Category Archives: VFW

Tables Turned – Homeless hater now Homeless

I find this story very interesting.  A woman with a beach-front duplex near the Ulehawa Beach park in Hawaii  was fed up with the homeless encampment across the road from her.   Marianne Beaman  had lived there for 9 years. 

“I was mad about it, believe me,” she said. “All this noise … and all the drugs and alcohol at either end of the park.”

Today, she resides in that encampment, in a tent less than 50 yards from the duplex she and her husband, Bert, rented for nine years.

“I lived right there in that very house,” she said, pointing to the beachfront property. “We made the hop from right there to right here. We’ve seen it from both sides.”

Now the city is closing the park for a week beginning February 10, 2008, so that it can evict the homeless permanently from the park.    Now Marianne is concerned about losing yet another place to live.  Yet another systematic homeless eviction process by another city with no place to send the displaced.   The Beamans had never been homeless before their landlord decided to convert their duplex unit into a vacation rental a while back. Six months ago, the couple and their two dogs began an anxious and reluctant occupation of Nani Kai Beach.

“At first we said, ‘We’re not going to move to the beach, we’re going to find a place to live,’ ” Marianne Beaman said. “My husband works. I’m on Social Security. But, we could not find a place we could afford. We don’t have any relatives here we can live with. So, finally we used our savings to build a shelter that would protect us from the weather.

“Now, we don’t have any idea where we’re supposed to go.”

Hopefully this will never happen to any of our Marietta city leaders nor to any of our readers.  But it does happen to tens of thousands of people nearly every month that never had a clue that it could happen to them.   It has happened to perhaps thousands of people in our small city, considering that the homed/homeless situation has considerable turnover in their makeup.  For every homeless person, there are likely 8 to 10 that have gone before them.  

The program director of MUST Ministries has said he thinks there are as many as 1000 homeless men and women unsheltered in Cobb County Georgia at this very moment. 

The last homeless count I’m aware of found only 330 unsheltered in January 2006.  The truth may lie somewhere between as it a simple fact that there is no way a small group of housed volunteers can find a homeless man in the woods if he is not interested in being found.  And none of them are.   We know of about 150 that are fed breakfast on Sunday mornings in one small area of Marietta.   This is an area that is sparsely populated by the homeless because the camping areas are almost non existent compared to south of the city and in the county.

MUST and their free lunch program is a draw to be sure, but the fact is, only a very few of the city’s homeless live near there for lack of cover.  It is an industrial and business area with crisscrossing roads and very few areas with trees and shrubs to hide campsites. 

Someone once said  that we all, each and every one of us are at most only two tragedies from homelessness.   It could be a family illness coupled with a job loss or any number of similar situations, including fire, earthquake, storm, abandonment, death of loved one, mental illness, service in war, or simply a landlord deciding to use his property in a different manner as the Beamans found out.   Also we all know that foreclosure is forcing hundreds of thousands out of their homes.   Couple that with another unfortunate event and many of these will be homeless.  Unexpectedly and unwillingly homeless through no fault of their own.  

Combinations of these unexpected events can push almost anyone into homelessness at any time.   Not drugs, not alcohol, not laziness, not gambling, not any of those things.  Think about it.  Many of the homeless in the woods near your neighborhood are just plain people like yourself that have hit a couple of speed bumps in their life too many. 

Repeat after me:  “There but for the Grace of God, go I”.  Say it 3 times.

But then, what does Marietta Care?   If you have read any of the 6 or 7 previous posts, the answer is that the City That Doesn’t Care cares nothing about the homeless!  They have sent the Storm Troupers to roust them out and dump their life support systems into the garbage trucks. 

In the dead of winter.  On the eave of the two coldest nights of the year.  Even with snow on the ground.  Without their blankets, without their tents, without their backpacks, even some without their shoes.   Yes, even the mentally ill who have no idea what is happening have been run over.    Jack-Legged Storm Troupers?  Maybe not quite that bad, but the homeless say it was not too far from it.  Heartless, certain.   Some of our police did not like the action taken, but each and every one knows they must do their duty.   When the Mayor says go, when the Council says clean them out… no choice.  None indeed.  Even our veterans, our homeless heroes.  Out.  Out. Out!  You left some trash.  You made somebody’s employee nervous when she saw you standing under a bridge the other day.  Out!  

