Shelter Expansion & Investigative Scrutiny Contrasts Sharply With Santa Cruz’s

NOTES BY NORSE:  Santa Ana–a City that was the focus on extensive legal action on behalf of the homeless 25 years ago– has transformed a retrofitted bus terminal downtown into a 24-hour homeless shelter serving hundreds of people.  Criticisms by those upset by the overcrowding, harsh treatment, and favoritism are chronicled below in these Voice of Orange County articles (see also the links in the story below).  However apparently legal pressure and the (now unlikely) prospect of federal intervention (as happened in the Bell v. Boise case) did prompt a massive if typically off-target expenditure to open up what may be the largest shelter on the West Coast.

                           Santa Cruz, in contrast, has essentially eliminated year-round shelter services at its Homeless (Lack of) Services Center.   Gone areboth the emergency shelter element (which was never more than 50 spaces) & the free meal aspect (shut down completely after June 2015)–actions that prompted the ongoing Freedom Sleeper demonstrations at City Hall. Fences, security guards, and ID cards have replaced the open campus practices of past years–apparently as a sop to NIMBY locals in the Harvey West Neighborhood Association and bigoted community groups like Take Back Santa Cruz.  Disabled and ill clients have been literally thrown out on the street–to be subsequently hospitalized like Andy Carcero.  Others have periodically set up protest campsites outside demanding fair treatment.  Mainstream and “alternative” media, unlike Orange County media, have paid no attention to the abuses at Coral Street and its slow steady descent into a prison-like posture.   And for the thousands outside without even the possibility of shelter City Council throws money at police, rangers, and security thugs to “move along” disabled folks out into the rain from under the eaves of buildings.   When will the simple realities of the presence of homeless people on the streets finally force authorities to abandon police-state tactics in favor of real resources?  No time soon, I fear, without street and legal pressure.

                             Homeless voices will be speaking out in the annual Homelessness Marathon January 19th (http://news.homelessnessmarathon.org/ ).  For those interested in reading the (partial) Homeless Death toll in Santa Cruz over the years, go to https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/12/20/18794863.php?show_comments=1#18795041 .

 

The Kraemer Place plan was always driven by supervisorial ego and public relations – not practicality. Everybody was emotionally invested in the big expenditure on a permanent building. The more it cost the better the County liked it.  That $10,000,000 could have been invested in rapid solutions to the most pressing problems.  It’s not even in the right place. So it will need a whole new transportation apparatus.  P.S. it’s not being “fast-tracked.” That’s govspeak. It was already (predictably) behind schedule so they are adding a quicker, sleep on the floor option.

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Rare L.A. Victory for Direct Action Protester !

 

NOTES BY NORSE:   Hats off to long-time Venice advocate David Busch, who’s been fighting city attacks on the local homeless community for decades.  See “The Right to Discriminate” at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/2002-4-the-right-to-discriminate-001.jpg , http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/2002-4-the-right-to-discriminate-002.jpg , & http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/2002-4-the-right-to-discriminate-003.jpg .



 

Santa Cruz’s bigot-pleasing Good Times  has recently covered its typical smear campaign against the outside poor with environmental concern protective cover.  See “Saving Lighthouse Field” at http://goodtimes.sc/cover-stories/saving-lighthouse-field/
Santa Cruz’s Parks and Recreation Department and the SCPO have long proclaimed its right to dumpster and destroy homeless survival gear and has lately been doing that, according to participants in the 54-week long Tuesday night Freedom SleepOut’s at City Hall.   Retrieval of homeless property (in those instances where it is saved rather than trashed) can only be done during a two hour period (12:30 – 2:30 PM) on Tuesdays and Thursdays in spite of bloated police budget.

 


Parks and Rec thugs-in-white now regularly “patrol” the Downtown Area in white shirts (no white hoods yet)in search of performers, vendors, and activists who are sitting outside the scattered blue and brass boxes (Performance Pens) being used to constrict, coral, and discourage non-commercial activity on Pacific Avenue, the Wharf, and elsewhere. SCPD’s Officer Hoppe has reportedly been jailing impoverished homeless panhandler for peacefully holding up a “help me” sign on the median at Ocean and Water streets.


Undefeated visual artists Alex Skelton and Joff Jones face hundreds of dollars in fines in court next month after five in-custody arrests for displaying their paintings on Pacific Avenue “outside the boxes”.  Meanwhile fascist-friend City art critics have driven away handicraft artists on Pacific with new laws banning creation, display, or sale of any artwork or perfomance that may have “a functional use” such as jewelry, t-shirts, massage, crystals, etc.  Laws banning RV’s from parking late at night anywhere in the city await likely Coastal Commission approval–with homeless people explicitly denied the right to purchase permits.


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More on the Announced Homeless (Lack of) Services Center Closing

 

Human Rights Under Attack in the City of Santa Cruz
by Dennis Etler
Tuesday Jun 9th, 2015 5:06 PM

The impending closure of the Homeless Services Center, due to the withdrawal of State administered federal emergency funds, will deprive the homeless of Santa Cruz their basic human rights. The United States is not a poor, developing country, but the self-avowed richest nation on Earth. It is deemed exceptional and indispensable by our leaders. but it can’t supply necessary, minimal services such as shelter, meals, showers, toilet facilities and a secure place to store personal belongings and receive mail, to its most disadvantaged citizens, as mandated by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a founding document of the UN to which the United States is a signatory. As such, the City of Santa Cruz is in gross violation of the basic human rights of its citizens. In a civilized society an injury against one is an injury against all.

Human Rights Under Attack in the City of Santa Cruz.

The impending closure of the Homeless Services Center (HSC), due to the withdrawal of State administered federal emergency funds, will deprive the homeless of Santa Cruz their basic human rights. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a founding document of the UN to which the United States is a signatory, states unequivocally that, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” The United States is not a poor, developing country, but the self-avowed richest nation on Earth. It is deemed exceptional and indispensable by our leaders, but it can’t supply necessary, minimal services such as shelter, meals, showers, toilet facilities and a secure place to store personal belongings and receive mail, to its most disadvantaged citizens.

While the HSC has been providing basic humans services to its clientele since 1986 it is still far from adequate and many people are turned away or otherwise go unserved. The recent denial of emergency funding to the tune of $350,00 and increases in insurance premiums and other expenses have resulted in the HSC running a structural deficit of $600,000 or approximately 18% of its $3.4 million dollar 2015 budget (http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20150526/santa-cruz-homeless-services-facing-cuts ).

This shortfall is being used as an excuse to curtail all essential services to the homeless, resulting in the locking of the HSC gates as of July 1, 2015. But in 2012 with revenues of $2,114,000 and expenses of $2,538,000 the HSC was able to continue functioning with a $423,000 structural deficit or a 20% shortfall. Thus the loss of some funding in 2015 ($350,000 or about 10% of the overall budget) and other increased expenses should not of necessity entail the denial of basic human rights to a significant portion of the population of Santa Cruz.

This is especially the case when funds are readily available from the City for a $420,000 increase in monies allocated for “economic development” (City Budget page 248) and while over 100 city bureaucrats and functionaries make more than $200,000 in total annual pay and benefits (http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/santa-cruz/?page=3&s=-total). The assault on human rights in Santa Cruz, however, is apparently not happening in Monterey or Salinas that are said to have received similar cuts in emergency federal funding. Recent news stories from Monterey for instance report that the City Council has voted an additional $500,000 for homeless services (http://www.montereyherald.com/social-affairs/20150520/monterey-approves-500k-homeless-spending-plan), especially targeting homeless youth, veterans and women (http://www.montereyherald.com/social-affairs/20150527/advocate-community-has-resources-to-help-monterey-homeless-women).

Meanwhile, the Salinas City Council apparently has the the discretion to disburse federal funds as they see fit. According to the Californian “The Salinas City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to disburse a little more than $2.6 million in federal Department of Housing and Urban Development funding. The money is distributed to American cities annually in three main ways — through the Community Development Block Grant program, the HOME investment partnerships program and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program — the latter of which primarily addresses homelessness. This year, on staff’s recommendations, the council voted to spend $1.9 million on CDBG programs, $543,083 on the HOME program and $172,842 on the ESG program.” (http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2015/05/13/council-doles-million-federal-hud-money/27221591/). If Salinas has the ability to allocate federal Department of Housing and Urban Development funds why not Santa Cruz?

Santa Cruz likes to portray itself as an affluent, progressive California city. But nearly 22% of the population of Santa Cruz lives below the poverty line (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0669112.html) (http://www.city-data.com/poverty/poverty-Santa-Cruz-California.html), and most of the 41% who rent cannot afford the sky high prices for even modest accommodations and have to live hand to mouth just to make ends meet (http://www.cityonahillpress.com/2015/06/09/inching-up-and-crowded-out/). Santa Cruz is statistically one of the poorest cities of its size in all of California (http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/general-news/20110922/santa-cruz-county-poverty-rate-highest-among-bay-area-counties). So while the majority of Santa Cruz residents struggle to survive and while City workers are denied a living wage (http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/government-and-politics/20150527/santa-cruz-city-labor-workers-take-over-budget-meeting), City bureaucrats get fat at the public trough. Whose interest does the City serve when its policy makers earn incomes that dwarf that of most Santa Cruz residents? Who do they hobnob and identify with, the poor and downtrodden on our city streets, the working poor servicing the restaurants they eat at and the struggling working (former middle) class who spend their meager paychecks at local businesses or the wealthiest stratum of Santa Cruz society? Who do they serve? Need I ask?

Comments 

by same stupid foot

Wednesday Jun 10th, 2015 2:03 AM

It’s interesting to have various financial data side-by-side with things you’re just imagining. This is the sort of stuff that TBSC did two years ago as they made wild assumptions about the intentions of the center. The weeks since the news of funding cuts have shown that lefties are no more investigative or compassionate as those who hate people experiencing homelessness. As people face sleeping outside, you attack the system (though in error). We’ve seen the lack of real care and compassion as this whole thing is being as a device to complain about HSC, and the City without ever taking any responsibility yourself.

by Robert Norse

Wednesday Jun 10th, 2015 7:52 AM

Perhaps “same stupid foot” can identify the particular “wild assumptions” and attacks Etler makes in the article. Mindless support of bad behavior by the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC] is as bad as mindless opposition a la TBSC.

These behaviors include silence as more laws are being passed criminalizing the homeless, refusal to provide the documentation needed to deter Sleeping Ban citations, failure to provide obvious direct services (lockers, adequate shelter), prison-like conditions (locked gate, fence, ID card), and closed bathroom at night.

It’s also telling that the HLOSC has declined repeatedly to make its budget for this year and last year public in spite of repeated requests. And significant that apparently they move immediately to announce cut off of the most essential emergency services [shelter, food, bathrooms, laundry, mail] when only 10% of their budget has been cut and 90% remains.

