by Buford Buntin

A young man sits in a seat on the Muni subway platform surrounded by Municipal Railway fare-checkers, eight or ten of them, I’d say. One interrogates him. I’m not aware of what he’s done, except not have his fare, perhaps. His hair is a little out of place, I guess, he looks a little disheveled, and maybe a bit afraid, as I can imagine.

Not wanting to be harassed by the pseudo cops, I move on, but look back in extreme curiosity and concern for the man. Nothing changes as far as I can tell, except for one fare-checker looking a little menacingly my way. I get on my train.

Are the fare-checkers an unnecessary money drain on the city’s budget which former Mayor Willie Brown would find superfluous, given that at the end of his second term, he thought Muni should be free? Are they cause for more trouble than help, an arm of the fascist sit-lie mentality the city’s yuppified are heralding?

I’ve seen another man who spends, I think, much of his day, especially now, inside Muni out of the rain, laughing with the police downstairs in the dry Muni underground. Is he lucky, or has he just, considering his age and probable maturity, learned how not to be confrontational with the long arms of the fare-checkers and the police?

All of this, in my mind, is completely unnecessary. As long as people on and underneath the streets of San Francisco do not bother other users of the streets and the Muni and Bart systems, leave them alone. And find some other way to collect for the money-strapped city.

In the City’s eyes, the poor and the homeless are a drain. Boost their lives and they won’t be. And, obviously, fare-checkers aren’t helping the situation.


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.