The machine is grinding us into food for the system. Fight the system. Fight the machine. It is not your friend. 
Sage Against The Machine.
Libertarian Humanist.

Dear Akron Beacon Journal Editorial Board

October 21, 2018

This is the editorial I am commenting on here:

Beacon Journal/ editorial board: Sage Lewis goes to court

It's likely that link will break soon. Their content management system typically pulls these offline at some point.


I once had a neighbor who hated me. I mean.... wouldn't look at me, wouldn't talk to me. His hatred for me seethed from his very existence.

We had a pretty good relationship until one day.

He came over and knocked on my door. He wanted to take me to a repair man that he knew to look at my roof. (He was convinced I needed a new roof.)

It was a Saturday. I had a young child. I was doing a dozen other things. And mostly: I didn't want a new roof and couldn't afford one.

I told him i couldn't meet with his person.

That was it. He left and we never spoke again.

He was a man in his 80s. He was smart and had seen many things in the world. His role in the world was that of "the father."

I've always had a hard time with father figures. It's a complicated relationship, actually.

My dad, like many dads of that era, left when I was 7. That's why my generation had movies like "Fight Club" and rappers like Marshall Mathers.

We were left on our own but owned it in an angry, rebellious sort of way.

We lashed out at the world in various ways. We became strong and independent and angry. But, for the first half of our lives, it was always to seek the approval of our estranged dads.

It never worked.

I would encounter surrogate dads here and there. But when I did I would be told I was wrong and needed to listen to their "wisdom" more.

They made people like me into these isolated, strong capsules of independence. But then the fathers still wanted the right to control our actions.

The relationship just wasn't meant to be.

At age 47 I know that now.

I'm not angry at my dad; I haven't been for many years. And I'm mostly done being angry at these father-figures that scold me for not following the rules.

You've never understood us. I am Jack's broken heart.

And that brings us to our latest passive aggressive disagreement that you posted here:

"Sage Lewis Goes To Court".

I'm going to copy it in its entirety below because your content management system seems to erase these editorials after a time.

See. Here we go again... That's just one of many things we disagree on. I have known for the last 20 years your medium needed a radical transformation.

Literally, as a digital marketer, my job has been to transition companies from your medium of print to the medium of the future: digital. Everyone has seen it coming. Everyone except probably you the steward of the old way.

Now you just keep selling and selling and selling. Akron Beacon Journal sold to GateHouse Media, owner of Canton and Columbus papers |

In 2006 you sold for $165 million. Nice job!

In 2018 you sold for $16 million. Um... that's not going in the right direction.

"Circulation has dipped to 68,000, a fraction of the nearly 190,000 daily subscribers in the late 1990s."

I recently saw your sales people deep in the hood selling newspaper subscriptions to poor African American men in a gas station parking lot. I'm pretty sure they were just signing up for the swag you were offering them in return. It was a bizarre scene.

I'm not trying to shame you. I'm just trying to make a point.

If you, as the symbolic father-figure, had been open to the lessons your estranged Generation X children had learned growing up without you, we would have LOVED to work with you as father and child to take on the radical new world in which we live.

But now it's more likely that The Devil Strip will be the fourth estate of Akron Journalism in the next 20 years.

I'm sorry to say, and I truly mean this, I'm sorry to say that I will likely see your complete demise in my lifetime.

You've always looked down on us, the children you abandoned. You've always Monday-morning quarterbacked us telling us we were doing things totally wrong as you yourself had been making your own mortal missteps and failed in the ways of fatherhood.

You are probably thinking I should just get to the point. You didn't come here for some existential speech by a know-nothing cowboy-hat-wearing rebel that never moved on from his teenage rebellious stage.

Let me start with your title:

"Sage Lewis goes to court"

That's just plain wrong. While I am the Executive Director of our charity, I am a non-voting member of our board. The board voted to do this lawsuit. While I certainly support it, it would have happened whether I was in the scene or not.

Institute for Justice is representing "The Homeless Charity"

Our law firm did a better job of articulating the truth of the matter with their headline:

Akron Charity Sues for Right to Shelter the Homeless - Institute for Justice

But let's split the difference with this sentence from Institute for Justice:

"Sage and The Homeless Charity are suing the city of Akron in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas."

I see what you were doing there.

You are professional writers and your ability to craft subtle nuance with your words is impressive.

