Whether or not you accept the necessity of the $450,000 steel fence being built around the War Memorial across from City Hall to keep out the homeless, the pathetic irony involved with it — some of those homeless have fought in wars! — is out of control.
Backers of the fence, paid for with city and state money, say it is needed to preserve the “integrity and dignity” of the memorial, which has hitherto suffered the indignities of tents and “makeshift kitchens” on its grassy plaza and sleepers on its stone steps. And those are indignities that can’t but interfere with the city’s efforts to increase the use of the War Memorial’s facilities.
But however much vagrancy inconveniences the rest of us, it’s worse for the vagrants. And so whether or not this fence will “solve a lot of problems,” it’s not going to solve the fundamental problem of homelessness. So even if $450,000 is nothing compared to the $40 million a spokesman for the mayor says the city shells out every year in services for the homeless, this fence, with its custom-made finials, is really nothing to celebrate.
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