This is the same shamefull city counsil that refused the VFW the right to give out flags alongside their float on Veteran’s day while the Mayor rode up front in grand style!  Now our homeless veteran friends clearly understand how Marietta supports our troups.  Particularly those in need.  Al, Perry OUT!  Take your flags with you!

So says Marietta, The City That Doesn’t Care!

Oldtimer

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Marietta Georgia – No compassion for homeless – NONE

The City of Marietta is evicting homeless from within our city limits.  Al, our homeless veteran friend that our church is trying its best to help reports that he and his friends, which are mostly homeless veterans, have been given notice to move “south”, meaning out of Marietta and toward Atlanta.

We have been helping Al and some of his friends in numerous ways.  Pat (see an earlier story on Pat here and her husband Scott and a few others in our church have been serving breakfast Sunday Mornings and later bringing some to our church for bible study and services, often treating them to lunch afterward.  Scott put Al in a hotel during the cold snap and the group has been taking supplies and clothing to them. 

Al has been faithful in attending, and as a result has taken to the idea that he can get out of this.  He no longer looks homeless, is neat, trimmed and dressed in his best clothes.  However, despite the information, forms, trips to the VA, Al still has not received his papers or his VA card.  He is still homeless.  He has said he has now committed to getting off the streets but has no place to go.

Above is one of the homeless camps being evicted by the City of Marietta.  This is an old photo taken from the air, but it also the site of Als current camp.   Believe it or not, this was found by use of the Hit and Visitor Map to the right of this blog.  It has zoom and several modes, including hybrid (satellite and road labeling), airborne, and “bird’s eye”.  I used the hybrid mode in zoom to find the general area, then switched to bird’s eye and quickly found his camp and 2 other camps.   Try it in your area (bird’s eye is not available in all areas, mostly metropolitan areas around large cities like Atlanta).  Look for blue tarps in mostly wooded areas.  Let me know if you find any. 

Now comes the City of Marietta.  They have systematically attacked the homeless camps within their city and have now worked their way to Als camp.  They did give them a little prior notice.  They were told that they are trespassing (wooded right of way of city) have to be packed up and moved out by Monday.  

Guess What?  Its snowing in Georgia.  The ground is covered.  A few will accept winter shelter but the beds are full.   They are totally dependent on MUST ministries a few blocks from their camp for food which MUST serves once a day on weekdays.   Nothing on weekends.

Moving means a miles long treck instead of a block or so walk.   The plan is obvious, make the homeless either seek shelter or get out.  Unfortunatly there are not enough beds to go around.  Not nearly enough.  So the plan is equally obvious – get out of our city

The city should provide facilities for these homeless before making them move.  They don’t.  They depend on MUST Ministries and a few other shelters that they have forced into industrial zones and have for the most part squelched expansion of facilities.  

Our city has decided to take the cheaper route – run them out of our city before they cost us money!  It also has another up side for the city:  Next year the homeless count will show another “remarkable” drop and no one will have to cook the books by redefining the homeless or unfinding any.  

Al works when he can find a job.  He doesn’t drink, doesn’t do drugs, has no noticeable mental problems.  He is a true walking hero with no place to go and our VA is not doing its duty.  Nor the VFW, nor our heartless City of Marietta.   He has fallen through the cracks and it makes me want to cry.

MUST Ministries, a block away from Al, serves Al a noon meal every week day. and  recently announced receiving grant money to set up transitional housing for veterans.   I’m sure they are hearing of the problem, but its been most of a week now since I left a message there for the program manager and sent a email inquiring about the program.  No response to the email and no returned call, and I know the guy, so he must be “out of pocket”.    MUST does do a wonderful job of helping feed and house the homeless and works tirelessly to serve them. 

