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portland homelessness

Who They Don't Listen To: Us—Paul Haeder

The art of Admin Class is learning how to fake every waking hour alive

“You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” ― Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary

The mayors don't have the guts and fortitude to do it – Make Citizen X Mayor for the Day. I have hundreds that fit that and deserve to get that key to the city, to sit before the elected (sic) and with the Rotarians and Chamber of Commerce types, and posit five things that could-should-must-can be changed.

To actually have power, a voice, and people shutting up and listening to what they have to offer.

I'll call her Donna. Come on, kicked out of the house at age 13, and expected to survive, on her own, in Portland, so, you guessed it – turning tricks. Hmm, wonder how many politicos and fat cats and “legal” types used her services when she hit 17?

She's pushing 42, and has had to use drugs to numb through the morning, before another night. Intent to Deliver Controlled Substances. Maybe Theft II for taking a rib-eye and six pack and set of pantyhose.

Each one added up, and she is now in housing, supported since she was homeless, and she is on food stamps, in recovery programs, and working with me, and working.

Her dream has always been working in a hospital, taking blood, maybe higher up. Alas, those stepping stones out of hell, Bedlam, well, they stick like leeches frozen on your skin.

She can't be a peer mentor until she gets two years clean; she's got nine months. She can't get jobs in a hospital or clinic because those background checks eat at her soul. Imagine, she's 42, working first at a fruit processing plant, 12 and 14 hours straight, chopping, standing in the juice of tropicals and local berries and fruits. That big $9.35 an hour. What a wage in Portland, the city that got some recognition (sic) being the Number One City with the Most Millionaires Under Thirty/Forty.

She's now working in a dry place, a fulfillment warehouse, distribution, putting tags on clothing from China, Vietnam, Honduras, Bangladesh, and all the other sweat shop locales. That's $10 an hour, moving product around, clothes and shoes mostly, retagging, boxing up, and there is overhead light, ear buds allowed.

But, those felonies, those felonies. Those Portland rents, those obscene Portland-wanna-be-San Fran-Seattle rents. Those gentrifying neighborhoods, those old hoods turning into walking and biking haunts for white men and women wanting a chance at the millionaire status, all those Whole Foods and bike shops and food carts and 600 square foot studio apartments for $1500 a month.

What a gift, One Day With Donna As Mayor. Listen up, write it down, pass it into law, you Nike-Intel-Angry Birds pencil necks:

  • Affordable housing, rent control, leashes on predatory lenders, landlords, a state bank.
  • Stop the felony bleed . . . people can be phlebotomists with some thefts and drug use in their backgrounds . . . medical equipment technicians with some minor assault for defending oneself from marauding punks stealing from homeless camps or cops too stupid to realize they are the problem, not the solution.
  • Real public spaces, restrooms, civic and arts gathering nodes.
  • More libraries, employment centers, and places to learn how to garden, cook, and live through trauma.
  • Schools that allow the community to teach youth and youth to teach the community.

Donna's hands are swollen from repetitive work; I got her a new set of bifocals, new shoes, and gloves, but she really wants that job helping people, in a clinic, hospital. Does anyone not think that's the best way to pull her back from public assistance, as measly as it is? Does anyone NOT think she is amazing as a life coach, teacher of children, a person who actually listens to old people?

Ya think the Fortune 1000 heads who run roughshod over Portland and the other 100 top metropolitan areas, holding us in stasis and retrograde backward movement, devolution, with their transnational glee, no local roots, and arrogance, need to listen to our Mayor for a Day aspirants?

The Seven Social Sins are:

Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Worship without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.

--From a sermon given by Frederick Lewis Donaldson in 1925

Okay, day number two in this 365-day Decade of Mayor for a Day. He's Peter, we'll call him, and another real person on my caseload. He's 32, working in the city public works department, has his associate's degree in water technology and is starting his bachelor's. The job he has is a giant leap over his two years in prison for theft, this time, what, 81 counts, for taking some checks and reissuing them. “Man, I was doing really well, so I decided I needed another new car, bigger TV, trips to New Mexico camping. Lifestyle of the capitalist.”

