The March 2005 Edition of Street Spirit

A publication of the American Friends Service Committee


National AFSC AFSC Economic Justice BOSS Website



In this issue:

Truth About Care Not Cash

Resistance to Brown's Curfew

No Millionaire Left Behind

Bush Policies Punish the Poor

Bush Rigs U.S. Society for Rich

SOS! Save Our Services

Faith Reflection on Bush Budget

Plan to End Homelessness in Ten Years

Counted Out in San Francisco

Artist Portrays Act of Giving

Berkeley Protest Demands Shelter from the Storm

Transformation of Dignity Village

George Wynn's Homeless Fiction

Poor Leonard's Almanack

Poetry of the Streets


May 2005

February 2005






Street Spirit is published by American Friends Service Committee.

All works are copyrighted by the authors.

The views expressed in Street Spirit are those of the individual authors alone, and not necessarily that of the American Friends Service Committee.

The Truth About Care Not Cash

by Carol Harvey

Holding crosses bearing the names of homeless people who died on city streets, members of Religious Witness with Homeless People gather at S.F. City Hall to speak out about the Care Not Cash program.

"People on Care Not Cash do not get enough care. As for the Cash program, any one person cannot survive on $59 dollars per month for their food (and) basic necessities."

Dominic Simeo, soft-spoken and articulate, has the face of a young Sylvester Stallone. His dark Italian hair contrasted with a white shirt and a simple ivory cross on a beaded lanyard around his neck that he had made himself. On Sunday, January 30, in Civic Center Plaza, Dominic waited his turn with Rev. Jana Drakka, Rabbi Alan Lew, and others, to speak at the "Covenant of Compassion with Homeless People," a ceremony organized by Sister Bernie Galvin's Religious Witness with Homeless People to honor 72 homeless dead and tell "the other side of Care Not Cash." Religious leaders representing every faith and every area of San Francisco were present.

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Resistance to Jerry Brown's Draconian Curfew

by Sitara Nieves

A demonstrator tries to make Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown live up to his promises.

"This is the beginning -- not the end -- of a long struggle... and we're here to tell the people of Oakland: It's got to stop, or we will all pay the price." -- Linda Evans, All of Us or None

The lesson that regular people learn over and over again is that politicians aren't so concerned about our safety or our health. Polling numbers, yes. Good media spin, yes. Donations, oh yes. But when someone's running for any office, certain people become expendable: poor people who can't give you scads of money. People with felonies, who can't vote for you. And U.S. politicians callously disregard our health and safety, since they well understand that the politics of fear brings in the votes. Exhibit one: Jerry Brown's law-and-order strategy in his campaign for attorney general. Exhibit two: Brown's new curfew policy in Oakland.

Dorsey Nunn, an organizer with All of Us or None, said, "If we ain't going to be living with Jerry Brown, we definitely don't want to live in jail. We should have the right to live; so they can't run us out of the place that used to be our city where we grew up. We live here too!"

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No Millionaire Left Behind

Bush's tax cuts for the rich cause huge deficits and devastating cuts in public services

by Rick Wilson

"Safety Net," by Art Hazelwood. A homeless woman huddles under the flag, the only remaining vestige of the Safety Net, in this striking image.

Like police captain Renault, played by Claude Rains in the classic movie "Casablanca," the Bush administration has been "shocked, shocked" by its recent discovery of a federal deficit problem. In just four years, the Bush administration managed to turn a projected $5 trillion surplus to a $3.8 trillion deficit for the coming decade, an $8.8 trillion swing for the worse.

The means by which this remarkable feat was accomplished were a strange combination of enacting wave after wave of tax cuts primarily for the rich, while at the same time increasing spending for war -- a fiscal policy analogous to taking gasoline out of your car while driving a long and dangerous race. Of these two factors, the tax breaks for wealthy people and corporations played the largest role.

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