It appears that HLOSC is colluding with an agenda to reduce or eliminate emergency services. Perhaps this is being done to follow the federal money, perhaps to deter TBSC criticism, or perhaps simply as a wake up call to encourage more donors [this is the most hopeful prospect–if you’re a balls-out supporter of the HLOSC).

In any case, community support for meals, shelter, and other essential services–in whatever form–must be mobilized. Come to the Thursday June 11th meal tomorrow at 10 AM at Hiway 1 and Hiway 9. Support real alternatives to police harassment that will face more homeless people on June 29th.

A recent letter from Shelly McKittridge, a Program Director at the HLOSC complex, to a client being evicted from the Page Smith Community House sent yesterday reads:

“I think you are confusing the information about the Paul Lee Loft with Page Smith. We are not closing Page Smith Community House. We are, however, needing to move folks who have been in Page Smith over the 18 month limit on. The notices you have received are a structured part of the Page Smith Program. The Paul Lee Loft and Daytime Essential Services Program will close on June 29th because of the loss of funding for those programs. Page Smith, the Recuperative Care Center and the Rebele Family Shelter are not impacted by this funding loss.”

Folks can ask McKittridge herself what’s cooking at smckittrick [at] santacruzhsc.org or call her at her office 831-458-6020 ext. 3110 or on her cell at 831-345-5998 .

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Monterey and Santa Cruz: Positive Loitering Protests

 

Monterey Police Take Names, Issue ‘Warnings’ at Latest Sit-Lie Demonstration
by Alex Darocy
Friday May 8th, 2015 7:03 PM

Monterey Police have portrayed their enforcement of the city’s sit-lie ban as a friendly process where first-time violators are simply given a “warning” when found sitting or lying on sidewalks located downtown and in other commercial districts. On May 1, community members participating in a sit-in held on the sidewalk of Alvarado Street to protest the new law demonstrated the process isn’t quite that simple. More than a dozen individuals were confronted by police and forced to give them their name, date of birth, and home address as part of the verbal warning that they were in violation of the site-lie ordinance. For the past several months, community members have been organizing sit-ins to oppose the ban, which they say unfairly targets homeless people and travelers.


As the warnings were being issued, a few individuals joined the group and sat down right in front of police. Some did comply with the warning and stood up during the encounter, but the majority continued to sit. Three police officers were deployed to the scene; two issued the warnings while Sergeant Bob Guinvarch photographed several people and looked on.

Officer Roobash instructed individuals several times they shouldn’t be opposing the ordinance by openly defying it.

“You need to take this to the City Council and proper channels,” he said.

He asked if any of them had written the city to complain, and several demonstrators explained they had been contacting local officials since 2013 when the Monterey City Council initially discussed the matter and decided not to move forward with a sit-lie ban at that time. The council reversed course in 2014, however, and enacted a re-submitted proposal for a sit-lie ordinance.

There was some irony in Roobash, a police officer, instructing demonstrators to complain to the city. It was Monterey Chief of Police Phil Penko who pushed hard for a sit-lie ban, and he authored the 2013 and 2014 city staff reports that requested council members approve one without any alternatives presented.

Additionally, Monterey Police have dedicated an entire section of their website, which is titled “Homeless Issues,” to give business owners and the public instructions on how to report homeless people to the police.

“The following information is provided to assist business people and individual community members in properly addressing incidents and concerns regarding the homeless and related quality of life issues,” the Monterey Police website states.

A tab on the homeless issues page lists what it calls “related city code,” a list of ten ordinances that can be applied to street people. The new sit-lie ordinance is not on the list yet, but the other laws referenced include: “begging prohibited,” “camping prohibited outside of designated areas,” “obstructing sidewalk or street prohibited,” “11 p.m. curfew for minors,” “loitering in parking facilities prohibited,” and “camping in vehicles prohibited on public property from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

While receiving a warning for sitting at the May 1 demonstration, one person told police, “I invite you to give me a citation and I am not getting up until you do.” He later explained that he wanted to be issued a citation for sitting so that he could fight it in court and have the law “invalidated.”

Another demonstrator told police that he was a “homeless man” and he felt “extremely offended” that officers were attempting to prevent him from sitting on the sidewalk. He explained later how he uses alcohol to cope with life on the streets, which puts him at risk of violating the sit-lie law, and being targeted by police.

“I drink myself to sleep every night,” he said…..[story with more photos continues at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/05/08/18772076.php .

MEANWHILE IN SANTA CRUZ…

Protests in Santa Cruz

by Robert Norse

Saturday May 9th, 2015 10:02 PM

As Monterey activists were demonstrating to demand the return of the right to rest yesterday, Santa Cruz activists served coffee and fliers in front of the Main Library. We signed up more opponents of the planned “No Parking for the Homeless” in the streets around the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center, cooked up behind closed doors by the SCPD, the Public Works Department, and various businesses on Fern, Coral, and Limekiln Streets. We gathered 53 signatures in the last few days

Later on Friday two HUFF activists supported the right to assemble at Elm and Cedar (near or across the street from the Cafe Pergolesi) which police and security guards have been regularly attacking with false “obstructing the sidewalk” threats and tickets. The activist weapon: prominently displayed video equipment. Apparently the presence of folks and recording does make a difference. Officer Winston, reported hung out for half an hour, but didn’t demand youth gathering there move on–as police and security guards have been doing with regularity. You have a “right to stand” on the sidewalk if you move out of the way for passersby when requested to do so.
Even if you’re young, homeless, or a traveler with a backpack.

Ironically, it is illegal to sit down on the same sidewalks (on Elm St. or along the Pergolesi side of Cedar St.) as well as anywhere in the Elm and Cedar City parking lot (even in your own vehicle, legally parked). As it has expanded the mini-police state for homeless people, the Santa Cruz “no sitting” law (MC 9.50.012) is much harsher than the Monterey law and has been on the books for more than two decades now (and reduced legal sitting space downtown to less than 1% of the sidewalks). Though free-standing commercial signs in front of businesses are blatantly illegal, no store owner or manager has, to my knowledge been fined or otherwise sanctioned.

One possible strategy for the bold: If you’re being harassed for sitting down on the sidewalk on or near Pacific Avenue–or see it happening to someone else–request the cop issue a citation. To the nearest business hosting an illegal free-standing sign on the sidewalk in violation of city law. There’s at least one on every block. Video or audio recording would help, but a witness is also okay.

If–as is most likely–the cop declines to issue the citation, note his name and badge number, the time, sign location, and name and address of the criminal shop. File a complaint with both the SCPD and the City Manager, and post it on indybay. Ask to speak to the cop’s superior if he refuses to be helpful. Document it as you go.

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L.A. Police Kill Unarmed Brandon Glenn: Witness Accounts

Video at: http://theobamacrat.com/2015/05/07/brendon-glenn-aka-drizzle-29-year-old-unarmed-homeless-man-killed-by-police/

Brendon Glenn, aka drizzle, 29 Year Old UNARMED Homeless Man, Killed By Police

 

4 Votes

 

Mr MilitantNegro™
Jueseppi B

701911_1280x720
BREAKING: Witness Speaks Out On LAPD Police Murder

Published on May 7, 2015

In this video Luke Rudkowski is in Venice Beach California investigating the recent death of Brendon Glenn aka drizzle. Brendon was an 29 year old homeless man who was unarmed during the altercation with police. LAPD shot him two times and took his life.

From ABC7 Eyewitness News:
TRANSIENT MAN SHOT TO DEATH BY LAPD IN VENICE AFTER ‘DISTURBING THE PEACE’ CALL
By , Leo Stallworth and Jory Rand

A transient man was shot to death in Venice by Los Angeles police responding to a report of someone “disturbing the peace.”
The man, identified as Brendon Glenn, was described as a black male in his mid-to-late 20s. The officer who shot the suspect is also black, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

2863783500000578-3071218-image-m-44_1430961793809

The shooting occurred near Pacific and Winward avenues around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday just a block or so away from the beach.
Two LAPD officers responded to the scene after people called police saying a man was causing a disturbance outside of a bar. Friends of the suspect say he was panhandling, but police said he was disturbing the peace.
After officers spoke with the suspect, he walked away in the direction of the boardwalk.
A short time later, the officers “observed the suspect physically struggling with an individual on the sidewalk west of their initial location,” LAPD said in a statement. The responding officers made contact with the suspect, and at some point, there was a struggle between the man and the two officers. That’s when the shots were fired.
The officer who shot the suspect, described by police as a veteran of the force, was on crutches after injuring his knee during the incident.
“Clap, clap, and I was like, ‘What was that?’ And all I see is this dude fall to the ground,” described Dylan Andre, a witness.
Andre was standing near the scene of the shooting, but he said he never heard or saw any scuffle before hearing the gunshots.
“When I heard the clap, it sounded like it came from far left, but it was right in front of me,” Andres said.
       William Henson, a friend of the suspect, said the man was still alive and asking for help after he was shot. The suspect was transported to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after midnight.
Henson described the man as a lost soul.
“He was a recovering crackhead for 13 years, came out here, got real bad on alcohol, but if he wasn’t on alcohol, he was OK,” Henson said.
Don Wige, who lives on the streets, also knew the suspect.
“He had a lot of anxiety inside of him and frustration. He couldn’t understand why the world was so negative,” Wige said, adding that the suspect’s size and strength could easily look threatening.
“But then again, that’s not a reason to kill somebody because they look threatening,” Wige said. “They could have shot him in the arm. They could have Tasered him. They have so many options to handle the situation, but they immediately go to the extreme which is the gun.”
LAPD Officer Meghan Aguilar said police protocol is to use the least amount of force necessary to control the situation. She said she doesn’t know why a Taser was not used in the incident.
“That will be something that force investigation division does ask the officers. They will ask them why they chose to use the force they did and why they didn’t choose to use the force that they did not use,” Aguilar said.
The two officers involved in the shooting were not wearing body cameras, and there was no dash camera on their vehicle. However, police said they will retrieve surveillance video from the surrounding area that they believe captured the shooting.
       LAPD Chief Charlie Beck spoke at a news conference held Wednesday afternoon and said surveillance video shows the officer and suspect in a scuffle. He also said the department will thoroughly investigate the situation.
“Anytime an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that, and I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances at this point,” he said.
The injured officer is on medication and has yet to be interviewed by investigators about the shooting, Beck said. Both officers involved in the shooting have been taken off the street and will remain off patrol pending the outcome of the investigation.
Authorities said a suspect weapon was not found at the scene. The shooting remains under investigation.
Beck said a town hall meeting is scheduled at the Pacific Division Station involving the LAPD and political leaders on Thursday.
Thank you  , Leo Stallworth and Jory Rand & ABC7 Eyewitness News


!!arrestkillercops
From KTLA5:
LAPD Chief Beck: No ‘Extraordinary Circumstances’ to Justify Venice Fatal Police Shooting

POSTED 4:52 AM, MAY 6, 2015, BY , , , AND , UPDATED AT 11:07PM, MAY 6, 2015

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Wednesday addressed the death of an unarmed homeless man fatally shot by an officer following a confrontation near the historic Venice sign, saying the shooting concerned him and an investigation was underway.

