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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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.