Random Letters 7-25-19 — Tents Are Better; Crisis at the Border; When I Call Trump Racist…; Even Texas is Changing


Tents Are Better

Almost everywhere in Los Angeles except San Pedro I can see the tents of the homeless during the day. The typical tent is a six-sided igloo.

The tent villages are often neat and tidy in appearance compared to what I see near the Beacon St. Post Office. The possessions that are scattered up and down the sidewalks can easily be hidden inside a tent.

We apparently believe that by restricting the use of tents to the nighttime the homeless encampments will be less permanent. It is true that the homeless in San Pedro are less secure, lack privacy, and tend to be sleep-deprived without tents, but that has not made them leave.

They often have legitimate reasons to call San Pedro their home. One may wish to argue that point. But what is not debatable is that the Post Office encampment has not diminished in size because we prohibit the use of tents during the day. When I temporarily left San Pedro in November of 2017 there were only one-third as many people there.

Back then I thought to myself, why couldn’t we allow neat rows of tents to be set up on vacant lots owned by the city, with portable toilet facilities (and soap and water) in one corner of the lot? It might look more like a boy-scout camp ground than a disaster zone. The new homeless shelter will house only one fifth of the homeless population of San Pedro, so it will not solve the problem.

Lorin Jenis, San Pedro

Crisis at the Border

Archbishop José H. Gomez addressed the crisis on the U.S. and Mexico border in his homily at the Sunday Spanish Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Archbishop Gomez said:

Right now, as we know, there is a crisis on the U.S. southern border. And there are many voices and perspectives about what our government should be doing.

When we hear these readings today, we are reminded that these are not just issues of politics. We are talking about human beings — the image of God, our brothers and sisters.

Beyond law, beyond politics, we have a duty to welcome the stranger, to open our hearts and our hands to attend to their human needs — their fears and their hunger. We need to treat them with the dignity that they have as children of God, regardless of their status.

Jesus said that he would come to us in the person of the hungry and homeless, the migrant. And what we do for those who are in need, we do for him.

This is not always easy. And there are big questions and issues that we face at the border. But our Scriptures today suggest that our first responsibility and priority is to serve these people who are in need, to treat them with great dignity and love.

The full homily can be seen at facebook.com/lacatholics/videos/337371333878086/

Archbishop José H. Gomez, Los Angeles

When I Call Donald Trump a Racist…

This was a racist attack against Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It is unacceptable, and we must stand in solidarity with these young legislators.

That is why today I am asking you to respond to Trump’s racist attack by splitting a contribution between their campaigns and ours.

I have said all along that this president is a racist and a xenophobe. And now he is proving that point, yet again, by turning his hate against these four members of Congress.

We must stand together for justice and dignity toward all.

Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator, Vermont

Even Texas is Changing

Medicare for All is under attack. The healthcare industry is pushing hard to change people’s minds that it’s the best way to guarantee health care as a human right. Despite Joe Biden’s misguided (to be kind) comment that Medicare for All is “irrational,” the truth back here in the real world is that we are making tangible progress right here in Texas.

The Medicare for All movement recently received its biggest endorsement yet in the Lone Star State! The South Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association — a highly influential coalition of Democratic and Republican county judges and commissioners — voted unanimously to endorse Medicare for All.

County commissioners and judges carry a lot of weight. They are the ones who pave our roads, build our bridges, and are the gatekeepers to county finances and services. The problem is that most county budgets are eaten up by out of control health care costs, depriving them of the funds they need to fix our roads, help fund our schools, and other projects that support the common good of our communities.

In other words, Medicare for All is a signature part of how we rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and adequately fund other services to benefit our communities. Pitch in $10 today and help us continue to organize elected officials across the state to support Medicare for Y’all!

Our counties are being forced to pay for health care (that Medicare for All could easily resolve) preventing our local communities from properly investing in the common good. Our communities can’t make critical investments if rising health care costs deprive them of funds. Is it any wonder so many of our communities, especially in rural America, are struggling to get by?

We will need local leaders on our side to achieve Medicare for All. Never underestimate the pressure a local leader can apply to their Congresscritter.

Jim Hightower, Austin, TX