September 5, 2013

The good liberals of Madison struggling with the "good" homeless and the "bad" homeless.

On Tuesday, the city council anguished over one block of our Capitol Square:
"(P)eople are scared to death to go there," said Maria Milsted, who runs a property management company with her husband at 106 W. Mifflin St. "We are frightened to go into our own place of work."

In her speech, Milsted distinguished between the "good homeless," — those who are seeking jobs and a place to live — and "the takers" who she believes are seeking handouts and have no intention of behaving civilly....
The mayor, Paul Soglin, the longtime Madison lefty and former UW student radical blamed the world beyond Madison for dumping its undesirables here:
"Statements that some of us have made about Madison being a drop-off point (of homeless people) for other units of government is now getting fairly well-documented," Soglin said.

He also alleged that other cities are driving homeless people into the city of Madison, and vowed that Madison would "drive them right back!"
So xenophobic. Whatever happened to empathy and compassion? We're ready now to see the downtrodden as "takers" and reprobates... when they congregate in a prime residential area and freak out the real estate folk?

You know, one of the nicest condo buildings I've ever seen is on that block. It's terrible if the bad homeless people are hurting real estate values. But if you're not freaked out by a few street people, it might be a good time to put in an offer on one of the places currently on the market. Like that 2-bedroom penthouse, priced at $2,200,000, now down to $1,995,000.

39 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Winter will soon sort things out.

I think there is a class of Liberals who want the Govt to take care of the homeless so they themselves needn't be bothered, but they can nevertheless claim some kind of moral high ground by advocating for Govt assistance for them.

A better tack is to actually interact with the homeless, and aid them in their search for housing and employment -- maybe even employing them! My hat is off to people who do that.

I also recognize that some homeless are trapped in a life of drugs and booze and they aren't getting out.

Gahrie said...

So how many people do you and Meade allow to sleep in your yard everynight?

Amy said...

Back in the beginning of the evolution of social work as a profession, there was the concept of the 'worthy' and 'unworthy' poor, based on criteria described in the article. The worthy poor were entitled to help, to 'get on their feet,' while the unworthy poor were not. And the agency would evaluate and determine who fit into which category. Over the years, with the advent of the victimhood mentality and the PC mindset, this concept became EXTREMELY out of style, and within the social work grad school world was considered judgmental and very negative, not to be alluded to at all.
But now, it seems like maybe the theory isn't quite as easy to accept, when it becomes reality, and people are hanging around your doorways. Interesting.
What is old has become new again?

SteveR said...

This is the story in many places for the same basic reasons. The easiest thing to do to feel good about these people is let them "exist" in town. Nothing is solved and there are business and property owners impacted. No sympathy from me.

BarrySanders20 said...

"But if you're not freaked out by a few street people..."

Try working that in when you have children. Walking past the mentally ill is fine for adults, but some of us have other concerns.

Just one reason of many why families move to suburbs when the kids reach a certain age.

Carol said...

Madison must have a lot of Services, like my town. Services draw more homeless from around the region, because social workers encourage their clients to move on and get a fresh start where there are services. In influx of homeless evokes vows to End Homelessness, by offering more services. You see how that works.

I don't see how someone can hope to End Homelessness in one town, except by cutting services.

TMink said...

Yeah, if the poor are all the innocent victims of horrible capitalist greed then they are all "good" homeless.

If you cut down the freebies, the "bad" homeless will go somewhere else while the "good" homeless have nowhere else to go.

Trey

MrCharlie2 said...

"Forward Realty Group", million dollar condos with a view of Wisconsin capitol

campy said...

This kind of story can only be printed when a democrat is president.

John Lynch said...

Don't idealize homeless people.

I've worked too many minimum wage jobs to be awed by poverty.

Ann Althouse said...

""But if you're not freaked out by a few street people..." Try working that in when you have children. Walking past the mentally ill is fine for adults, but some of us have other concerns."

I'm just saying it's a good buyer's market today, with the spotlight on the crime problem. Get a good price now.

The city is on this issue, coddling the rich, so it will get better, prices will pop back up, and when the kids pop out, you can sell high.

Win!

AJ Lynch said...

Sounds like a potential business opportunity- taking bids for the highest offer and in return I agree to round up the homeless and transport them to another locale. Win Win!

BarrySanders20 said...

Coddling the rich is amusing when it's Madison doing it. The left in principle is pro-homeless rights, but if it affects their wealthy friends, then by golly, SOMETHING needs to be done. It's a dilemma for sure.

Fortunately for the homeless, the calculus is different than the dilemma facing Obama:

Obama says SOMETHING must be done about Assad's use of chemical weapons.

Bombing is something.

Ergo, let's bomb.

Soglin does not have access to bombs anymore, so the homeless are probably safe.

Side note: the BBC coverage of Syria is funny when they add the "-er" suffix when pronouncing Obama's name with all their wonderful Britishness. It comes out as "O-Bomber."

David said...

