Friday, April 24, 2015

Maker House Founder Feels Threatened by Homeless Activist & It's Hard to Grasp Why

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 4:45 PM

KVOA posted a story last night with the headline, "Downtown Businessman Said He Was Threatened by Homeless Camp Founder."

The businessman is Maker House's John Jacobs, and by "homeless camp founder" they refer to John McLane, one of the creators of Safe Park—an advocacy group made up of Tucson's houseless residents.

Read McLane's message below:

click to enlarge COURTESY OF KVOA
  • Courtesy of KVOA

McLane is trying to put a forum together—he invited me, too—to discuss the way homelessness is dealt with at a city level, the lack of resources there are for some people, and debate possible long-term solutions to get individuals off the streets. All very relevant, fair and non-offensive conversations to have. 

I guess, when Jacobs did not respond to McLane's first message, McLane sent another—this is the one Jacobs took as a "threat." 

McLane posted the message on Facebook before a full-on news story about it broke out.

When I read the second portion, I took it as, "Hey, let's try and gather as many minds as possible to figure out how we can fight this issue, otherwise the number of people on the streets is going to be so damn overwhelming, some may end up looking for a place to sleep in other areas of downtown, including in front of Maker House."

I didn't read it and think, "Oh, he is threatening to bring houseless people to make a mess in front of Maker House."

But that's what some people read and made a scene about it.

Throughout this months-long dilemma with the Safe Park so-called dream pods, a lot of energy—maybe too much energy—has been focused on badmouthing McLane. Even the fact that he hasn't paid child support was, apparently, a relevant topic to discuss at some point (Tucson goes OK! Magazine).

He did burn bridges around town. We are all entitled to want to break away from a person when he or she does something we don't like. 

Say what you will about McLane—egocentric, he doesn't care about homeless people, he pushed the movement too far, etc.—Safe Park has been one of those entities that managed to put this problem right in front of your face. It got a lot of people—even those who refuse to think of Tucson as anything other than a Utopia of socio-economic equality—to start caring.

I feel more threatened by the city ordinances and state laws that criminalize not having a home; the rules shelters have that leave out hundreds of people with no option but to camp behind Estevan Park, a wash or a sidewalk; the thought that if you have a felony in your record, you no longer qualify for most employment.

Those are the real threats, not silly, misinterpreted Facebook messages. 

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