Another mission, New Hope Missions reports that they are being swamped with homeless in the same desperate condition as Al.  New Hope serves about 125 breakfast and conducts services on Sunday and about half come from the area being evicted.  Some of them have to be out Wednesday.  Al has to be out Monday.

This is how not to minister to the homeless 

City of Marietta GA:  Shame!

Oldtimer

Flags Fly in Marietta after all!

MDJ on line

Staff photos by Thinh Nguyen, MDJonline.com

This picture from our local newspaper, The Marietta Daily Journal shows Doug Hess with the VFW handing a flag to Marietta Police Officer Michael Freer during the parade in open defiance of the City which had prohibited distribution of flags during the parade and still does so.   Thankfully the city looked the other way after the issue was raised locally and discussed nationwide.  About 40 veterans and family members passed out flags during the parade.    The VFW float and other military and veterans in the parade received thunderous standing ovations as they paraded by.

There remains a brooding controversy about positioning the VFW float closer to the front of the parade next year.  The police chief has proposed that the city move them to the front of the line (they were in 28th position this year).   Mayor Dunnaway has said that he thinks their current location is just fine, justifying it as a factor of having uniform applause throughout the parade.    It is no concidence that the Mayor, not himself a veteran, was in the first postion as always this year with two concilmen riding with him.  Putting the veterans first would take away a little of the political impact of his office.  

Click on the link above, read the entire story and see more pictures. 

I hope you enjoyed your Fourth as much as I.

Support Our Troops

Past, Present, and Future!

Oldtimer

OK, the Fight is on – VFW/Flags vs Marietta City

Veterans to defy city ban on flag distribution 

Earlier I reported that the veterans conquered the flag restricitons by my city of Marietta, Ga.   They had negotiated a truce.  Now the VFW has thrown down the gauntlet and said  that “the truce is off”!  

What seems to have happened is the city had said the VFW could lead the parade with the Lions Club and help hand out flags at the front of the parade and could also walk alongside their float (which is much further back)   and also hand out flags on the sidewalk alongside their float (but not at the curb as in years past).   However, as it turns out, the city has now clarified that the Lions Club and the flag distribution is not part of the parade but will precede the parade by 10 to 15 minutes, claiming that it has “always been that way”.     The Lions Club denies that, claiming they have always been part of the parade.    

That puts the Lions Club, the Fire Truck and the VFW flag distribution at least 10 to 15 minutes before the parade starts and not part of the Fourth Of July parade at all.  The city says the Lions Club is not an official entry of the parade.   The Lions Club has stated flatly that it is. 

The VFW only wants to do what it always has – distribute American Flags alongside their float.  “Americans might be speaking Japanese if it weren’t for veterans”said Korean War Veteran Leon Dean of VFW post 2681.

The movment of the flag distribution away from their float to a point that is not even part of the parade has riled the veterans no end.  It means that their flag distribution which has always been in the curb along the street next to their float is off limits for any flag distribution and the flags will only be distributed prior to the parade, not in it.  The veterans feel dishonored by the city.

The Mayor and Council has stated catagorically that the veterans cannot distribute flags alongside of the float, but at least they are wise enough to state that “nobody will be arrested”.  However that statement leaves open the possibility that the VFW member veterans and the Woman’s Auxillary members will be cited and possibly fined (but not arrested) if they distribute flags after the parade begins, alongside their float as has been the tradition.   The war is on.

 The Mayor Dunaway has blamed the AJC article quoted in an earlier post in this blog as a “distortion of the press” and blamed the story for the “negative national attention” the city has received.  He says that the VFW can’t pass out flags at the float because then every float will want to pass out something and there is nothing to keep some politician from printing an American Flag with a political message on it and passing it out.    He said the prohibition is a common rule. 

If you don’t want negative national attention, Mayor, respect our veteran heroes and our flag!

Mayor William B. Dunnaway  mailto:bdunaway@mariettaga.gov

770-794-5501 Phone 770-794-5505 Fax

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 709
Marietta, GA 30061

Let’s Support our Heroes!   

