Posted by: cantmisssd | October 13, 2010

The missing homeless shelter

If Kelly’s report on the (possible) end of the line for a winter homeless shelter holds up, it’s not only morally reprehensible, it signals a startling (if not altogether surprising) failure of basic leadership from the city council.

Specifically, drawing from the recap post, Councilmember Faulconer’s absurd NIMBYism that opposes a downtown shelter that would reduce crime, improve public health, make streets more inviting and thus improve commerce, all while having the bonus of being the only decent human thing to do, is particularly sad. Not only that, he presumably knows that not having a shelter would hamstring police efforts to deal with the crime that does arise around concentrated homeless populations.

But I do give credit to Faulconer for at least being up front about his stance. Ben Hueso’s refusal to address the immediate crisis under the guise of wanting a comprehensive solution is an absurd cop out. If that’s really his reason, then he’s providing a pitch-perfect example of how the perfect becomes the enemy of the good. And he’s taking a pass on actually governing the city.

Either way, this is not nearly as challenging as folks seem to want it to be. But we’re increasingly living in a world where the fundamental humanity of people is increasingly up for negotiation. And it isn’t, apparently, enough that it’s demonstrably better for the community on every level. That there even needs to be leadership to accomplish something that helps people and strengthens the community with no substantive downside is sad enough, the absence of that leadership is even worse.

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