Archive | August, 2012

Chilling Crackdown on the Santa Cruz 11

In a chilling strategy to crush political dissent, activists in Santa Cruz face felony charges for a peaceful occupation of a vacant bank building. Six of those charged are journalists and high-profile critics of the police and city council, prompting many to call it an attack on the First Amendment

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How a Wells Fargo Occupation Led to Felony Charges

The occupation of a vacant building in Santa Cruz became a complicated and illegal experiment in social change. Eleven people — including alternative journalists and some of Santa Cruz’s most visible activists — were singled out and charged with misdemeanor trespassing, vandalism and felony conspiracy to commit trespass.

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Mayor Bates Tries to Ram Through Anti-Sitting Law

Many Berkeley citizens have come out against this egregious attack on the civil rights of homeless people. Berkeley City Councilmembers Kriss Worthington, Max Anderson and Jesse Arreguin have shown us that not all members of the council have been corrupted by the baleful lure of big-time developers and their filthy lucre.

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Federal Government Is Responsible for 25 Years of Failed Programs and Rising Homelessness

The U.S. government’s McKinney-Vento Act was enacted 25 years ago to address the emergency needs of homeless people. Yet homelessness has escalated to historic levels because federal officials have defunded, dismantled, and sold off hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units, thus ensuring that more and more people become homeless.

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Homelessness Isn’t Just an Accident—It’s a Plan

We know we’re one paycheck away, one injury away from being that homeless person our policymakers wish would leave town if we can’t keep up with exorbitant rents. Why do our political and planning representatives continue to build unaffordable housing instead of addressing the most pressing housing needs?

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London Olympics Bring Rent Gouging and Repression

The Olympics have intensified the effects of the poisonous cocktail of corporate power and authoritarian government that has been building in Britain and across the world. It began with landlords evicting tenants to make way for Olympic lets, prompting a wider housing crisis and rent increases, followed by evictions.

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Gov. Brown’s Shocking Cuts to California’s Safety Net

Despite the already extreme levels of poverty in California, Gov. Brown is planning to balance the budget on the backs of the poor by grabbing an additional billion dollars from critical social services programs. This deal jeopardizes the state’s safety net, with permanent changes being made to many life-saving programs.

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Berkeley Information Network: A Good Place to Seek Help

It is very rewarding for librarians when the Berkeley Information Network is used as a source of help for homeless people and those living on the edge. Berkeley librarian Isobel Schneider declares enthusiastically, “This is the area we really shine in — to help people find resources that can really improve their lives.”

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Raise the Minimum Wage to Raise U.S. Economy

“Our report on executive compensation will only fuel the outrage over corporate greed,” said Forbes. Most Americans are left out of the nation’s economic growth because 93 percent of the income growth went to the richest 1 percent. The bottom 90 percent of Americans got none.

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Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”