Mayor Mike Coffman talks with CBS Channel 4 News Denver reporter Shaun Boyd after his week posing as a homeless vet last week. SCREEN GRAB
Mayor Mike Coffman told a Denver TV reporter this week that people are deceiving themselves in thinking theyre doing the right thing when it comes to dealing with the regions homelessness problem.
He should heed his own advice.
Coffman fooled himself into thinking that by pretending to be homeless for a week he now has the answers to one of the regions most heartbreaking and complicated social problems.
If only it were that easy.
The Aurora mayor became the story this week after posing as a homeless veteran for seven days and hanging out in a few local encampments and shelters.
Becoming the story was clearly his intent. He invited an obliging Channel 4 TV News Reporter Shaun Boyd to exclusively relate his adventure.
This made-for-TV gambit resulted in hubbub over Coffman and Boyd perpetuating old chestnuts and tropes about the cause of homelessness and the mischaracterization of those who dont have a place to live.
Coffman said he pretended to be homeless to learn about whats driving the problem. Instead, he ended up being schooled by homeless advocates, mental health workers and some of his municipal peers about what a bad idea the pretense was.
I think he should issue a formal apology for it. Its completely unacceptable, said Englewood City Councilmember John Stone. He scolded Coffman during a virtual news conference Thursday, called by a consortium of area elected officials and homelessness experts. Stone said he was homeless between the ages of 16 and 21. I was homeless for five years. And Mayor Coffman believes that I am a hopeless case.
Stone was referring to Coffman telling Boyd that, after receiving his masters degree in homelessness last week at street school, he understands now that the regions homeless problem is a lifestyle choice and addiction quandary. Coffman tried backpedaling on the comments the next day on his Facebook page.
My intent was to (highlight) the difference between those staying in the shelters and those staying in the encampments, Coffman wrote.
He surmised that people who live outside choose to so they can do drugs, because drugs are against the rules in shelters. After talking with some urban people on the street who were homeless, he determined that the people living in camps prefer their life on drugs to having to get a job.
Boyd didnt offer any expert opinion during the exclusive segment, nor did she fact-check Coffman even once. The segment allowed him to toss out a veritable catalogue of debunked cliches about the causes, the conditions surrounding people who do not have homes.
He took his show on the road Saturday to FoxNews, where he told his story to an anchor there while B-roll ran from the Channel 4 segment and nobody questioned Coffmans private assertions.
Coffmans scheme was rife with red flags and problems from the beginning.
The mayor is not a journalist, but a journalist should have advised him about the ethical peril he invites by being dishonest about who he really is. Professional journalists embed themselves, but they never lie.
Coffman was also quickly and rightfully called out for passing off a week sleeping away from home as anything close to not being able to call for an Uber to get whisked back to reality if his charade went south or just got tiresome.
Many of the storys critics were incensed by Coffman telling Boyd that he wanted to get information for himself, outside of those with an agenda.
Over many years, Ive talked to and at one point worked alongside advocates in the trenches. I cannot even fathom what kind of nefarious agenda Coffman thinks this army of endlessly heroic do-gooders have. Boyd didnt ask.
Really, homeless advocates dont want people camping in parks and public spaces. Nobody does. They dont see a healthy supply of visibly homeless people as job security nor a financial ticket to the good life.
These patron saints see an endlessly complicated problem that, in the end, results in people living stressful, dangerous and often wretched lives, unable to find a way out of their quagmire.
Visible homeless people are now all over the region.Theyre next to Home Depot in Golden. Theyre behind Lamars Donuts in Broomfield. They are all camped across the metro area, trying to stay alive.
While addiction and homelessness on the street often go hand in hand, there are plenty of addicts with homes and even more people without homes and no addictions. Substance abuse may appear to the untrained as a desire and choice. Of those Ive known, who were addicted to heroin, opioids, alcohol or meth, not one wanted their addiction. Not one. Ever.
For each of them, their addiction was their cruel and relentless master. Heroin and meth dont care that you sleep on a sidewalk.
Coffmans other awakening came from determining that most homeless people arent from here. You dont have to hang out in homeless camps to know that most people everywhere in the metro area arent from here any more. Real experts could set him straight in understanding the problem of homeless is statewide. There are indeed plenty of native homeless people in Colorado.
Coffman and Boyd together virtually ticked off a catalogue of cliches and myths that homeless advocates have worked so hard to debunk.
Asked by Boyd what advice Coffman has regarding panhandlers and do-gooders, Coffman advised not to give them food or money because it only perpetuates the problem.
That fable is common among some people who confuse the erroneous concept of tough love with discipline and accountability.
Successful homeless recovery programs like Bridge House in Boulder and its Aurora counterpart, Ready to Work, work well because they integrate accountability and opportunity.
The debunked tough love fantasy dont feed them is a strategy to control feral cats.
Homeless people are not feral cats. The idea that free food only encourages homeless people to not get jobs is nothing but the fiction Ayn Rand got rich from.
