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Women with Infants Begging at Midtown Safeway Tonight

Original post made by Midtown Guy, Midtown, on Aug 1, 2012

Before I get tons of hate responses, I am not a cold-hearted rich person who ignores his fellow man. Regularly (and usually without
a need for recognition) I have automatic deductions to Doctors Without Borders, the Salvation Army, and other good organizations.
Although I am retired and 75, and live on a fixed income,I wish to continue to help make the world, and Palo Alto, a better place.

But seeing two different sets of women with infants (babies) in their arms, and cardboard signs, at 7 p.m. at the Midtown Safeway tonight got me to thinking about so many things. I flashed to what would happen in some European countries--I saw an image of a pair of bobbies (male and female) in England, approaching the women genttly and guiding them away to a social services unit, probably.

I wondered what we do in Palo Alto to spot child endangerment on the public streets? Call a cop? They don't even come for auto accidents. Would they show compassion?

How about all the people rushing in and out of the store, past the women and babies, still locked in the heads at cyberwork? Will they social network about it?

And what about the women and their babies? Obviously they don't live here, so is it believed that kindness and generosity are easily available here? Don't they feel there are social service agencies and religious organizations that can help them better than begging in the streets and damaging their babies?

So, no, I don't think we have the advanced social services of the Europeans, nor do the princes and princesses of startups here have the time or inclination to do much after 12 hour brain drains and accumulation of their own needs (wants).

It also connects with the car campers and homeless living on the streets of Palo Alto, some obviously very mentally ill--almost dangerous-- and totally ignored by us for safety and other reasons. Women and men on University Ave have staked out THEIR habitual begging spots (which they will sometimes fight over as if it their property). You walk past every day, as Maseratis and BMW's and Mercedeses surge by. Do you disconnect? Experience futility and despair at the uselessness of trying to help?

So do you "doublethink," a la Orwell? Hold two simultaneously contradictory thoughts in your mind at the same time, as if that's normal? To stave off the madness?

Comments (14)

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm

The only way to motivate your "princes and princesses of startups" as you call them - in my opinion - is to put this kind of assistance into the tax code and make it an item that shows up on their bottom line within those taxes is some way. Because taxes are minimal for these people they don't give a damn how much it costs of what happens, because they don't see it.

These folks are supposed to be the bringers of innovation, and the only innovation we have ended up with is war, encroachment to our privacy, and a society that is inversely proportional socially to the size and number of our so-called social networks.

If we did this, and the same with health care, there would be an actual incentive for people, and corporations - ie. fake people, to look at, complain about, criticize and eventually figure out how to minimize these costs while getting the same outcome. This is the way our country ought to work, then with aligned incentives things might actually get better instead of waiting for global austerity to kill off these people.

As it is, these costs, government costs, social costs, environmental costs are all socialized - on the people, who do not have the scope, connections or bandwidth to do anything about it. The people we have depended on to react to social problems are oblivious to the problems. Put a more tax margins and more progressive rate increasing right to the top, and these people will get the message and improve the situation.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2012 at 11:50 pm

We're they gypsies? Regardless, I suggest subtly calling the police for possible child endangerment. Scam or real need - or some of both - they're putting babies in harm's way & that's unacceptable. It is the job of peace officers to ensure public safety, incl the safety of those who are helpless.

Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Aug 2, 2012 at 8:24 am

In this country, unlike any other that you mentioned, our ACLU made it part of a person's right to live on the streets and beg, and NOT be forcibly brought to any social services or psychiatric agency. Women have the "right" here to keep their children, regardless of ability to care for them, often in the face of drug abuse,neglect or flat out physical abuse. In other words, we have made it virtually impossible to "help" anyone against their will. Right or wrong, that is why you don't see "bobbies' moving people along. Right or wrong, that is why our police can do nothing in the face of no actual criminal activity occurring. For example, in health care, we MUST discharge a patient to the street, if that be his chosen "address", as it is his "right" to live where and how he wishes, regardless of his mental status or ability to care for himself. We can NOT force him into a shelter.

Anon: good grief. Charitable donations ARE part of the tax deduction are on the wrong side, as the Dem party led by Obama has repeatedly tried to eradicate the tax deduction for charitable giving ( which would drastically reduce charities' funding). And, of course, government has done such a great job with poverty since beginning the War on Poverty 40 years ago, we have more on welfare, food stamps and officially in poverty than since the Great Depression. So, obviously, we need more government to fix it, don't we?

