A reader from the Monroe Monitor asked me to post this because they couldn’t get the monitor to post their letter to the Editor.
I was kind of hesitant to do so because I really like the Monitor but this is a story that needs to be told so I am honoring their request.
Even though I don’t entirely agree with some of the viewpoints, this is not my private forum, it is a public forum based on 1st Amendment Rights.
As usual they are fearful of retaliation, and history has shown us that most folks who speak out, or defend others are in fact retaliated against, myself included, so here goes
This is the story
The Monroe Monitor & Valley News November 22, 2016 Vol. 126 No. 47
Here is the reply.
I would just note that we here at the Snohomish County Reporter do not advocate euthanizing anyone, especially drug addicts, we do however advocate spending money to help them and if they refuse maybe they need to be locked up in a drug treatment facility long enough to clean up and possibly get the tools and counseling they need.
***Please be warned there is swearing, lots of swearing
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RE: Inaccurate reporting “Making homeless connections”
We’re writing you regarding your errors in reporting for an article titled “Making homeless connections” published 11/22/2016. In this article, you stated what a great job the Monroe police were doing helping the homeless and offering them the much-needed resources to get into housing. The offerings you said they made to people living in tents like the offering of free socks and toiletries were never offered to Mr. Brokofsky, and you quoted him as saying that he refused services stating that he preferred to live outdoors. This is a horrible misquote as what he said was that he had no choice but to live outdoors because he survives on SSI income making it impossible to come up with the necessary money to move into a place. He is used to living outdoors having done so for the better part of his 51 years and he does his best to make it as comfortable as possible. But thanks to your article listing not only his location but also the personal items that he owned in the newspaper you opened him up as a target for potential thieves. And Yes, that is actually what happened! While he was away from his tent for a thanksgiving dinner some other homeless (probably drug addict) person decided to slice open the side of his tent the entire length of the tent making it useless now and stole all his batteries, his power inverter and any and all electronic devices he had while he was enjoying a thanksgiving dinner with us. Thanks to you, we now feel guilty for dragging him away to a good dinner. After Steven read your article misquoting him as preferring to live outdoors and after spotting several other errors in your reporting he became outraged and was very concerned that this article targeted him for thieves. At first refusing to leave his tent even for a Thanksgiving Dinner, but we were able to convince him to come only after agreeing to bring his small generator with us along with a backpack of other essentials. At the time we thought he was being a little paranoid, but in retrospect, we’re glad we took it or that would be gone also.
Your article that was so quick to give up his name and location and a list of his personal belongings causing him to be targeted, yet it failed to mention the real reason the cops were actually there. They were not there to offer services as you claim, they were there collecting information that they used to return the following day and write a criminal trespass warning giving Mr. Brokofsky two weeks to move his tent or be jailed. Thanks so much for your help! The authorities in Monroe have no such desire to help the homeless they only want to remove the unsightly problem from their streets! As a matter of fact, Snohomish County has gone so far as to rewrite the ordinances to make homelessness a criminal charge anywhere in the county.
10.24.035 Unlawful camping with its 10.24.050 Penalty.
One of the many inaccuracies in your article stated that a 65-year-old man living next to Mr. Brokofsky was too ill to come out of his tent. Luckily you were able to get him some emergency housing. You may have got him emergency housing but ‘boy you were seen coming” by that guy. You sure got that one wrong. The gentlemen as you call him is one of the many homeless in the city that gives being homeless a bad rap! He is nowhere close to 65 years in age (although there are a few on the street that are that age) he is in fact, younger than Mr. Brokofsky. He was not too ill but too lazy to come out of his tent as witnessed by his frequent defecating all around his tent. He is perfectly capable of coming out of his tent when he decides he is in need of drugs or companionship, so we feel you were taken by his opportunistic ploy. Excellent Work!
There are multiple problems when dealing with homelessness so lets start with a few definitions. Like the number of truly homeless, there are in Monroe. It is to say the least not accurate to take a count mid-summer as many of the so claimed homeless are actually spoiled kids with a drug habit who prefer to camp than to go home and deal with moms rules. So to get a realistic count it must be done mid-winter. Because most people find a way or reason to make amends and go home during the cold winter months with snow on the ground like now. Next, let us define the term ‘drug addict’. A drug addict is someone who lies, steals, cheats, cons, or otherwise victimizes another in order to obtain the money necessary to pay for his growing drug habit. As far as we’re concerned the employed individual who unwisely spends all of his/her income on a controlled substance is dumb – but who gives a shit! Anyone who consumes illegal substances while not victimizing another, leave them the fuck alone! That should free up quite a bit of not only court time but also officer time so they can spend it actually helping the needy in the community.
Yes, addiction is a huge problem and one we have no solutions for but it is not synonymous with homelessness. Anyone with a criminal background (no matter how minor) faces unbelievable hurdles in obtaining housing and employment. Many disabled are homeless because they can barely feed themselves and afford the paraphernalia to camp comfortably on their income. Forget stretching any money left to spend on rent, if they could find a place. Just this week, we were scanning the ads for a rental for a friend, do you realize that a studio apartment in Redmond is $1600 a month! Houses range between $2300 and $5000 a month to rent! Unfucking believable. God forbid we should lose my current housing situation or we would also be homeless and camping on the street too. Affordable housing is needed!
