A Homeless Camp and a Business, Side by Side in Phoenix

Readers respond to an article about an encampment of homeless people and the negative effects it has on a nearby small business.

A Homeless Camp and a Business, Side by Side in Phoenix

Separating Families Without Need


To the Editor

Re "A Homeless Camp Crisis At A Sandwich Shop's Door" by Eli Saslow (19th March, front page):

Mr. Saslow describes in a very lucid manner the rapid increase of homeless people in Phoenix and across the nation. The crisis that Mr. Saslow describes is caused as much by the declining availability of mental healthcare services in our nation as by economic conditions.

Since the 1970s, the United States has reduced the number of outpatient services and inpatient mental health treatment. This has led to the denial of humane care for those who are most in need.

Any attempts to reduce homelessness are doomed to failure until we change this.

The author is a retired vice president of Academic Affairs and provost of the University of San Francisco.

To the Editor

I have been volunteering and working in the homeless sector in Phoenix for over seven years. Eli Saslow’s article about homelessness is the best one I've ever read. He treats everyone with dignity and respect.

Rarely do we hear of businesspeople who have been affected by homelessness, and about their kindness and courage. It's rare to see homeless individuals treated with humanity. We hear a lot about labels and statistics.

A judge in Phoenix ordered on Monday that the area where the camp was located be cleaned up, citing, among other reasons, the effect it would have on local small businesses. I think that Mr. Saslow’s article made a difference.

Joan Lowell
Scottsdale, Ariz.

I read "A Homeless camp Crisis at a Sandwich shop's Door" and then, later in the same issue, "Where $250,000 Gets you Dinner" (Sunday styles, March 19,).

I am 80. It's not the America that I was taught about as a child, when everything I learned was based on the idea of 'American exceptionalism'.

We are indeed 'exceptional', but in no way that I am proud.

Stephen Phillips
St. Petersburg, Fla.


To the Editor

Re: 'In This Story, George W. Bush is the Hero' by Adam B. Ellick and Jonah M. Kessel (Opinion Video, nytimes.com March 21)

Mr. Kristof might be right in his claim that President George W. Bush is a hero for introducing the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, (PEPFAR), a program which has been highly successful to combat H.I.V. AIDS.

If we want to tell the full story, then we must not forget the Bush administration's negotiation of a number of free-trade agreements with low- and medium-income countries. These agreements, at the request of multinational pharmaceutical companies and other interested parties, forced these countries to implement additional intellectual property laws, which increased the prices for drugs, including antiretrovirals used to treat H.I.V. These agreements forced these countries to introduce additional intellectual property rules, at the behest of multinational pharmaceutical companies, which increased prices for medicines including antiretrovirals used to treat H.I.V.

The rules that apply to Central and South America as well as the Middle East and East Asia remain in force today. They place an unnecessary burden on households and health systems who are already struggling with a growing number of infectious and noncommunicable illnesses.

In order to honor PEPFAR's legacy, the Biden Administration, which has made it a priority to reduce drug prices in the United States should remove these onerous obligations from its existing trade deals and allow these governments to provide affordable healthcare to their citizens.

The author is a former Director of Policy and Analysis at Doctors Without Borders.

To the Editor

From 1999 to 2005, I worked in Africa to promote palliative medicine. I saw AIDS patients in pain, often alone and in extreme emaciation. Many poor, tired grandmothers are trying to raise the children of their own children.

The change that occurred after George W. Bush announced PEPFAR and its swift implementation was a miracle. The mothers raising their children were the most powerful symbol. Still, they had to deal with food, side-effects, and poverty. They were still alive and giving their children love and protection.

M. Bush is to be commended for his humanitarian actions.

Wheat Ridge, Colo.


To the Editor

"Pandemic data cited as sign city splits too many families" (news article of March 16) highlights a fact that many in the child welfare field know to be true: many families are separated needlessly and placed into foster care for safety's sake.

We take very seriously our responsibility to protect children. We also take the harms caused by this system seriously, as separating families can cause real trauma and serious consequences. In order to minimize the harms that are baked into our system, we need to actively consider two facts.

First, the majority of children are taken from their parents because they have been neglected, not abused, and symptoms of neglect overlap heavily with those of poverty. There are still huge racial differences in the number of families separated, and Black families are disproportionately overrepresented.

We have made progress but we see a future where removing children from their families is rare. In order to achieve this, we must allocate more resources towards prevention, including in-home family therapies, as well as addressing structural racism, and ultimately reducing the poverty.

The author is president and C.E.O. The Children's Village is run by the writer.


To the Editor

Re'Met Opera ordered to pay Anna Netrebko $200 000 for Canceled performances'(nytimes.com March 17), about the arbitrator's ruling that the Russian Soprano be paid despite having her performances canceled because she refused to denounce Vladimir Putin.

Opera is a form of art that has a global reach. I do not believe that performers should be subjected to the same treatment as Ms. Netrebko received at the Metropolitan Opera.

Netrebko, for example, should be judged on her artistic talent and not political views.

Doing otherwise will open a Pandora’s Box that is hard to close.

John A. Viteritti
Laurel, N.Y.

To the Editor

The Times published a story in 1987 called "Kangaroos stir a debate" that highlighted the barbaric killing of one of the world's most endearing creatures to make soccer shoes.

This debate has been largely resolved this month. Two of the largest soccer shoe makers in the world -- Nike and Puma - announced that they would stop using the skins from wild marsupials killed overseas to make their footwear.

Soccer stars around the world will soon be sporting synthetic boots on the field instead of leather ones. The synthetics may be more comfortable and better fitting, but this is a social shift on a large scale.

When corporations listen to animal rights advocates and consumers who don't want to wear shoes that promote cruelty or take part in the deaths of joeys bludgeoned and chased after their mothers are shot, they can do good.

The author is the national communications coordinator for Animal Wellness Action, and the Center for a Humane Economy. These organizations are responsible for the Kangaroos Are Not Shoes Campaign in 2020.