Likewise there are good black people and bad black people. The bad ones are social and political conservatives who vote Republican. Many black people who vote Democratic are social and political conservatives on many issues, but it's ok because they vote Democrat.

Bad gays are right wing gays. How can they possibly. . . ?

Defining Bad Jews is more complicated, but hawkish pro Israel Jews tend to badness.

Bad Muslims? Yeah, sure there are some but let's not go there, ok?

And so it goes.

Remember, liberalism is largely a fashion statement.

LordSomber said...

I think if the University offered Homeless Studies the issue would be better understood.

Tibore said...

""Statements that some of us have made about Madison being a drop-off point (of homeless people) for other units of government is now getting fairly well-documented," Soglin said."

HA! I love the weasel wording. Note that he's not saying that "other units of government" dumping homeless on Madison is what's being documented, it's the statements his administration have made about it that is. So he gets to make a charge, not provide any supporting evidence, and still make it look like it's a proven issue.

That's just plain deceptive.

Let's see if the local news orgs have any backbone and challenge him to produce documentation on the claim itself, and not his statements on it.

Anthony said...

Some significant number of street people are mentally ill and intermittently violent. Several of my friends were assaulted (and injured) by homeless people at People's Park in Berkeley when I was at school there.

Those people may be *more* deserving of community assistance than the gutter punks and the panhandlers who've found that begging pays better and has better work hours than McDonald's, but the help that needs to happen involves getting the intermittently violent ones off the street. Doesn't matter if it's million dollar condos or fifty-thousand dollar houses there; they're dangerous.

Tibore said...

"In her speech, Milsted distinguished between the "good homeless," — those who are seeking jobs and a place to live — and "the takers" who she believes are seeking handouts and have no intention of behaving civilly...."

Unfortunately, the criteria she presents betrays a naievity to her mental makeup. The reality is that there are many on the street who would be more than willing to work but still behave in a painfully uncivil and threatening manner. Her criteria would accidentally lump them into the "good" category, whereas they'd be real, honest threats to safety. And there are many who don't seek work and assistance for a variety of reasons - mental illness, etc. - but yet who are the epitome of people who need help the most from agencies. And tons of distinctions in-between.

While the conventional wisdom states that people must judge others on how they are "inside" i.e. what their intents and motives are, the practical, utilitarian truth is that in cities, you must categorize people on how they act, and what they actually do. I wouldn't categorize anyone as "good homeless" if they demonstrate a willingness to result to physical intimidation or even outright battery. And it doesn't even matter if they refuse handouts and avoid being "takers". They're still the ones causing you to need law enforcement patrols.

mesquito said...

The good homeless are the ones shown on teevee to berate Republicans during their periods of ascendency.

The bad homeless are Theron's who piss on your doorstep.

Get it?

Stoutcat said...

Pretty much the final word on the undeserving poor, from Alfred Doolittle.

gspencer said...

In her speech, Milsted distinguished between the "good homeless," — those who are seeking jobs and a place to live — and "the takers" who she believes are seeking handouts and have no intention of behaving civilly....

*****

Sounds a little "judgmental," n'est pas?

If stated by a liberal, it's discernment.

If stated by someone with common sense, it's straight up hate speech, followed by the usual descriptors of racist, homophobic, sexist, et alia.

The Elder said...

"Specifically, he pointed out, Madison has more homeless sex offenders than any other city in the state, including Milwaukee."

Oh my! Including MILWAUKEE!!!

Whatever happened to the Mayor's cheerleader attitude of "We're number one!!!"

Big Mike said...

So Madison hard-core libs and former student radicals are going to come to grips with the real world and maybe grow up?

Na-a-a-ah!!! Not Happening!

Uncle Pavian said...

The government of Australia decided to deal with its refugee/illegal immigrant/international equivalent of dumping undesirables by picking them up and moving them to Papua New Guinea. It sounds like the idea was to send them to an uninhabited tropical island, but the fact is that cannibalism is still a regular occurrence in those parts, and well, you can imagine how that's going to turn out.
I don't know where the nearest cannibals are to Madison, but if Mr. Soglin wants to "drive them right back", he's going to have to do a lot of driving before he arrives at a final solution.

Rusty said...

I'm just saying it's a good buyer's market today, with the spotlight on the crime problem. Get a good price now.

If you can get a few more unworthy homeless there. Maybe a mugging or two, I bet you can get that sucker for just a shade north of 1,750,000

FleetUSA said...

AA. Invest some Amazon glitter and move to the Penthouse!

jr565 said...

The mayor, Paul Soglin, the longtime Madison lefty and former UW student radical blamed the world beyond Madison for dumping its undesirables here:
"Statements that some of us have made about Madison being a drop-off point (of homeless people) for other units of government is now getting fairly well-documented," Soglin said.

