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How “Just Waiting,” “Comrade X,” and Small-Town Power Saved the Day, Part I

I don’t usually write about within-the-system political actions. Most are a waste of time. This was such a successful exception, performed at the local level, and with such Freedom Outlaw panache, that I thought the action and its perpetrators deserve a tip o’ the hat.


Longtime blog Commentariat members and freedomistas Just Waiting (JW) and Comrade X (CX) both moved to a small town in a quiet, obscure county in the State of Jefferson. They arrived separately, from different sinkholes of statism. Both were seeking freedom.

Each had his own intensely political past — one as a tough, scruffy cannabis activist, one as a powerhouse party fundraiser who got invited to presidential inaugural balls. Now they’re Freedom Outlaws and friends.

Neither wanted to remain political in his new home. Both stepped back into politics because they saw a need that they could fill.

Just Waiting began attending and participating in government meetings early on, quickly becoming well known. Then, when asked by several elected officials, he volunteered himself for a vacant county office, becoming an Outlaw Mole.

He says, “I taught my kids if you want to be heard you don’t stand outside and yell at the building. Instead you get invited inside and whisper to the people. Well, even though I begged them not to, they invited me in. And they can’t fire me. So how could I say ‘No’?

“Before that I was very happy living by John Galt’s motto. I bet Ayn Rand would be pissed at me now.”

Comrade X, a classic Agitator, just wanted to tend to his preps and enjoy life in one of America’s remaining free places. Having seen first-hand what wokery was doing to Portland and Seattle, he wanted no more of the left’s self-created troubles.

One of those cities’ most notorious self-created troubles is laying out a welcome mat for every sort of drug-abusing, sidewalk-pooping, thieving, trash-strewing petty (or not-so-petty) criminal under the rubric of “helping the homeless.”

Who ever would imagine such problems coming to an idyllic, isolated rural coastal community far from any big city?

Then, this January, JW took CX aside and gave him the bad news.

The Bad News

The county has $2 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, the Biden administration’s pricey sop against the economic ruin wrought by COVID lockdowns, closures, and job losses.

County commissioners appointed a seven-member panel to recommend how to dispense those funds. The panel voted unanimously to give $300,000 to the local homeless coalition. (Their motives appear both interesting and self-interested, as we shall see shortly.)

The specific purpose: To buy a disused schoolhouse and eight acres to house the homeless. The site is seven miles outside a town of 1,800 people. In a county of less than 25,000.

“Transitional housing for families,” says the homeless coalition (which mostly consists of a handful of paid homeless advocates, led by a woman we shall call Towanda,” because (seriously) that’s one of her pronouns).

“Transitional housing for families” is rarely what its promoters claim. In this case, Towanda has openly stated, in a public meeting, that her plans for the property include adding both tent camping and trailers for addiction and mental health services. The property would be a zero-barrier, come-one-come-all mecca for the homeless, who would likely also spread out onto nearby roadsides and beaches, and into area forests.

In a pinch you can warehouse thousands on an eight-acre parcel. Even more in the surrounding terrain.

So when Towanda also speaks ardently about her desire to “change the culture” of the county, it’s terrifyingly clear what she means. Never mind that most residents, who already live at the lower end of the economic spectrum, find the current culture of freedom exactly to their liking. They definitely don’t need more wokeness, poverty, or crime.

Immediately CX envisioned used needles and human feces on the nearby beach where local children play and he walks his dog.

One county commissioner was fully supportive and ready to vote in favor. According to JW, he would certainly have bullied the weakest commissioner into following him. It appeared to be a done deal.

Until JW and CX put their heads together.

“Transitional housing”: The Reality

One businessman in the area asked a homeless newcomer how he happened to turn up in the remote and almost entirely rural State of Jefferson. The answer: “I was living on the streets in Portland and ‘somebody’ handed me a bus ticket to come here.”

Turns out there’s a national trend toward exporting troublesome homeless people into suburbs and rural areas.

These attempts to export big city homeless and their problems of filth, addiction, “culture change,” and crime are often done on the premise of building “transitional housing.” Said housing is promoted as a means of bringing government funding and new employment into fading communities, and of course “helping our neighbors” and “helping families.”

Arizona is the latest example. Their rationale is classic.

Portland has attempted to build homeless housing in its suburbs (the city’s term, “Safe Rest Village” is particularly endearing) and gotten righteous pushback. Most recently, the city has simply allowed homeless encampments to stretch unchecked into neighborhoods, ignoring the pleas of endangered, victimized, and terrified residents (examples here and here).

“Transitional housing,” by that or any other happy-sounding name, is a deception.

Even if “helping homeless families” return to stability were the true intention, JW asks, “Transition to what? There’s a nationwide housing shortage. In our region, in particular, the long-term (over 30 day) lease laws so heavily favor tenants that landlordship has become very, very unattractive.”

