hungry or homeless. the real hypocracy is that most of these corporate 1 percenters claim to christians. you keep voting for these people. so quit complaining.

Anne on a Mouse said...

You can look at the glass as half full or half-empty. Why not look at this economic depression as a good thing? Money isn't worth anything anymore, so have fun and spend it. Get rid of it because it will be worth less tomorrow. Give twenty bucks to a homeless drunk. Look in his eyes and see him smile. You can find soul in the most unexpected places. Go out to an expensive dinner, give the waitress a hundred dollar tip. Give her two hundred dollars. It doesn't make any difference. It'll make you feel good. Have fun! Those girls and those bikers are right, go all the way! Otherwise why even start.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have Mrs. Flaharty for a grammer school teacher???

Ernie Branscomb said...

Nope, but I knew her well. I went to school with her son John. He was in my class. I did refrigeration work for her husband Mel for years.

Anonymous said...

Flaharty's had a grocery store? Where was it?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Very north end of Garberville on the east side of the highway. Is now the Napa auto parts

Anonymous said...

Where the "Cash Market" was at one time?