Brendon Glenn, 29, was the individual killed by police late Tuesday night, according to a man who runs the Teen Project’s drop-in center for homeless youth in Venice.

Beck said in a Wednesday afternoon news conference that he had reviewed video of the shooting and he did not see evidence that indicated extreme circumstances that could prompt an officer to open fire.

venice-ois

“Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that, and I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances at this point,” Beck said.

Both the male officer who opened fire and the man killed were black, the chief noted.

 

“Even if race is a small part of this, which I don’t think it is, they’re certainly outweighed by the mental health issues, the homeless issues, the alcohol issues,” Beck said. “All of those things … have nothing to do with a person’s race.”

The incident began about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday when someone called police to report a man harassing customers and refusing to leave near Pacific and Windward avenues (map), Beck said.

The location is about a block away from Venice Beach and in front of several bars and restaurants.

The man, described as a transient, had been involved in an altercation with a bouncer at a nearby bar prior to police being called, LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar initially said Wednesday morning. Police were called with a report of a man “disturbing the peace” and “harassing passersby,” she said.

Brendon Glenn, fatally shot by LAPD on May 5, 2015, in Venice, is shown in a photo provided to KTLA.Brendon Glenn, fatally shot by LAPD on May 5, 2015, in Venice, is shown in a photo provided to KTLA.

 

Officers spoke with the man, who then walked away toward the boardwalk, Beck said. Soon after, officers saw the man approach an individual and start a fight, the chief said.

“The officers attempted to detain the suspect, and an altercation occurred between the two officers and the suspect. During that physical altercation, an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Beck said.

Officers called for a rescue ambulance and began to perform CPR; city firefighters responded and took the man to a hospital, where he died, according to the chief.

A friend who knew Glenn said he didn’t deserve his fate.

“Whatever reason that they had to shoot him, I don’t think it was justified because he wasn’t a confrontational human being by any means,” local resident Henry Geller said. “He was definitely like a peacemaker.”

 

A make-shift memorial was set up Wednesday in memory of an unarmed 29-year-old homeless man who was shot and killed by police on May, 5, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)A make-shift memorial was set up Wednesday in memory of an unarmed 29-year-old homeless man who was shot and killed by police on May, 5, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

 

Another friend, Shane Brigham, described Glenn as “a really big hugger,” who always checked to make sure everyone around him was alright.

Glenn was a regular the Teen Project’s the P.A.D., a Venice support center for homeless youth, according to Timothy      Pardue, who runs the center. Glenn, who had recently moved to the area from New York, had come to a support group meeting on Tuesday night, Pardue said.

“He was crying and he was even saying he wanted his mom, and he just said his mom didn’t want him back home,” Pardue said. “He struggled with a lot of things.”

       As of Wednesday evening, the coroner’s office had not confirmed the fatally shot man’s identity. Beck said the man’s identity was not being released pending family notification.

During the struggle that led to the shooting, one of the LAPD officers was injured and later treated for a hurt knee, Aguilar said.

The injured officer, who was the open who opened fire, was on medication and had not been questioned because the medication could interfere with a “fair” interview, Beck said. He noted that the delay was unusual.

“I know there are public concerns about this particular officer-involved shooting, as there are any time an unarmed individual is shot by a police officer. I am also very concerned about this shooting,” Beck said. “We will expend all resources to find out the truth of what happened last night on Windward Avenue.”

As the investigation into the incident continued, the intersection of Pacific and Windward was cordoned off and closed to motorists. Investigators were trying to obtain surveillance video from businesses, police said.

Neither officer involved was wearing a body camera, Aguilar said, noting that the camera program had not yet been expanded to include all officers.

Both officers involved in the shooting were assigned nonfield duties during the ongoing investigation, Beck said.

The police officers’ union president said Beck’s statements would unduly influence the investigation.

       “It is completely irresponsible for anyone, much less the chief of police, to render a judgement on an incident that is in early stages of investigation,” said Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, in a written statement.    “As the final trier of fact in the use-of-force investigation and disciplinary process, the premature decision by the chief essentially renders the investigation process void.”

A “town hall” meeting was set to be held Thursday in connection with the shooting, according to the chief.

Thank you KTLA5 & , , , AND

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1venice-ois



Unarmed Homeless Black Man Fatally Shot By Police
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday he has yet to see evidence that would justify one of his officers killing an unarmed homeless man in Venice Beach Tuesday.
Beck cautioned that his department’s investigation was just underway but told reporters he was ‘very concerned’ by the deadly shooting that occurred as an officer struggled with the man on a block lined with bars and restaurants.
‘Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that, and I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances at this point,’ Beck said.
Department investigators have not interviewed the officer, a veteran of the LAPD, because he is on medication to treat a knee he hurt during the struggle. He was observed at the crime scene Wednesday walking on crutches.
The officers were not wearing body cameras, but police have surveillance footage from nearby stores that shows the altercation, Beck said.
The confrontation began at 11.30pm at Pacific and Winward avenues when two officers responded to a 911 call saying the man, an African-American vagrant in his 20s, had been arguing with a bouncer who would not let him into the popular Townhouse & Del Monte Speakeasy bar and was pestering passersby, police said.
The officers spoke to the man, identified by an acquaintance as 29-year-old Brendon Glenn, who began walking away but then came back and began struggling with someone on the sidewalk, according to a police news release.
The officers tried to detain Glenn, who was shot during the struggle, police said. The cops called for an ambulance and then began performing CPR to revive the suspect.
The 29-year-old was rushed to an area hospital, where he died from his wounds a short time later. No weapon was recovered at the scene, police spokeswoman Liliana Preciado said.
William Henson, a friend of the slain vagrant known to his friends as ‘Dizzle,’ said he was a recovering crack-cocaine addict and alcoholic.
Don Wige, who also lives on the streets of Venice Beach, told the station KABC the officers may have been threatened by his friend’s size and physical strength.
‘But then again, that’s not a reason to kill somebody because they look threatening,’ Wige said. ‘They ‘would have shot him in the arm. They could have Tasered him. They have so many options to handle the situation, but they immediately go to the extreme which is the gun.”
On Wednesday, a small crowd of people shouted at police in Venice Beach. Beck later noted that the officer and Brendon Glenn were black.
‘Even if race is a small part of this, which I don’t think it is, they’re certainly outweighed by the mental health issues, the homeless issues, the alcohol issues,’ Beck said.
Those who knew Glenn said he had moved to LA from New York City only a couple of months ago and had been struggling to find a job.
Timothy Pardue, who runs a local center that provides assistance to homeless youth, told KTLA that Glenn was one of his regulars.
Pardue said Glenn showed up at Teen Project’s PAD center Tuesday night, just hours before his death; he was crying and lamenting that his mother would not let him come home.
Glenn’s many acquaintances among Venice Beach’s large transient community told the LA Times that the recent East Coast transplant had an aggressive – even mean – side to him, but he also had been known to hug people and tell them he loved them.
The LA police department will hold a ‘town hall’-style meeting in the neighborhood Thursday to address the shooting.
The department was criticized after an officer fatally shot a homeless man in March on Skid Row, near downtown LA.
Neither police nor the coroner’s office had confirmed the dead man’s identity, though Preciado said a 911 caller and several witnesses identified him as one of the Venice area’s many transients.


Councilmember Bonin Calls People of Venice Outraged by Police Murder “Outside Agitators”

by Los Angeles Peoples Media Friday, May. 08, 2015 at 10:45 AM

During a Venice Town Hall meeting, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin explained to 35-year Venice Beach resident David Busch that he is willing to talk to unhoused persons individually, but Mr. Bonin refuses to meet with “activists—outside agitators.” Mr. Busch has been requesting a meeting “organized by homeless people themselves” regarding public toilets, parking, camping, and other services. He asked, “Don’t you think after 2 years in office it is time you meet with us, rather than you just sending more police to this community?”

Councilmember Bonin ...

bonin_v_busch.jpg, image/jpeg, 551×304

If you vote, remember that Councilmember Mike Bonin called people who are outraged at cops murdering people, “outside agitators.”

At Thursday’s LAPD community meeting in Venice following the fatal shooting of unarmed 29-year-old Brendon Glenn, also known to friends and the Rainbow Family as Dizzle, community members took the microphone for public comment.

David Busch, who first moved to Venice in 1980 to work as a bus mechanic for the transit system but has been priced out of the housing market in recent years, noted that police “shoot to kill disproportionately poor people. Sixty percent of the people in Los Angeles really can’t afford, by any major economist’s point of view, more than $400-500 a month in rent. Don’t you think…you should be at the forefront of housing people instead of just sending the police after them?”

Busch first became homeless in 1994—and was sentenced to 120 days in Orange County Jail—for “refusing to be coerced into a shelter that made you sit through religious sermons before they would give you a bed or feed you.” He explained after the meeting, “I have slept ‘outside’ on the streets ever since—rather than bow down to such increasing human rights violations here in America.” For six years now, Bonin has played a role in “denying over 300 homeless people here in Venice their fundamental human right to a humane toilet.”

He addressed Councilmember Mike Bonin at Thursday’s town hall meeting: “Last year a group of us who are homeless contacted your office and asked for a meeting with homeless people. Your staffer, after three phone calls, this was last year before Christmas, he laughed. He said you are not meeting with people who are homeless. Except for meetings that are organized by religious leaders.”

Busch grilled Bonin: “Where is the toilet? Where is the camping place? 6 years ago you stood with Bill Rosendahl in this place and said we were going to get toilets, we were going to get services, we were going go get RV parking. Where have you done that? You’re standing here. I want an answer. We want results.”

Voices from the crowd echoed: “We all want answers!”

Bonin’s answer: “I meet and talk to people who are unhoused every week. I have met with people on 3rd Ave. I have sat and spoken with people on Ocean Front Walk. I have met with people in St. Joseph’s Center. I have met with people who are sleeping outside my office in Westchester. I have met with people at the Winter Shelter. I have met with people who live on the streets near the VA. I do it all the time. What I’m not going to do is take a meeting organized by activists—outside agitators who are trying to..”

At this point, the room crowd erupted in outrage at the slur just uttered by elected representative Mike Bonin.

Before handing the microphone to the next person in line, Busch declared, “Maybe we should stop talking to politicians. How many times have I asked you for a toilet?”

For the record, David Busch has “lived on the streets in Santa Monica, Skid Row and Venice since 1996. I’ve lived on the streets here longer than Mike Bonin has been HOUSED on the Westside.”