He's mayor for a day, and get this, he is in a union, and daily, he struggles working next to racist, retrograde union members thumping or humping or stumping for Trump.

He's mayor for a day, and get this, he is in a union, and daily, he struggles working next to racist, retrograde union members thumping or humping or stumping for Trump. Imagine, big equipment operators, ditch diggers, pipefitters going for an effete, this toupee-wearing mamma's boy, a wimp of every stripe, a do-nothing blowhard, but, really, this Trump would wither away in the company of me and some of my homies. And this fallen-on-its-head warthog, Trump, is as lucid as a pervert on a bag of mushrooms.

My Peter is a Marxist, has been to China, and remembers getting busted and jailed at the height of Occupy, and came out with not even a flash latent shadow of any movement. “It's like once I came out, that power and energy just vanished.” Peter has a sick mother in New Mexico, an 11-year-old daughter, who he has on weekends, and is living life with a significant other, and he sees the world more lucidly than any two-bit lawyer-politician-business leader running any number of boards or councils.

In prison, he knew he had that white male privilege thing working for him, and his schooling and intelligence, and he saw poor, broken English Latinos pay a high price for their station in life, in prison. Peter saw the ravages of trauma, childhood trauma and drug-induced trauma. Peter saw the roiling wreckage of misdiagnosed or undiagnosed development and intellectual disabilities.

You don't do the reading, don't do well by second grade, still can't mouth three-syllable words by third grade, and you are on a fast-track to incarceration.

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Peter would like to see heads roll, from Clinton 1,2,3, to Intel's Libertarian leadership and underlings.

Peter R, Mayor of Portland for a Day:

  • Time for the police force to be disbanded and a volunteer organization and fully funded community and neighborhood engagement centers, clothing and food centers, housing and security assistance.
  • A city-wide collective bargaining unit for all precarious workers, all types, in one union or collective, negotiating the wages for ALL workers, from street sweeper to statistician.

“These are criminals, wanton criminals, who knew about the lead and copper. Not the water quality testers, because the powers that be have the water tested in certain spots to get a reduced count.”

  • Bust up all these warehouses and production places working people at poverty wages for all these 12 to 16 hour single day shifts. Close them down, or have them pony up fair wages and real humane daily work loads.
  • Bust up the k12 for-profit school district leeches, the education service districts that are for-profit outfits.

The people who don't listen but pretend to, who feign interest, shed crocodile tears, who are closet racists, closet misogynists, closet anti-workers, they should be going the way of the dodo.

I recall the cold eyes of Jeff “On-line Dildo Salesman Bezos is the News Fit to Print

" target="_blank">Unethical Billionaire” Bezos. At a stockholders' meeting, as I was working with SEIU, the service employees union. Yep, CEO for a Day, for the NEXT Thousand Years. This guy is a work of sociopath dreamer's art. Here, and here, read up on my activism, now almost light years away from this point in the Jeff Bezos, Free Shipping, and Forty Percent of On-line Retail Sales

" target="_blank">Capitalists' Total Control of All Destinies.

How many of my homeless, felony-disenfranchised, recovering addict clients would like that gig, CEO for a Day, the Key to the Amazon (dot) Com Campus?

He is a slithering mean dude, in his other worldly continence, Mr. Bezos, wanting to capture one half of all on-line sales, one fifth of all retail sales worldwide. Steal labor, broken knee caps, exhausting, and, well, the business model of these Starbuck-Amazon types are contrary to freedom of action, freedom to do business and create business with whomever we please. The great smashing hands of the free (sic) market (sic).

Bezos wants people on the spectrum, autism, because, a, they can be penned up in front of a computer and mouse pad, and, b, they will work beyond the normal hours, and, c, they are compliant, and, d, born Republicans and Libertarians.

Bezos hires on former military, E-5 (sergeants with three stripes) and higher, who then they take that discipline (sic) into the fulfillment centers (distribution sweat shops) and can exact the financial threats and getting sacked punishment that these billionaires just love to use as their water boarding.

