THE CAT’S MEOW
I loved Ryan Bradford's "In the meowth of madness at the cat circus," [April 13]. It hits the nail on the head in describing cat people and cats! His columns never fail to elicit out-loud laughter from me—laughter being such a welcome tonic for countering the stresses of life. Thanks, Ryan, for another great column. Your appreciation of cats came through loud and clear. Harvey Bradford is a lucky cat.
Suzy Perkins, La Mesa
TOT NOT A FREE LUNCH
Regarding "The folly of oversized hotel tax hikes," editorial on March 30: The proposed hotel tax hike to subsidize a new football stadium is just a variation of a canard used repeatedly over the years. Usually the spin is that a project will result in increased tourism, which will generate more Transient Occupancy Taxes, which will pay for a significant portion of the project. Even if a new attraction brings in additional revenue via TOT—and that's a big if—the increase will only be marginal since most visitors to the area come because of already existing attractions.
Furthermore, revenue usually declines once the novelty of a new attraction wears off. Whether the spin is inherently generating more TOT via a new attraction, or increasing the TOT rate, it is just a canard to sell the taxpayers on the notion of a free lunch paid for by soaking out-of-towners. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
Dan Jacobs, Mira Mesa
TO BE HOMELESS
As a reader, I want to welcome Michael McConnell to the CityBeat editorial staff, and thank him for inspiring this letter ["The homeless numbers that count," May 4]. I am also in agreement with many of his basic principles, such as not enough is being done to prevent or solve the problem of homelessness. And, he has other things right, such as the "official Point in Time Count" being inaccurate and meaningless. There are, however, a handful of fundamental flaws in his evaluation of the situation.
A "by-name" list and "coordinated entry system" allows many agencies access to privileged data in an atmosphere where many people have been denied employment and/or housing for having been homeless in the past. And, of course, we homeless have no protections from discrimination in housing, education, employment nor hate-crimes.
The Regional Continuum of Care Council (RCCC) is a coalition of Civic San Diego (Downtown Partnership/Clean and Safe) plus churches and other service providers. It follows essentially the same format for dealing with homelessness that was in place since 1980, guaranteeing a new crop of homeless continuously, so service providers will never run out of people to abuse by "helping" them. The main problem I have with RCCC and their awful advice pamphlet is that they treat anyone homeless as being both stupid and mentally ill. Those who are neither get made stupid and mentally ill via some of the "help" provided. Then they can be "treated" (and lots of money made) by the providers of counseling, psychiatry, and many other services. Hey, the government provides money for that, but not for housing, nor jobs that afford rent!
Homelessness is about rent costing more money than the available jobs pay. Is that so complicated? Do we need to twist all this into the concept of the homeless being mentally ill? It is only after the failure of having enough rent-paying jobs and/or low-priced housing that the system falls apart and we get people forced onto the sidewalk. We need to keep that from happening to begin with. Society does not treat the homeless problem until after it has caused a lot of damage to everyone (both the homeless and the nearby residents) and then tries to blame mental illness and substance abuse for society's problem.
From here, the homeless need political power and a voice, and that is probably not Michael McConnell. He has important things to say, and makes a good spokesperson for the service providers, but not the homeless. No doubt he considers me one of the "hooligans" for daring to challenge the official propaganda. I still maintain that in order to fully understand homelessness, you must be homeless yourself.
John Kitchin, Publisher
San Diego Homeless News