Guest comment: Latest saga in homeless holocaust

City Plaza fence, a barricade to keep homeless from public space, comes down as shelter opens

After six months of fencing off Chico City Plaza, most of this time to include the barricading of sidewalks, restrooms and the only water fountain within a mile, the fence came down on April 22. And so ended another episode in our ongoing homeless holocaust.

Whether any city leaders ever admitted it publicly, the fence was there to deprive the homeless of this public space. Even worse, the general public—including our so-called progressive politicians, Facebook socialists, Christians, etc.—looked the other way, expressing no public objection to the fence. The number of people who stood with Chico Friends on the Street protesting the fence or spoke at council meetings or wrote a letter in opposition was about one in 10,000.

Patrick Newman

The next day, after the fence was removed, came an environmental festival, the Endangered Earth Event. A large sign was planted in the lawn near the northwest corner of the plaza: LOOK UP! It was in reference to the 2021 film Don’t Look Up, a satire aimed at politicians and a public failing to respond to a global-burning crisis.

Such festivals ring increasingly hollow as the years pass since the first Earth Day in 1970. This latest ritual, including fatuous speeches formulaically devoid of the word “sacrifice,” rang especially hollow, given it was held on the same ground denied to the poorest people, one day before. A denial not registered as morally objectionable, as leftists and environmental thespians continue to LOOK AWAY.

The author is a longtime homeless human rights activist and founder of Chico Friends on the Street.

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