The Real Nusiance

root - Posted on 21 February 2008

A letter to Chronicle reporter C.W. Nevius about his recent articles attacking the poor and homeless.

by James Chionsini


We had some dialog back a few months ago. I am a person that responded to your article about the death of "Skateboard." Well, since then you have really gotten some front page real estate with your articles about "the real problem in GG Park." If you ask me, the real problem is people like yourself who simply react and spread stereotypes without looking deeper at social problems and how we can solve them together. You also blame those with no power. This is a common mistake made by many conservative reactionaries who lack a cogent analysis or political sophistication. I call it this a "type A (as in hole)" error.

I feel you are playing to people's fears and base prejudices and are gaining political/personal/professional capital by attacking a traditionally powerless and vulnerable population. Gavin Newsom (ie Nuisance) used the same strategy quite effectively with his Care Not Cash program. Look at him now. And you too are getting your column on the front page of the Comical by denigrating the poorest of the poor. You kick people who are down so well. Seems like this strategy of "blaming downward" or the "race to the bottom" is a recipe for success. Way to go guy!

There was a protest in front of the Chronicle this past Friday about this (actually about you, although you are not ultimately to blame, your editors are) and we tried to deliver some signs to you but the security was insecure and wouldn't let us in. I just want to make sure you got my sign, it reads, "CW Nevius: Public Nuisance." Let me know if you got it and are going to hang it on your wall so you and your pals can laugh about it over drinks or lines, or whatever you people do.

I noticed you passed by our rally but you would not stop to address our concerns. What are you afraid of? You can write articles from safe anonymity but you will not address the people you insult. Why not come and defend your position? It was just a press conference! How about a public debate? Yes, consider this a personal challenge. Man to man, in a public forum. I'm ready, are you?

I feel that your articles targeting the homeless population as well as individual Houseless people are reprehensible and irresponsible. Personally I feel much more insulted and inconvenienced by your "yellow journalist" articles than I ever have by a homeless person in the park, and I have been around a lot of them, let me tell you. When I read your articles I become initially nauseous, then usually end up laughing out loud. When I see a homeless person in the park I either wave hello or just pass on by.

By the way, I have lived in San Francisco for nearly 20 years, I have two kids and spend a lot of time in playgrounds and have never, ever, not even once found a syringe in a sandbox.

Oh, I did like the one article in which you discussed the Vancouver Safe Injection Facility and its success. Good work. I have been advocating for a SIF in SF for a long time. The park is a great place for it. I will send you an article from a European health organization later today about the community response to SIFs in Europe that was actually quite favorable.

In the meantime, why not consider going back to sports writing? At least then you will be insulting millionaires instead of a bunch of homeless people who can’t (easily) sue you for slander.

I stand with the homeless campers of the park. When you insult them you insult me. Here’s a big middle finger from me to you.


James Chionsini MSW


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