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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A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.