Imagine running that company for a day, and, heck, let's take, Bruce, who can't kick heroin and meth, but has a college degree, a good mother and lots of friends around him, almost done giving up and coming back to him. He's been eight days clean and sober this time around, forty days clean and sober from heroin.

Bruce sees the exploitation of a Jeff Bezos. Sees what his old Seattle has become because of the infusion of compliant, arrogant, ADD types from Georgia Tech and elsewhere with their MAs and MSs and MBAs, loving the Art of War, and seeing all liberal arts and humanities folks as insipid romantics.

“Amazon has been equally adept at avoiding the corporate income tax. A 2014 Citizens for Tax Justice and Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy report found that Amazon paid just a 9.3 percent effective federal income tax rate over a five-year period between 2008 and 2012. In other words, the company found ways to avoid paying taxes on almost three-quarters of its U.S. profits during this period. The same report found that Amazon reduced its tax bills by $1 billion through an arcane tax dodge generated by lavish executive stock options—more than any Fortune 500 corporation other than Google, Facebook, ExxonMobil and J.P. Morgan.”

A real pathetic un-patriot, this Bezos, who is the epitome of no talent but plenty of scams, and now, running the Washington Post?

“Bezos’ recent individual purchase of the assets, not the shares, of the Washington Post allows him to use its prolonged losses to offset his own income — if he plays an active role in its management. Bezos was widely quoted saying he wanted to start Amazon on an American Indian reservation to avoid taxes. Amazon fought hard to avoid collecting sales taxes from its online customers until a late 2013 Supreme Court rejection of its appeal of a New York ruling on the subject forced a capitulation. In 2010 Bezos personally donated $100,000 to an anti-income tax increase initiative in his home state of Washington that succeeded.”

What would Peter and Donna and the dozens of others say, including Bruce, if they had one day in the life of Rachel Maddow or Anderson Cooper, any of the Fox News (sic) entertainers? One day as CEO of the thousands of companies who dodge taxes, live off the tax system they avoid by stealing abatements, gaining loopholes, gaming payroll taxes, and never paying more into social security than that cap of $118,500 income. Everything over that mark, well, Social Security Tax Free.

This is the fiber of the problem – these insulated, patty-cake, soft-ball prone billionaires like Trump and Gates, they never get tested, questioned, challenged, grilled, because in America, the ruling elite have no flaws, no one to answer to, and have the law (sic) in their corners to protect every tax-cheating, wage-thieving, ground/water/air/mind-polluting scheme imaginable.

What would it be like, King for a Day, News Broadcaster, Member of Congress-Senate-Supreme Court for a day, for the next twenty years?

I know some of my people would have slapped down that other wimp of a white man, Paul Ryan, when he gaveled his way into Robert's Rules stupidity trying to stop talk about assault rifles.

Rep. Hank Johnson on Democracy Now:

“Yes, it’s a pitiful shame that here in America at this time it’s easier to buy an assault weapon than it is to board an airplane. You have to go through all kinds of security and have all kinds of ID in order to fly, but in order to buy, all you need is an internet connection or a entry into what’s called a gun show, where you can buy from an unlicensed firearm dealer, and you don’t have to go through a background check. And so, that’s called the gun show loophole, and it allows these assault weapons to proliferate on the streets of America. And we’re seeing a proliferation of homicides and mass murders that are committed with these high-capacity assault weapons, that were made and manufactured to kill people in mass numbers quickly. And so we need to replace the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004, and we need to reinstate that ban, so that we can start getting a handle on the proliferation of these assault weapons on the streets of America.”

Paul Ryan for a Day for the Next Year? Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and Obama, all for a day, my clients, and thousands of others, for a day in their arm chairs, on their helicopters, in their denizens of the depths of depravity. For a day, hold the key to the city, the boardroom, the good old boys club, the joint chiefs of staff, you name, make these people who have so much more to say, really say, and much-much more of life to talk to, yes, make them the leaders for a day, until the entire house of cards and incendiary mess goes up in red, white, orange glory!

paul haeder

Paul K. Haeder