Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Homeless? Not MY Problem!!

Seriously, why are West Knoxvillians being complete and total d-bags?

Ok so maybe not all of them wanted to keep the homeless, well, homeless. But enough of them did that the County Commission voted overwhelmingly to make sure that the homeless were not exposed to the horrors of suburban life. (Again why do we have dual government?)

It infuriates me to no end to know that two hundred people turned out at a meeting the other evening to talk about how the homeless didn't need to live at Lovell Rd. and Pellissippi, while these are probably the same people who donate to the Love Kitchen and KARM. Stop living your dual lives of not having to see anything unpleasant while pretending to care about the "sufferings of others"!

Heaven knows you wouldn't want you 8th grader to know that there are people who are trying to get their lives together living near them. No sir, lets build them a nice complex off Magnolia Ave. where people like THEM should live.

My favorite question from the forum the other night, "Don't we have any say where these people live?" And the response, "You don't have any say in where they live just a you don't have any say where African-Americans live."

It's time for a reality check for our suburbanite citizens. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too. You don't get to live 15 minutes from downtown, use city services and enjoy the benefits, without having to do you part in a joint effort to solve real problems (i.e. The Ten Year Plan).

No, the homeless aren't pretty, but we're not talking about putting the pan-handlers in Turkey Creek (Though they would do alot better) we're talking about housing for people who are taking steps to improve their situation in life. To no longer rely on handouts and to become "productive" citizens and maximize the abilities and talents that they have.

Time for some shame and guilt. I'm sick of hearing people I work with out west talk about how they don't like downtown because of the homeless people. Well guess what, here is an attempt to solve one of your complaints and if you would simply accept a mild amount of unpleasantness the 2 times a week you drive by some new apartments or see a KAT bus, it might not be as big a problem as it once was. I'm sure there would be some landscaping so maybe you wouldn't even have to see the buildings.

Or you can continue to be self-righteous navel gazers who think that if you build a big enough gate around your subdivision it will all be ok.

PS - Don't use the liquor store argument- it's not like alcoholics wouldn't just ride the bus to buy a drink anyways. It's just a cop out and again these people are trying to clean up their lives.


The liquor store argument was simply that there was a liquor store withing 2 minutes of the proposed location, which naturally made that site a "terrible" choice.


ck said...

Preach it, Pol.

gexx said...

Wait, the 'Liquor Store argument'? What is this?

Good article.

Unknown said...

Approximately one fifth of homeless men are also military veterans. I suppose yellow ribbons are just easier.

The Modern Gal said...

Don't forget so many of the homeless also must deal with mental illness with no one to care for them. Once upon a time the government housed them at places like Lakeshore. Now they're on the streets.

I'm really disappointed in the commission and everyone who pleaded against the housing.

Athomp said...

West Knoxville has been running politics thanks to their contribution to capitalism for many, many years. Changing that will require Downtown and other areas to put a real dent in their game.

I'm all for doing that.

hovis said...

I happen to live in West Knox at the moment, but this is pure poetry. Agreed on all points.

ck said...

"I want to show you the way you did it this time isn't going to work." -Commissioner "Lumpy" Lambert (i.e. don't put anything associated with the Ten Year Plan west of Bearden).

PLEASE go to a single city/county government and get rid of these yahoos!

Wax S. said...

Huzzah, Pol. Seriously disappointed in this decision by the CC. Missed an opportunity to make that area something more than flaccid plastic cutouts.

Anonymous said...

The reason you see all of the problems you mentioned is because of your stance. Knoxville is Knoxville, get off of your Downtown vs. West platform. Until everyone in Downtown stops hating on West Knox and everyone in West Knox stops hating on Downtown then this city isn't going anywhere. We are all Knoxville!

Now that I've said my piece let me say that this plan was rushed. John Lawler and his crew threw it up and tried to rush it so that it would pass because he knew good and well that the people would go against him. If he and his team can show factual data that a shelter is needed in West Knoxville more people would be open to discussion.

The thing is, he can't, nor can any of the other 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness members because they're living a conflict of interest everyday. Look at that board: the same people that want to end homeless get their paychecks by serving the homeless. Would you want to cut our your swank job or pop up more social services so you can continue to bankroll?

Susanne said...

