Jim and Shelley Douglass moved right next door to the Trident submarine base — Ground Zero of the nuclear arms race — and organized a boat blockade that led to an epic confrontation with the Navy and Coast Guard on the waters of Puget Sound.
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When Father Dave Becker came to dinner at the home of Jim and Shelley Douglass next to the Trident base, the first sentence he said after he sat down on the sofa was, “I want to understand from you what it means to be the chaplain of the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.”
The new anti-poor laws come to the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday, June 30. It is vitally important to come to the meeting and speak out against these unjust laws. We can stop them now, just as we stopped them in the 2012 election when Berkeley voters defeated a ridiculous anti-sitting law.
The ambassadors of the Downtown Berkeley Association are an absurd gang of civil rights violators. Homeless people are in the worst position to try to combat this institutionalized discrimination. The City Council has failed to provide responsible oversight, and city commissions have too little influence to truly protect the public.
In an open letter to the Berkeley City Council, religious leaders say: “Do Not Criminalize Homeless People in Berkeley. We stand lovingly and firmly united in opposition to new proposed laws criminalizing homeless people. The new homeless laws violate our deep conviction to express compassion for all living beings.”
Positive Change boxes in Berkeley are merely repeating a failed model from the past. Cities that have adopted these programs as a model have all ended them for the same reason: They simply don’t work. Voucher programs get brassy press coverage until they fail, and then they fail in quiet obscurity.
Berkeley brags about its somewhat mythological tradition of compassion for the poor. Yet many services are designed to help people get off the street and find housing in some other town — not in Berkeley. Evicted with nowhere to go? Service providers will help you find scarce shelter space — in Richmond.
City officials intend to drastically cut funding for ten South Berkeley nonprofits serving homeless and other underserved people, including youth and people with mental health challenges. The City must either show respect and concern for its longtime residents, or else let the “market” drive out programs that serve our poorest citizens
Unfortunately, homeless and low-income individuals can face legal problems simply by itting on a curb. In addition to these stressful occurrences, legal problems can arise with public benefits as well. These as well as countless other problems contribute to the unique legal troubles of the homeless and low-income population.
“Nobody should be criminalized for the necessities of life. We have to realize these are our sisters and brothers who deserve and need our help.” — Franciscan friar Louie Vitale
Fances Beal was a founding member of the SNCC Black Women’s Liberation Committee, and did a pioneering study of “the triple oppression of race, class and gender.”