[ExI] what would you do?

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Wed Oct 11 15:54:51 UTC 2023

...> On Behalf Of BillK via extropy-chat


>...Many public parks do have fences or walls and are closed at night....


Hi BillK,

Do allow please for my engineering background as an excuse for treating a social problem from an engineer's perspective, with the San Jose Berryessa Creek Park as the object which needs repair or re-engineering.  For now, I will not deal with Cataldi Park near there, which has a similar problem, with transients gradually taking it over, and the locals most dissatisfied with that situation.

The problem is in some ways related to aircraft.  If it sounds like I am changing the subject, follow along for a few sentences please.  Think of a jet engine and its fuel, which is a low-grade kerosene, not that different from the Diesel fuel that trucks burn.  If you see two trucks, same model and size going side by side up a hill with one of them belching dirty brown smoke and the other just slightly-visible exhaust, you know that the first truck is heavily loaded and the second one is going home empty.  Aircraft have a different engine, but it has similar output in a way: if an aircraft is heavily loaded, climbing out, the pilot is on the throttle, balls to the wall, lots of brown smoke, easy to see, but if the aircraft is on a long glide home on trailing throttle, there is little smoke.

OK cool, now go to Google satellite view of San Jose Mineta International airport and notice what is on the southeast end of that runway, Guadlupe Park and notice that which is visible with the resolution of that photo.  Everything under the flightline north of Coleman Avenue has long since been condemned for residential use, and the remaining homes removed, a long time ago.  

Result: if homes are taken out, homeless people move in.  Naturally.  They did.  All that area enclosed by Taylor Street, Coleman Ave, the freeway and the airport was a big homeless camp.  Nobody cared much, since it provided a great Elsewhere for the homeless.  Outta (me) sight, outta (my) mind.  

But then... the federal authorities stepped in, pointed out that even on trailing throttle, aircraft engines produce some soot, buckyballs mostly, which settle out on whatever is below, which is why cars left for a few weeks in long term parking at San Jose Minetta are a grimy mess when you get back and why travelers know to carry a bottle of Windex and rags.  The soot settles in the flight path of every flight, mostly outbound but some on inbound, flights which come in every few minutes all day long, 365 days a year into Mineta.  The FAA recognized that the fine particulate carbon soot settles deep in the lungs and may be a carcinogen because there are unburned hydrocarbons and benzines and other nasties which stick to the mostly-benign carbon (well duh.)  This poses a danger to those who live directly under that flight line, which are the few hundred to perhaps a coupla thousand homeless people who make that area their homeless.

Logical step: the FAA demands the city of San Jose remove those homeless people Elsewhere, or Else.  Hmmm OK.  Where is Elsewhere please, and what is Else?  San Jose wants to know what is Else and where is it located?  If San Jose knew, it would cheerfully comply.

Over the past five years, San Jose made an admirable and mighty effort to move the flightline homeless and remove the debris, but as soon as they did, fresh new homeless people arrived with fresh new debris.  The area is more sparsely populated than before, but you can see from the freeway or from the Google sat view there are still tents, junky old vans, cars and campers in which people are living down there under the flightline.  The only difference is that now some of them have been moved Elsewhere, such as... Berryessa Creek Park and Cataldi Park, as well as pretty much everywhere along the Guadalupe River.  Simplification: go to Google sat view in San Jose.  Anywhere you see a dense row of trees is a river or stream with water year around.  Along that river or stream underneath those trees, people are living there, with no Elsewhere to go.

Now after that breezy introduction which meandered thru jet engines and carbon soot, here is my proposal: we would be OK if we get San Jose to buy Moffett Field from NASA, move Minetta Airport over to Moffett, hand the San Jose airport over to the homeless, rename it Elsewhere, move the existing homeless south of the freeway and those currently living homeless in Cataldi Park and Berryessa Park onto the current airport grounds, done.  There is room for all of them plus a few thousand more, supply them with tents, problem solved.  For a while.


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