"Sage Lewis goes to court" is like the talking bear series, Paddington:

Paddington goes to:

  • school
  • the movies
  • town
  • jail

It makes it seem like I'm a pouty child that didn't get his way. And so now, with a puffed out lip, I'm going to bring my constitutional lawyers to town and we're all going to just say over and over again: "This isn't fair."

To which you can respond, as you've always done: "Life isn't fair."

And this is the crux of it all and why I wanted to talk with you...

By demeaning our work you are in effect demeaning the work of any activist that said the government is upholding unjust laws that protect the powerful and damage the weak.

I feel quite confident you would have written a very similar editorial if you were the invisible "editorial board" writing of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Father-figures have a long track record of taking a stand on the wrong side of history.

I'm not going to critique your entire editorial. But I do want to address one statement:

The continuum noted at the start that 10 or so would pose much greater challenges with, say, criminal records or other factors making prospective landlords skittish. In any case, this is hard and complex work, requiring steady support systems and services that encourage people to take small steps in building better lives.

I'm going to talk about this on The Homeless Charity site next week.

That statement troubles me on several points.

First, the Continuum of Care most certainly did not note "at the start" that 10 or so would be challenging.

Everyone said this was going to be easy. A "Slam dunk" as one powerful leader once said in another "easy" situation.

Take this April 28, 2018 Akron Beacon Journal article for example:
Volunteers build small, single shelters for Akrons homeless

No Akron resident should be living in a tent or a shack period; and they dont need to, Lander Nischt [City spokeswoman ] said in an email. Unlike some other urban communities across the nation, we are very fortunate here in Akron and Summit County to have healthy, stable, clean and safe housing available for any homeless person or family who needs it.

(That link no longer works. Again, you really should talk to someone about your digital delivery system.)

And here:

Akron City Council votes to end homeless camp, find housing for dozens |

Heckman said there are enough available beds in the county to accommodate those affected, many of whom have mental health or substance abuse issues. The action plan calls on Continuum of Care to meet with each person and develop housing options for each.

It wasn't until your article, Group fights eviction of tent residents, on October 15, 2018 where Terri Heckman states

...10 to 12 of the remaining people will be difficult to house because of felonies on their records that may make them unattractive to landlords.

We are looking to all the supporters of Sage to come forward and help find the final people housing in the coming months, Heckman wrote in the email. This is a community effort and without landlords or others willing to open their doors, this will be more difficult.

That's the brave statement we have needed since day one.

Housing the homeless is hard.

You saying: "In any case, this is hard and complex work" is one of those dismissive statements authority figures have made probably since the beginning of time when they brush aside the cries of the disenfranchised and victimized.

"In any case, this is hard and complex work" is a way for people that don't want to deal with the homeless problem can brush it aside and move on to something else they care about... usually punching down at another powerless minority.

I've never understood people that stand up for authority. They hold all the chips. They have all the power. Why anyone feels the need to stand up for the rights of the powerful while scorning the rights of the weak is beyond me. But that's what you do every time you critique our work:

If anything, city officials have been patient, looking to avoid such a confrontation, seeking a collective response.

What the city has done is avoid this entire situation. Homelessness is like a pothole filled with muck and water they have been driving around trying to avoid since the beginning.

The mayor has never visited us. In fact, no one from the administration has visited us.

If we hadn't appealed this decision the city could have let this all go away like a bad dream.

What is happening with homelessness in America while companies are making record profits is a real issue. It's a legitimate problem. It's a problem we can't turn our backs on.

A legal fight to support the rights of the homeless is happening right now in Cincinnati:

ACLU sues Hamilton County judge over homeless camp ban

We are experiencing a real issue of homelessness that you choose not to look at, but exists just the same.

Respectfully, you dismissing our work and dismissing the needs of the homeless is wrong. It is the view of a wealthy west side intellectual elitist that has no time to consider the needs of the brutally poor of your city.

The homeless don't buy newspapers. The homeless don't pay taxes. The homeless don't vote.

So they become nothing more than an annoying mosquito bite on the leg of the rich and powerful.

There is seemingly no benefit to taking the side of the homeless.

Except that's your ultimate mistake.

Your readers do care. People that pay taxes do care. Voters do care.

You see things on a one to one perspective. You can't imagine that the way you feel isn't the way those that you actually need the support of feel.

You are fading. You are not the voice of the people. You are the voice of the powerful.