Not only is there no post-transition housing, but in rural areas there are still few living-wage jobs — little chance for even the most willing and able homeless (particularly those used to urban conveniences and services) to raise themselves into stability.

On the other hand, when chronically homeless people land in a place that welcomes them, there they tend to stay — on the streets, in the woods, in shelters, in parks, or in “transitional housing” — until better weather or more abundant benefits draw them elsewhere. Already, a church in the largest city (population approximately 6,000) in JW and CX’s county has attracted 70 or so transients with its feeding program. When the city tried to limit the attraction, it faced a federal lawsuit.

That city would love to export its homeless problem almost 49 miles away where Towanda’s proposed shelter would be located. Guess where six of the seven members of that advisory panel who recommended giving the $300,000 live? Yeah, you guessed it; they live in that “Big City” that wants its homeless population to go away.

Of course, many of the homeless are decent, earnest people who’ve lost jobs or escaped abusive homes. They are our neighbors. They can be helped back to their feet often within their home communities.

These JW refers to these as the “hand ups” who just need a helping hand to regain stability.

Then there are the “hand outs.” Most long-term homeless are exactly that — rootless criminals and addicts, some of them mentally ill, others just chronic deadbeats. And as San Francisco has shown the world (with its “housing first” approach to homelessness), enabling criminals, addicts, and bums only … enables criminals, addicts, and bums.

The unmentionable fact is that a homeless-industrial complex has grown up around finding ever-more-expensive “solutions” for homelessness. Solutions that solve nothing, but guarantee political power, work, profits, and ever-increasing funding for the complex and its members. The homeless-industrial complex consists of a wide range of activists and bureaucrats of course, but also of builders, materials suppliers, food vendors, counselors, local government officials, and others who benefit from an endless supply of homelessness. (Oh, and let’s not forget dealers of heroin, fentanyl, and meth; they can make out well from these projects, too.)

The Action

After Just Waiting gave him the bad news, Comrade X mulled the situation for a while. He still only wanted a peaceful retirement of minding his own business. He knew all too well that political action is always harder and more of a crap shoot than you think it’s going to be.

But he kept thinking about disease-laden needles and feces on the area’s shining beaches. He kept thinking about Portland and Seattle, cities whose degradation he knew all too well.

Although the two had been friends for several years, CX had never visited JW’s office. He went there and found quotes from Mike Vanderboegh on the walls, along with JW’s own “My body — my choice” anti-mandate stickers. (JW may be a Freedom Outlaw Mole, but he’s kinda “out there” about it.)

“I’m going to get engaged in this thing,” CX stated, and asked JW to tell him all he knew about the homeless coalition and where it stood with county government. JW began giving him publicly available, but largely unknown, information.

To be continued.


  1. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar February 28, 2022 4:14 am

    Arrgh! I want to hear the rest of the story! This is a cliff-hanger!

    I would also like to add a bit to a point that Claire mentioned in the post, and I may have mentioned this before: The problem of “homelesness” or “the homeless” is really just one symptom that a very disparate group of people have in common. These people have a wide variety of “root problems” that have led to them being homeless. Among these are poverty / unemployment, mental illness, substance addiction, legal / criminal situations (whether self-generated or government-generated), divorce, domestic abuse, etc, etc. And there are even some that intentionally choose to be homeless for reasons of their own, some of which may be valid, some maybe not so much.

    As a result of the above, any attempt to treat just the common symptom by doing things like providing shelters or “transitional housing” without treating and curing the underlying causes is doomed to failure.

    And then there is the homeless-industrial complex that Claire mentioned. This is largely a problem of government and it’s tendencies to throw money at a problem and to be corrupt. It is also a problem of unethical and corrupt private parties who want to get some of that money. This leads to situations like this:

    I certainly do not have solutions to all of the problems that result in the common symptom of homelessness, but I do believe that one good place to start is to get government out of the picture. And a good way to start doing that is to defund the government. If they don’t have the money in the first place, then they cannot be spreading it around and creating things like the homeless-industrial complex.

  2. brew
    brew February 28, 2022 6:01 am

    Hmmm I wonder if that $300K is enough to generate perpetual dividends for one way bus tickets to Seattle, Austin or better yet St. Louis…..

  3. Claire
    Claire February 28, 2022 6:02 am

    Part II is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday so nobody will have to hang off that cliff for too long.

    And ST, you’re absolutely right about homelessness mostly being a symptom and having many causes. And absolutely, the homeless-industrial complex perpetuates it and makes it worse (as does the “justice” system by creating so many non-violent harmless “felons” that nobody wants to hire).

    The segment on the reality of “transitional housing” was far-and-away the hardest part of the piece to write. There was so much to say it just ran on and on and I struggled to trim it back.

