2. Democracy Wall went downtown to check out the feeding the hungry debate. Very, very much worth reading the entire thing:
The bartender in the 4th Ave. Tavern looked a bit like a pirate, but he didn’t want to be identified any more than the person interviewed at The Reef or, later, the Harlequin Theater staff. He’d worked at the tavern for over 17 years, he said, including those Thursdays the CFM held their benefit for Olympia’s hungry. He objected more to the characterization he chose for the beneficiaries than CFM itself. He, too, had witnessed trash piling up in the tavern’s private dumpster as well as the bed of his pickup truck when he had made the mistake of parking in the lot where the event was held. He argued many of those attracted to CFM’s hot meals were mentally ill, drug addicts, or miscreants who caused trouble hours after CFM had struck its tents and left for the evening. “When the trouble begins, they’re already long gone,” he said.3. I'm sure Steven is implying that the Newhouse should really be the poster child of the campus.
It occurred to yours truly, in hindsight, that many businesses were reluctant to openly criticize the feeding of the poor for philosophical as well as political and practical reasons, though the owner of the adjacent quilting supply shop had no such reservations. Some business owners who have openly opposed low barrier shelters for the homeless in their neighborhood have repeatedly had their business vandalized in the wee hours. There is a reluctance to be seen/heard, especially on the record, criticizing efforts to aid or assist the poor/homeless. At the same time, there has been considerable vilification of the poor/homeless. They are genuinely loathed by those business owners who see them as an impediment to having a profitable operation or an obstacle to their customers. Moreover, they are blamed for the vandalism and trash in the City’s streets.
The depths of perfidy vs. necessity came up again during a dinner meal at the Thai food restaurant just down the street a block or two from the artesian on 4th Ave. The waitress volunteered, when asked, that she believed many of those who took advantage of CFM’s largess weren’t ‘homeless’, or even poor, at all. She felt they were ‘lifestyle homeless’ who simply liked to hangout and had become a blight on the community.
The issue, ultimately, appears to turn on the degree of tolerance Olympia’s residents are willing to afford the less fortunate, and to some extent, the not so less fortunate. Many Olympia residents are willing to be generous, but many are not willing to risk their own safety to do so. The aggressive behavior of a few street denizens has tarred the lot in the minds of some City residents. But CFM’s “sins” are a red herring. There was not a little trash strewn about the City far from where the poor and hungry were being fed. There was even the occasional hypodermic needle on the pavement.
The stretch of 4th Avenue near the artesian has become a tenderloin district after dark. A sense of entitlement has pervaded street elements there to the point of consistently challenging a photojournalist walking through with a camera. A thriving black market in contraband and services can be seen operating there. It is almost the diametrical opposite of the ambiance surrounding the faith based ministries outreach to the poor, hungry, and homeless through their hot meals event.
4. I guess North Thurston and Timberline played each other last week too. Thurston Problems was having a fun time with it.