Column: A skid row response to mayoral homeless promises: Bring not words, but deeds and truth.
I have watched with increasing alarm this year’s mayoral election debates as candidates from both major parties and independents have embraced radical plans that don’t even make a pretence at solving the homeless crisis, let alone solving the poverty problem.
This week, candidate Michael Bloomberg made an appearance on a nationally televised reality show, The Apprentice, to promote what the Times called a “new approach” to crime in New York. In an interview with the Times, Bloomberg said he wanted to spend $65 million of his city’s money “towards things that you can implement with very small amounts of city dollars, that have a big impact.”
“We’ve had an approach where you put people on the street and then go back to court, where you fight,” Bloomberg said.
“Let’s start with the most powerful symbol of all,” he said: “A man on a mattress.”
That’s a familiar way to put it, but it’s not how it works. Bloomberg is giving the homeless of New York City a new approach: “let’s make it a new approach, instead of fighting, let’s work together.”
Bloomberg’s comments came on the heels of a similar proposal from former congressman Anthony Weiner, who says he will take $50 million a year in federal funds and spend it to “turn this city around.” According to the Times:
Bloomberg said that the money would come from the federal Community Development Block Grant and from crime prevention programs. He said the money would be used “to prevent crime and promote social and economic development.”
This “new approach” is not about promoting social and economic development, but about making a point about crime. The Times also points out that the candidates do not seem to have any specific crime plan, and then reports that they support “cracking down on human