Archive | July, 2016

Oakland’s Cruel Attack on Homeless Recyclers

Homelessness is a nationwide epidemic, yet Oakland officials are shutting down Alliance Recycling and cruelly depriving poor and homeless recyclers of their livelihood. They are criminalizing an entire class of people by outlawing their profession.

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On the Streets, Under the Trees

David Bacon’s photographs of homeless people in cities and rural areas were born out of his commitment to social justice. They capture the uphill struggle for survival faced by millions living in the virtually invisible landscape of poverty.

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No Country for Old People

Market ideology undermines human rights for elders. Old people, children and the disabled are vulnerable in a profit-based economy that ignores the rights to housing, education and health care. Popular struggle is necessary to demand these needs be met. When movements weaken, the safety net is slashed.

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No Alternative But To Keep Working

Workers are aging in the fields. Women especially start to worry after they pass 50. They depend on the fields, but the work is hard and as they get older, it gets harder. Crew leaders won’t hire older people for many jobs. They have to work, because there’s no alternative.

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Oppression After Death: The High Cost of Dying

I guess we all think about death. The popular vision of a line of black cars following a sleek Mercedes stretch hearse. If you are homeless, a garbage truck will probably be your hearse. That’s how I envision it. Be nice if they at least had a long one — painted black.

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Who Will Watch Over the Watchers?

Berkeley’s downtown streets and open spaces are watched over by the DBA and its employees who tear down public posters, physically attack people who don’t comply with their orders, or abuse people who don’t meet their standard of beauty. All too often, DBA ambassadors are abusive and unaccountable.

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Criminalizing Homelessness Cost $20 Million in S.F.

Last year, San Francisco spent more than $20 million policing so-called “quality of life” ordinances for more than 60,000 incidents, nearly all involving homeless people. The City’s Budget and Legislative Analyst concluded that the $20.6 million could be better used to provide housing for its homeless residents.

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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.