He also alleged that other cities are driving homeless people into the city of Madison, and vowed that Madison would "drive them right back!"


that's illegal immigration in a nutshell. And yet these same lefties arguing about other places dumping their homeless people into the state will argue that if you are opposed to allowing 14 million illegal, unskilled workers amnesty, then of course you hate Hispanics and are racist and hate the poor and are not compassionate.

What's soglin going to do, deport the homeless?

Jonathan Silber said...

Back in the beginning of the evolution of social work as a profession, there was the concept of the 'worthy' and 'unworthy' poor..

And in Pygmalion dustman Alfred P. Doolittle speaks of the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor.

jr565 said...

"You know, one of the nicest condo buildings I've ever seen is on that block. It's terrible if the bad homeless people are hurting real estate values. But if you're not freaked out by a few street people, it might be a good time to put in an offer on one of the places currently on the market. Like that 2-bedroom penthouse, priced at $2,200,000, now down to $1,995,000."

you know, if you were to buy that same condo in Detroit you could probably get it for 100000 dollars.
So, maybe all the homeless should be moved to Detroit, where they could get cheap housing.

Or, maybe that condo, should be converted to housing for the homeless and they should be given free room and board. And if it drops housing values in your neighborhood, or leads to higher crime rates where you live, well that is the cost of compassion and you should pay it gladly for the greater good.

In fact, why is a condo still so high in Wisconsin? If we still have million dollar homes, then something is wrong in this country. The wealth gap is still too high. It will not be a fair society till all the streets are littered with the homeless.

Jonathan Silber said...

Walking past the mentally ill is fine for adults...

Why is it fine for adults?--the so-called homeless--most of them more accurately identified as bums and vagrants--usually look like hell and stink to high heaven. In many instances they've assaulted others, unprovoked, and even killed them. By their mere presence they degrade the quality of life in a community.

I'm not "freaked out" by these "street people" but no one need feel guilty or apologize for wishing to be rid of them and acting on that wish.

Smilin' Jack said...

"The good liberals of Madison struggling with the "good" homeless and the "bad" homeless."

You know, the cool thing about being homeless is that you can do it anywhere. Why would you do it in a place that's frozen solid nine months of the year?

richard mcenroe said...

Why would I want to spend seven figures on a two-bedroom penthouse overlooking a buncha Wisconsin hippies when I just bought 10 acres, a house, barn and pool for $250k?

Blue@9 said...

Well sheesh, what do you expect when you make your community attractive to "bad" homeless people? There's a reason cities like San Francisco are flooded with homeless, and it has little to do with people being shipped in and dropped off. Homeless people aren't dumb when it comes to survival, and they're more mobile than you might think. They aggregate in communities that tolerate them and offer good benefits. No moral judgments here, just the facts.

cubanbob said...

Public housing units, section eight housing units, homeless shelters and the homeless should all be moved to the bluest of zip codes. The bluest of the blue get to feel morally superior and the rest of us have less crime and dysfunction to deal with. A win-win proposal.

Big Mike said...

To my mind the recognition that there are "good" homeless and "bad" homeless is a step in the right direction, in the sense that at least we now have recognition by at least one liberal that "the homeless" are not a homogeneous group of people.

There really are homeless people who have been hit by serious adversity and with a hand-out or two can get back on their feet. Even here there are subgroups, including homeless adults, homeless adults with kids, and street kids who are runaways. And subgroups within subgroups.

And then there are people who used to be locked up in mental hospitals for their own good. Back in the 1980's "deinstitutionalization" was the liberal fad du jour, which meant releasing these people onto the streets "for their own good." So today this component of the homeless wander about the streets eating out of trash cans, urinating wherever they stand, mutter to themselves, now and again threaten passers by, and come winter freeze to death in alleys. But it's for their own good.

Then there are the substance abuse homeless (who overlap a bit with the group above). Like the deinstitutionalized people they eat out of trash cans and freeze to death in the winter, but they assault people for the purpose of getting money for drugs or alcohol and are generally more dangerous than the deinstitutionalized.

And then there are the people who regard living on the streets as one grand camping expedition. Yes! Seriously! They don't freeze to death in the winter; they go home.

Each group requires a different approach -- almost down to the individual. And that makes politicians' heads explode. Liberals more than conservatives as a rule, if only because many conservatives are religious and Christian charities have long come to grips with the problem.

Emil Blatz said...

Where would Art
the Window Washer
fit on this good/bad spectrum?

TMink said...

Ben Franklin saw this coming. "I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."

Smart man for a dead white guy.

Trey

Sam L. said...

I hear Oregon and Washington ship theirs to Madison.

Peter said...

Half of all babies born in the USA last year were born to mothers on Medicaid.

Of course, these mothers need not be homeless, as giving birth makes them eligible for an astonishingly large array of welfare services.

There are government programs to buy your food, to pay your rent and to pay your utilities in addition to those that pay your medical bills. There are even government programs to help you sign up for government programs!

So go to work, be a jerk. But will there always be enough jerks to support the USA's ever-growing list of those receiving most or all of their support from government?