Poking the Woke, and Human Waste in Charlottesville

California comes to Charlottesville: urine, feces, hypodermic needles, trash, and all.

“Affordable housing.”

by Jock Yellott

“What happened to the First Amendment in this country . . . ?” demanded somebody calling himself ‘Rudy Hess.’ Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook cut the audio. This was late in the City Council meeting, about 10 p.m. during public comments mostly taken up by remarks on Charlottesville’s new homeless tent city.

Several previous callers had exhausted Snook’s patience and good humor. They started by pretending to be agreeably Woke. “Speaking as a transgender person,” said one before launching into obscenities, which had to be cut off. Another, ‘Sadie Enwird’ (sound it out after you finish the paragraph) claimed to be a Social Worker helping the homeless. Two minutes later she broke into a toxic rant: “The best solution is to round them all up and send them back to Africa, all these fucking niggers . . . ” Such hate speech, the City Attorney opined, justified cutting her off, too.

Then came ‘Rudy Hess.’ The original Deputy Führer Rudolph Hess sentenced at Nuremburg, committed suicide in prison at age 93. Why would a dead Nazi war criminal poseur phone in to Charlottesville’s City Council? Or the others who were cut off?

Calling it Poking the Woke.

City Council and the Woke champions of the “unhoused” who dominate public comments in the last couple of meetings are easy targets. The activists hurl invective and obscenities of their own, as well as indulging in make-believe. They fomented a fake grievance to loosen the City’s purse strings and get funding for a homeless shelter. From the video of the City Council meeting September 18, 2023, starting at 2:53:19:

There was a incident at the park, where one of the officers kicked the young man that was setting here …. [The officer] was trying to wake him up. But instead of gently touching him … he decided to kick him. And … prior to that … your officers went over to Lee Park and woke everybody up, and made ’em leave with the exception of the white people that were in the park.

He kicked that boy like he was kicking a football down the field to the other team,” another alleged witness told our local paper, the Daily Progress. “He put his soul into that kick.

Fortunately, the police officer had his body camera running. The video shows police awakening the man to say the park was closed. He fell back asleep. The officer nudged the man’s heel with his toe.

“Not the violent kicking that was alleged. He woke up, he eventually packed his stuff, and left the park,” said Police Chief Kochis at a press conference. The Chief added, everybody was told to leave after the 11 p.m. curfew. Everybody. White, black and Latino.

But the lie served its purpose. Charlottesville’s City Manager on his own initiative suspended the 11 p.m. park curfew ordinance until further notice. Sleeping homeless: Do Not Disturb.

Can the City Manager suspend an ordinance? The City Charter requires that the City Manager “shall enforce the law.” Courts read “shall” as a mandate, not permissive.

But as a practical matter, unless regular citizens pony up for a very expensive taxpayer lawsuit, only City Council can make the City Manager do his job. And Council supports him. Rather than let the taxpayers win, Council would just cancel the ordinance.

The tent city now sprawls across the length and width of Lee Park, which the City renamed Market Street Park some years ago. Ten tents last week; 20 now. A stream of urine cascades down the park’s concrete steps; a dog walked through a puddle and still smells of piss. Empty bottles; beware stepping on hypodermic needles. Across the street at the Historical Society the volunteer gardener says she’s quitting. She did not sign up for collecting human waste, feces in the shrubbery.

This curfew-free zone the City Manager says, is temporary. But no indication when it will end, or what is required to end it. After Charlottesville builds enough shelters? Shelters cannot solve the problem. And the only real solution is unacceptable to City Council.

Shelters do not solve the problem, because roughly half or more of the homeless are addicts. Alcohol, drugs, or both. Shelters cannot allow drug or alcohol use inside, nor admit those stoned or drunk out of their minds. Fights, sexual abuse, cots on fire: the shelter becomes uninhabitable.

For that reason addicts generally avoid shelters. A homeless person some time ago told me she preferred living outdoors for the “freedom.” Freedom it turned out, to serve her addiction.

That’s anecdotal. Would you like statistics? Examples of the percentage of homeless accepting shelter when offered:

Seattle in December 2022 started a public/private philanthropy initiative to house ALL their homeless, called “Partnership for Zero” (zero unhoused). The philanthropy included Seattle’s Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Serious money. A new Command Center, hiring outreach workers trained in empathy and courtesy, targeted geography, working with private landlords. About 1,000 homeless contacted; 231 people housed. The rest — three out of four — stayed put. Nine months later, in September 2023, the Seattle Times said in an editorial that Partnership for Zero has collapsed.