Like this comment
Posted by Seen Before
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2012 at 10:56 am

These women with babies is part of a group that have been in Palo Alto and Mountain View before. They are dropped off in Palo Alto in the morning to beg from you for the group.

They are not what they seem. They are hired (or manipulated) by gangs of men from who knows where to play on your sympathies; that's how they are forced to make money for their men. Don't fall for their pathetic storey.

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:00 am

> Women have the "right" here to keep their children, regardless of ability to care for them, often in the face of drug abuse,neglect or flat out physical abuse.

That's not true, lots of women, lots of parents lose their rights to their children when there are serious problems. There are reasons for the way things are, and no system is perfect. The abuses of the past, not the ACLU brought this about.

The reason the poverty programs were cut was that they were effective and ended up giving power and self-determination in areas that affected the balance of what was there before that was helped by the poverty programs. We could get rid of poverty, the power structure in the country does not want that just like they do not want direct democracy.

Perspective, you are really living in a fantasy world ... big Fox News fan are you?

Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:19 am

Anon...PLEASE give me ONE government poverty program that has been "cut"??? In fact, every single one has grown until now we have the largest percentage of people on food stamps, welfare, aid to dependent children, earned-income tax credit, MediCal, subsidized housing..ever.

Now, if you mean that private donations are down to programs..I can believe that. The less employment there is, the less people make, the more government takes, the more insecure people feel..the less they can give.

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:24 am

War against poverty ....

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

This is not the appropriate place for these women to seek assistance (if indeed they are doing so) -- more likely, as posted above, they are used by someone powerful and they sure 'aint from around here. The notion of using infants for such manipulation is despicable and I would think child endangerment is a possible charge that should be looked into. I haven't been there and seen this, but I will not engage such persons nor "donate" to them.
Please donate to recognized, accountable, verified, audited charities and nonprofits - thank you.

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm

It would be nice if we could trust anyone ... but the truth is you cannot trust the people on the street to be what they say they are, nor can you trust the non-profits ... many of which have CEOs getting typical CEO pay ....

I still think the best way is to bite the bullet and make government programs that are transparent and audited, paid for by everyone and open for all to see.

The link I posted above was a link to Sargent Shiver's retrospective, who talked about how when people started to be helped and boosted out of poverty by the anti-poverty programs - THAT WORKED - they started getting kick back by established power bosses who resented anyone getting, having or earning anything that did not make them beholden to them!

The problem with poverty programs is not that they do not work, it is that our corrupt system does not want them BECAUSE THE WORK.

As to these particular people, I think anonymous is right, call the cops and if it is school time report truancy or child abuse. We have a big problem with so many of these kinds of "trash" ( sorry to say that and I could be wrong about this particular group, children) that are a huge cost not only economically but politically.

Unless we have the guts to either help them or prevent them from breeding the problem like all of our big problems - JUST GETS BIGGER AND UGLIER.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm

So does Seen It Before or anyone else here have real data on these people running groups of beggars?

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 3, 2012 at 12:23 am

What about the young people who are sitting almost all day on Palo Alto street corners selling strawberries and other produce? Even when it's very hot. Where do they go to use a rest room? How much of the money do they keep? Who is behind this business? Are they licensed? Does the city permit this or look the other way? Los Altos cracked down on this and said 'no".

Like this comment
Posted by Seen Before
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

These women are probably part of an international Mafia group, the same people who send children out in front of the Colosseum in Rome to pick your pockets and grab your purse. It's worldwide Mafia in action.

Like this comment
Posted by Charles
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm

As Seen Before says above, this is a typical trick practiced in many countries in Europe by Gypsies among others. Visit and observe. They are not indigent. This is their work day. The babies are to invoke sympathy and are not endangered.

Like this comment
Posted by nobody
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2012 at 11:43 am

You guys are delusional. Is this how you justify not sliding poor people a buck or two? Let's all blame the victims of poverty here lest anybody call us out on being cheapskates. International mafia begging ring? That's ridiculous. Have fun rationalizing your largess with your multi- million dollar homes. Try to realize that most people out there are not as fortunate as you, and if you have extra that you will never use, here's a little secret: It feels really really good to give.

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