Tuesday, May 09, 2017

An open letter to Mayor Turner and the liberals on Houston City Council regarding the homeless ordinance

Time to ramp up the pressure a bit.

Feel free to use and send the text of my email below in time for today's city council session or write your own.  It was addressed to Mayor Turner and CMs Robinson, Edwards, Boykins, Cohen, Davis, Cisneros, Gallegos, Laster, and Green.  I do not believe any of the Republicans are redeemable on this issue, and won't waste my time contacting them.  The ten people above, the so-called liberals on Houston's council, could take the action I demand without any support from the conservative faction anyway.  It's in their hands.

Ladies and gentlemen:

I am aware that the city ordinance which criminalizes homeless encampment goes into effect this Friday, May 12.  At the time Council unanimously passed this ordinance a few weeks ago, I found myself stunned at the callous, inhumane action of the liberals, led by Mayor Turner, joining the worst of the conservatives in this vote.

I STRONGLY OPPOSE this ordinance. Government cuts to HUD and a lack of existing affordable housing in a Houston market once more on the speculative rise due to a strengthening oil economy leaves those most vulnerable at greatest risk of finding themselves on the street.  Additionally, the glaring, unreformed Harris County bail bond program that has created debtor's prisons of our jails must be resolved before this ordinance adds to a incarcerated population with little hope of being released for their victimless "crimes".

This ordinance is likely unconstitutional, and a court challenge is inevitable.  It is abjectly foolish, as Republicans in Austin and in Washington DC have repeatedly demonstrated, to be on the wrong side of the history of social justice.  Why you would wish to stand with them is frankly beyond my comprehension.
The ordinance criminalizes our city's homeless for merely trying to survive.  Houston will not be able to implement quick or long-term solutions, especially after the homeless coalition had announced that the plan to house 500 homeless by September will not be met.  This is the farthest thing from a holistic definition of "meaningful change", an Orwellian hashtag if ever there was one.

As a voter and taxpayer, I strongly urge YOU to postpone the enforcement date of May 12th until you and other stakeholders can move forward with a better plan.  You should respectfully reconsider your action and pause the implementation of this cruel ordinance until such time as you have have arranged a truly workable solution, and not just given lip service and hashtags to one.


Perry Dorrell

P.S.  I found it extremely inappropriate for the Mayor to have visited the environmental rally at the end of last month and say to a volunteer there that "y'all are pimping the cause" of homelessness in Houston.  That warrants a retraction and an apology, and those of you who are Council members to whom this letter is addressed should be the first ones to demand it of the Mayor.

This meme speaks for me as well:

Update: In response, the mayor had his stooges in the media roll out "aggressive panhandling", "Meaningful Change Not Spare Change", and "drug users" (thanks, Constable Alan Rosen).  All of which is just more of the same shitty stigmatizing of the poor.

What would Jesus do, indeed.  Not only wouldn't He do that, he wouldn't find a middle man to handle charitable donations for the homeless who was also a registered sex offender.

Word from today's council hearing is that still nobody on council is listening or responding.  My email inbox can confirm the same.  The heat is just going to have to get hotter, I suppose.

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