Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Art Bruzzone: "I have little time to read blogs..."

Art:
 
Little time to read blogs or much of anything else, evidently. You make assertions but furnish no evidence to back them up. Why don't you send your HUD comments to me, too? The "easy cases"? Yes, I've seen the streets, and they actually look better than they have in years. I was working at a club near Union Square during the pre-Newsom years, and it was pretty awful then. You keep calling me a Newsom guy, but that isn't so, except for the homeless issue. Again, the whole point of Care Not Cash was, as a first step, to stop enabling people to stay on the streets via General Assistance. Newsom was the first city politician to understand that and propose to do something about it.
 
Regards,
Rob Anderson
 
Art Bruzzone wrote:
R:

Have little time to read blogs. You confused it once again. I interviewed the Mayors Homeless Director twice. ON air and in a phone conversation. The new housing is primarily for the General Assistance scrubbers. Lite supportive. Only about 100 truly supportive units have been built. And yes, I read the 10 year plan. You read it. I talked to Angela about it. THERE IS NO MONEY TO CARRY OUT THE RECOMMENDATIONS! It says so right in the report. I sent my comments to HUD in a lengthy report; and I am consulted on progress from time to time. All we're doing is handling the easy cases; the psychotics, addicts and assholes from Quentin are on the streets. Have you seen the streets lately? You have a independent stance at tiem[sic]. But you see if[sic]half full, I see it as almost empty. You are still a Newsom apologist; cult worship does that to the followers.

B
From: Rob
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 12:22 PM
To: Arthur Bruzzone
Subject: The Current New Yorker
 
Art:


* "The General Assistance 'homeless' was an artificial population created by San Francisco."
 
Yes, of course. The whole point of Care Not Cash was to stop giving General Assistance to homeless people.
 
* "Reread the New Yorker article. The problem are[sic] the chronic homeless."
 
Yes, I read the article more carefully than you, evidently. I then wrote a blog item on it, which you also didn't read carefully. Both the New Yorker article and my blog item focus on the chronic homeless.
 
* "The Mayor has no answer for it, no money for it, has no moral or political courage for it."
 
If you're going to write an article on this subject, Art, you better do some homework. Have you read the Ten Year Plan? The whole point of that document is to shift the city away from the Continuum of Care approach to focusing on getting 3000 of the hardcore homeless in SF off the streets. That process is well under way, with the city creating housing for more than 1000 of these folks since the middle of 2004, when Care Not Cash went into effect. Yes, there is apparently a problem with providing rooms for both those on the list for months and those cycling through Project Connect. Why is this a fatal flaw in SF's approach? Of course there's not enough money to provide a room for everyone who needs one. So What? You may have heard about the city's financial deficit over the past several years. Mayor Newsom was in fact the only city politician who was willing to step up and seriously tackle the homeless issue in SF, and he deserves credit for that. Progressives were completely AWOL on the issue. Nor do I recall any clarion calls from the Republican Party before Care Not Cash. In fact, I was one of the few---including Clint Reilly---who urged the city to launch a serious attempt to deal with homelessness before the advent of Gavin Newsom and Care Not Cash.
 
Regards,
Rob Anderson
 
Art Bruzzone wrote:

Rob, You're clouded by your 'admiration' for MGN[Mayor Gavin Newsom]. The General Assistance "homeless" was an artificial population created by San Francisco.If Denver had offered $360 they would have had an artificial secondary group of homeless (many we discover were neither homeless nor cared about housing; per giveaway a la '60's programs.) Reread the New Yorker article. The problem are[sic] the chronic homeless. The Mayor has no answer for it, no money for it, has no moral or political courage for it. Because, his administration is built on what is media friendly. Handling the General Recipients and doing "live aid" one day feel good "Project Connect" did well in the media. In fact, I know for certain that many who showed up for those Project Connect days took rooms from people who had been waiting months for rooms. Such is the world and style of liberalism. Feel good, hallow, "compassion". Wake up Rob. Since the eighties we've spent $4 billion dollars in San Francisco ($250 million x 20 years). And we haven't even beguns[sic] to address the issue described in the article. No it is you who has set the bar so low you accept the status quo.
 
