Soap Box: June 29-July 5 | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Soap Box: June 29-July 5 

CW reader responses on downtown homeless shelter, Bad Brad Wheeler and more.

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Cover story, June 29, "Shelter War"
Well, it appears nothing is going to happen. The proposed new "shelters" were all pushed back by the NIMBY crew, and politicians listened. Nobody wants the drugs and violence, but nobody wants to help, either. Anyone working within the downtown area has had at least one altercation with a vagrant, so we all have a negative view on them. Looking forward to seeing the progress. Simpson Avenue looks like a Syrian warzone at times.
Conor Papineau
Via Facebook

I appreciated the words of [social worker] Ryan Parker. When the block becomes profitable, restaurants and apartments, the politicians and elitist Pioneer Park Coalitioners will sit back and claim they did it. They will have only moved the problem. With as many City Weekly articles that have come out about "the Block" and the rags-to-riches stories, you'd think we would have come up with a solution.
Laura Jane
Via Facebook

Hey, legalize the dope and let them set up vendor booths. It sort of like that now anyway.
Craig S. Mattice
Via Facebook

We need to make sure that the tax base doesn't infringe on the rights of people shitting, littering and doing drugs downtown.
Ricky Stoddard
Via Facebook

We are failing as a society.
Jennifer Caress
Via Facebook

Wow, for anyone to say these people have given up on life is ridiculous! Life has given up on them—or should I say society has? Every time someone says, "Oh, they should just get a job," I ask them, "Would you hire someone who looks like that?" They say, "Hell no!" and all I can say is, "Exactly." I don't think current programs help at all; they only lead to laziness or not much better off from where they started. The problem is the way it's being handled, for sure, but pushing them out of the neighborhood does nothing but delay results.
Candace Ewell
Via Facebook

These are God's kids, too! We must use humility and love them more. Our government can't do it alone, nor will they.
Mark Massey
Via Facebook

I moved from SLC to PDX. Portland's homeless problem is 10 times what Salt Lake City deals with.
Brandi Morgan
Via Facebook

I don't think it matters which city has it worse, as both cities have different histories when it comes to the community outreach and views of homelessness. Providing accessible support and means to survive is important for all human life. SLC needs to seriously think about [what] pushing lower-income/homeless west of I-15 will do to the city. "Cleaning up" shouldn't mean hiding people somewhere else because people don't want to see them in downtown SLC/near the temple.
Emily McNary
Via Facebook

There's a massive public housing backlog in this city, which actions like closing The Road Home are only going to make much worse. Expansion, not detraction of services, is the right choice economically and ethically. Not that any business leader or registered Republican cares.
Rumal Kaluarachchi
Via Facebook

So, let me get this straight. The Road Home has been downtown for a very long time. In the past 10 or so years, a bunch of businesses move downtown next to the homeless shelter that has been there for a long time and don't like it that homeless people are there doing what homeless people do because they are mentally ill or on drugs or both. Fucking unbelievable.
Bob Dobbs
Via Facebook

It's disgusting. I went to the farmers market and was afraid to sit on the grass. It was dirty, stinky and homeless people sleeping under trees. I'll never go back to SLC farmers market again until they can fix this problem of drug use. I love that they have money to buy drugs but no money to pay for a room to rent. Choices.
Ashley Roller Wolfgramm
Via Facebook

I find the lack of empathy and presence of entitlement highly disturbing. The homeless are not less than you and not all are addicts. If you've never struggled with addiction or you've never been homeless, and your largest complaint is to have to witness the way some people live—wow, Salt Lake.
Ramen Eggland
Via Facebook

Zero sympathy for the homeless shelter folks here. They were given a blank check by Boyer. They vehemently refused and [are] now in this quagmire.
Via Twitter

I support bus tickets to liberal states. L.A., Vegas, Portland—they love these people.
Kerry Knowles
Via Facebook

A mayor who wouldn't comment on her No. 1 issue and a "coalition" that believes homeless should be hidden away. Great article, City Weekly.
Via Twitter

