If you can’t scare ‘em out, starve ‘em out…

If you can’t scare ‘em out, starve ‘em out…
To: HUFF yahoo groups <huffsantacruz@yahoogroups.com

>
Cc: GPerry of the SC Weekly <gperry@santacruzweekly.com>

 

NOTES BY NORSE:  Ironically it was during the Xmas season the attacks on homeless food providers in Santa Cruz escalated.  Mass arrests began in January 1989 in a half-year long struggle that ended with the uniformed food filcher’s giving up and (a) ending–for a time–their attacks on those regularly serving food outdoors to homeless people downtown, and (b) setting up a meal at 115 Coral St. (then a vacant lot and a garage behind the  River St. mini-Shelter).
A year later police raided Las Chorales (or “Lost Charlie’s” as some called it–on Front St. near where the Community Credit Union is now because that restaurant was both feeding the homeless and allowing tem to fall asleep–in the month after the earthquake.  At that time Salvation Army and United Way made a nasty distinction between the pre-earthquake homeless and the post-earthquake homeless, cutting off the former and providing aid to the latter.
Keith McHenry’s recent account of attacks on food servers can be hard on the audio file of my streaming radio show at http://huffsantacruz.org/radio/brb/BB%2012-1-13.mp3(1 hour and 47 minutes into the file).  Keith has written about actions against Food Not Bombs chapters recently at http://www.foodnotbombs.net/fnb_resists.html and at http://anarchistcook.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/the-world-series-of-hunger-the-nationwide-campaign-to-hide-hunger-goes-into-extra-innings/.

Restaurant Forced To Stop Feeding The Homeless After Complaints From Nearby Businesses

By Scott Keyes on December 4, 2013 at 10:30 am

Restaurant Forced To Stop Feeding The Homeless After Complaints From Nearby Businesses

Homeless SurveyCREDIT: AP

For years, a small restaurant in western Indiana served a free meal to customers every Thursday. Unsurprisingly, it was a big hit, especially among those who struggle to regularly afford a hot meal. And the number of people needing assistance has “exploded” recently; the number of people served at soup kitchens has nearly doubled in the past year, as the Lafayette Journal and Courier noted in its investigation.

But Buttery Shelf Eatery served, instead of serves, free meals because of persistent complaints from some nearby businesses who did not appreciate the presence of poor people in the area and forced the restaurant to end its free lunches.

Despite the large crowd that showed up to Buttery Shelf Eatery — up to 70 people at a time — there have been relatively few incidents between patrons and no one has been arrested or even had to file a police report.

Ravallette, a volunteer who used to receive free lunches and now helps hand them out, liked the sense of community at the gatherings. “What I liked most about it is that a lot of times, when you go into a public place, you don’t see a representative segment of the community.”

Leading the charge against Buttery Shelf Eatery is Jerry Kalal, a former marine who opened K. Dee’s Coffee and Roasting Co. in 2007 and felt that the free lunches were scaring away customers. He estimated he lost between $500-$800 in weekly sales as a result.

Kalal complained to Buttery Shelf owner Cherrie Buckley, telling her, “You do this little soup kitchen, but you’re closing down all the other businesses.”
Buckley refused as long as she could. Serving the needy and homeless has been an important value in her life for decades, opening a food and clothes pantry for the needy back in 1995.

But Kilal was persistent. He regularly contacted the police to complain about Buttery Shelf patrons, but his claims were deemed specious. Others in the area filed complaints as well. In one instance, someone told police that a couple dozen people were doing drugs behind Buttery Shelf. Unknown to the caller, however, was that police already had an officer watching on the scene who noted that the people “were just standing there waiting for the place to open.”

The most serious violation police ever encountered was patrons blocking traffic, due to the long line to receive a meal.

Finally, after enduring what one supporter described as “bullying” for many months, Buckley decided she had to end the free lunch program.

This story — a mensch (or group of mensches) serves the needy, only to be shut down by the local government or nearby businesses that didn’t want the presence of homeless people — has played out in countless communities. In Los Angeles, the city council is considering a proposal to ban distributing food to homeless people in public because of complaints from neighbors. In Raleigh, a charity that for years had served meals to the needy was threatened with arrest if they continued. In Orlando, police arrested people who violated a city ordinance by feeding the homeless in public.
The problem boils down to the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome. Nobody wants homeless people to starve, but many segments of society want them to be taken care of elsewhere. Instead of considering poor people a valued part of the community, they’re a “problem” that should be dealt with somewhere out of sight. Of course, everywhere is somebody’s backyard, and so local governments like Columbia end up passing proposals to exile its homeless population as far away from downtown as possible.

