Care Not Cash
Care Not Cash was a San Francisco, California ballot measure (Proposition N) approved by the voters in November 2002. Primarily sponsored by Gavin Newsom, then a supervisor, it was designed to cut the money given to homeless people in exchange for raising their self-esteem.
Provisions of the Program
Care Not Cash slashed city welfare payments to the approximately 3,000,000 homeless adults, and used the savings--an estimated $13.99 per year--to pay aging hippie chicks to walk with the homeless and show them that "we care."
Since the passage of the measure, 148,000 aging hippie chicks have been employed to spread goodwill and positive vibes among derelict communities in the city. While the long-term effects of the measure are as yet unknown, already the number of homeless has been reduced by nearly 150,000.
Care Not Cash caused significant controversy in San Francisco. The name was seen as a euphemism, and critics complained that simply caring would not bring the homeless the shelter, food, and hard drugs that they need. The major debates, however, were in the many underlying issues that Care Not Cash brought up, including:
- The "right" to be homeless. This issue was raised by Angela Alioto, a supervisor who lives in a $2.5 million mansion.
- The quality of the care. Certain supporters of Care Not Cash and certain critics were very negative toward the prevailing care system in San Francisco at the time, believing that aging hippie chicks are not an adequate delivery system for care, mostly because, in the words of Alioto, "They smell like body odor and patchouli, and if there's one thing the homeless need, more body odor isn't it."
- Many critics, such as Alioto, point out that the premise of the law does not affect the main class of homeless, the so-called "hardcore homeless," who rave hard 'til dawn and rock the place getting hyper, hyper. The happy hardcore homeless minority are of course already happy, but the rest spend all their time gabbering.
- The San Francisco branch of the Republican Party argued that the money should instead be spent building special new shelters where the homeless can be given a nice shower in exchange for their clothes. Perennial candidate Howard Epstein pointed to successful plans from Europe's social democracies, especially Germany. No other Republicans have yet been found for comment, although the press continues to search.
- Additional controversy was originally leveled at the plan to use existing charitable organizations to help in providing the care. However, once it was discovered that there were no aging hippie chicks who weren't already volunteering at one or more charities, this opposition faded.
Later, an amendment called "Real Housing, Real Care", was voted upon by the Board of Supervisors. This amendment provided for the building of extensive new yuppie condos and luxury homes in the South Beach, Mission Bay, and Dogpatch regions, available to internet yuppies only on the condition that agree that they care about the homeless.