Archive | April, 2011

Berkeley Merchants Try to Ban Sitting

“Segregation, After Norman Rockwell” Art by Nili Yosha

There is not nearly enough shelter to serve homeless youth in Berkeley. With such a dire shortage, is it fair to fine and arrest the exhausted and, unsurprisingly, sometimes dirty youth sitting on our sidewalks?

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YEAH! Shelter from the Storm for Street Youth

At Berkeley’s YEAH! program, an adult and a homeless youth walk arm in arm.

Many participants from Berkeley have helped to build YEAH!, tended it, fed the youth, and donated time, energy and money to the endeavor. They bring their warmth, their respect, and their desire to make a difference. The Lutheran Church of the Cross, which houses the shelter, has a commitment to making a difference for people who would otherwise live outside. YEAH! is their commitment.

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Building a Budget for Humanity in California

California, #1 in Prisons. From Center for the Study of Political Graphics

Instead of funding affordable homes, we are housing over 160,000 people in over-crowded prisons and jails. Instead of funding In-Home Support Services, we are building prison hospitals. Instead of building community colleges, we are building county jails.

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New Priorities Seeks End to War, Big Cuts to Pentagon

The two party system “debates” the military budget. Democrats and Republicans are in collusion to give endless billions to the Pentagon. Art by Doug Minkler

Every minute of every day, the U.S. government spends $2.1 million on the military. In 2012, the United States will allocate about 60 percent of its discretionary budget for military spending. This includes $553 billion as the base budget for the Pentagon.

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House Votes to Terminate Key Foreclosure Program

“Last week, the U.S. told the United Nations that addressing homelessness here at home is a human rights obligation. Cutting vital housing programs gives the lie to those obligations — and damages our credibility as a leader in the world community.” — Maria Foscarinis, NLCHP executive director

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Defending the Right to Serve Food in Public

Food Not Bombs in Los Angeles provides a free meal, as part of a picnic on Skid Row to defend the right to share food. Photo by Dan Bluemel LA Activist

We believe that sharing food with our brothers and sisters is a fundamental human right, protected under the First Amendment.

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Landlords or Panhandlers: Who Is Really to Blame?

But before Berkeley sends another potentially pointless anti-poor ordinance through the courts, it makes sense to institute a retail vacancy fee on landlords who keep storefront locations empty for years, refusing to acknowledge the recession’s effect on merchants, generally, and the effect of empty storefronts, specifically, on a struggling commercial area.

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Obama Pursues the Madness of Nuclear Power

The two party system “debates” the military budget. Democrats and Republicans are in collusion to give endless billions to the Pentagon. Art by Doug Minkler

Nuclear power is a moral crime against future generations. It is up to us to peacefully and insistently shut those plants down.

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A Nonviolent Path to Peace in the Holy Land

by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta Ithaca Press Hardback, 528 pages

Increasing numbers of Palestinians and thousands of Israelis see nonviolent action as an effective way to challenge the Israeli military occupation. This excellent book encourages all of us to get beyond the all-too-common division of the world between “us” and “them,” and the need to resort to war and killing as a way of solving problems and achieving security.

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Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.

Joy in the Midst of Sorrow in Santa Maria Orphanage

This amazing priest not only housed 300 orphaned children from the streets of Mexico City, but he also took care of 20 homeless elders in his own house and started a home for children dying of AIDS. Father Norman also ran a soup kitchen that fed many people in the village.