How many times does Dick Feagler have to tell us that homeless people were way better 40 years ago back when he was 60? Most of the PD columnists need to join Clifton on the beach at this point. I don't read Feagler often, but I always get that knot in my stomach like attending a family reunion when I do read him. You know the one where you try to eat in an uncomfortable and unnatural position while listening to that elderly uncle who talks about his bathroom antics or the reason our government should spy on his gay neighbors because of their "un-American" activities or both of those topics combined together in one story. All the relatives just sit quietly rolling their eyes wondering what act of God could stop the pain of having to listen to these stories. At least at the family reunion you don't have to pay money for the Feagler-type story and there are usually deviled eggs.
Feagler again used the derogatory word for panhandler and did a rehash about how great homeless people were when he was not as old as he is now. He exaggerated a few stories about his encounters with panhandlers, and recounted a distorted history of homelessness in Cleveland. Sound familiar? Yes, this was nearly the same story that he told when the panhandling law was debated in City Council last year. He really needs new material. In fact, the readers need some new columnists that we would actually want to read every Sunday. I would go to the Forum section first if George from Brewed Fresh Daily had a weekly column or Bill Callahan or Yellow Dog Sammy were published in the Sunday PD.
I will just give you a few bullet points on how wrong Feagler is:
- Panhandlers are not all homeless (which I believe the Plain Dealer wrote about in their editorial in the same paper.)
- There are no beds sitting empty in any of our homeless shelters.
- The protest that Feagler speaks of is either the one in the early 1990s that opened up facilities year round instead of only in the winter or the one to close the deplorable Project Heat shelters at the end of the decade. Within two weeks of 2100 Lakeside opening after the Project Heat protests every bed was full and people were sleeping on mats in the cafeteria.
- I have never heard a panhandler request an odd amount of money, but a quarter does not cut it anymore. Even cheap alcohol, rent, food, and bus tickets are expensive today, Dick.
- When is he going to write about how disability checks today barely pay the rent?
- Addiction is a health problem, and we need to deal with it like we do cancer. The "go cure yourself and come talk to us when you are sober" just does not cut it.
- People are not trash and do not need to be recycled, but it seems that newspaper articles keep getting recycled. Does he get the same pay for a recycled column as Phillip Morris gets for his new ways to insult Clevelanders appearing every week in the PD?
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.