Let me point out that part of the process of becoming "one Knoxville" not "downtown vs. west" is to EQUALLY and incrementally distribute the responsibility of housing and rehabilitating the homeless. This plan was a step in the right direction. I agree that the plan seemed rushed, but I think that defensive approach was used because west Knoxville refuses to even entertain the idea of the 10 Year Plan in their area. The Plan is not about establishing facilities like KARM (at Broadway & Magnolia) everywhere around town. It IS about people assimilating into Knoxville communities. People need to stop looking at this situation in such black and white terms and start listening and understanding the details of the Plan. All this to say, GREAT POST POL!

Tere said...

I totally agree with your concerns about this plan and the outcome of this vote but please, please, please stop painting all of us West Knoxvillians with so broad a brush. There are narrow minded or scared people all over Knoxville. My son lived downtown on Central for 2 years and there wasn't a time that I was there that I wasn't approached by a homeless person. My son knew them all by name. The problem of homelessness does not have one face or one situation. We need education and understanding for the homeless population but just because I live in West Knoxville doesn't mean I don't understand that.

stan said...

good rant.

homelessness isn't going away, but the sooner we can acknowledge that if we really want to help people it will require the efforts of everyone, the better.

there will always be problems in any kind of comprehensive plan, and it is good to discuss them. but taking a step forward is very important.

thanks for the update on knox politics

Anonymous said...

Just because a legally elected representative body makes a nearly unanimous vote against a cause you believe in is hardly justification for changing the style of government. This isn't Central America where the the results can be changed to serve the minority.
Maybe the folks in West Knox come off as being snobby or uncaring, but to generalize them all is just as unfair as when they categorize urban dwellers as being, forgive me, ‘downtown hipster douches’.

Sure West Knox needs to share the burden of the complex homeless problem, no objections there. But come on, it’s not wrong to ask questions of a hasty project with the usual suspects like Jon Lawler and Ginny Weatherstone who made a tidy sum ‘tending’ to this problem. Follow the money folks. Haven’t we seen enough shadiness around here to take a breath and go slow for once?

As far as your desire for unified government, what would that accomplish? Are folks in Belle Meade in Nashville more apt to allow the homeless in their midst because they have a metro government? Hell no. Their local reps would still echo their constituents.
Surely your many, many, many years of experience you know by now that under a metro government(which has been defeated soundly each time in Knox Co) that the City government folds into the county. You wouldn’t be taking power from Lumpy, you’d be handing it to him on a silver platter. It doesn’t matter what style of government you have if the folks elected to it are of questionable character. With unified government you would be getting rid of the one government that works(city), firing their merit-based competent workers and giving all the reins to the county government that you profess to loathe.

In fact, if you were to pick up a copy of The Tennessean today, you would see in Metro-Davidson a parks director resigning due to budget overruns and coverup. Pick up yesterday’s edition and you will see a recall election because a largely absent councilwoman spent her business and time out of state, ignoring her district. Look in their archives from month ago and you will have P-card abuses in the metro schools. Six months-a year ago that same school system was in trouble with the state because of bad administration that has since been ousted. Sound familiar? These things happen not because of one government or two governments, they happen when the voters go to sleep.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think that maybe there are too many homeless social services in Knoxville? Does anyone think that our large offering of homeless services is what keeps our homeless population totals on the rise? What if we did away with all of the services? What would happen?

Nobody has answered my question from earlier: Look at the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness board: the same people that want to end homeless get their paychecks by serving the homeless. Would you want to cut out your job or pop up more social services so you can continue to bankroll?

carman said...

Word, Pol.

@anonymous, If you cut social services to the homeless, you most likely end up with a bunch of desperate, angry homeless people. Doesn't sound like my idea of a good time. Further, I'd be willing to bet that most people that dedicate their lives to serving the homeless (paid or not) would gladly give up those paychecks in order to see the end of homelessness. Do you really think that they couldn't make more money doing something else?

Andrea said...

People don't get involved in non-profit organizations for the money. I can tell you that first hand, being a person who typically works in non-profits.

Holly said...

You left out quite a bit of info there. First, they lied to the people out West. Then they tried to fast track it. Let's build a place for the mentally ill drug addicted next to your kids and see how noble you are then. The reason it was voted down was the deception of the Ten Year Plan gang.

So why your deception? Try a little honesty.

ck said...

The Pol linked to the KNS article which spelled all that out. The info was a click away. He was so deceptive to hide it in a hyperlink!

Here's another to chew on:

And listen- Downtown (as well as Mechanicsville and Old North) kids are already close to a lot of the mentally ill/ drug addicted homeless- and they're doing great and growing up have a broader worldview. But I guess nothing busts the consumerist WASP bubble like a stinky schizophrenic black man. I can see your point- keep that bubble intact!

