Public Comment

HOMELESSNESS: Re: the Death of David Simmons

By Nicola Bourne
Thursday March 20, 2014 - 05:55:00 PM

I find it saddening that Ms. Uribe first blames people who routinely dedicate themselves to community outreach on the homeless among us and then proceeds to chastise the Berkeley Police Department, alleging that their combined "failures" led to the recent sad death of David Simmons. She goes on to claim that Mr. Simmons "should have been rescued, not persecuted... not forgotten," without giving a shred of evidence that anyone persecuted him or that neither of the two groups just mentioned had tried to get him off the street. Finally, she declares, "Nobody in Berkeley cared," and that "we should all be ashamed." 

That's an astonishing amount of blaming. However, I have to wonder where she and Mr. Simmons "friends" were during his year of homelessness, and what she she and/or they do to rescue him. Is she, and are they who actually knew and befriended him ashamed?  

The fact is that a whole lot of Berkeley citizens care very much about the large number of people who are, or might appear to be, homeless. It isn't as if we don't pass two or three such people by on every single downtown block, and we regularly approve budget requests to support "saving" them from their situation. Some of us also go out of our way to offer direct assistance. I'm very sad to learn that one among us died in such a way, but Ms. Uribe's words ring falsely and hollowly to my ear.