Saturday, May 28, 2011

Santa Ana, runoff, the Homeless, and you.

Years ago, Congress passed the Federal Clean Water Act, and it cleverly states "the discharge of any pollutant by any person shall be unlawful" without a permit. Then Congress further instructed the States, including Georgia, to issue such permits. Generally speaking, Georgia declined, and a fellow there was charged with pollution because rainwater coursed off his property, along with the dirt it picked up along the way, becoming runoff, and then entered a Federal waterway, becoming pollution. He fought back, saying it was impossible to get the permit, and reminded the Court that, "the law cannot depend upon the performance of an impossibility."
In response, the Supreme Court said something which used to be oxymoronic: "Congress is presumed not to have intended absurd (impossible) results."
Lacking the integrity and education of even our poor Congress, Santa's Ana City Council lies to us about the poorest among us - with tricks and sleight of hand unbecoming a circus geek.
My contention today is the opposite:
That the City Council of Santa Ana did, in law and in fact, intend absurd and impossible results. They passed a law that mimics a well-defended Federal law, which reasonably intends to ration prized spots at popular parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. At those destinations, permits are both needed and issued - people cannot be allowed to drive halfway across the country on their children's landmark vacation, only to be turned away at the last minute by the local homeless, or ill-prepared scofflaws who would steal another's moment in the Sun.
Our foul Mayor Pulido and the City, however, intended precisely the impossible.
Knowing it is unconstitutional to make homelessness illegal, he and the Council adopted the subterfuge, and please remember here that 30% of the homeless are veterans, while another third are children, of insisting that the homeless apply for a permit, which Santa Ana has never sold, issued or even printed, rendering possession impossible. Making homelessness illegal is unconstitutional, but making a needed permit unavailable almost does the trick; the only thing left to enact this selfish sin is to prohibit a specific act to complete the vicious fiction upon which local justice is done, or rather done-for. The City requires that a person intending to camp unfurl a blanket, or untie their shoes, and these innocent acts then trigger the banal legality of Santa Ana's horrific fiction. Far fewer than one third of the council-members ever defended anything with their lives; perhaps that is why they have the temerity to tell veterans not to spoil their view. But then, it has ever been thus...
In our case, the scofflaws are Mayor Pulido and the 1993 City Council, and others of their ilk who steal from a growing part of the public their ancient right to repose upon the commons.
Better circumstances built by honest governments temporarily forged a century in which public land could be left largely for public ceremony - the groomed lawns of courthouses and council chambers lent themselves to silent (the best kind) testimony that the local burghers had the situation well in hand, that everyone was at least doing well enough under their leadership to have a hovel. Well, those times are gone for good, the 10 year plan to eliminate the homeless notwithstanding.
Our bleak future has arrived early in Santa Ana. Most of the children graduating from our public schools will never achieve a level of employment commensurate with local rents, largely because 10 years of low-income housing funds were squandered on the Jail. Emigrants, they must join the march of other failed nation-states in a quest for greener pastures. Since we can no longer hold onto our own children, why should we permit the local Council their falsehood: their crowing grassland of civic pride. There is no reason to be proud of total failure.
Once local government has failed, there is only the solace of charity. As fails man, so succeeds God. As the hubris of local despots is swept away, perhaps our murdered saviour can again become rampant over the green crowing of City crows, feeding upon the corpse of an undeserved past. Perhaps the poor can again bed down upon that which God, in his mercy, has provided for them, and which the City first squandered, and then cut, and then forbade, in a blasphemous effort to be like God.
Like all governments intended to feather the nests of a few carrion birds, they have failed.
Perhaps it is time that the homeless of Santa Ana are treated better than runoff in Georgia.
Either issue camping permits or stop ticketing the homeless for not having them.

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