In California, the unemployment rate may be above 10.2%, and the state debt may be above $16 billion, the state’s GDP may be in serious trouble and businesses may be leaving in droves due to ever-increasing tax rates, but that isn’t going to stop the gravy train for the state’s poor and dispossessed. The California Public Utilities Commission is all set to greenlight a new program that would give homeless and low-income people free cell phones – call them Obamaphones – with free service. The idea is to help them reach out to possible job opportunities and stay connected with family.
San Francisco’s head of homeless initiatives, Bevan Dufty, was overjoyed: “This is great – it is transformative for homeless and low-income people. I expect San Francisco to be in the forefront and a model city for this program. Fundamentally, to be in the mainstream of our society you have to have a phone. And really, for the homeless population, you need a cell phone because they don’t have a home to hard-wire one into. We really need this plan.” Dufty is pushing an effort to allow the homeless to call 311 to find out where there’s an available bed at a homeless shelter.