For her part, Buckley is distraught over having to cease her bakery’s outreach to the poor. She recently posted on its Facebook page: “We appreciate your support. But it is what it is and most people will not change how they feel. We too hope that one day we will be able to feed the community again.”

(HT: Former ThinkProgress intern Kirsten Gibson.)

MORE COMMENTS AT http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/12/04/3015111/homeless-restaurant-indiana/

 

NOTES BY NORSE:  Ironically it was during the Xmas season the attacks on homeless food providers in Santa Cruz escalated.  Mass arrests began in January 1989 in a half-year long struggle that ended with the uniformed food filcher’s giving up and (a) ending–for a time–their attacks on those regularly serving food outdoors to homeless people downtown, and (b) setting up a meal at 115 Coral St. (then a vacant lot and a garage behind the  River St. mini-Shelter).

                  A year later police raided Las Chorales (or “Lost Charlie’s” as some called it–on Front St. near where the Community Credit Union is now because that restaurant was both feeding the homeless and allowing tem to fall asleep–in the month after the earthquake.  At that time Salvation Army and United Way made a nasty distinction between the pre-earthquake homeless and the post-earthquake homeless, cutting off the former and providing aid to the latter.
Keith McHenry’s recent account of attacks on food servers can be hard on the audio file of my streaming radio show at http://huffsantacruz.org/radio/brb/BB%2012-1-13.mp3(1 hour and 47 minutes into the file).  Keith has written about actions against Food Not Bombs chapters recently at http://www.foodnotbombs.net/fnb_resists.html and at http://anarchistcook.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/the-world-series-of-hunger-the-nationwide-campaign-to-hide-hunger-goes-into-extra-innings/.

Restaurant Forced To Stop Feeding The Homeless After Complaints From Nearby Businesses

By Scott Keyes on December 4, 2013 at 10:30 am

Restaurant Forced To Stop Feeding The Homeless After Complaints From Nearby Businesses

Homeless SurveyCREDIT: AP

For years, a small restaurant in western Indiana served a free meal to customers every Thursday. Unsurprisingly, it was a big hit, especially among those who struggle to regularly afford a hot meal. And the number of people needing assistance has “exploded” recently; the number of people served at soup kitchens has nearly doubled in the past year, as the Lafayette Journal and Courier noted in its investigation.

But Buttery Shelf Eatery served, instead of serves, free meals because of persistent complaints from some nearby businesses who did not appreciate the presence of poor people in the area and forced the restaurant to end its free lunches.

Despite the large crowd that showed up to Buttery Shelf Eatery — up to 70 people at a time — there have been relatively few incidents between patrons and no one has been arrested or even had to file a police report.

Ravallette, a volunteer who used to receive free lunches and now helps hand them out, liked the sense of community at the gatherings. “What I liked most about it is that a lot of times, when you go into a public place, you don’t see a representative segment of the community.”

Leading the charge against Buttery Shelf Eatery is Jerry Kalal, a former marine who opened K. Dee’s Coffee and Roasting Co. in 2007 and felt that the free lunches were scaring away customers. He estimated he lost between $500-$800 in weekly sales as a result.

Kalal complained to Buttery Shelf owner Cherrie Buckley, telling her, “You do this little soup kitchen, but you’re closing down all the other businesses.”
Buckley refused as long as she could. Serving the needy and homeless has been an important value in her life for decades, opening a food and clothes pantry for the needy back in 1995.

But Kilal was persistent. He regularly contacted the police to complain about Buttery Shelf patrons, but his claims were deemed specious. Others in the area filed complaints as well. In one instance, someone told police that a couple dozen people were doing drugs behind Buttery Shelf. Unknown to the caller, however, was that police already had an officer watching on the scene who noted that the people “were just standing there waiting for the place to open.”

The most serious violation police ever encountered was patrons blocking traffic, due to the long line to receive a meal.

Finally, after enduring what one supporter described as “bullying” for many months, Buckley decided she had to end the free lunch program.