SEE VIDEO [3:45 length]
David Busch vs. Mike Bonin by The Syndicate.Info
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQsWAiKfgFk Continue reading

Bigoted Band Blasts Rights for the Poor in Sacramento & Update on Right to Rest Law

 

California Cities Band Together To Preserve Their Right To Treat Homeless People As Criminals

by Alan Pyke Posted on April 7, 2015 at 3:43 pm Updated: April 8,

FOLLOW AND POST MORE COMMENTS AT:
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/04/07/3644019/homeless-california-league-of-extraordinarily-strained-logic/

A group of California towns is fighting for their right to criminalize homelessness as state lawmakers weigh new protections for the destitute on Tuesday.
The League of California Cities (LCC) is opposing a new statewide “Right to Rest” bill protecting homeless people’s right to sleep and eat in public. The bill would pre-empt local ordinances that impose fines and jail terms for homeless people over their use of public spaces for non-criminal activity. Such local efforts to make homelessness illegal have cropped up all around the country in recent years, even as homelessness advocates have piled up evidence that it is far cheaper to provide permanent housing to the homeless than it is to lock them up.
The “Right to Rest” law, which gets its first hearing before a Senate committee on Tuesday afternoon, is inspired by a rapid uptick in law enforcement targeting of the unsheltered and a new understanding of how many California towns have laws that criminalize homeless people’s day-to-day activities. Law students from Berkeley found more than 500 separate anti-homeless laws in a review of just 58 cities’ codes, and concluded that California cities are twice as likely as other American towns to ban homeless people from sleeping in their cars.

Their report found that arrests for vagrancy offenses have surged as arrests for disorderly conduct slipped, “suggesting that homeless people are being punished for their status, not their behavior.” That attitude was on full display in San Rafael, CA, earlier this year when Mayor Gary Phillips closed a city park favored by the homeless because “I want to break the cycle so this is not a place for them to hang out.”
     The bill up for a hearing Tuesday is broadly written, but intended to “end the criminalization of the non-criminal activities of life exercised by homeless people” in public spaces. Its author notes federal findings that laws like the ones LCC is working to defend are ineffective at protecting the public interest and even exacerbate homelessness by adding criminal records and institutionalization to an already long list of challenges. The LCC’s legislative letter against the bill argues that it would undermine the basic definition of property rights that “are the foundation of our social order,” and grant special rights to anyone defined as homeless. The group has asked member towns to send letters of opposition to the senator sponsoring the bill.
“Right to Rest” is just one piece of homelessness legislation facing the state this session, and looking at it in connection with the others makes the LCC’s position harder to understand. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D) has proposed a sweeping overhaul of the state’s financing system for affordable housing that would inject hundreds of millions of dollars into construction and upkeep of buildings that could keep the working poor off the streets.
The LCC supports those Atkins bills, and claims that its opposition to “Right to Rest” is consistent with that affordable housing stance. LCC spokeswoman Eva Spiegel told ThinkProgress that the group supports Atkins’ ideas because they correspond with a national consensus “that the key to helping the homeless get back on their feet is through a combination of housing and supportive services.”
But the criminalization law “creates another excuse for not making the commitment to house and serve the homeless,” Spiegel said. Spiegel declined to clarify exactly how decriminalizing homelessness would distract from the holistic efforts that LCC supports.
It isn’t an obvious connection. Criminalizing homeless people’s sleeping habits, minimal property holdings, and access to fresh food doesn’t do anything to facilitate their getting into permanent supportive housing. Cities that have committed to the criminalization path have sometimes found themselves on the wrong end of the courts, as in the case of Fort Lauderdale, FL and Dallas, TX.
If the goal is to devote more resources to housing and counseling solutions that are proven to be effective, criminalizing people’s behavior when they don’t have access to a house may actively get in the way. One study has found that it costs over $30,000 per year in law enforcement and health care expenses to leave a homeless person on the street and criminalize her behavior, but barely $10,000 a year to put him into a permanent housing unit.

California cities fight homeless rights bill

League of California Cities opposition to Right to Rest Act latest in long history of classist edicts, rights groups say

April 7, 20155:00AM ET
An influential league of California cities is opposing a bill that would allow people to rest in public areas — a position that homeless activists argue is consistent with the group’s history of supporting abuses against marginalized groups.
The Right to Rest bill, which moves to a state Senate hearing on April 7, would allow homeless individuals to sit, stand, eat or rest without it being a criminal offense.
Municipal laws in California targeting these behaviors have skyrocketed in past years, a recent report showed, with researchers identifying over 500 restrictions in California municipalities — nearly nine laws per city, on average.
The League of California Cities, an association of California city officials that work to influence policy decisions, drafted a petition last week against the bill, arguing that it doesn’t provide a solution to homelessness and would “undermine the ability of all others to access clean and non-threatening public spaces.”
For rights advocates, that’s tantamount to calling the homeless dirty and threatening.
The League “hides or puts a veil over the race and class issues that are really behind this … but it always seeps through,” said Paul Boden, executive director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP).
“Bottom line,” Boden said, the League is saying, “‘We don’t want to see these people, and we want to preserve our authority to pass and enforce these laws, so if too many come around to make us uncomfortable, we can use these laws to get rid of them.’”
The homeless are not the first marginalized group targeted by the League in its over 100-year history, according to documents provided by the Western Center on Law and Poverty (WCLP), an organization that works on the behalf of low-income Californians.
Past League targets for the removal from public space or even entire municipalities include Chinese, Japanese and African Americans, as well as “any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object,” according to the documents.
To counteract the League of California Cities’ opposition to the bill, WRAP, WCLP and other social justice groups sent a letter to Jim Beall, chairman of the California Transportation and Housing Committee, who will oversee this week’s hearing on the bill. In it, the advocacy groups placed the group’s resistance to the Right to Rest bill into a long history of antipathy toward the downtrodden.
“The League of California Cities has an unfortunate history of being on the wrong side of civil and human rights history in some critical times in our past and their opposition to SB 608 continues this historical pattern,” the letter said.
The League has supported sundown towns, Jim Crow laws, Chinese exclusion and Japanese internment, the letter added.
Opposition to the bill by the League “falls on the same kinds of scare tactics used throughout the last century to ban certain ‘undesirables’ who were deemed to be an ‘economic blight’ or danger on the street,” the letter said.
The League rejected allegations that its opposition to the bill was based on an effort to discriminate against a certain group of people. Its communications director, Eva Spiegel, emailed Al Jazeera that the League has a “longstanding commitment to human rights and inclusivity,” that is reflected in its racially and politically diverse board.
“We reject any effort to falsely characterize the league’s opposition to SB 608 as reflective of an organizational philosophy to discriminate against certain groups,” Spiegel said. “This is completely inaccurate and fails to appropriately reflect the comments in our letter.”
Spiegel said the League opposes the bill because it “does nothing to help the homeless get off the streets” and that the solution is to provide affordable housing. She cited California’s 2011 removal of over $1 billion per year in affordable housing. She said that has “had a devastating and well-documented effect of the ability of cities, non-profits, and others to build this much needed housing.”
Homeless advocates agree that cuts to funding for affordable housing are largely to blame for the modern crisis of homelessness, but they disagree that the bill would accomplish “nothing” in getting people of the streets.
Even if there was affordable housing available, having a criminal record makes it more difficult for homeless individuals to find employment and housing. And aggressive policing pushes the homeless out of city centers, farther from the services intended to help them.
Advocates told Al Jazeera that the League’s position on the bill is based on a desire to remove the homeless from public space in the interest of promoting business.
The League’s petition said that a law asserting the rights of people to rest and carry out life-sustaining behaviors in public areas without criminalization would “create social disorder,” adding that the bill “creates a special set of exemptions and privileges for one group of people.”
Advocates said the bill asserts the rights of every Californian to rest, sleep, share food and pray in public.
Boden said that those who argue the bills would create a special exemption for the homeless overlook the discriminatory manner in which those laws are policed.
“This bill says … if you’re forced to sleep outside that doesn’t mean you’re committing a crime — it means we’re having a housing crisis,” Boden added.
As part of the movement for homeless rights that has brought together over 170 social justice groups, similar bills aimed at protecting the right to sit, stand, eat or rest in public have been introduced in state legislatures in Colorado, Oregon and Hawaii.
All of the bills are facing similar opposition by municipalities and business district improvement groups, Boden said.

Thumbnail image for California eyes Right to Rest Act to stem criminalization of homeless

California eyes Right to Rest Act to stem criminalization of homeless

State becomes the fourth to consider legislation enshrining right to basic acts of survival in public places

Thumbnail image for Homeless America: ‘Everyone should be able to pee for free with dignity’

Homeless America: ‘Everyone should be able to pee for free with dignity’

UN says 2.5 billion lack toilets globally, and activists say many homeless in the US struggle to find restrooms

Thumbnail image for Calif. laws increasingly target homeless, sparking calls for Right to Rest

Calif. laws increasingly target homeless, sparking calls for Right to Rest

Study finds 77 percent jump in arrests for vagrancy offenses since 2000; campaigners face deadline to find bill sponsor

Thumbnail image for Critics slam Indianapolis mayor for veto of Homeless Bill of Rights

Critics slam Indianapolis mayor for veto of Homeless Bill of Rights

The proposal would do ‘nothing,’ said the mayor, but others say the homeless need protection from police discrimination

Thumbnail image for Opinion: The growing criminalization of homelessness

Opinion: The growing criminalization of homelessness

How developers and politicians create urban ‘social hygiene’ campaigns

 

 

UPDATE ON RIGHT TO REST LAW

 
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 2015 13:18:10 -0700
Subject: Right To Rest Hearing update
From: pboden@wraphome.org
To: pboden@wraphome.org

Hey All
Great turnout, powerful speaking truth to power and 75 or so of some of the best people you’ll ever want to meet!!!
While our bill did not pass out of committee it is definitely not dead.. No vote was taken, so SB 608 will either move by the end of this month or be put on hold till next years session.
Campaign organizers are working with Sen Liu’s office on next steps and we will report back with more clarity as soon as we have all the information we need
In the meantime you can check out the hearing through the links below: Starts at about 13 minutes in and ends at 1:46
For those who weren’t there and/or those who would like to re-live our awesome testimony yesterday, here is the link to the streaming archive:
 
You can also download audio here:
Peace
paul

Continue reading

Back and Forth Battle in Sacramento on Right to Rest Law

 

