After your reactions to the shooting of Alfred Olango last year as well as the recent Break the Ban/Food Not Bombs protests at Wells Park, I've noticed a pattern in you. In both occasions, you've labeled the protesters and activists as too "antagonistic" to work with and dismiss their claims as purely "political".
Can protesters and activists become antagonistic sometimes, yes. However this is not political. In one case, we have an unarmed man - a refugee who wasn't doing anything to endanger anybody - who was shot and killed by YOUR police department, while he was having a breakdown. That man was a father, a brother, and a son. The family has been so hurt by this event that they have started a foundation that I have been fortunate enough to become involved with. To the family of Alfred Olango, this is not political, they want justice.
The second case involves our most vulnerable and disenfranchised - some of them veterans - being discriminated upon under the guise of a health and safety emergency. A health and safety emergency that could be remedied by keeping the restroom facilities opened and maintained. In Wells Park, there is a restroom facility that has been closed since about June because that's when the pipes burst, yet instead of fixing the running water, your council chose to install some dirty-ass porta-potties in front of the building.
Then when this health and safety emergency emerged, you didn't vote to fix the city's water pipes, you voted instead to ban people from feeding the homeless, but left exceptions for "family reunions, birthday parties, baptisms, youth sport team celebrations, school field trips and wedding anniversaries". In other words, you left everything else exempt. The homeless are not criminals - they're humans - but they are being criminalized with every new ordinance that bans pan-handling or bans setting up tents or sleeping in cars. To them, this is not political, they just want to sleep.
To these people, as well as myself, it's not about politics, it's about morality. I would quote Dr. King about what to do about unjust laws, but I think you've already had a helping of that. I understand that discrediting people who you think are "political foes" is easy for you to do, but to be honest, I had to look up your political views, and only because I knew I was going to write about this. I didn't care about your affiliation then and I don't care about it now - this isn't political. While I looked you up, I came across this oped you did where you blame the California State Legislature for the recent homeless issues. Your premise for that was Assembly Bill 109, which redefined many state laws as "less serious" or "non-violent". You literally start by complaining how people are NOT going to jail as the actual problem and if that isn't politicizing an issue, I don't know what is.
I mean, none of us are actually politicians, but you're the mayor of a city. You're the only one here who is actually IN politics. Yet after telling you the story about her homeless family member who is missing, you then accused Shane Parmely of playing politics during the September 14th town hall meeting.
No. Shane was trying to appeal to your humanity. You had used the same "political" excuse on Reverend Shane Harris when he and others asked to meet with you over the Alfred Olango shooting last year.
Regarding Ben Kalasho and his gift card idea, it wouldn't be a bad idea except restaurants don't like homeless people going into their establishments. Everybody knows this. Pretending to empower starving people by giving them a "choice" between getting kicked out of a Wendy's or a Carl's Jr. does nothing for their stomachs, much less their dignity. Also, I'm betting someone would profit greatly from this idea and it would not be the homeless.
Lastly Mayor Wells, you say that homelessness is a choice for many. I don't understand how understanding THAT would help ME understand why homeless people don't deserve to be fed in a park. I don't understand why these people should be punished anymore than they already are by society, and I don't understand how someone who is supposed to be good at math and medicine would come up with this kind of solution, and then label the opposition as "political". This whole thing is a mess that was started by your city council and it's one that either you and the city council will fix, or a judge.
This isn't a game to us, Mr. Mayor.
This is not political.