Bruzzone
From: Rob
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 10:32 AM
To: Arthur Bruzzone
Subject: The Current New Yorker
 
Arthur:

Your position is puzzling. Before Newsom and Care Not Cash, the city was indeed giving homeless people General Assistance. One of the main points of Care Not Cash was to stop that practice, which it did. My understanding is that the people you refer to who refused to play by the new rules simply vanished from the General Assistance roles, which suggests that they were simply scammers, not those who were serious about getting housing. Yes, of course, there isn't enough money to do a thorough job of it; everyone recognizes that. But Newsom has made a good start, putting more than a thousand formerly homeless into housing and, just as important, putting a thousand more on the bus out of town via the Homeward Bound program. That's 2000 fewer homeless people on the streets in less than two years, a pretty good start by any measure. You seem to be setting the bar way too high. We should be comparing Newsom's approach to that of his predecessors, a comparison that works in his favor, to put it mildly. Instead of enabling the homeless to remain homeless, Newsom has turned city policy around and has made getting them off the street the priority. That's what Mangano's approach is all about. You also seem to be questioning the motives of Newsom, Alioto, and Mangano, which I think is a questionable approach, since, if nothing else, they are surely sincere. I've been out of town and missed the Examiner article you refer to. Do you have a date/citation on that? I'd like to look it up.
 
Regards,
Rob Anderson
 
Arthur wrote:

Rob, Thanks for the reference. Yes, my friend Barbara Meskunas sent me the link. You and I have interpreted the article quite differently as it pertains to the Mayor, Alioto, and Mangano. Care Not Cash was nothing more than a remedy for an aberration. San Francisco is not dealing with the chronic homeless. Let me explain. This city's government in one of the great acts of municipal stupidity offered anyone living on the streets $360 per month, no questions asked. You know about the Bart Express. You know about "Mothers Day" -- the day the "recipients" received their handout. Liquor stores boomed on that day. The Police reported more drunkenness, stoned, drugged out street people. The program was absurd. Now, Care Not Cash was nothing more than to adjust that misguided program. You may have read in the Examiner that over 600 general assistance recipients refused housing! They don't want the $60 that now replaces the $360. That leaves the chronically homeless. These are psychotics, serious drug and alcohol abusers, mind-blown Veterans, SDI recipients. To provide 24/7 "supportive Housing" requires money. The article estimates about $25,000 annually. That doesn't include the cost of acquiring and refitting buildings to accommodate the homeless and staff. Mangano knows that. He knows the Federal government provides only a fraction of what it would take. The Mayor knows it and Angela knows it. Mangano is a cheerleader. But Rob here is the real kicker. I have asked the Mayor's head of homelessness programs this simple question: Let's say you found the money. And you built facilities for the 3,000 chronic homeless, you had the $75,000,000 ($25,000 x 3000) annual budget, would you then finally enforce the law. No more sleeping in doorways, parks, streets. No more urination, and defecating, no more blatant drug use on the streets. He said, on my TV program, that he couldn't say, that he hadn't thought that far ahead. So we have over 650 general assistance recipients refusing housing, telling the city to keep their money, they will remain in the streets. Do you think the chronic homeless, who are not in contact with reality, will willingly enter supportive housing? Here is what is necessary: The Mayor goes to the voters and business community. He makes a Social Contract. He says, give me the money to do what we must do, and I promise you, on the day the last unit is completed, I will instruct the police, the district attorney, and my departments to put the chronic homeless into supportive housing. From that day forward, For the Sake of the Chronic Homeless, because they can't care for themselves, we will not accept living on the streets as acceptable response to their woes. That would take courage from the Mayor. But he has shown that his entire administration is one media event. He can't run a government. He lacks the courage and tenacity of the leaders in Denver (as described in the article). That's my view. And I will be writing an article for the Chron or Examiner with my proposal. Thank you again for your concern. I appreciate your deliberateness and dedication to making your District a better place. I also appreciate that you despise hypocrisy as much as I do. That is why I believe that the Mayor, Alioto and Mangano deserve nothing but rebuke.

ART
 
From: Rob
Sent: Sunday, February 12, 2006 5:58 PM
To: Arthur Bruzzone
Subject: The Current New Yorker
 
Art: Hope you have seen the current New Yorker (Feb. 13/20). It has an excellent piece by Malcolm Gladwell that helps explain the Newsom/Alioto approach to homelessness. I did a blog item on it.
 
Regards,
Rob Anderson

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