The problem with not feeding the hungry is that they starve. Then, you have starving homeless people and an even more serious problem.
Finally, Coffman said hes hopeful because, out of the blue Denver Mayor Michael Hancock rang him and said he wants to look at a regional solution to the endless problem of homelessness.
Hancock helped make the problem of camping homelessness a regional problem with camping bans and sweeps that pushed people down the Platte River and up Cherry, Clear, Sand and Ralston creeks years ago.
My entire life Ive heard Hancock and other metro officials call for a metrowide approach to addressing the problem of homelessness.
Hancock and others see sharing the pain of the symptoms of homelessness as the answer, rather than finding ways to treat the problems that cause it.
Well get there, but we need real expertise, real conviction and real resources. What we dont need are boneheaded publicity stunts like this.
Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [emailprotected]
See the rest here:
- THE TEACHER'S DESK: We're almost there | Columns | thetimestribune.com - Times Tribune of Corbin - April 11th, 2021
- Allison Hanes: Laissez-faire fatalism seems to have infected Legault - Montreal Gazette - March 31st, 2021
- Letter: Re: Ethan Orr's Article on the Middle Class - Arizona Daily Star - March 31st, 2021
- Reaching Active Minds: Ayn Rand and the Ford Hall Forum - New Ideal - March 25th, 2021
- In Mosaic's darkly funny 'Inherit the Windbag,' an epic bickerfest (ep. 3) - DC Metro Theater Arts - March 25th, 2021
- Ralph Nader on Corporatism's Threat to Democracy - Progressive.org - March 25th, 2021
- There is such a thing as society: it has overcome Covid and restored the truth - TheArticle - March 20th, 2021
- Letter to the editor | UPJ nowhere to be found on Outlier site - TribDem.com - March 20th, 2021
- Talks of replacing Woody Allen in Ann Arbor mural reignited after new documentary - MLive.com - March 20th, 2021
- We wince; therefore, we are | Our Readers Speak | register-herald.com - Beckley Register-Herald - March 20th, 2021
- Why We Need Shakespeare and Beethoven - The Dispatch - March 20th, 2021
- B1G tourney preview: After 20 wins in NCAA regular season, Gophers still have something to prove in playoffs - Brainerd Dispatch - March 20th, 2021
- The Worst Ted Cruz Moments in History - Dallas Observer - March 20th, 2021
- The Books That Shaped Tina Howard and Teas to Pair With Them - Fort Worth Magazine - March 7th, 2021
- Are You Bullish or Bearish on America and Wall Street? - Stock Investor - March 7th, 2021
- Satire: Why two beers is the perfect amount - The State Press - March 7th, 2021
- Elon Musk and Amber Heard: How Did the Two Celebrities Meet? - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - March 7th, 2021
- CPAC Exposed the GOP's Fight for the Working Class as Just Another Culture War | Opinion - Newsweek - March 7th, 2021
- An Excerpt From 'Peter and the Wolves' by Adele Bertei on the Brief, Brilliant Life of Peter Laughner - Cleveland Scene - February 10th, 2021
- Our nation has never fully agreed on much, but it hasn't always torn itself apart | TheHill - The Hill - February 8th, 2021
- Paul and Romney embarrass themselves by lashing out at trans athletes - Outsports - February 8th, 2021
- Why Telling Students to 'Trust the Experts' Is Poor Advice | Caroline Breashears - Foundation for Economic Education - February 8th, 2021
- Liz was Isolated as a Felon on the Run, Transitioning Alone: Nick Cammilleri and Zackary Drucker on Their HBO Docuseries The Lady and the Dale -... - February 8th, 2021
- Letter: Pleased that Newhouse defended Constitution | Letters To Editor | yakimaherald.com - Yakima Herald-Republic - January 29th, 2021
- The more I practice, the better my luck - Las Cruces Bulletin - January 29th, 2021
- Geddy Lee on the Genius of Neil Peart - Rolling Stone - January 29th, 2021
- The Lady and The Dale | Review - The GATE - January 29th, 2021
- Ayn Rand on Morality and the Misuse of Political Power - New Ideal - January 27th, 2021
- 'The Lady and the Dale': TV Review - Hollywood Reporter - January 27th, 2021
- Closer to the park: St. Catharines commissions artwork to honour Rush drummer Neil Peart - The Globe and Mail - January 27th, 2021
- No more echo chambers: the internet's best left-wing thinkers - Spectator.co.uk - January 27th, 2021
- Currencies get back to the task at hand - FXStreet - January 27th, 2021
- Wikipedia is the last bastion of idealism on the internet Prospect Magazine - Prospect Magazine - January 27th, 2021
- article image Op-Ed: Investors making big money, but where are the trillions going? - Digital Journal - January 19th, 2021