    Originally I included a paragraph about a “transitional housing” project built in my own community. I may eventually put that into comments. We’ll see how the week goes …

  4. Claire
    Claire February 28, 2022 6:07 am

    brew … For the number of “native” homeless people in that tiny county, I suspect pocket change from random strangers could provide those tickets out.

    The $300,000 would be used to import them from the places you mention. Then of course you’d need more and perpetual government funding.

    “And the seasons, they go round and round, and the painted ponies go up and down …”

  5. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail February 28, 2022 6:13 am

    Claire – This is an issue I have a little familiarity with, as I live in an Urban area where this is a problem. The reality is that it is complicated. I will say that the difference between the transitional homeless and the long-term homeless is a real one and for some, this is simply the way of life that they have chosen. I am not wise enough to full say if enabling such a decision is a good thing, but what I can say is that it is a poorly managed thing. To your point, large urban areas now in principle believe they should do something but in practice more and more believe that it should be done somewhere else as their city revenues fall as people abandon the areas where there is congregation (thinking specifically of Los Angeles and San Francisco here, but even in my urban areas there are places it is simply not pleasant to go).

    The reality is that most victories will only be won on the local level at this time. Kudos for JW and ComradeX for getting involved to make a difference.

  6. Contrarian View
    Contrarian View February 28, 2022 6:49 am

    How many of these clients of the homeless-industrial complex are given pre-completed mail-in ballots by their handlers in every election?

  7. Comrade X
    Comrade X February 28, 2022 8:42 am

    Can’t wait to find out the ending, don’t ya know?

  8. Granny
    Granny February 28, 2022 8:43 am

    “enabling criminals, addicts, and bums only … enables criminals, addicts, and bums.”

    I used to feel really really sorry for the “homeless”. Even recently, I pulled over and handed a disabled, old, vet in a wheelchair a handful of cash in a safe way. I felt “led” and it’s not something I do frequently because I don’t live anywhere near a “homeless problem” and will never.

    My feelings have changed over the decades because what our society did was lead with their emotions and that solved nothing. Every time there’s an initiative to solve the “homeless problem”, someone gets rich and the problem is not solved. To boot, our society decided to close the “mental institutions” and legalize drug use, even up to providing “safe facilities” to shoot up (San Francisco). As well, lots of terrible things were “decriminalized”, leading to more problems. “Welfare” incentivized people to never dig out of the hole they were/are in.

    Yes, it is “complex”, but on the other hand, it’s simple (and sad, of course!). Looking forward to part 2.

  9. h
    h February 28, 2022 3:49 pm

    ‘Homeless’ includes those that have chosen a freedom most of us do not have the stomach for. The constraints of living in ‘society’ are motive enough that some just opt out. Then societal rules no longer apply. Any sucker (government or citizen) is not just fair game, but a trophy to fleece. A lot more ‘homeless’ are professionals at it than you’d think. ‘Homeless’ is their occupation. I respect, even admire somewhat, that choice and that freedom. But I stay away from it.

  10. Mary from Texas
    Mary from Texas February 28, 2022 6:45 pm

    There is a book out called “San Fransicko” about conditions in that city. Interestingly it is written by a guy who was previously a big-time advocate for helping the homeless

  11. Val E. Forge
    Val E. Forge February 28, 2022 10:31 pm

    h – The author, Jim Tully, wrote a book in the 1920’s called Beggars of Life. He pretty much agreed that most so-called “homeless” people chose that lifestyle. And that observation was about 100 years ago. Only the technology changes.

  12. Jolly
    Jolly March 1, 2022 7:34 am

    This really sounds like Josephine County, Oregon. The “Big City” would be Grants Pass. The victims would be Cave Junction and possibly Selma, Merlin, and so on. I used to live in Selma.

    Fact is, when you subsidize something, you get more of it. When you tax something, you get less. This is well-established and understood by all involved at the money and policy level.

    A large portion, if not a majority, of “homeless” are in that condition on purpose. I can’t find the quote, but in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” there is a passage wherein he describes a certain type of person who cannot stand to do any labor, and even if in abject poverty, will accept it and continue on, almost as a badge of twisted honor. That book ( actually a serial in a magazine ) was written over 200 years ago, and was intended to excoriate the concept of “Workhouses” which were England’s “solution” to the homeless and debtors’ crises. I think he realized as he was writing it, that Workhouses ipso facto were not the problem.

    The rural towns simply have to enforce vagrancy laws, and make it too uncomfortable for the bums ( that’s their real moniker ) to remain. Easily said, I know.

    In Josephine county’s case, the only jail, I believe, is in Grants Pass. The really small towns do not have police forces, and rely on the sheriff’s office – which runs the jail – who are not particularly disposed to fill it up since they just emptied it in the first place. The motivation isn’t there, if you know what I mean.

    Would love to know the solution….

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