Please welcome our newest guest contributor, "hardybear" from Free Range Talk freerangetalk.com. She was kind enough to offer to swoop in to help us out while we get our sea legs back following Paddy's passing. She's a sweetheart, a lifesaver, and a terrific journalist. Thank you from all of us, Ms. Bear!
Here's her first post, on homelessness:
Does the GOP even bother to include the modern American homeless population in their pithy 47% calculation?
It would seem that the homeless in one of Governor Nikki Haley's more prominent South Carolina cities of distinction -- her capital, in fact -- nearly had the long term hospitable choices of being detained then bussed far out of sight (and, ideally, pocketbook) or being forcibly herded into proposed 'emergency' shelters by hosts with guns. The third option was arrest.
The Columbia City Council unanimously approved the evacuation, er, Emergency Homeless Response measure on August 13, 2013. Within hours, police officers realized that they were to be charged with the duty of regularly chauffeuring its area's approximately 1,500 homeless belles, gents and children into real or implied lockdown.
You see, they threaten the fledging shoots of an economic upturn for the fortunate. The Have Nots are standing in the way of post-recession profit and some City Council leaders decided that the most disenfranchised of all should be 'held accountable'.
Along with many American cities damaged by the Bushee economy, Columbia rightfully seeks to revitalize its core. In this case, 181 prime acres of Capitol City land formerly occupied by the state mental hospital near their historic center. It may not have the number of zero's attached to say, a Hoboken, New Jersey development project ... but the City Council believes their Bull Street Development will lay golden eggs aplenty for the Makers if handled properly.
Which includes evicting the growing homeless population of Takers from their coveted Downtown. And keeping them out ... the Council ideally wanted armed police on guard to keep it clear of the unwashed/unwanted. There are even grandiose hopes for a multi-million sports $tadium. Revenue and dignified rebel yells.
Prudently, wiser minds and a public outcry prevailed. The Council's Draconian accommodation measures were rejected, reversed and evinced proper amounts of disgust by September 3rd. ||Free Times original story || A Richland county council member was quoted as saying they had barely avoided "concentration camps".
Now how might enough of these neatening 'shelters' for Columbia, S.C. have magically appeared, given both the city and state's much-touted dedication to fiscal responsibility? Never fear, the conservative members of the City Council proposed the perfect storm of Republican solutions: appropriate these homeless slackers' collective wealth, in the form of food assistance monies, disability benefits or any other government handouts the recipients might be mishandling.
Presumably they'd each be handed Seinfeldean Puffy Shirts in exchange.
Columbia Councilman Cameron Runyan*, the savant co-creator and champion of the homeless relocation program called the Emergency Homeless Response" [ PDF here: ] would know well the plight of the homeless in the historic downtown - he and his family proudly attend the First Presbyterian Church -- a stroll from the Bull Street development and re-gentrification project. Runyan said the city must maintain “a healthy tension” between caring for the homeless and holding them accountable.
According to The Free Times, Runyan has made this issue a personal crusade. || Story here || Not unsympathetic, he merely believes in the Lipton Brigade slash Randian boot-strap model of upward mobility, saying "We have to understand that the only cure for poverty is commerce. That is the only true response to poverty, to get people out of poverty. So if poverty is left unchecked, it will destroy commerce. So we've got to protect commerce to have a response to poverty."
Corporations may now be people, but in conservative southern climes commerce is clearly valued over y'all.
Southern-fried irony: Columbia threw itself a splashy 50th year celebration of their importance to the Civil Rights movement.