WTF, Chuck?


And now for a new installment in the ongoing saga of What the Fuck, Chuck?, our attempt to figure out the unfathomable positions of the Chron's local columnist, C.W. Nevius. Today's episode: Why is Nevius so determined to stir up a clash between the police and the OccupySF protesters?

Although the Oakland cops have rousted Occupy Oakland -- with a nightime raid, arrests, and the works -- things have been pretty mellow in San Francisco for the past week. Police Chief Greg Suhr has tried to avoid sending riot troops in to evict the camp. The campers are working with city officials to get a permit for a stove. The camp is largely peaceful; nobody's hurting anyone or anything.

Oh, but Chuck is nervous:

Many of the city's homeless residents have gravitated there, the sanitation is a nightmare, there are rats, and car batteries are neither a safe nor ecological energy source.

Well, there were rats there before the protesters arrived. City officials have offered to set up portable toilets. Car batteries aren't perfect, but if you charge them by riding a stationary bicycle, the energy is pretty darn ecological. And really, unless you knock the battery over and it cracks and spills, car batteries are pretty safe; the don't explode or emit fumes. The acid and lead are toxic, but they're pretty well contained. There are more than 300,000 car batteries on the streets of San Francisco already; every car has one.

And so what if "many of the the city's homeless residents" have gone to join the protests? Some are eager for the free food and shelter, which is fine -- putting the more middle-class radicals side by side with homeless people isn't a bad thing at all. In fact, it's about the most radical thing that OccupySF is doing. Homeless people are the most visible victims of the economic injustict that the occupyers are protesting; shouldn't they be part of the action?

I realize that some homeless people have mental health and substance abuse issues, but those didn't start with OccupySF. Instead of whining about the situation, the city ought to be taking advantage of it -- here's a group of hard-to-reach folks who social workers can probably connect with more easily in an environment and community that's supportive.

But Nevius can't imagine anything good coming of any of this:

As Occupy SF gets bigger and louder, the potential for trouble only increases.

I guess Nevius doesn't believe it's possible for an alternative community that includes a wide range of activists and homeless people to grow and make its voice heard without "trouble." And the only way out is to send in the troops.

What the Fuck, Chuck?