This story — a mensch (or group of mensches) serves the needy, only to be shut down by the local government or nearby businesses that didn’t want the presence of homeless people — has played out in countless communities. In Los Angeles, the city council is considering a proposal to ban distributing food to homeless people in public because of complaints from neighbors. In Raleigh, a charity that for years had served meals to the needy was threatened with arrest if they continued. In Orlando, police arrested people who violated a city ordinance by feeding the homeless in public.
The problem boils down to the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome. Nobody wants homeless people to starve, but many segments of society want them to be taken care of elsewhere. Instead of considering poor people a valued part of the community, they’re a “problem” that should be dealt with somewhere out of sight. Of course, everywhere is somebody’s backyard, and so local governments like Columbia end up passing proposals to exile its homeless population as far away from downtown as possible.

For her part, Buckley is distraught over having to cease her bakery’s outreach to the poor. She recently posted on its Facebook page: “We appreciate your support. But it is what it is and most people will not change how they feel. We too hope that one day we will be able to feed the community again.”

(HT: Former ThinkProgress intern Kirsten Gibson.)

MORE COMMENTS AT http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/12/04/3015111/homeless-restaurant-indiana/

Portland Activists Struggle

NOTES BY NORSE:   With the power of the Portland Occupy movement and Street Roots newspaper as well as local homeless organizing behind the movement, Dignity Village and Right 2 Dream Too established themselves as self-run homeless encampments, now praised by city officials (though Right2DreamToo was still being fined for its existence and carrying on nonetheless).

      I think consulting with those who formed these camps would be helpful in understanding the power necessary to effectively push  past City Council and Take Back Santa Cruz/Downtown Business Association/Santa Cruz Neighbors bigotry and fear in the current Sanctuary Camp debate.
Simply being reasonable, making logical arguments, or appealing to city officials just doesn’t do the trick.  As the poisoned hammer of Mayor Bryant’s toxic and misnamed Public Safety Citizens Task Force comes down (see http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=34511for the explicit anti-homeless options being seriously considered).   Appealing to right-wing sensibilities by using anti-homeless stereotypes about a “public safety” problem is also counter-indicated and furthers the rightist agenda of cracking down on homeless people with the cruel and phony “don’t enable” argument.

Right 2 Dream Too: Moving options unclear after Portland City Council again delays vote

Right 2 Dream Too
PORTLAND, OREGON – JULY 23, 2013 – Pamela Dahl, 25, is one of the people at Right 2 Dream Too who is at the security desk at the entrance. She’s walking past some of the 79 sleeping bags they take to the laundry every week. Dahl says, “I used to put my makeup on every day in high school. There are more important things now on the street.” Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s office is negotiating with the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp in Old Town to move from its highly visible location at West Burnside Street and Northwest Fourth Avenue to under the west end of the Broadway Bridge. (Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian)

Brad Schmidt | bschmidt@oregonian.com By Brad Schmidt | bschmidt@oregonian.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on October 15, 2013 at 7:29 PM, updated October 15, 2013 at 11:02 PM

ail
A decision to move the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camphas been delayed for up to 60 days by city officials who said Tuesday they’re leaving negotiations with camp leaders in the hands of Pearl District developers, businesses and residents opposed to the proposal.Tuesday’s setback is the latest for Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who unveiled a plan to move the camp in September as a done deal. Weeks later, it ran into a political buzz saw wielded by influential developer Homer Williams and residents from the plugged-in Pearl District neighborhood association.

Neither business interests nor Right 2 Dream Too leaders would discuss negotiations Tuesday.

Fritz, disappointed that her proposal to relocate the settlement from West Burnside Street to under the Broadway Bridge has been upended and delayed, said Williams’ group hasn’t proposed a real solution since the City Council first postponed its vote on the camp at an Oct. 3 public hearing.

“They haven’t put anything viable on the table,” Fritz said Tuesday, a day before the City Council was scheduled to revisit the issue.


Mayor Charlie Hales, the one who asked Fritz for more time, said he’s hopeful Right 2 Dream Too negotiations will lead to a better solution.

“We believe there’s progress, in terms of additional resources coming to help address the problem, and maybe a better solution than just moving tents from one place to another,” said Hales, declining to provide specifics.

