Re “Buffing away stigma one shoe at a time” (Page B1, Sept. 11): Congratulations to Jeff Jardine and The Bee for the great human-interest article about the Peer Recovery Project’s support for a shoeshine booth at its front door on J Street. This could mark the start of a line of articles and editorials on two issues – one about bringing more activities and merchants onto the downtown streets, especially J Street from 10th to up to the State Theatre and over to the Gallo. Putting licensed artists, musicians and merchants out on the street into the evening will make pedestrians and tourists more comfortable in dining and touring downtown, even while creating work for many. The bigger issue is launching more programs to give the homeless, jobless and drug-challenged a chance to learn job skills and self-respect.
Modesto can exercise some fresh thinking, as by John Black and his organization. I urge all readers to call up “the men in blue” program in New York, as run by the Doe Fund, that takes the jobless and undereducated off the streets, puts them in a training program, supplies them with blue jumpsuits, and engages them in temporary work cleaning up urban streets in addition to their classroom time. How about a city-sponsored/revenue-neutral study group to work up such a program with the chamber of commerce?
Bruce E. Jones, Modesto