Thursday, March 12, 2009
In another depressing parallel to the 1930s, there are more stories about tent cities –- the synthetic age’s equivalent of Hoovervilles or shantytowns –- popping up in the news. One of the most striking stories is from Sacramento –- the second most important capital city in the nation --- where hundreds of people have congregated in a tent city along the American River. (See today’s editorial in the Sacramento Bee.) Some have lost their home to foreclosure; others are more traditional homeless that suffer from psychological or physical problems. What should government do about the tent city, if anything? The location along the river is not a good one, and the conditions appear to beg for an outbreak of disease, fire, or other calamity. Some are talking about having the government provide some services to improve conditions of the tent city.
I welcome the idea of the government offering low-cost services to marginal living conditions for homeless people. But the residents should have to go half-way; they should be forced (yes, I said it) to move to a more sanitary location that causes potential fewer hazards to the public.
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