A spokeswoman for Hales defended the city’s decision to leave negotiations to homeless campers and Pearl District leaders. Williams and others wanted time for a solution, K.C. Cowan said, and that’s what the city is providing.

“We will be at the table when there’s something definitive to look at,” she said. “But right now we’re not the group that’s saying, ‘We want an alternative.’”
A little more than a month ago, Fritz called a press conference at City Hall to announce a deal to move Right 2 Dream Too, which sleeps about 70, from its location at Northwest 4th Avenue and Burnside Street to the Pearl District.

Fritz proposed the move hoping to end a lawsuit filed by Right 2 Dream Too, which formed in October 2011. The group sued Portland’s Bureau of Development Services after the cluster of tents was labeled an illegal campsite and racked up fines for code violations.

Fritz, newly tasked with leading the development services bureau, suggested moving the camp from its marquee location in Chinatown to city-owned property underneath a Broadway Bridge onramp. She also proposed dropping the fines.

“I don’t necessarily need anybody else’s approval,” Fritz said at a Sept. 9 news conference, couching her plan as the end of a lawsuit instead of a controversial move. “I certainly have the mayor’s strong support. I’ve briefed each of my colleagues on the second floor about it and have not heard any particular concerns.”

But almost immediately, Williams and Patricia Gardner, president of the Pearl District neighborhood association, threated lawsuits or legal action over zoning rules and long-standing development agreements.

After a 5-hour-plus City Council hearing Oct. 3, where dozens of people – including Williams, whose company donated $15,000 to Hales’ mayoral campaign – spoke against the plan, Portland’s mayor delayed action for two weeks.

Hales on Tuesday said more time is needed and hopes a plan will be returned to City Council “sometime in the next 60 days.” The Pearl District location is still on the table, he said, but there’s a 50-50 chance another option could end up being better.

The proposed site, at Northwest Lovejoy Court, is a block away from a hotel project being developed by Williams and business partner Dike Dame.

Asked about Williams’ efforts, Hales said: “Whenever people bring private money to the table in addition to whatever the public can put on the table, that’s better. I appreciate the citizenship of that offer. Obviously, there’s self-interests involved.”

Cowan later declined to say whether Williams or others have offered money to move campers to shelters or permanent housing.

Williams referred questions to Dame who referred questions to a John Mangan, a spokesman who works with Williams & Dame Development.
Mangan earlier this month helped lead a public relations effort criticizing the city over its lack of public process. On Tuesday, he said he wouldn’t discuss details of the Right 2 Dream Too negotiations.

“We’re really not ready to talk about those,” he said.

It’s also not clear how many meetings have taken place or who has attended. Neither Cowan nor Mangan would provide details. Ibrahim Mubarak, a co-founder of the camp, also declined to talk about negotiations Tuesday.

Fritz said recent considerations involved moving the camp to the Central Eastside, specifically at the Salvation Army property at 200 S.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. But Fritz said the property is no longer available.

Before settling on the Pearl District location, Fritz’s chief-of-staff said, city officials also considered a separate site underneath the Broadway Bridge and one next to the Bud Clark Commons, both of which have contamination issues.

Fritz said she’s agreed to pnly a one-week delay but wouldn’t address late Tuesday what would happen if the proposal doesn’t return to City Council next week. Hales is scheduled to be in China the following week on city business.

With winter approaching, Fritz said she’s unwilling to wait 60 days and has called on Williams and others to step up and find a solution. Cowan, Hales’ spokeswoman, said officials think that will happen “fairly soon.”

“This is really their process,” Cowan said. ” We’re saying, ‘Go. Do. Come back to us when you’ve got something.’

” I know,” she said, ” we can’t let it go on forever.”

– Brad Schmidt

Right 2 Dream Too: Mayor Charlie Hales lauds homeless group, delays vote on move to Pearl District

Possible new camp for Right 2 Dream Too
This city owned lot is still the desired location for Right 2 Dream Too, but Mayor Charlie Hales said he wants to bring worried developers and neighbors to the table. (Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian)

Andrew Theen | atheen@oregonian.com By Andrew Theen | atheen@oregonian.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on October 03, 2013 at 9:24 PM, updated October 04, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Right 2 Dream too

After five hours of public testimony Thursday night, Mayor Charlie Hales had nothing but good things to say about Right 2 Dream Too, the two-year old homeless community at the gate to Portland’s China Town.”This unique community,” Hales said, “Is doing valid work in a special way that no government agency ever thought of.”