NOTE BY NORSE:  HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) has endorsed the Right to Rest law currently up for a vote tomorrow in the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.  The Bill can be viewed at http://wraphome.org/work/civil-rights-campaign  along with info on campaigns in Colorado and Oregon.  Protesters will be lobbying the Senate committee tomorrow in Sacramento.
HUFF members have asked Santa Cruz City Councilmember Micah Posner to sponsor a local Right to Rest law, which he’s asked for more info on.  Meanwhile Parks and Recreation and SCPD continue to ticket at a merry pace around “illegal” sleeping (i.e. outside at night) and being in a park after dark.  The only walk-in emergency shelter in Santa Cruz will close in mid-April.  The Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC] still fails to give each person that signs up on the Waiting List for the Pall Lee loft and/or the River St. mini-Shelter a copy of their accepted application, indicating they are on the list and so exempt from camping citations under MC 6.36.055.  Reports of prison-like conditions at the HLOSC with the new “security fencing” and “ID card” systems are becoming more regular.
On the positive side, there has been no reports yet of “stay-away” orders being given by cops, after an infraction ticket, for more than a day.  On the negative side, virtually all infractions given out to Parks and Rec in the last few months have been given to apparently homeless people for non-crime crimes (as mentioned above) and regular stay-away-for-a-day orders with each citation.
Some of the audio [very choppy because of broadcast problems] from last Tuesday’s  “Big John” watch, involving discussion of First Alarm Security Guared harassment of homeless people around the Public Library was played last night on Free Radio Santa Cruz at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb150405.mp3 [2 hours and 20 minutes into the audio file].  I hope to rebroadcast and repost a more audible and coherent version in the near future.   Tomorrow’s planned follow-up action in front of the main Public Library in Santa Cruz at 9:30 AM may be cancelled for rain.
HUFF will be meeting Wednesday–with items on the agenda including demands that police abandon selective enforcement of the “nuisance” ordinances against the homeless, suspend or eliminate all use of tasers, shoot-to-kill directives, choke holds, CS gas, and other abusive practices.  Reliable reports that cops confronted two Food Not Bombs activists with drawn guns at a private home in what seemed another example of “normal” over-reaction by police. The SCPD may feel empowered by hubbub the SCPD and supporters continue to exploit around the now two-year old deaths of homeless-hostile cops Loren Butchie Baker and Elizabeth Butler.  A complassant City Council which recently voted down an attempt to return the BEARCAT armored personnel carrier “rescue” vehicle.  The City Council Public Safety Committee meeting has declined to hold hearings on the verified stats showing class profiling by police especially in the downtown and park areas as well as race profiling by Officer Bradly Barnett.
Rebuttal to League of California Cities – Lies!!!
Hi All
Just to give everyone an idea of what the kind of bullshit we can expect tomorrow – Letter from League of Cities and our response

 

                                                                                             

 

March 30, 2015

 

Honorable Jim Beall

Chair, Transportation & HousingCommittee California State Senate

State Capitol Sacramento, CA 95814

 

Re: Right to Rest Act of 2015, SB 608 (Liu) Sponsor & Support

 

Dear Senator Jim Beall,

 

Wearewriting,asthesponsorsofthebill, insupportofSenateBill608,introducedby Senator CarolLiu,whichadvancestheprinciplethattheactsofresting,sharingfoodandpracticing religionarenotcriminalactsandthatneitherlibertynorpropertyshouldbetakenfromsomeone whoparticipatesintheseactivitiesinpublicprovidedthattheydonotviolateotherlawsof conduct.

 

Homelessness Is Extensive and Increasing

Homelessness is the most brutal and severe face of poverty, experienced daily by137,000 individuals in California.1 This represents 22% of the nation’s homeless population. Inrecentyears, there have been increases in the numbers people experiencing homelessness.

 

Homelessness not only has grave human consequences, it also creates challenges for local governments,bothruralandurban.Accordingtoa2011reportbytheU.S.ConferenceofMayors, mostcitiescontinuedtoseeincreasesinhomelessnessdespitetherecoveringeconomyandreport thatpeopleexperiencinghomelessnessweredifficulttoserve.2    Thereportfoundthat:

 

·         Among households with and without children, unemployment led the list of causesofhomelessness cited by city officials. This was followed by lack of affordable housing.

 

·         Because no beds are available for them, emergency shelters in two thirds of the survey citiesmust turn away homeless families.

 

Buthomelessnessisnotonlyaproblemthatexistsinurbancommunities.Thoughhomelessnessis more   difficult   to   measure   in   rural   communities,   it   does   exist   and   the   barriers   to  escaping

 

1 Link to HUD Press release regarding 2012 homeless population (based on PIT headcounts) released 12/10/12http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2012/HUDNo.12-191

Hunger and Homelessness: A status report on hunger and homelessness in America’s Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, available at:

http://usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/2011-hhreport.pdf

 

www.wclp.org


homelessness can be even more pronounced for rural residents.3 According to a report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 41 percent of people who are homeless live in smaller towns or cities, including rural areas.4 Nationally, approximately 10% of homeless services clients live in rural areas, and 20% are in suburban areas.5 These data exclude people who did not or could not access targeted homeless assistance services because they live in rural areas. Homeless shelters are virtually nonexistent in rural communities and most health and socialservices accessible to indigent persons are located in areas with larger and denser populations.

 

Families with children have been one of the fastest growing groups of homelesspeople, representing over 40% of the nation’s homeless in 2009 according to the National Coalition for theHomeless. In California, child homelessness is high. The National Center on FamilyHomelessness has given California a rank of 49th worst in the number of homeless children and 48th worst in the percentageofchildrenwhoarehomeless.6 AccordingtodatacollectedbytheMcKinney-Vento Educational Programs more than 527,000 California children experience homelessness last year in California. Of the 2,200,000 children living in poverty in California, thirteen percent are homeless.7Itshouldcomeasnosurprisethathomelessnessisincreasingamongfamilieswithchildren,as poverty among families with children is also on the rise.According to the Public Policy Institute of California, afterreachinga low of about 16%in 2001, the child poverty ratein California has been trending upward with nearly 1 in 4 children living in poverty in California (23.2%) in 2010.8

 

Municipal Response to Homelessness Violates Rights and Entrenches Homelessness

In a report released by UC Berkeley School of Law, the large  majority  of  homeless  Californians resideincommunitieswhereitisnowillegaltorestinpublic.9 Withnoprivateplacetorest,these arelawswhichpeoplewhoarehomelesswillinevitablybreak.Restisanecessityoflifewhichno person,housedor unhoused,canavoid,andwhileit isnot acriminalact,agrowingnumber of municipal laws allow for a citation and  imprisonment  if  someone  is  found  to  be  resting. QualitativeresearchandtestimonycompiledbyWesternRegional  Advocacy  Project  has  found that people who are cited, fined and arrested for the “offense” of resting are less likely to be able to securehousing,andthereforemorelikelytoremainhomeless.UCLAlawprofessorGaryBlasihas demonstratedthatthesetypesofordinancesdonotreducecrime,andmayviolaterightsofthose targeted with the  ordinances.10

 

 

 

3 Rural Homelessness NCH Fact Sheet #11Published by the National Coalition for the Homeless, August 2007 available at:http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/Rural.pdf

4 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2013). The 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) toCongress.

5 Hard to Reach: Rural Homelessness & Health Care, National Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians’ Network Newsletter, October2001,  available    at:   http://www.nhchc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/October2001HealingHands.pdf

6  America’s Outcast: State Report Card on Homelessness, National Center on family Homelessness, found at:

http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/pdf/report_cards/long/ca_long.pdf

Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act as  Amendedby the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Analysis of 20052006 Federal Data Collection and Three-Year Comparison, National Center forHomeless Education, June 2007. Number of children includes the estimated number of children ages 05 who are not yet enrolled inschool. American Community Survey. (2006).

8 Child Poverty: Just the Facts, Public Policy Institute of California, available at:http://www.ppic.org/main/publication_show.asp?i=721

9        http://wraphome.org/?p=4042&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=119

10 Has the Safer Cities Initiative in Skid Row Reduced Serious Crime? By Gary Blasi (of Counsel at WCLP) and Forrest Stuarthttp://wraphome.org/downloads/safer_cities.pdf


Homelessness Has Dire Human Consequences

The consequences of poverty for people who lack housing are significant. Homeless families are twiceaslikelyasmiddle-incomefamiliestoreportthattheirchildrenhavemoderateorsevere healthproblemssuchasasthma,dentalproblems,andemotionaldifficulties.11Manyofthese families and children have experienced trauma prior to becoming homeless, and homelessness can exacerbate the consequences of trauma or re-traumatize a child.12 Homeless children are sick four timesasoftenasmiddleclasschildrenandhavehighratesofacuteandchronicillnesses.In addition they suffer from emotional or behavioral problems that interfere with learning atalmost threetimestherateofotherchildren.Homelesschildrenbetween6and17yearsstrugglewith high rates of mental health problems with 47% experiencing anxiety, depression, or withdrawal, as compared to 18% of other school-age children. Homeless children get sick twice as often as other children.13

 

The health consequences of homelessness are not limited to children. On average, homeless adults have8to9concurrentmedicalillnesses,commonlysufferingfromskinconditions,respiratory infections, tooth decay, foot problems, vision disturbances, and trauma. Chronic diseases, suchas hypertension, diabetes, and asthma, are prevalent among people without homes and are more difficult to manage. Preventive tests are underutilized because of time and funding constraints and because patients tend to present with acute care needs that require immediate attention.

 

The human experience of homelessness is profound.Whether a child, adult or elder, the lack of privacy and social isolation experienced by people with no home can lead to significant bouts of depression and have long-lasting impacts on self-worth and emotional wellbeing. Theprevalence ofhomelessnessinthe21stcenturyisaresultofaninexcusablefailureofoureconomicand politicalsystemthathasnotonlyledtoviolationsofinternationallyrecognizedhumanrights14, but also impacted the public health of entire communities.15

 

United Nations Finds California’s Approach to Homelessness in Violation of Human Rights Law In recent outreach conducted by the Western Regional Advocacy Project of over 850  homeless people in 13 cities, 82 percent said they were harassed, cited or  arrested  for  sleeping,  and  77 percent for loitering. Thisincreasing penalcode aggression towardshomeless people mirrorsa steadydeclineinhousingstockandfundingforaffordablehousing.Ina2011visitfromaUnited Nations Special Rapporteurthe cruel and  degrading  conditions  faced  by  homeless  persons withoutaccesstoadequatesanitationwerecitedandaletterwassenttoSacramentoMayorKevin Johnsonwhichwarnedthatthecityisviolatingthehumanrightsofhomelesspersons.16

 

Of her visit, she said “I was especially shocked by what I saw in Sacramento, California, where the citydecidedtoshutdownortorestricttheopeninghoursofpublicrestrooms,forcinghomeless people  to  improvise  other  types  of  solutions  to  be  able  to  exercise  the  right  to  sanitation.Open

 

 

11 National Survey of Children’s Health available at:http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/slaits.htm

12 Facts on Trauma and Homeless Children, National Traumatic Stress Network Homeless and Extreme Poverty Workgroup, availableat:      http://www.nctsnet.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/promising_practices/Facts_on_Trauma_and_Homeless_Children.pdf

13 Ibid.

14 A letter from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights to Mayor Kevin Johnson, availableat:http://www.scribd.com/doc/80310395/Letter-to-Mayor-Johnson-from-UN

15 Public Health Impacts of Homelessness: A Podcast, Centers for Disease Control, available athttp://www2c.cdc.gov/podcasts/player.asp?f=2844357

16         http://www.scribd.com/doc/80310395/Letter-to-Mayor-Johnson-from-UN


defecation, open urinationhave been  criminalized  [sic].  So  what  happens  is  that  someone  can be criminalized just because he/she does not have a place to do his physiological   needs.”