But to be fair- if West Knox is ready to do their part, and this site was so god-awful, where would be a good place for homeless housing out west?

Holly said...

A hyperlink to what? The KNS didn't report the whole story. They left out the most important parts.

Better reporting was here:


Jon Lawler and Ginny Weatherstone like to say they are non-profits or not for profits. But you don't see them disclosing their salaries and bonuses do you?

David Arning said when asked who would own the building, “I’m not going to apologize for making money”. That is the way people who work for non-profits talk? But you couldn't read that in the KNS because it wasn't printed there.

If you had attended either meeting you would be much more informed. Why you all would parrot the KNS when you didn't attend the meetings shows your minds are already made up. The truth is this was ridiculously expensive and only served 23 people. Only idiots would put recovering drug addicts and alcoholics next to a liquor store and a day care. But you seem to think it is a fine idea.

Stick your head in the sand if you want. This is a racket. It is about making money.

Want to bet that the people who run these homeless organizations make a pretty nice living?

ck said...

Holly, you didn't answer my last question... Where do you think it should go?

As to the red herring- if greedy Jon Lawler wanted to quietly make money off us poor taxpayers, he'd have proposed a site in East Knoxville. Would there have been as much to-do about money if the location was near Magnolia Ave.? And believe me, there are easier ways to make more money with less headaches than to helm a daunting pulbic project.

The Ten-Year Plan has been around for four years, but the first time I hear all these shrill objections is when the Farragut area is affected by their plans. Coincidence? Hmmm? The real issue isn't the Plan, the directors, or the money- it's location location location.

For my money, I think Campbell Station Road would be a lovely place for homeless housing.

Anonymous said...

holly, could it possibly be time to get your own head out of the sand? homeless people are people, too. where did we lose sight of this? they are people who are not going to ravage daycare centers in alcoholic rages. they are people who have been marginalized by society for so long that a plan such as this has become necessary. if the people that voted against this can't see that what homeless people need is supported and optimistic assimilation into non-homeless society, it's just as well they don't build the housing near you. you certainly won't be doing them any favors. not that you seem to take great interest in their greater good.

and why do the salaries of these organizers trouble you so much? most people that work in this kind of job do NOT earn a pretty penny. what IS true, is that people that do jobs like this earn every penny they make, working longer and harder for nobler causes than most. anyone who's ever worked or volunteered with this kind of project knows that full well. what they also know is what i said to start with: homeless people are people, too, and they deserve a helping, supportive hand.

you can build "a place for the mentally ill drug addicted" near my kids, and you're right, i won't be noble. i'll be humbled by the fact that i am no better than they.

holly, you reflect your city poorly. shame on you.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember a time that "only idiots" would let African Americans in the schools with whites. And still it seems that "only idiots" would allow gays to share the same civil rights as the rest of the country. And in my mind, homelessness is as much a civil rights issue as anything.

Liberalism has destroyed the country said...

Hey Anonymous, post your address so we can put all the government dependent moochers and the perverted queers in your neighborhood. Thanks for volunteering. You may want to buy more insurance, a gun and line up a good Psychiatrist for yourself and your kids after the obvious happens. The government can't give anyone anything until after it forcefully takes it from someone who has EARNED it. How is it that the Mexicans can come here, work and provide for their families and the Moochers sit on their ass expecting someone else to work so they can take a portion of their check. There should be no welfare of any kind period. We should only take care of the disabled. Immigration problem fixed. Homelessness fixed. Family values greatly improved. Democrat party gone. Prosperity, self reliance and capitalism back on track.

Holly said...

ck, the TYP has spent 13 million dollars to help 105 people at two locations. Minvilla and Flenniken. Both in the City where they could not be stopped. Does that sound like good management to you? A good deal?

Did you watch the meetings for Minvilla and Flenniken? There were no details. Just a bunch of fluff. But that is all you need in City Council.

Sounds like all you want isto punish people in the country. A little red state rage?

For 13 million dollars they could have helped twice the number of people. Since they didn't, are you sure it is about caring? Or money?

Ian said...

It seems to be universally taken as fact that downtown is crawling with homeless and you can't set foot down here without getting panhandled/harassed/etc. every thirty seconds.

I live & work (and eat & drink & hang out & everything else) downtown. There are maybe fifteen hours a week I spend outside the CBID. I live two blocks from the downtown jail. And I rarely get panhandled - like maybe twice a month, if that. Either I have some magical Cain-like invisible imprint from God, or it's just not nearly as big a problem as everyone seems to contend that it is.