Friday, May 14, 2010

R.I.P. Burlington's Spirit of Generosity

Yesterday, I wrote about the proposed ordinance changes against street people and Burlington's Phoenix House. Here's my comment on the Blurt/Seven Days post:
"I've said it before to my friends here (and I'll say it again): Burlington is a small town pushing hard to be a city. And if you read all the accolades Burlington has received in the PR "Best of..." categories, you'd think we were the most hospitable, liveable place in North America! We're not! As I read the whining comments on here, hardness of heart comes to mind. You've lost that spirit of generosity that has made Vermont great!

"When I lived in London ten years ago, I might have been irritated by the constant panhandlers, but recognised that this is part of life in a big city. Actually, I stopped frequently outside my neighbourhood tube station and talked with the people who sat there ("Spare some change, sir?") and heard their stories. Turns out the majority were human! Fancy that! And several friends I made had once been among the working class, laid off unemployed (one pay-check away from poverty), and were struggling to find food for their own families. (With the new ConDem government it will get worse!)

"The memo accompanying this resolution was written by police chief Schirling. He heads up that same force that sends deputy officers as department liaisons to NPA meetings, encouraging citizens to act as block wardens and report on citizens' "undesirable" activities in neighbourhoods. So much for friendly, community policing.

"I'm actually more concerned about the despicable NIMBY resolution against Phoenix House. "The Other America" is alive right in our own backyard.

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