It is absurd that the Downtown Berkeley Association, representing the wealthiest property owners in town, is taking public money to pay a private patrol to tear down the posters of poor artists, activists and community groups. We’re paying them to tear down our posters — and rip up the First Amendment.
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George Kelling was well aware that his “Broken Windows” policy could lend the force of the police to the enforcement of prejudice. Kelling utilized a real-estate metaphor to provide justification for discriminatory law enforcement, directed at poor and homeless people and aimed at “quality of life” crimes.
We will continue our organizing efforts against the Business Improvement Districts and anyone who encourages police harassment and incarceration of poor and homeless people. We are not broken windows and we will continue to fight this violent system trying to break us until we are all free.
It’s one thing to show the fallacy of giving tickets to people with no money, and wasting police resources on issues which would disappear if everybody had somewhere to live. But HUD is offering to share two billion dollars in federal funding with cities —if they stop criminalizing the poor.
Just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the City of Berkeley is turning its back on the Department of Justice and HUD guidelines and embracing more anti-homeless laws. This new slate of anti-homeless laws will be considered at the City Council meeting on the evening of Tuesday, November 17.
Where is a person who attended Santa Cruz High 15 years ago and who is now broke and troubled and living on the streets supposed to sleep tonight? What purpose is served when an unsheltered, impoverished person gets a citation for sleeping outside? Is that having any positive impact on homelessness?
The mayor could ask the city manager and police chief to stop all citations of those sleeping, covering up with blankets, camping outside or “being in a park after closing.” He could publicly state he believes the public has the right to be at City Hall after dark in peaceful protest.
Dr. Baker asked, “Where did you learn this ability?” “There is a training complex on Mars,” I replied. The nurse and the psych tech chortled involuntarily. Dr. Baker glared and said, “Maybe a jolt of electroconvulsive would zap some of that smart-ass out of you.”
Anthropologists study/ street people, find them/ humane, kindly, humble —/ a dog in lap, parrot on a/ shoulder, a young man/ sleeping, curled like a baby./ A raggedy baseball cap/ silvered with small coins./ Passing poets wonder:/ Is it unlawful to be human?/ But lawful to be inhumane?
“We are reclaiming our history—remembering all those founding mothers, all those women who kept the movement going without credit for so long, all the contributions we women have made and undervalued.” — Shelley Douglass