Council convenes on Monday for a formal Work Session to hear an update on "Initiatives to reduce homelessness and increase sheltering."
|Front page SF Chronicle today|
Today's story on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle is probably apt.
The City's Staff Report says
To help reduce COVID-19 exposure in shelters and spaces that face constrained capacity, camping is allowed in developed areas of two parks, Wallace Marine and Cascades Gateway. Community partners estimate between 200-300 persons are currently staying at any given time in each park. The City, non-profit agencies, and volunteers have worked together to remove garbage, address criminal activity, and establish small, managed alternatives to sheltering in parks. Still, as City parks are not intended for human habitation and camping, the City will need to carefully conclude our Park Camping program.
A "careful" conclusion to the programs and camps, formal and informal, should take care with the rhetoric of cleaning, clean-up, dirt, disorder and such. People may leave copious trash, and be profoundly ill or upset, sometimes even criminal or evil, but they are not themselves dirt to be cleaned up or vermin.
|NY Times today|
So much of the vilification of unsheltered people and other poor is because they remind us of the precariousness of our own existence, the role of luck in the wheel of fortune, and our own ultimate end. In another more universal sense, we are all just dirt.
From the NY Times:
Suffering and death are facts of life; focusing only on the “bright and shiny” is superficial and inauthentic. “We try to suppress the thought of death, or escape it, or run away from it because we think that’s where we’ll find happiness,” she said. “But it’s actually in facing the darkest realities of life that we find light in them.”
The practice of regular meditation on death is a venerable one. Saint Benedict instructed his monks in the sixth century to “keep death daily before your eyes,” for example. For Christians like Sister Aletheia, it is inextricable from the promise of a better life after death. But the practice is not uniquely Christian. Mindfulness of death is a tradition within Buddhism, and Socrates and Seneca were among the early thinkers who recommended “practicing” death as a way to cultivate meaning and focus. Skeletons, clocks and decaying food are recurring motifs in art history.
Previously on the rhetoric and symbolism we use in talking about "cleaning":
- "Reactionary Politics in the April Clean-Up of 1921"
- Hazmat suits in January 2020
- On cleaning under bridges in November 2019 and again
CANDO may have more detailed notes on contemporary policy, and this post may be updated with comment on that.