Rebecca Boston's affirmation of Fresno’s proposed anti-camping ordinance is replete with failed assumptions (letter, Sept. 26).
First, by suggesting homeless advocate Mike Rhodes visit a homeless encampment, the writer assumes Mr. Rhodes' advocacy against the measure to be the product of inexperience, not exposure to actual conditions. By portraying conditions of squalor, the smell of feces and unrine, rotting food, piles of syringes\, and indecent exposure, the writer attempts to scare us all into thinking the criminalization of homeless camping is the only way to counter terrible conditions brought by terrible people.
Surprisingly, Mr. Rhodes' book “Dispatches from the War Zone” chronicles his 15-year devotion to these issues and his numerous visits to both homeless camps and homeless shelters.
Mr. Rhodes came to the issue like any business owner who was irate at having to clean-up filth in the alley adjacent to his business. At close-hand, Rhodes saw police demean homeless people. Finally, the conditions mentioned are precisely the reason affordable housing must be sought as a remedy.
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The ordinance carries penalties of one year in county jail upon violation, yet county figures show it costs $33,883.52 per year to house an inmate. Clearly, a better use of funds is to invest in affordable housing.
Stephen D. Malm, Fresno