Send Marietta a Message

Veterans conquer flag restriction

Veterans conquer flag restriction

Veterans don’t give up without a fight. Not when it comes to the flag. On Wednesday, they secured a victory for patriotism with Marietta (Georgia) officials. “I’m ready to fight any of ’em over the flag,” said James Ellis, past post commander of VFW Post 2681 and veteran of World War II and the Korean War.  
Marietta revises safety rule on distribution during parade after public outcry. 

(origianlly posted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution)
 YOLANDA RODRIGUEZ; Staff

Veterans don’t give up without a fight. Not when it comes to the flag. On Wednesday, they secured a victory for patriotism with Marietta (Georgia) officials. “I’m ready to fight any of ’em over the flag,” said James Ellis, past post commander of VFW Post 2681 and veteran of World War II and the Korean War.

The skirmish started when city officials told the vets that they couldn’t hand out miniature U.S. flags as they walked alongside their float during the annual Fourth of July parade. Citing safety concerns, the city said the veterans could only give the flags away before the parade starts. But after the story hit ajc.com — and after the city received several e-mails about the squabble — Marietta put out a news release that said the flags could be distributed during the parade. The one hitch: The veterans will have to do it from the sidewalks — among the crowds — and not from the parade route along Roswell Street as they walk next to their “Let Freedom Ring” float. “They will be where the people are,” Marietta city spokesman Matthew Daily said. “They will be on the sidewalk. They will not be able to do it on the street.”

But the veterans are not sure how that’s going to work. Last year’s parade attracted 35,000 spectators.  “It’s going to be hard to do it from the sidewalk because there are going to be a lot of people,” said Leon Dean, the post commander and a veteran of the Korean War. The city cited safety concerns — that someone might run out to grab a flag and get hurt — for its policy.

“It’s not just these guys. No one can pass anything out while the parade is going on,” Maggi Moss, the special events coordinator for Marietta’s parks and recreation department, said early Wednesday. Moss said the policy has been in place for years and that officials were not aware that the veterans were handing out the 3-by-5-inch flags. “Obviously, they have been handing them out very secretively,” she said. No one has ever been hurt during the parade, Moss said. Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn and Officer Mark Bishop will meet with the veterans this morning.  “We are as patriotic, if not more, than most from around here,” said Bishop, who recently returned from an 11-month tour of duty in Iraq with the Navy Reserve. “The bottom line is we want everyone to be safe.”

The parade —the theme this year is One Nation-United — kicks off Wednesday at 10 a.m. from Roswell Street Baptist Church and heads toward Marietta Square.

Update: VFW, Marietta

reach flag detente

By Yolanda Rodriguez
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 06/29/07

Marietta police Chief Dan Flynn and Marietta’s veterans worked out a compromise on Thursday so they can hand out Old Glory at next week’s parade.The pact: Some members of VFW Post 2681 will walk with other volunteers along Roswell Road handing out the flags before the parade starts.”I understand we put him [Flynn] on the spot too,” said Leon Dean, commander of the post on Thursday.

But some members say they plan to keep on doing what they have done for years.

“I’m walking, baby, and handing flags,” said Rose McDaniel, a member of the post’s Ladies Auxiliary and the incoming chairwoman of its Americanism committee. McDaniel was in the Navy from 1953 to 1957 and her husband, Bill McDaniel, was in the Navy for 22 years.

Citing safety concerns, the city has forbidden the veterans and any other parade participants from handing out anything while they walk in the parade alongside their floats during the Fourth of July parade.

City officials said the VFW members are welcome to hand out Old Glory from the sidewalks among parade viewers. But the veterans say that idea is not practical. Last year’s parade attracted more than 35,000 spectators along a route that is about 1 1/2 miles long.

The veterans maintain that they always have handed out the flags along the parade route without any problems. City officials say the rule has been in place to years and they never knew the veterans were handing out the flags.

Officer Mark Bishop, a police spokesman, said safety is the department’s main concern. “If the issue comes up, then we will address it,” he said.

Respect our flag,
Honor our Troops,
Honor our Veterans

Oldtimer’s Note:  Marietta, Ga. is where I live.  This is my town.  We should be ashamed for ever restricting our flag or prohibiting its distribution.