But the first public hearing on whether the city can legally move the campers to a city-owned parking lot underneath a Broadway Bridge on-ramp won’t be the last.

Hales said the council should meet with Pearl District residents and prominent business leaders such as developer Homer Williams, who pleaded with the council to have a seat at the table.

“Frankly, I think any elected leader would be crazy to reject an offer like that,” Hales said.

Commissioners will meet again to discuss the fate of R2D2 on Wednesday Oct. 16, where they could make a decision about the legality of the move, or take additional public comment if a compromise or another proposal comes to the table.

“This has been probably the most memorable hearing that I remember,” Commissioner Amanda Fritz said.

Fritz led the charge to bring a settlement to a lawsuit involving R2D2 and its landlord at its current home on a West Burnside Street lot. R2D2 organizers say it offers homeless people a safe, dry and free place to stay off the streets.

Fritz also leads the Bureau of Development Services, which issued the controversial zoning decision last week authorizing moving the tent community to a city parking lot.

At the beginning of the five-hour affair, the council chamber was packed. The standing-room-only crowd spilled into an overflow room, and it was a diverse group. Women in pantsuits sat next to men in blue T-shirts.

Testimony came from residents young and old, including a mother who recited a poem penned by two children. Backers of multimillion dollar residential and commercial developments sat, for hours, in the same room as dozens of homeless people and supporters.

More than 130 people signed up to testify, and the majority of them followed through.

Public comments, from all sides of the issue, drew pockets of applause, cheers, boos and the occasional standing ovation.

By the end of the night, the bulk of the public testimony came from homeless people and supporters.

Earlier, Pearl District residents largely expressed concerns and fear of the uncertainty and might follow if the tent city relocated to their neighborhood.
Concerns ranged from the arrival of more crime, to the effect on property values, to how the move would hurt business bottom lines. One developer said he’s bracing for a 1 percent drop in apartment rentals, which he said could cost $500,000.

Christopher Hanford, co-owner of Davis Street Tavern near the current R2D2 site, said he was “actually thankful the camp is moving.” Handford said his sales “went off a cliff” once the camp opened in 2011.

Homer Williams and Dike Dame, the business partners and juggernaut developers in Portland’s Pearl District, testified together. Dame warned council was “truly on the precipice of a very bad decision.”

“You’re eliminating the use of our brains, you’re eliminating the use of our resources,” Dame said, “By cramming this deal down our throats.”

Ibrahim Mubarak, a co-founder of R2D2, said that Pearl residents were ignorant of how the camp operated. He said a drop in property value could be good.

“Then maybe there’s be some affordable housing,” he said.

Thursday’s meeting was supposed to be about the zoning memo released last Friday by the Bureau of Development Services designating R2D2 as a “community asset.”

The memo stipulated the camp wasn’t subject to building permits, and therefore didn’t have to go through a rigorous design review or land use review process.

Most of the testimony ignored the particulars of that memo.

But Christe White, a prominent land use attorney representing Williams & Dame and others, blasted the council for the “contrived nature” of the document. “The city can’t have it both ways,” White said. Either R2D2 was a mass shelter or it wasn’t; either way it was subject to stringent design reviews.

White said approving the zoning decision “dismantles the social contract” in the city, and would lead to more homeless camps, or rest areas, across the city. She urged the city to amend its code and legitimize the camps “if that’s what you want to do.”

That is what many of the homeless supporters want to do, as they advocated for using vacant lots, buildings and public facilities to house the homeless.
Michael O’Callahan, a co-founder of R2D2, said homeless people are even more vulnerable than other residents. “Let us be safe just like you all are,” he said to Pearl District residents. “R2D2 is a good neighbor.”

Commissioner Steve Novick seemed impressed by R2D2′s organization as well. He tried to assuage the concerns of some homeless advocates about Pearl residents waging a “class war” and being more concerned about their property values than human life.

“I heard more fear than greed,” Novick said. He added there was compelling evidence from Thursday’s testimony that R2D2 residents and supporters feel so strongly about the camp because it is a safe and dry place off the streets.

R2D2 started in October 2011 at the Burnside property owned by Michael Wright and three business partners. Wright said he initially let the group stay as a jab at the city. But the rest area’s presence immediately started racking up fines.

