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Humberto Lopez Owner of Hotel and HSL Properties

Hotel 2

Hotel Downtown


By Brian Flagg,

I just got my new National Catholic Reporter (2-27-2015) and was enjoying the front page article about how Pope Francis challenged the hell out of 160 cardinals from around the world during a homily at a Mass on February 15.

He told them that the credibility of the Church rests entirely on how Christians serve those marginalized by society.

“Dear brothers”, Francis told the cardinals, “I urge you to serve the church in such a way that Christians – edified by our witness – will not be tempted to turn to Jesus without turning to the outcast.”

“We will not find the Lord unless we truly accept the marginalized,” the Pope exhorted. “Truly the Gospel of the marginalized is where our credibility is at stake, is found and is revealed.”

He also told them to “respond immediately” to those left most in need by society.

You might have heard it said that all politics is local? Well I feel that all religion is local. So how does the Holy Father challenge us here locally in Tucson regarding the most marginalized and excluded?

It seems pretty obvious to me.

Homeless people, aided by a ruling from a Federal Judge, have set up a camp in Pancho Villa Park in downtown Tucson. Their presence seems to be a negative thing to everyone dedicated to making lots of money off the new gentrified Downtown. Business owners, politicos, the newspaper and many others are seeking to vilify those who are certainly among the most marginalized in our midst.

The Daily Star has tried to cast the homeless camps in a negative light for not responding to services offered them by social agencies. These so-called services offered are largely fantasy – Anyone who is poor and/or homeless knows that the available services serve only a very small fraction of those in need.

I feel that it all comes down to human dignity.

Taking some first steps towards standing for the dignity of the homeless should not be that difficult.

If one listens to what the denizens of Safe Park are saying, it seems that all they are asking for is a piece of land to temporarily sleep on with maybe some porta potties and a portable shower. Surely between the public and private sectors they can figure out something like that, just like it has been done in other cities.

Or maybe Humberto Lopez could cut a deal to open that huge multi-storied empty hotel he owns that looks down on all the campers?

Who is more culpable in this situation? The likes of the guy who owns the humongous empty hotel or the human beings that wake up in their wretched little dream pods every morning in the shade of that empty hotel?

What would the Holy Father say?

I think he already said it to the cardinals on February 15.


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