 

Number One Cause of Homelessness – Lack of Affordable Housing

The following facts documenting the decline in affordable housing stock that hasdirectly correlated with the increase in homelessness, included in the Western Regional Advocacy Project report Without Housing:17

 

·         Between 1978 and 1983, HUD budget authority shrank from $83 billion to little more than $18billion in 2004 constant dollars, and since then has never been more than $32 billion except forin 2009 and 2010 because of Recovery Actfunding.

 

·         HUD Funding for new public housing units has been zero since 1996. Meanwhile, since 1995,360,000 housing units have been lost. HUD estimates that approximately 100,000 units are soldor destroyed each year.

 

·         Since 1995, 360,000 project-based units of Section 8 housing have been lost and another 900,000 of these units have contract set to expire before 2014, accounting for the  long  waitlists  for housing assistance. As a result, current funding for  the  voucher  program  meets  the  needs  of only one-quarter of homelessfamilies.

 

·         From 1976-1985, a yearly average of almost 31,000 new Section 515 rural affordablehousingunits were built, from 1986-2005, the average yearly production was 8170, a 74 percent reduction and in 2011 only 763 units were built.

 

Ontopofthelossofpublichousing,affordablehousingconstruction  and  Section  8  vouchers, rental markets have the lowest vacancy rates in a decade causing rental costs to remain high throughout  the  recession’s slow recovery.18

 

Perhapsmostdistressingabout,andverymuchrelatedto,theincreaseinhomelessnessand dramatic decrease in federal funding for affordable housing and support for low-income renters caughtinthistightrentalmarketisthatthefederalgovernmentisspendingmoreonhousing subsidies today than it ever has, but these subsidies overwhelmingly benefit wealthyhome owners. Federal expenditures on home ownership mortgage deductions in 2012 were $131 billion, whiletotalfundinginfederallow-income housingassistanceprograms wasunder$50billion.19The biggest tax benefits go to high-income homeowners who’ve taken out big mortgagesforexpensive homes.

 

Simplyput,weknowthesolutiontohomelessnessanditisnotcitationsorjailtime.Acitationfor sleeping or standing on the street, instead, creates a criminal record and outstanding fees that contribute to a person’s inability to establish financial solvency and good credit necessary to  secure

 

 

17 Without Housing, Western Regional Advocacy Project, available at:http://www.wraphome.org/downloads/without_housing.pdf

18 Can the Recession Bring an Age of Improving Expectations for Affordable Housing? Metro Trends Urban Institute, available at:http://www.metrotrends.org/Commentary/nlihc2011.cfm

19 Who Gets the Biggest Housing Subsidies? Metro Trends Urban Institute, available at:http://blog.metrotrends.org/2011/07/biggest-housing-subsidies/


arentalagreement.Itisnotthesolutiontohomelessness,itistheopposite.Homelessnessisa consequenceofpovertyandinabilitytoaffordhousingandcanonlybecurtailedbyshiftingour priorities to address these root  causes.

 

SB 608 Makes Room for More Humane & Successful Conversation About Homelessness

SB 608 establishes that a person shall not be cited, arrested or harassed for resting in a public space that is open to the public, regardless of their housing status.20 SB 608 defines rest as, “the state of not moving, holding certain postures that include, but are not limited to, sitting, standing,leaning, kneeling, squatting, sleeping, or lying.” SB 608 also establishes that a person without a home shall have an equal right to move freely, eat, have personal property, solicit donations, be legally self- employed, practice religion, share food, or occupy a vehicle that is legally parked in a public place without citation, arrest or harassment.

 

We know that criminal sanctions for resting do not work, for businesses or for homelesspeople.21Thereareexamplesoflocalitiesusingeffectivesolutions,likeAlamedaCountyemployeeswho had a number of homeless people living outside the County building, and made a targeted effort to get those people housing subsidies, moving them safely off the streets. We need this conversationatthestatewidelevel,somoreofthesuccessfulstrategiescanbeshared,andthe counterproductive ones avoided.

 

SB 608’s Protections for Homeless People Will Create Significant Savings

Thecurrentcostofenforcinglocallawsthatresultinthecitationandarrestofpeoplewhoare resting in public spaces in California costs these municipal governmentshundreds of millions of dollars. It includes the cost of law enforcement, jail, and court costs, 22 as well as the human cost of homelesspeoplebeingdeprivedoflibertyandpunishedfornothavinghomesinwhichtorest. The cost of housing homeless people is less than the cost of jailing them, 23 so there are opportunity costs as well: Rather than housing people, enforcement of resting laws creates criminal records that can bar homeless people from housing, jobs, and treatment.24 The savings wouldbe significant. California spends $849,396.44 per night on jailing homeless people, or $310,029,700 annually.25 Of the 1,388 respondents in a recent survey of people who are homeless, 78% had been cited for sitting or lying down,26 so the scope of enforcement is not small. SB 608 would stop cities from counterproductively enforcing laws against resting in public.

 

20 SB 608 defines homelessness as those individuals or members of families who lack a fixed, regular & adequate nighttimeresidence (Page 4 of the following site: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/sen/sb_0601-0650/sb_608_bill_20150227_introduced.pdf)

21 Several studies have found that sit/lie laws do not help businesses and make it harder for homeless people to get housing and jobs: City Hall Fellows, Implementation, Enforcement and Impact: San Francisco’s Sit/Lie Ordinance One Year Later (2012); Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic,Does Sit-Lie Work: Will Berkeley’s “Measure S” Increase Economic Activity and Improve Services to Homeless People?(2012).

22 In September 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the Fourth Amendment’s protection ofpossessions and the 14th Amendment’s due-process prohibit confiscation of personal property by government, regardless of thehomelessness  of  the  owner.     http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2012/09/05/11-56253.pdf

23 The Lewin Group, Costs of Serving Homeless Individuals in Nine Cities: Chartbook, November 19, 2004, available athttp://www.rwjf.org/files/newsroom/cshLewinPdf.pdf; U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness at 18, availableathttp://www.usich.gov/PDF/OpeningDoors_2010_FSPPreventEndHomeless.pdf.

24 National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Criminalizing Crisis: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities 32(2010).

25  Memo to Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski from UC Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic, April 16, 2013 (attached).  26 Western Regional Advocacy Project, California Results, NATIONAL HOMELESS PEOPLE’S CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGNSURVEY (April 2013).


SB 608 Deserves Your Support

The human indignity of homelessness impacts over hundreds of  thousands  of  Californians  and their communities, but it doesn’t have to. SB 608 will not reduce the number of people whoare homeless,butitwillprotectpeoplelivingonthestreetfromthecitationsandimprisonmentthat willonlyworsentheirconditionandopportunitiestoescapehomelessness.SB608invitesusallto seekreal,lastingandhumaneresponsestohomelessness.27Thecostsforpreventingtheviolation ofpeople’sbasichumanrightsmustbeweighedagainstthecosts,bothfiscalandqualitative,of notdoingso.  Wearegratefulforyourconsiderationandurge your ‘Aye’ vote forSB608.

 

Sincerely,

                                                               

JessicaBartholow                                                     Paul Boden

Western Center on Law & Poverty                         Western Regional Advocacy Project

 

Judith Larson                                                              Elisa Della-Piana

JERICHO                                                                     Neighborhood  Justice  Clinic EBCLC

Members of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing Honorable Kevin de León, President pro Tempore of the State Senate

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Standing Up Against Attacks on the Homeless in San Jose and Santa Cruz

 

NOTE BY NORSE:   Palo Alto activist and vandweller Chuck Jagoda has forwarded this alert from Sandy Perry of CHAM, San Jose’s Community Homeless Alliance Ministry.  Note that the homeless woman is still unnamed, nor do we hear the names of those responsible.  An activist called me to say that earlier KGO reported this as a CalTrans incident that put the woman in the hospital.
HUFF  will be serving food and coffee at 9:30 AM in front of the Main library Tuesday March 31st to continue gathering reports of the abusive ticketing of homeless people trying to sleep at night.   We will also be monitoring the activities of abusive First Alarm personnel, such as “Big John”–a beefy guy who reportedly has elevated harassing homeless people in the library to a regular practice if not a sadistic art.
Parks and Rec Czarina Dannettee Shoemaker told me at a P & R “public input” session on how to address parks in the general plan that she would not be able to support a permit for homeless people camping in the parks–as sought by activist Phil Posner for his Camp of Last Resort in spite of the hundreds of acres of open space available, particularly in the Pogonip.  Previous reports by writer and politico Steve Pleich had indicated she “hasn’t said ‘no’”.
Please pass on any reports of stay-away orders issued since mid-February of this year, particularly those for longer than one day as well as abusive behavior by First Alarm security guards.  We are also urging people to file claims against the City every time they get a Sleeping Ban, Blanket Ban, or camping citation.  Pleich and lawyer Judi Bari intend to apply for a restraining order against the law on April 20th.
Right 2 Rest supporters of legislation at the state level will be going to hearings in state legislative committees this month.  Contact HUFF for more information.

CHP Tractor Runs Over Homeless Woman

homeless



(KGO) – Officials say that a homeless woman was injured after getting run over by a CHP tractor that was working to clear out a homeless encampment in San Jose.


The CHP reports that a loader-tractor was clearing a homeless encampment on Story Road at about 10 a.m. today when the accident occurred. The loader was tearing down a tent when someone warned the operator that there was a person still inside the tent.


Officials say the woman suffered minor injuries, and she was treated at the scene.

Four Months after the Closure of the “Jungle”:

STILL NO PLACE TO GO FOR SILICON VALLEY’S HOMELESS

Sponsored by CHAM and H.O.M.E.L.E.S.S., a group of homeless people,

advocates, and people of faith will gather at the former site of the

“Jungle” homeless encampment at 12 noon on Cesar Chavez Day, Tuesday

March 31.

We will speak out about the injury of a homeless woman last Friday while

Caltrans was bulldozing her tent in a “clean-up” near Story Road.

Thousands of Silicon Valley’s homeless still have no place to lay their

heads tonight, almost four months after the Jungle was destroyed by the

City of San Jose on December 4. In fact, the situation will get worse on

Wednesday, when the County winter shelter program discharges an

additional estimated 270 homeless out onto the streets.

