Archive | February, 2016

Can Oakland Fix the Homeless Crisis It Created?

Many of Oakland’s homeless people are African Americans displaced or evicted, and now forced to move into illegal encampments. Oakland officials have used the decline in the African-American population to market Oakland to outsiders.

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Berkeley Declares an Official Shelter Crisis

The critical mass of people shivering in doorways, behind dumpsters and in parks has stuffed a sock in the “we do enough for the homeless” song Mayor Tom Bates usually sings.

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Berkeley Fails to Control Police Misconduct

During the Black Lives Matter protests in Berkeley, people trying to nonviolently protest police misconduct were obstructed and injured. Press officers were injured. Religious leaders were injured. People trying to help the injured were injured. Yet the Police Review Commission report about police tactics has glaring omissions.

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Greyhound Therapy: Symptom of a Failed Mental Health System

Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas handed out bus tickets to about 1500 gravely disabled patients, “transferring” them to states all over the country. Patients were sent to states where they had never been a resident and areas that had no mental institution prepared to receive them.

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The Growing Plight of Internally Displaced Persons in Oakland

After Robert’s wife died two years ago, he lost his will to survive. Since then he has lived on the streets. He says what is most disheartening is the stigma attached to homelessness. He said he is looked upon as if he isn’t human.

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Serving the People on Martin Luther King Day

Leajay lost everything all at once — her job, her housing, her belongings in storage, her children, and then her freedom when the Berkeley police arrested her and put her in jail. This happened many times. Homelessness is a crime in Berkeley, she said, and the remedy, incarceration.

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New Shelter System — and New Attacks on Berkeley’s Homeless

Under Mayor Tom Bates, Berkeley has become more conservative in its social policies, and much more intolerant towards homeless people. Mayor Bates and some City Council members have tried repeatedly to criminalize homelessness. As a result, people on the streets have been under attack repeatedly in recent years.

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San Francisco Supervisor Tries to Ban Tents in Winter

Activists condemned Supervisor Wiener’s proposal to ban tents during the winter, saying: “Mr. Wiener’s letter is in direct contrast to the very spirit of the City of St. Francis. His timing was telling, as was his lack of solutions. Homeless people are suffering enough, and his letter was surprisingly cruel.”

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Santa Cruz Activists Join Together to Defend Right to Sleep

The UN Human Rights Committee condemns the criminalization of homelessness in the U.S.. Santa Cruz attorney Ed Frey says, “Sleeping is and has always been a human right that should be protected and defended by international convention. The time is right for a full-throated advocacy of that right at the highest levels.”

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Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.