“Homelessness”

by on December 6, 2005

Dear Editor,

Tommi Avicolli-Mecca’s letter to the editor in which he criticizes those of us who complain about the anti-social behavior of street people as having lost contact with human compassion was so flawed with factual errors that it seems that he has lost contact with basic common sense.

First, he states that if the city wants to stop public urination and defecation then it should provide public facilities. But the reality is that in the Civic Center and downtown area, there are numerous public bathrooms that go unused by the homeless. I have actually seen street people defecate and urinate in public when there was a functioning public bathroom nearby that was free of charge. There is also the additional problem in that many of the public bathrooms provided by the City are often in disrepair due to vandalism by the homeless themselves to either sleep in the facility or to use drugs undisturbed.

Also, contrary to the assertions in his letter, I never said that it was OK for yuppie party goers to relive themselves in public as opposed to street people doing the same. Anybody, engaged in this type of activity should be criminally cited.

Finally, it?s ridiculous to compare aggressive panhandlers to telemarketers. Telemarketers are selling a product that I can refuse to buy by just turning off the TV or radio. Aggressive panhandlers are asking something for nothing and often become verbally and sometimes physically abusive, sometimes blocking your way down a street or coming out of a Muni Metro station.

Defending behavior that that ruins the City is not “compassionate” but nonsensical and destructive.

Mr. E.F. Sullivan San Francisco




To the Editor

Those who complain about anti-social behavior by the homeless obviously have lost contact with basic human compassion. Where are people who don’t have a home supposed to urinate and defecate when most businesses these days will not allow folks to use their bathrooms unless they buy something and public toilets are few and far between? Even churches are locked up unless there’s a service.

If the city wants to stop public urination and defecation, then it should provide public facilities in every neighborhood. That would also take care of the late-night bar goers and party boys who also use the streets and alleys when they’re too drugged out to find a bathroom. I’ve seen that happening. Wonder if your letter writer feels they’re being anti-social as well? Or is there a double standard here: the poor are anti-social and yuppie boys pissing on the sidewalk are OK.

As for the panhandling, why does it bother folks that someone asks for money when daily we are greeted on the street by people giving out or selling things, such as those club cards that just end up littering the pavements? We’re barraged by telemarketers on our phones and ads on the TV and radio. Everywhere you go in this culture, someone is trying to sell you something you don’t want. But somehow the homeless are worse because they’re poor. Isn’t this the time of year people are supposed to feel compassion for those less fortunate? Oh wait, that’s only ON December 25, not before or after!

Tommi Avicolli Mecca
San Francisco



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