But now lets define our disabled. We personally know many people who receive SSI for being mentally incompetent. But in our opinion every single one of them could work if they had to, but why would they try? Trying to gain employment only costs them from receiving the free money they already get. Basically they are disciplined (charged a fee, receive less money than usual) if they make any attempt to correct their situation. Maybe they should receive bonus’ for earning their own way, instead of being discouraged from becoming self-reliant again? It’s the system that is broke! Not the people!
Parents are no longer allowed to discipline their children anymore for fear of child abuse charges. This is ridiculous and only fuels the gang mentality held by most youths today. Ask any outlaw biker out there, “fear is an excellent motivation for respect” and today’s youth no longer respects their parents or any authority at all. At least not until they are made to pay for their poor choices and then they become labeled as criminals and are no longer afforded the opportunities they once had. What today’s youth needs is a good whippin with a belt and some household chores to do. Maybe then we can get back to people working for a living instead of begging for one.
Not all homeless people become public nuisances, or are out there panhandling! (Want to reduce panhandling? Stop giving them money!) Some homeless are employed, some on a fixed income, others are drug addicts doing whatever they can to get what they want. Probably raised without parental examples of working for a living. Even more likely today they were raised by drug addicted parents or they were pawned off on their grandparents (like so many) while their parents live in leisure tormented by drug addiction. Some of the homeless you pass on the street daily and would never know are homeless. They are not out stealing, they are clean and properly clothed, they are not out breaking laws or victimizing others but they too are harassed by the local authorities simply because they are homeless. Homelessness shouldn’t be a crime!
We personally know Mr. Brokofsky and his pet “Spike” very well, and have a unique understanding of his situation. He is not a thief, as a matter of fact, he despises thieves and he refuses to promote stealing by limiting his belongings to items he has legitimately purchased. Being homeless he runs across other homeless people who aren’t as morale and who might offer him items that would make his tent residing a little easier but they are items stolen from another and he will not participate. Does he get credit for those right behaviors? NO! Don’t get me wrong about Mr. Brokofsky, he is impossible at times, definitely, but he isn’t a drug addict out there adding to the problem. His problem is homelessness and lack of resources to get back on his feet. Well, that and a lack of education and being a victim of child abuse himself all add to his attitude issues. But all those problems (we keep insisting to him) he could overcome. If only he weren’t constantly under police bombardment and didn’t have to constantly relocate his tent and replace his belongings that get stolen from his tent whenever he’s away. It’s that vicious circle that leads to his argumentative tendencies that most would agree he has. Mr. Brokofsky’s hostility issues mostly stem from enduring this repeated cycle of finding a place to call home.
Ironically, as little as he has of his own, we personally have witnessed him take in newbie’s from the street and help them by sharing all that he has so long as they promise to stay off drugs. Even when doing so costs him greatly with his personal relationships and the frequent let downs when the addict decides to steal from him and move on, which has happened. Regardless we have witnessed him repeatedly try to help others off the street and off of heroin each time knowing the potential for failure. Why? Because it is the right thing to do!
There is the story you should write. Hell, there is the answer to Monroe’s “community support specialist” position mentioned in your original heavily biased and inaccurate article that prompted this babbling response. What did the article say it would cost $50,000 to $60,000 a year for this contract position? Hell for half of that amount of money Mr. Brokofsky could get off of SSI permanently, reobtain a driver’s license, thereby overcoming all of his obstacles and freeing him to actually be the homelessness activist he so longs to be. He has been an activist for the homeless for years but being homeless himself doesn’t leave a lot of room to move and actually activate any kind of action.
Yep, hire Steven Brokofsky and his pet lizard “Spike” the ones exploited in your article as Monroe’s new community support specialist. That’s what Monroe needs to do. Of course, you won’t be able to find him anymore because you caused him to be, once again, shoved out and have to find another place to camp. Oh ya, his tent he uses to live in was destroyed when your article led thieves to his location and listed the items available to steal. So we’re not sure where to find him, but we’re quite certain he is still alive and out there bitching about it to someone, somewhere. We’ll give you his phone number to call as long as you don’t publish that too!
That’s perfect, Monroe could solve Monroe’s homeless problem by hiring a homeless man with the experience to actually reach the people in need! And that is about as likely to happen as seeing this commentary actually get printed!
Just to set the record straight,
Concerned Citizen Observation
**(Personally we feel that we should euthanize all heroin addicts as it only speeds up the inevitable and would reduce the number of victims who have to suffer while the addict gets there. But we have a very biased hatred for that particular addiction and we’re sure most would disagree that this was a realistic solution, and we digress!)
*** Mr. Steven Brokofsky can be reached at (360) 348-6694 should you have any real housing options or better yet any employment opportunities for him.
Copyright 2016 Snohomish County Reporter