- Unmasking the Deceased Programmer Who Donated 28 Bitcoin to Capitol Hill Rioters - Crypto Briefing - January 19th, 2021
- An Expert Explains the US Capitol Hill riot: anatomy of an insurrection - The Indian Express - January 15th, 2021
- The Meaning Of Work For A Happy Life (And New Year) - Forbes - January 15th, 2021
- Is It Selfish to Never Wear a Mask? - New Ideal - October 22nd, 2020
- Ayn Rands power isnt dimmed by the collectivist age of the pandemic - Telegraph.co.uk - October 20th, 2020
- What Tech Calls Thinking: Book Review | by Joshua Adams | Oct, 2020 - Medium - October 20th, 2020
- Welcome to Dystopia: 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead - Morning Star Online - October 20th, 2020
- The Dictatorial Impulse Behind the Shaming of PPP Recipients - New Ideal - July 21st, 2020
- Instead Of Open Or Closed, Dial Your Mind To Active - Forbes - July 21st, 2020
- Big problems with the Paycheck Protection Program? - The Week - July 21st, 2020
- Finally: Diamond and Silk are releasing a book - The Spectator USA - July 21st, 2020
- Tagore's Gora to Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan: Add these regional language books to your reading list - India Today - July 21st, 2020
- When MGM and the FBI Chased 'The Father of the Atomic Bomb' - WhoWhatWhy - July 21st, 2020
- What's Wrong With Ayn Rand's Philosophy? - The Objective ... - July 13th, 2020
- In sign of the times, Ayn Rand Institute approved for PPP loan - Reuters - July 13th, 2020
- 'We Took PPP Funds and Would Do It Again' - New Ideal - July 13th, 2020
- Auchter's Art: The confusing narrative of Betsy DeVos - Michigan Radio - July 13th, 2020
- Wisconsin school board member asked to resign after posting that 'George Floyd is drug free for 2 months' - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - July 13th, 2020
- St. Joseph reaps short-lived cash infusion - News-Press Now - July 13th, 2020
- Tips and Murmurs: Ayn Rand Institute gets government handout - Crikey - July 13th, 2020
- Local anti-tax groups find even they need big government aid sometimes - Seattle Times - July 13th, 2020
- Climbing aboard the PPP train | Opinion | citizensvoice.com - Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice - July 13th, 2020
- Prominent and politically connected Austin firms among those getting bailout loans - Austin American-Statesman - July 13th, 2020
- Indiana PPP loan recipients: See the full searchable list of who received them - Courier & Press - July 13th, 2020
- Mississippi PPP loan recipients: See the full searchable list of who received them - Hattiesburg American - July 13th, 2020
- Paycheck Protection Payouts Give Taxpayers Plenty To Ponder | K. Lloyd Billingsley - The Beacon - July 13th, 2020
- Whats the Deal With Parler and its Rising Popularity? - The Wire - July 13th, 2020
- We Talked With the Cast of 'Brave New World'! - The Mary Sue - July 13th, 2020
- Remember to find a reason to smile - News from southeastern Connecticut - theday.com - June 24th, 2020
- Shockingly, Law School Named For Affirmative Action Opponent Bad At Race And Diversity - Above the Law - June 24th, 2020
- When Tribal Journalists Try to 'Cancel' Ayn Rand (Part 2) - New Ideal - June 20th, 2020
- Understanding the Reactionary Outlook - Merion West - June 20th, 2020
- I visited the secret lair of the Ayn Rand cult - Haaretz - April 18th, 2020
- Ayn Rand's dystopia is here right now and 'Atlas' is shrugging - Fox Business - April 18th, 2020
- Rugged Individualism in Times of Pandemic Endangers Human Life Everywhere - The Good Men Project - April 18th, 2020
- The very American conflict between liberty and lockdown - The Week - April 18th, 2020
- Kelly Loeffler Knows What Socialism Is, And It Is 'Opposing Insider Trading' - Wonkette - April 18th, 2020
- OP-ED | The Era of Small Government is Over - CT News Junkie - April 18th, 2020
- Facebook's Libra Association tries again at this digi-cash game, with more modest ambitions after global flop - The Register - April 18th, 2020
- Gangster in the White House: Noam Chomsky on COVID-19, WHO, China, Gaza and Global Capitalism - Democracy Now! - April 18th, 2020
- Experts Assess Pandemic's Damage to the Economy - New Ideal - March 31st, 2020
- Yaron Brook Talks Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED, FOUNTAINHEAD & Covid-19 On Tom Needham's SOUNDS OF FILM - Broadway World - March 31st, 2020
- Sen. Rand Paul's reply to why he risked exposing people, or Selfish is as selfish does - Louisville Eccentric Observer - March 31st, 2020
- The Social-Distancing Culture War Has Begun - The Atlantic - March 31st, 2020
- How Coronavirus is shaking up the moral universe - Economic Times - March 31st, 2020
- Society's 'invisible bonds' come into the light - Newsroom - March 31st, 2020