By the numbers

More greatness from this week's Weed:

Number of paragraphs between "Sharon Meieran supports a name registry of homeless people" and references to a Soviet registry of dissidents: 2

Number of paragraphs between "Sharon Meieran supports a name registry of homeless people" and references to the Holocaust: 3

But it's neutral journalism, honest.

Many of Built for Zero’s fans make the program sound like pixie dust that, when sprinkled, causes homeless camps to clear and tents to come down. On its website, Built for Zero itself talks about the “magic” happening once a city has reliable, real-time data.

Its detractors, meantime, say Built for Zero is as heartless as The Hunger Games and as dangerous as a Soviet registry of dissidents. Homelessness is often criminalized, so taking people’s names is tantamount to issuing a warrant for their arrest, or worse.

“Getting everyone’s name on a list makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end,” says Tera Hurst, who worked on homelessness under Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “There are too many instances of people ending up on lists and bad things happening to them. My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor.”

Come on. When you run out of money and start living in a tent on the sidewalk, the taxpayers have to feed you, house you, and clean up after you, but they shouldn't be allowed to ask you your name, and write it down?

The authoritative "detractors" in the story are kind of amusing. Two are ex-minions of Char-Lie Hales, the one-term Portland mayor that the Weed urged us all to vote for, even though he was obviously as phony a "resident" as Nick Kristof. He left everything on such a promising track.

And why would they make Meieran the poster child for the registry, which enjoys support from lots of others? Could it be because they've endorsed her opponent? Of course not, that has nothing to do with it.

I'm going to stop bad-mouthing the hit squad at the Weed for a while, no matter how badly they deserve it. They're pretty obviously hopeless, and pointing out their foolishness would be a full-time job.

Just don't take them too seriously.


  1. I guess in summary; it's probably true/likely that appeals to privacy rights being made on someone else's behalf & crying wolf allegorically referencing...uh...the better known of the horrors of the 20th century among the general american populace is probably being deployed cynically...'consider the source' for sure.

    But like so many of these things steeped in poop meant to obfuscate the issue or writer's angle, there's *some* little grain of truth wrapped in that turd:
    ...all this data sharing & signing up for these means tested programs with endless paperwork & bureaucracy is pernicious.

    Quite the gymnastics act they're doing for sure...


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