People who were evicted from the Jungle have moved and been

displaced over and over with no end in sight. Some moved to the

Walmart parking lot, then Roberts Road, then south of Tully, then to

Phelan at the railroad tracks, then to north of Tully, then to Monterey

Highway, then to Almaden Road, and they are still moving.

When questioned by the Board of Supervisors on March 24, County

officials stated that there are some 5300-5400 homeless for whom there

is no housing or shelter available. When asked for their plan to address

this situation, they responded, “There is no proposal at this time.”

Having no proposal to house or shelter the homeless is not acceptable in

the richest area in the world. A five-year plan is not acceptable, because

people have no place to go right now. They are persecuted with endless

nightmare evictions, harassment, criminalization, and frequent seizure of

their personal belongings.

Cesar Chavez dedicated his life to organizing for justice for the poor, and

San Jose’s homeless and their allies are building a movement for the

same cause.

We call for an immediate commitment by elected officials to affordable

housing for the homeless and for all people in need in Silicon Valley.

While housing is being built, we call for establishment of legal

campgrounds with appropriate sanitary facilities and trash disposal.

Finally, we call on the state legislature to enact SB 608, the “Right to Rest

Law”, that would outlaw discrimination against homeless people in public

places.

JOIN US AT 12 NOON TUESDAY, MARCH 31


PLACE: THE FORMER “JUNGLE” ENCAMPMENT, SENTER & STORY ROAD, SAN JOSE

Please allow time for parking on Twelfth Street, near Kelley Park, or at

Walmart.

[huffsantacruz] Monterey, Venice, and Berkeley Protests Against Anti-Homeless Laws & Practices

 

Community Members Continue to Protest the Sit-Lie Ban in Monterey
by Alex Darocy
Saturday Mar 14th, 2015 1:56 PM

Individuals with Direct Action Monterey Network (DAMN) and other community members returned to Alvarado Street in Monterey on March 13 for a second sit-in. They are protesting a law that went into effect in October that makes sitting or lying on commercial sidewalks a crime from 7am until 9pm. DAMN’s first demonstration against the sitting ban was held on February 13, exactly one month prior, and they say they plan to return again next month for a similar action. The idea to schedule the protests monthly was a calculated decision. The phrasing of the new law states that if an individual receives a warning from the police to stop sitting, they must not sit on the sidewalk again for one month, or they can be cited and or arrested.

“Join us as we sit and lie in solidarity with the homeless, travelers, and all people targeted by police and their brutality,” an announcement for the March 13 event read.

DAMN members are not using the word “brutality” lightly. As recently as two months ago they received a first hand account of police officers in Monterey physically beating a homeless person who had been lying on Alvarado Street’s sidewalk.

Those sitting during the demonstration held protest signs, and after reading them, one of the first people to pass the group said loudly, “Next thing you know, you can’t walk!”

A few minutes later Jason Coniglio, the owner of My Attic Bar & Lounge, asked them if they weren’t unfairly targeting his business, since they had already demonstrated in front of it once before.

One of the demonstrators then asked him if he had spoken out against the sit-lie law, and Coniglio did not respond.

Another downtown business owner spent a good deal of time sharing his list of complaints about street people with the group of demonstrators. One of his claims was that over the years he had offered jobs to a number of different people who he had seen panhandling, and none had ever taken him up on the offer of work.

In May of 2013, when the Monterey City Council was first considering a sit-lie ban, Monterey Chief of Police Philip J. Penko authored the staff report that explained a sit-lie ban proposal was brought to them because for several months city staff had received complaints about “a decreased sense of safeness” in downtown Monterey, around Fisherman’s Wharf, and long Roberts Road and Garden Road. Fred Meurer, who was City Manager at the time, told council members that the bulk of complaints came from the Old Monterey Business Association membership. The council decided at that time not to study the concept further, but increased pressure from the business community and the police led to a sit-lie ordinance being passed in 2014.

During DAMN’s first sit-lie protest on February 13, there was a strong police presence on foot monitoring the group’s activities, but not so for the second protest, and so far no one has been warned by police to stop sitting at the demonstrations.

The next sit-in is planned for April.

For more information about Direct Action Monterey Network, see:

https://solidaritymonterey.wordpress.com/
http://www.facebook.com/DirectActionMontereyNetwork

Alex Darocy
http://alexdarocy.blogspot.com/

§

by Alex Darocy Saturday Mar 14th, 2015 1:56 PM


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by Alex Darocy Saturday Mar 14th, 2015 1:56 PM


§A Downtown Monterey business owner speaks to the group

by Alex Darocy Saturday Mar 14th, 2015 1:56 PM


§Alvarado Street

by Alex Darocy Saturday Mar 14th, 2015 1:56 PM


§

by Alex Darocy Saturday Mar 14th, 2015 1:56 PM

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Berkeley Barks Back: Human Rights Protest Tuesday at Berkeley City Council

 

Note by Norse:  Berkeley has long held off the worst anti-homeless ordinances.  Far worse laws are entrenched in Santa Cruz since 1994 and have gotten exponentially worse.

 

Our latest obscenity is the Stay-Away-at-a-Policeman’s-Whim law which allows cops and rangers to issue their own stay-away laws once they’ve given out any kind of infraction ticket with no judicial oversight.   Already hundreds of such orders have been issued (on pain of a year in jail)  and as of mid-February the length of banishment has been increased for up to a year.

 

Santa Cruz’s laws on sitting and panhandling are harsher by an order of magnitude at least than Berkeley’s current and proposed laws.  Our laws ban sitting on 99% of the sidewalks in business and beachfront districts and ban all panhandling at night, even if peaceful and only involving a silent sign.  MC 13.08.090(b) banning “disorderly conduct on park property” makes it a misdemeanor to “by threatening or abusive or profane language, willfully molest or unreasonably interfere with the use of a city park or bench by any other person.”  

 

Why such a discrepancy between Berkeley and Santa Cruz?  Both are university towns with liberal reputations,.  Berkeley is bigger and lies in a larger urban area where activists can more easily congregate to oppose the reactionary riptide.  Berkeley also seems to be able to enlist–at least in part–many social workers and service providers, who remain starkly silent in Santa Cruz as nasty law after law is proposed and passed.

 

Activists in Berkeley hit the streets and demand real local police reform instead of largely limiting their concerns to symbolic targets like the BearCat armored personnel carrier, license recognition software, or “protection” from the NDAA.  The most recent liberal coalition of organizations appearing faithfully at City Council to speak out against the BearCat have banned HUFF from their literature in a closed meeting without discussion, appeal, or notice.

 

Those interested in a possible caravan up to Berkeley on Tuesday March 17th, contact HUFF at 423-HUFF (4833).  I hope to be heading that way with at least one vehicle.  I’ll be hoping to interview someone from Berkeley on this issue tomorrow on Free Radio Santa Cruz at www.freakradio.org sometime between 9:30 AM and 1 PM.

 

Check the links in the three stories below to catch more photos, comments, and video.

Press Release: Rally and March Planned to Protest Effort to Pass New Anti-Homeless Laws in Berkeley

Osha Neumann Thursday March 12, 2015 – 10:07:00 PM

http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2015-03-13/article/43102?headline=Rally-and-March-Planned-to-Protest-Effort-to-Pass-New-Anti-Homeless-Laws-in-Berkeley–Osha-Neumann

The Streets Are for Everyone Coalition (SAFE), is calling for an emergency march and rally on March 17 to protest efforts to get the Berkeley City Council to pass new laws targeting homeless people on the streets of the city.

The protest will precede a meeting of the Council at which it will consider a proposal by Councilmember Linda Maio for a raft of new ordinances, which would criminalize such innocuous activities as “lying on planter walls” and “deployment” of bedding on sidewalks and plazas during the day.

“Taken together with existing laws, these ordinances would essentially make it illegal for people who are homeless to have a presence on our streets and sidewalks,” said Osha Neumann an attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center. He has represented many homeless people who have received citations for, he says, “activities they engage in as part of their effort to survive.”

Professor Jeff Selbin is the director of Berkeley Law’s Policy Advocacy Clinic, which recently published a study about the growing enactment and enforcement of anti-homeless laws in California. He commented: “The evidence from around the state and country is quite clear: criminalizing people who are homeless doesn’t solve any of the underlying causes or conditions of homelessness; in fact, it only makes them worse. It would be inhumane, ineffective and expensive for Berkeley to double down on punitive laws that will only hurt our most vulnerable residents.”

Patricia Wall, Executive Director of the Homeless Action Center, expressed outrage that it was again necessary to fight for the rights of people who are homeless in the town with a supposed commitment to civil liberties. “Just under 2 ½ years ago,” she said, “Berkeley voters defeated Measure S, which would have criminalized sitting on the sidewalk. The same real estate interests that brought us that proposal are back again. And once again we need to show them that they don’t own this town, nor, hopefully, its politicians.”

Bob Offer-Westort of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness and former head of the “No on S. Campaign,” was astounded when he learned of Maio’s proposals. “Berkeley’s continuing failure to pay any heed to reason, research, or fellow feeling when developing homeless policy is mind-numbing. This city has a homeless commission, a homeless task force, and one of the best schools of social work in California. But our legislators can’t be bothered to lend an ear to either homeless people themselves, service providers, or policy experts, but legislation seems to be driven by a relentless cycle of panic and whim.”

The march will begin at 5 PM on the corner of Telegraph Ave. and Haste Street and proceed to the steps of Old City Hall at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, for a rally at 6 PM.

Streets Are For Everyone Coalition (SAFE) : safecoalitionberkeley@gmail.com

Homeless advocates plan march and rally to protest proposals to regulate conduct on Berkeley streets

By Tom Lochner tlochner@bayareanewsgroup.com
http://www.montereyherald.com/general-news/20150313/homeless-advocates-plan-march-and-rally-to-protest-proposals-to-regulate-conduct-on-berkeley-streets
Posted: 03/13/15, 5:03 PM PDT |

BERKELEY — Advocates for the homeless are protesting a new set of rules, proposed by Councilwoman Linda Maio, that they say would criminalize much of what homeless people do to survive.

Maio, whose northwest Berkeley district includes the commercially booming Gilman Street corridor, proposes several ordinances to regulate a slew of activities in commercial areas, ranging from cooking, panhandling and storing possessions, to urinating and defecating.

“Taken together with existing laws, these ordinances would essentially make it illegal for people who are homeless to have a presence on our streets and sidewalks,” Osha Neumann, an attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, said in a news release from the SAFE (Streets Are For Everyone) coalition.

The group has called a protest march and rally before Tuesday’s City Council meeting.


Maio says her proposals “will go a long way to establishing clarity for law enforcement and ensuring that the entire public has access to the public streets and plazas unimpeded.”

