Archive | October, 2010

As the Economy Unravels, the Poor Are Criminalized

Quality of life laws resurrect a disgraceful tradition of discriminating against poor people. Like Jim Crow laws, these new laws segregate our country by race and class.

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Fighting for the Right to Affordable Housing

The right to affordable housing is a right recognized by the United Nations and several national governments, but not the United States. Photo by Tom Lowe

“There is a human rights crisis in the U.S. that can no longer be ignored… millions of Americans are unable to secure one of their most basic rights — the right to adequate housing.” — UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

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Lessons Learned from The Greening of America

“Peace Is Not A Radical Idea.” Activists confront giant corporations and the war machine. Art by Tiffany Sankary

With hopes for immediate change fading, some have become disenchanted with organizing. Yet, retreating from activism to seek personal liberation leaves us powerless to resist war, economic injustice, and corporate tyranny.

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PETRA Would Eliminate Public Housing and Undo Over 70 Years of Progress in Housing the Nation’s Poor

Art by Tiffany Sankary

by Lynda Carson On Sept. 27, 2010, activists and public housing residents gathered in front of the Los Angeles Housing Authority Commission to protest the agency’s plan to privatize 15 large public housing projects in 2011. In addition, the housing activists protested against the scheme by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) […]

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A Poet’s Deep Compassion for Life

A portrait of Berkeley poet Julia Vinograd painted by her sister Deborah Vinograd

Vinograd’s deep-rooted compassion for life makes her portrayals of suffering, death, and destruction overwhelmingly poignant.

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Short Fiction: The Greek Couple; Turn and Burn

The Greek Couple— Fiction by George Wynn
When Tito came back home to Boston, where his father and mother were dead, he’d always screw up. Nostalgia for his parents drove him to the bottle. He was persona non grata with his two married sisters on the South Shore.

/—/Turn and Burn— Fiction by Joan Clair

“You need to think of it as a business,” one of the property managers said. “It’s not about his humanity or yours, even though, of course, none of us likes to put anyone out on the street.”

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Short Fiction and Poetry – October 2010

“Sacred Heart” Art by Jos Sances, ceramic tile

  REFLECTION by Joan Clair A friend tells me she no longer has much or as much sympathy and compassion for the poor as she once had. For herself? In her 70s, her income hovers under $1,000 monthly with more than half of that going for rent. In another year or so her income may […]

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Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.