Ulterior Motives

Posted: July 28, 2008 in Bureauacracy, Discrimination, Government, Homelessness, Morality, Politics

I read a lot of news articles about homelessness from all around the nation. Every so often I read on which leaves me shaking my head in disbelief. Case in point was the article, Hey buddy, can you spare a movie ticket? in the July 15th edition of The Rocky Mountain News in Colorado.

The article had to do with the Democratic National Committee; its upcoming convention from August 25th through the 28th in Denver, CO; Denver’s homeless population; and what the city is planning regarding the homeless while the convention is in town.  

According to the article,

"The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless plans to get 500 movie tickets as well as passes to the Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature and Science and other cultural facilities for the people it helps.

Bus tickets will be provided for events beyond walking distance, said John Parvensky, the non-profit’s president."

Now on the surface, it may sound benevolent and benign, except that these activity tickets will only be given out for those three days – during the DNC convention. A number of groups have accused the city of Denver of trying to hide the homeless; of trying to keep the homeless out of the sight of the 50,000 visitors who are expected to attend the convention.

Of course the Denver officials have denied that they are trying to hide the homeless, but it took them nearly 10 days before they did – and only after news agencies, Internet and other online sites started making a fuss about it.

The news article, Officials: Denver won’t hide homeless during DNC, in the Denver Business Journal was part of an official attempt to rationalize why they were offering the homeless other places to be during the convention.

Despite the previous articles that mentioned the ticket give aways, Jamie Van Leeuwen, project manager of Denver’s Road Home – which is Denver’s 10 year plan to end homelessness – said he knew of no plans to provide tickets for the homeless to the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science or other attractions during the convention.

What I found interesting about all of this is that nothing like this has happened before in Denver. Also, some sort of agreement has been made and those agencies which provide services for the homeless will be open extended hours – something which also has never happened before. Yet, now that the DNC’s convention is going to be in town, all of a suddenly the City – as well as the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless – are worried about whether or not the homeless have somewhere to go during the day.

Excuse my cynicism, but I have this sneaking suspicion that Denver officials are more concerned with making their city look "pretty" for convention goers than they are the well being of their homeless. Otherwise, why haven’t they been this benevolent prior to the DNc coming to town?

I have serious doubts that all of this fuss to make sure that the homeless have some activities which they can take part in is for the benefit of the homeless. My personal belief is that Denver wants to make a good showing; wants to make it seem to the rest of the nation that they have the best interest of the homeless in mind. But, if they did, why are these give aways only being offered during the days that the convention will be in town?

I suspect that after the convention is over and all of the ticker tape is swept up, everything will be "business as usual." And the homeless will once again be left out in the cold – with no where to go.

Denver officials and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless can deny all they want that there are no ulterior motives behind their plans, but as everyone knows, actions speak louder than words. Regardless of all of their words and their denials, their actions say that they are hoping that if the homeless are able to be kept out of sight, they will also be kept out of the minds of the convention goers.

The irony is this: Senator Obama has been portraying himself as the candidate of change. Yet, some of the very folks who he should be concerned with making a change for are the very people who Denver city officials are trying to "sweep under the rug."

Can you say "hypocrisy?"

  1. AnAmerican says:

    I wonder if these places in the community are benevolent enough to open their doors to the homeless every day of year ? Hypocrisy? You bet!

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