Measures include:
UC Berkeley professor Jeff Selbin is cited in the SAFE news release as saying evidence from around the state and nation clearly shows that “criminalizing people who are homeless doesn’t solve any of the underlying causes and conditions of homelessness; in fact, it only makes them worse.”
Maio says she seeks “consistency in the enforcement of current ordinances,” to protect public infrastructure, facilitate maintenance, promote cleanliness and safeguard public access, among other goals.
She also wants a review of ordinances in other cities that address public urination and defecation and to ensure that public restrooms are available and well publicized, in collaboration with BART.
She also wants to survey business districts about the adequacy of enforcement of current ordinances; study whether
a six-foot right of way is adequate for pedestrian and wheelchair passage in high-traffic areas; and explore extending transition-aged youth shelter hours beyond winter months.

The regular council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Old City Hall at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

The march will begin at 5 p.m. at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street and will proceed to Old City Hall for a rally at 6 p.m., according to the SAFE news release.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760.

Why Criminalizing Poverty Sells

Carol Denney

Friday March 13, 2015 – 12:17:00 PM

http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2015-03-13/article/43106?headline=Why-Criminalizing-Poverty-Sells–Carol-Denney

Criminalizing homelessness is the most expensive, least effective way to address homelessness. Studies prove it, reporters note it, and common sense suggests it since paying for a year of low-income housing or even a college education costs a lot less than a year in jail. So why does it sell like crazy?

Nationwide we’re bristling with new anti-homeless and vagrancy laws according to a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. California leads with way with an average nine such laws per city according to the UC Berkeley School of Law Policy Advocacy Clinic’s recent study. The laws typically criminalize standing, sitting, lying down, sleeping, having belongings with you which might define you as “camping”, sleeping in your own car, sharing food with others, asking for money or help from others, and other behaviors which are unavoidable, especially for people who have no place
to go.

Why are these embarrassingly heartless laws so easy to pass and so popular? The answer is that there’s currently a political cost to any politician who insists on the creation of low-cost housing as a priority. But there is very little political cost at present to passing yet another law, even an unconstitutional law, which burdens the poor.

Berkeley is a great example. Berkeley is a college town, notoriously liberal, consistently cast as comically out of touch with mainstream American politics in national press. But successive mayor after mayor has been more than willing to override community will, ignore the moral objections of religious and human rights groups, and go to bat in court for unconstitutional legislation on behalf of political groups who want the poor to just disappear.

In an interview with Berkeley author John Curl, Mayor Tom Bates referred to rent control in particular as “a no-win position” for him and “a death knell” for politicians generally. Berkeley citizens, in the absence of honest leadership on the issue of low-income and affordable housing, cite their own frustration with panhandling and homelessness as reason enough to vote repeatedly for laws of dubious constitutionality which target poor people on the street struggling with unemployment, evictions, and skyrocketing rents.

U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken issued a temporary restraining order in 1995 against Berkeley’s 1994 anti-panhandling law, noting that “some Berkeley citizens feel annoyed or guilty when faced with an indigent beggar . . . Feelings of annoyance or guilt, however, cannot outweigh the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

Poor and homeless people are notoriously ill-equipped to hire lawyers and mount legal challenges to the anti-poor laws generated primarily by merchant associations which, in the case of the powerful Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA), get mandated “membership” payments from all the businesses within its expanding downtown footprint. The DBA’s board is dominated by large property owners who were the primary funders of the failed anti-sitting law campaign in Berkeley’s 2012 election. There is not a single representative on the board from the poorly funded non-profits and law clinics who work with the poor and homeless people caught up in the endless web of the criminalization of poverty. Those are the groups who will show up in opposition to new anti-homeless initiatives. But they are much less likely to be as able as wealthy investment and property companies to toss large campaign donations the council’s way come the next election.

The Berkeley City Council knows that circling poor and homeless people endlessly through overburdened courts and jails over unpayable fines for innocuous offenses is dumb. They tend to be intelligent people who by now have had somebody toss a copy of Berkeley Law’s Policy Advocacy Clinic’s report on California’s New Vagrancy Laws or the No Safe Place report on the Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (or both) on their desks. They may even have read the reports.

But it takes courage to say no to merchant associations’ and the University of California’s short-sighted effort to make homelessness and poverty invisible. Courage is in short supply in the Berkeley City Council chambers. For all the opining in January and February 2015 about the Black Lives Matter campaigns, and even though the majority of those affected are people of color and people struggling with disabilities, the anti-homeless laws slated for passage at the March 17th Berkeley City Council meeting seem to be proof that the war on the poor will go on without interruption.

Public Comment

Progressive in District 4 may as well elect an ultra-right conservative
(An open letter to the progressive voters of Berkeley)

On March 17th the Berkeley City Council will consider expanding the authority and practice of police, especially in downtown Berkeley. The council will consider authorizing the police to treat the down and out even more harshly than they are already treated.

Jesse Arreguin and Linda Maio have brought this authoritarian measure before council.

Here is one good description of the proposals, via Copwatch:
“1. Ordinance preventing panhandling within 10 feet of a parking pay station (akin to our ATM ordinance).
“2. Review ordinances other cities use to address public urination/defecation and return with recommendations for implementation; ensure public restrooms are available and well publicized. Involve BART in exploring possible locations.
“3. Ordinance preventing the placement of personal objects in planters, tree wells, or within 3 feet of a tree well.
“4. Ordinance preventing lying on planter walls or inside of planters.
“5. Ordinance preventing deployment of bedding, tenting, sleeping pads, mattresses, blankets, etc. on sidewalks and plazas from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“6. Ordinance preventing personal items from being affixed to public fixtures including poles, bike racks (except bikes), planters, trees, tree guards, newspaper racks, parking meters and pay stations. Pet leashes exempt only as not prohibited in BMC 10.12.110.
“7. Ordinance preventing unpermitted cooking on public sidewalks.
“8. Survey business districts to determine adequacy of enforcement of current ordinances; develop an action plan for consistent enforcement as needed.
“9. Clarify if “no trespass” signs on private property extend to sitting against buildings.
“10.Assess adequacy of six-foot right-of-way to enable sufficient pedestrian and wheelchair passage particularly in high-traffic areas.
” 11.Refer to the budget process extending transition-aged youth shelter hours beyond winter months”

To that list we might add an item carried over from March 10th: Jesse Arreguin’s proposal to compete against panhandlers with donation boxes downtown, branded “positive change”. These new boxes would turn over donations to city bureaucracy, either directly or in the form of the Downtown Berkeley Association. The middle class will take a large cut of handouts meant for the very poor.

Quite simply, Jesse Arreguin and Linda Maio are launching a doubling down on the police attack on the down and out.

Our supposedly progressive District 4 councilman, the supposed inheritor of Dona Spring’s legacy, has joined with those who want to bum rush the poor and the crazy out of town, by means of police and court system violence.

Let us be clear on the morality of this maneuver:

Nobody likes being panhandled but proximity to a parking pay station has nothing to do with it. “10 feet from a parking pay station” is a feeble excuse to write tickets, to send random-down-and-out people to jail, to enrich the police forces, and to pretend for the sake of effete snobs that at long last Something Is Being Done.

And what of “personal objects in planters, tree wells, or within 3 feet of a tree well”? Here, Jesse and Linda propose to penalize poor people for owning a few things, and setting them down where they are out of the way.

What of an ordinance preventing stretching out on a planter wall, an architectural feature perfect for relaxing in public while not spending money for the benefit of local landlords?

Jesse Arreguin and Linda Maio have taken the view that if you aren’t giving money to Berkeley’s landlords then you have little business downtown and should certainly not try to make yourself comfortable or set anything down.

The measure goes on like this and only hypocrites and liars can find in this sorry excuse for legislation anything much more than an attempt to respond to a humanitarian crisis by penalizing the victims further.

Linda Maio once declared that she trembled with rage on the dais at the assertion she was less than a progressive.

For reasons that are hard to imagine, Jesse Arreguin is still presumed a progressive.

Listen, folks:

Nobody particularly enjoys an overly aggressive panhandler.
Nobody thrills to the “fun” of encountering a homeless mentally ill person in mid-crisis.
White people don’t like being name called racial names.
People of color don’t like being eyed with obvious suspicion and disgust.
Poor people don’t like getting brushed off the sidewalk by aggro khaki’ed business bros.
Nobody can stand dumb students who zombie through town deafened by ear buds and tunnel-visioned into their not-so-smart phones.
Women righteously resent the cat calls and the “b word”.

The list goes on and on.

Yet none of this justifies blue-suited men with guns and restraints violently punching down the most vulnerable.
None of this justifies our society’s failure to manage public restrooms and showers and shelter.
None of this justifies the equally offensive sneering and snarky behavior of rich theater patrons, ice cream seekers, and khaki-and-hemp swells about town.

Expanded police, and jail, and court system violence is not the answer and it will only make matters worse.
It is the height of malevolent cynicism that Linda Maio and Jesse Arreguin propose such state sponsored violence as a condition of meager improvements to social spending.

There will be protests at the March 17th council meeting and I have no idea if they will be large or small. Regardless, if Berkeley wants to keep going in this direction, our City Council will make Berkeley ground zero for a lasting confrontation. Berkeley will lead the nation, even if the council dais can not.

 

__._,_.___

Posted by: Robert <rnorse3@hotmail.com>


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Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom – Santa Cruz

w. http://www.huffsantacruz.org/
e. info@huffsantacruz.org
p. 831-423-HUFF

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Daniel McMullan danielmcmullan@att.net [huffsantacruz] huffsantacruz-noreply@yahoogroups.com via returns.groups.yahoo.com 

5:14 PM (16 hours ago)

to Pattie, AT&T, Peoples, huffsantacruz, osha

 

Hey Bathrobey,
  Spent this fine Saturday morning at the spectacular 7th annual Poverty & Homelessness Symposium at Cal. The event was sponsored by the:
Public Service Center
Suitcase Clinic
Street Spirit
Habitat for Humanity
Red Cross
Berkeley Service Network
Cheese n’ Stuff
Noah’s Bagels
Semifreddi’s
Cal Band
UC Jazz
Western Regional Advocacy Project
Write Home Project
Among many others, a couple of our council people put an item on the Action Calendar and many of us on Berkeley Commissions would not of even had a chance to speak out about it if we hadn’t moved up our monthly meetings to respond to the City Manager on budget issues. The action was hidden behind hundreds of pages of the Berkeley Sewer Plan.
Working with HAC, E.B.C.L.C. and others I and my comrades made sure this sneaky move was the top subject at the Symposium. What the council members thought was a very clever ploy turned out to be the worst mistake they ever could of made. Ah to feel young again!!!
So give me a ring if you like 510-684-5866 and we can talk.
Your comrade and friend,
Danny
 
 
Daniel J. McMullan III
Director/Advocate/Consultant 
Disabled People Outside Project
East Bay/San Francisco, CA
Commissioner
Human Welfare and Community Action Commission
City of Berkeley
(510) 684-5866

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