Fresno In The News

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Signs of the times – Hoovervilles, coming to a town near you! Here’s the picture they used in the New York Times article.

An encampment of tents under an overpass in Fresno.

Of all the cities in the US, why feature Fresno? There are certainly other cities that have bigger Hoovervilles than us. Given that we always have higher unemployment here, usually two to five points above the national average, due to the nature of the farming industry and the constant influx of undocumented individuals looking for work in that field (no pun intended), it’s no surprise that this is happening here. There is a sub-context to this story. A couple of years back, the city was trying to deal with the homeless problem here in town. They would send police to places where the homeless were breaking camp on private property, and kick them out. When doing this, they would confiscate all the “junk” as some local radio personalities called it (KMJ’s excellent Ray Appleton was fair with this issue, as usual), that these homeless were hauling around, and incinerate it. Yes, some of the stuff in question was shopping carts full of the gains from dumpster diving and petty thievery, but, included in the confiscated “junk” were pictures of families, the tents that they owned and other belongings, including medicine and other necessities. The ACLU sued and the city capitulated and settled the case. One of the provisions of the settlement was that Fresno had to create a refuge for the homeless. This is why we have the “Village of Hope” featured in the accompanying Photo Slide Show. It may be due to the repercussions from a lawsuit, but Fresno is ahead of the game in dealing with the plight of the unemployed and homeless. It would have been nice for the Times to have pointed that out, but you can’t ask for everything I guess.

PS. I’m curious how long it will take the political jabbering heads to rename these “Bushvilles” or “Obamavilles”.

PPS. Hmm. Just noticed something. (A) The video used in the news segment I linked to used the same local in the montage that is featured in the NYT picture, and (B) the ACLU lawyer, with whome I share the same last name, is of no relation AFAIK.