Ugh. Just ugh.
Alesia Wilson
Via Facebook

There should be no future of downtown homelessness.
Craig Schroerlücke
Via Facebook

Homeless[ness] should be illegal.
Via Twitter

Music, June 29, "Listener Supported"
So strange—was just talking about Bad Brad Wheeler at work, mentioning how his soooothing voice was not on the radio to calm us on Friday.
Marie Maxwell Lane
Via Facebook

Yes! Bad Brad's unique voice and wealth of musical knowledge is so missed.
Jennie Williams
Via Facebook

Miss hearing you on the radio, Brad.
Sterling Perry
Via Facebook

I sure do miss him. So many nights sitting in my car in the garage after getting home from work waiting for a chance to run inside and finish his show. God bless Brad Wheeler.
Gam Gam
Via Facebook

Brad Wheeler is truly missed.
Jana Adamson
Via Facebook

Dine, June 29, "'Cue for You"
Thank you for choosing to mention my favorite BBQ place, Holy Smoke. Not only is the meat smoked to perfection—their side dishes can be meals all by themselves.
Angela Urrea
Via Facebook

Oh, there are days when I miss the land behind the Zion Curtain, and reading this made me homesick again.
Via Twitter

The Ocho, June 29, "Eight local (and better) brew alternatives for when you can no longer find 3.2 macro beer in Utah"
King Brian visiting us from Darby O'Gill and the Little People! Woohoo!
Michelle Louise
Via Facebook

The other beers are cheaper.
Raincoat Chucks
Via Facebook

The Straight Dope, June 29, "Did God have a wife, and if so where'd she go?"
So God's not a woman? All these years ...
Via Twitter

Opinion, June 14, "Social Media in Salt Lake"
Stan Rosenzweig makes a classic mistake about emergency communications; he assumes that a technology that's easy to use is therefore efficient and, in the worst of circumstances, robust. Having been involved in long-term planning with the state's emergency managers and literally dozens of agencies across a range of projected hazards, I assure you that no one expects or is prepared to rely on any single platform to deliver effective public communications during a crisis.

Power goes out, cell towers go silent, smartphones become dead weight.

This is true whether the event is sudden, like the "Big Shake" (to use Mr. Rosenzweig's term), or drawn out like the pandemic "we never had."

Twitter is great for active, localized events. However, social media platforms rely on individuals subscribing to and actively allowing updates from a given agency. Following an individual's social media account during a crisis, no matter what agency they represent, is effectively daft.

Yes, the public should subscribe to the social media accounts of state and local agencies for updates and preparedness information, but we should not rely on them categorically for real-time information.

In 2008, I participated in a community emergency-management conference at FEMA's campus in Emmitsburg, Md. The week-long workshop led up to an earthquake drill. This was essentially 48 hours of real-time response compacted into two sessions, morning and afternoon. In the heat of it, I could not get in touch with my agency liaison at the simulated Joint Information Center. In reality, she was one door down the hall. But she could not respond to my calls. What happened? As soon as leadership understood she had a background in journalism and writing press releases, she was tasked with writing all the press releases that were issued from the JIC. Through no fault of her own she was pulled out of her agency role and assigned something completely different. The next day, we resolved the issue, though it was a bit tricky. My takeaway from that exchange: Real-time response pulls one in several directions at once.

I'm often asked to speak at various conferences—including one organized by Mr. Rosenzweig—so I coined a shorthand phrase for what might be expected: Develop an alloy of characteristics.

Learn how to function when you haven't slept in two days, when you haven't had a shower in three days, and when the last meal you had was served in a styrofoam clamshell.

If you are in the zone, your best friend is likely to be a radio, and a raft of AA batteries. If you have the time and gumption, become a licensed amateur radio operator. Train with your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Join a voluntary agency like the American Red Cross, if only to learn how the response apparatus is actually supposed to function.

David Neale,

Former Dir. of Emergency Services, State Disaster Relations Liaison for the American Red Cross, Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter

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