And no one cares about the voice of the powerful anymore. The powerful have betrayed us all.

And so you continue to fade in importance.

I'm just going to say it: I am now the father. You are now the grandfather. Your ideas are outdated and from a bygone era. It is time for you to listen to what those younger than you have to say. We are on the ground living the day to day reality that you have become isolated from.

We are more than happy to be with you and work with you. We aren't the isolated egotists that you grew up as. We don't believe in "the self made man" the way you do. We know that we are at our best when we remove more and more of the "I" and focus more on the "We."

We will come together. We will work together. We will fix the world.

We don't care about supposed leaders we are told to revere. They repeatedly betray us. That's going to be the hardest pill for you to swallow. Because you've always been the leaders. But you just aren't anymore.

We are the leaders now. We care about minorities, immigrants and poor people. That's just what we do. We don't care about paying homage to the rich and powerful. Take it or leave it.

While I'm making recommendations I'll give you one more: Don't hide behind this ghost-like invisible "editorial board."

You live in a world of transparency now. Show your face. You obviously don't speak for the entire paper. You are just a couple men and women that get to share your opinion. It's cool that you get to do that. But you present yourself as some sort of anonymous apparition. It's just weird.

See how I'm doing this: I'm writing an opinion piece on my personal blog... not our charity blog. It helps people see that this is my personal opinion and not the voice of an entire organization.

But if you don't want to let that anonymous power go why don't you let someone younger than you write if for a while. It's very evident the view comes from someone not living in the prime of life on the streets of America.

My name is Sage. I and I alone approve this message.

Oh... I still shoveled my neighbor's sidewalk and steps after we had our falling out. I totally get that losing control is hard. I never had any bad feelings over the situation.

I don't have hatred or anger for any of the fathers. You all just got caught in your own trap with your own demons. We all do. It's the circle of life.


Beacon Journal/ editorial board: Sage Lewis goes to court

Here is the full editorial board piece:

Posted Oct 19, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Updated Oct 19, 2018 at 8:11 PM

An attorney at the Institute for Justice says he soon will seek a court injunction. He wants to prevent Akron officials from forcibly evicting the homeless living in tents at 15 Broad St. The move may make sense as part of the lawsuit the Alexandria, Va., organization announced this week against the city on behalf of Sage Lewis, who has made his property available to the homeless since early last year.

The step also suggests a certain villainy by the city that just isnt accurate. At one point, the attorney added he wants a trial about the citys decision to cast people back into the streets and woods.

If anything, city officials have been patient, looking to avoid such a confrontation, seeking a collective response. They recognize what Lewis has achieved through the Homeless Charity, the homeless in their way addressing the homeless problem. What the city doesnt condone, and rightly so, is such an encampment as a permanent presence.

Living outdoors in tents, without adequate access to such things as running water, sanitary facilities and permanent shelter from the weather, is not an acceptable result. The homeless deserve better, and that is where Lewis and the city appeared to land in September when they reached agreement on a way forward.

In the wake of the City Council rejecting Lewis conditional zoning use request, they would work together to find housing for the 46 residents of the camp. For its part, the city, through the Continuum of Care, a collaboration of professionals in the field, has been making progress. The continuum reported last week that 14 residents either have moved or found better options on their own. Another 21 are in the process of gaining permanent housing.

The continuum noted at the start that 10 or so would pose much greater challenges with, say, criminal records or other factors making prospective landlords skittish. In any case, this is hard and complex work, requiring steady support systems and services that encourage people to take small steps in building better lives.

Put another way, the continuum has been rising to the test presented by Lewis, seeking to deliver a true pathway for the homeless. The city and its partners have set an ambitious deadline of Thanksgiving Day for gaining the necessary housing. This is the context in which the lawsuit arrives, Lewis now asserting a right to perform good deeds on his private property.

That rings true as long as others are not affected. Which is why cities have zoning codes, among other regulations. With his lawsuit, Lewis isnt just adding conflict to the equation. He appears to see the tents as something that would endure on his property.

There even is concern he has been violating the agreement with the city by allowing new people to set up in tents.

Again, Sage Lewis already has won. The city has responded in a substantial way with respect for what he has achieved. What it seeks in return is real cooperation in housing those at 15 Broad St. and that tent encampments are not a continuing presence. The city and partners do not deserve to get sued.





Paid For By The People for Sage Lewis

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