Archive | December, 2015

A Futile and Brutal Act: Berkeley’s Anti-Homeless Laws

“Berkeley continues to outlaw homeless people in the face of overwhelming statements from the federal government and from nearly every university school of health and law school that says that criminalizing the poor is a futile and brutal act.” — Max Anderson, Berkeley City Council

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Suitcase Clinic’s Solidarity with People on the Street

“At the City Council meeting, I think we played a role in empowering our clients who spoke out against the criminalization of homelessness. More importantly, we stood in solidarity with them.”

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Two Square Feet of Space — Unless You Own a Business

This is how democracy works in Berkeley: The City Council majority represents the Downtown Berkeley Association. One guy — John Caner, the CEO of DBA, who wrote the initial law (with Maio and Arreguin) in a back room — felt represented in all the madness. And he didn’t have to say a word.

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Housing Project Threatens to Evict Seniors for Speaking Out

The lawyer for Redwood Gardens warned the senior and disabled tenants to “cease and desist” any and all criticism of management. Must the residents surrender their freedom of speech and right to privacy while living in the senior housing project? Noncompliance can result in “termination of tenancy.”

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On Homelessness and Human Rights in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz has enacted bans on sleeping in parks and in vehicles, bans on blankets, and bans on sitting, camping, sleeping, breathing, resting, dreaming and existing. Have the activists been noisy and “boisterous” in protesting the cruel attacks on poor people in their community? Thank God they have.

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As Rents Skyrocket, Berkeley Attacks A Familiar Scapegoat

The second vote on the anti-homeless laws came on December 1, 2015, exactly 60 years to the day that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that Montgomery Bus. On the 60th anniversary of Rosa Park’s historic action, the City Council is rolling back those civil rights in Berkeley.

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Nothing Works Quite As Well As Housing

Our lack of affordable housing is a real public health crisis — the result of 30 years of complete neglect of homeless people by Mayor Tom Bates and, before that, his wife, former Mayor Loni Hancock. Their housing policy has been to ignore the people sleeping in parks, under overpasses and in alleys.

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Court Rules L.A. Housing Authority Illegally Cut Section 8 Subsidies

“This decision should not only lead to compensation for the tens of thousands of Los Angeles Section 8 recipients that were hurt by the illegal reduction in benefits going back in 2004-2006, but also protects all Section 8 recipients going forward, wherever they may be.” — Barrett Litt, attorney for Section 8 tenants

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The Lifelong Creativity of Berkeley Artist Eve Pageant

When I visited her home studio, the sheer numbers of her art pieces astounded me. Every wall was covered with her paintings, and shelves were filled with her sculptures. Her art ranged from fabulous human figure sculptures to sculptural reliefs to oil paintings to drawings, the best artwork I’d ever seen.

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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.