Another Seattle program: the Mayor’s One Seattle Homeless Action Plan. In three months in 2023 the City extended 1,233 offers of shelter; 554 accepted. A little over one-third. Meantime, back in Seattle’s homeless tent cities there were 6,435 emergences to which the police had to respond, 70 fires, and 31 shots fired. No tally of how many bullets killed somebody.

Charlottesville’s tent city is still young, in its first weeks. So far only one stabbing. The police say it was in or near the park.

What about the homeless who are not addicts, less allergic to shelters?

Mental illness is the major factor (although often the mentally ill self-medicate, adding the addiction problem). This writer has two friends who were self-supporting until bipolar disorder in one case and acute depression in the other put them on the street.

One self-medicating with alcohol, had the strength to kick the habit and is now quasi-self supporting on Social Security Disability in Section 8 housing.

The other clawed his way up out of homelessness, held for a while a lucrative job in specialized computer programming. But his boss and the clients could not cope with his instability. He was let go. Now he’s in what pilots call a “flat spin:” unrecoverable. Left town. When he runs out of money for hotels and kitty litter, he and his cat will be back on the street. There eventually, the end.

As one volunteer at the Haven, a former Methodist church across from the park offering free food, showers, and now tents, said recently: “You see the same guy for five years. Then one day, you don’t see him any more. It’s a downward spiral.”

As well as the mentally ill, there are ex-convicts; sex workers aged out of the job; divorced women; those fleeing an abusive husband or an adverse custody order with children in tow; the down-and-out; a few runaway youngsters. These folks maybe could benefit from shelters and social services.

But incorrigible addicts? What works for them is out of the question, at least in Woke Charlottesville.

The word ostracism derives from the Greek word for pot shard. The ancient Athenian democracy voted with broken pot shards to exile those they considered a menace to public order (usually for political reasons). Athens also ostracized inveterate drunks.

Likewise the Mexican Constitution, written in 1917 and redolent with Social Justice: rights to housing, food, health care, and education (model for the Bolshevik’s Revolutionary constitution in Russia). Mexico allows stripping rights of citizenship “due to vagrancy or customary inebriation.” See Article 38 §IV.

A local public official told me Charlottesville’s homeless population is surging in part because some other Virginia jurisdictions drive them out. My bipolar friend confirms: that works. He was in Miami. Despite sunshine and a nice beach, relatively few homeless in Miami. Because the police beat them.

An antique City Charter provision does give Charlotesville authority to “expel from said city” those prone to “vice and immorality;” or to “preserve public peace and good order.” Why would Charlottesville think doing the opposite, welcoming and coddling the homeless including those who choose it — will reduce their numbers?

Back to where we started. Mayor Snook cut off ‘Rudy Hess’ anticipating he would say something objectionable after “what happened to the First Amendment?” Likely a judge would laugh at that irony, rule the First Amendment alive and well, and say that an exasperated Mayor Snook had erred, although a lawsuit is unlikely: ‘Rudy Hess’ would have to admit his part in a concerted Poke the Woke campaign hate speech.

Law n’ order, is usually what government is for. But in Charlottesville it’s been law versus order, when it comes to Social Justice. For Woke activists the City Manager suspends a park ordinance, and the Mayor abridges the federal and state constitutional guarantees of free speech to shield them from incivility.

A wise man of lifelong poverty said: “By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?

Just go look at that park.

Okay, yes: a shelter, help for those who accept it. We might reclaim some of what the Nazis deem — forgive my using the trope — human waste.

Just don’t expect hospitality to reduce the number of homeless. Nor beneficent good intentions to transform the incorrigible. Even Jesus distinguished between poverty, and sin.

Jock Yellott is an attorney living in Charlottesville.


Charlottesville City Council Meetings Sept 18, 2023; Oct. 2, 2023

Police News Conference on the alleged “kick”
(See Youtube, Thursday Sept. 28, 2023 “News Conference on the Market Street Park Administrative Investigation”)

Seattle Mayor’s One Seattle Action Plan

The Effort to End Downtown Seattle’s Homelessness has Ended — Now What?

Mexican Constitution

Aristotle, Athenian Constitution, XXII 3-4 (Loeb Library)

Matthew 7:16 (Jesus speaking of false prophets); Mark 14:7 (some commentary suggests disciples including Judas expressed outrage at expensive ointment poured on Jesus; instead it should be sold ‘to give to the poor.’ Actually Judas wanted to steal the money).

My thanks to our long-suffering Mayor for suggesting I sound out the name ‘Sadie Enwird.’