As part of the settlement agreed upon last week, the city waived $20,957 in fines and agreed to move the camp to what’s known as Lot 7, a parking lot owned by the Portland Development Commission beneath the Broadway Bridge’s Lovejoy ramp. Camp advocates agreed to drop a lawsuit against the city in exchange for the settlement.

Commissioner Nick Fish missed the entire meeting for a previously scheduled event. Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the current Housing Bureau manager, slipped out for a Northwest Housing Alternatives event at 7 p.m.

Fritz said she would have preferred to vote Thursday rather than delay the matter. The clock is ticking to reach a final agreement, Fritz said, as the deadline for a use agreement with R2D2, part of the legal settlement agreement released last week, is in 25 days.

Earlier this week, lawyers representing Williams and other Pearl District developers indicated they would initiate arbitration and seek an injunction to stop the move if the council approved the deal on Thursday.

– Andrew Theen

Austin OK’s Loaves & Fishes’ Sanctuary Camp; Santa Cruz Moves to Criminalize

NOTE BY NORSE:  Texas more liberal than Santa Cruz–or Austin anyway?   Or at least the social service provider Loaves and Fishes (which also has an affiliate in Sacramento).

Our local monopoly homeless Nanny–the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center is spending it’s money on fences, security gates, “no impact” zone enforcement, & driving away homeless people during the day from “their” Center.  They could be restoring lockers, expanding space and services, & advocating for the rights of homeless people before a bigot-heavy City Council.  The Bryant-Robinson Council has intensified its war on the poor this year with curfews, expanded forbidden zones, increased powers to expel homeless people (anyone actually) from parks and elsewhere,  unprecedented stay-away orders, and new laws that shaft street performers, artists, and vendors (as of October 24th).

Nor have most churches been helpful–though a small number are housing 20 people a night total.

Brent Adams Sanctuary Camp program has been pilloried by the usual tribe of trolls in the Sentinel (See comments after http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/ci_24297722/steve-schnaar-and-stacey-falls-why-we-need?IADID=Search-www.santacruzsentinel.com-www.santacruzsentinel.com ).

Posted: 5:04 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013

County approves plans for RV park for homeless

By Farzad Mashhood

American-Statesman Staff

 

Travis County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved the nonprofit Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ plans for a 27-acre development that would house about 200 chronically homeless people in RVs, small homes and tepees.

The $8 million development, in eastern Travis County, on Hog Eye Road near Decker and Loyola lanes, abuts a pair of subdivisions whose residents have largely opposed the project. Formerly homeless people moving into the development would pay rents of $90 to $375 a month for small homes in a community that would be fenced in and include a medical clinic and a 3-acre garden.

“I’m ecstatic about it. It’s a nine-year dream come true,” said Mobile Loaves & Fishes president Alan Graham.

With the commissioners’ blessing in hand, the project needs only administrative approvals, which officials said could happen within the week.

Graham said his organization still needs to raise more than $2 million as part of the $6 million needed for the first phase of the project. He expects those funds to be raised by the end of the year as many potential donors have been holding out for the commissioners’ approval of the development plans.
Residents could start moving in by the end of 2014 and the development, called Community First Village, could be done by the end of 2015, Graham said.
Neighbors said they were concerned about the safety of living next to a development geared toward homeless people and what it would do to their property values.

With a packed meeting room with more than 50 supporters of the project and about a dozen people from neighborhoods near the planned development, commissioners heard more than two hours of discussion before their vote.

The city of Austin’s zoning and platting commission previously approved the plans in July. The project, outside Austin’s city limits, doesn’t require City Council approval.


The Austin nonprofit Mobile Loaves & Fishes has tried for nearly a decade to create an RV park for homeless people. Some highlights include:

  • 2008: The City Council agrees to lease 11 acres on Harold Court in East Austin to the nonprofit for the project, but backs off when neighbors resoundingly object.
  • 2010: The city eyes 16 acres near the airport for the RV park, but nixes the idea when the Federal Aviation Administration objects.
  • 2010: The city considers using 24 acres near Burnet Road and Braker Lane in North Austin for the project. Neighbors balk, saying a long-term plan for the area calls for dense, urban development, not mobile homes.
  • 2013: Mobile Loaves & Fishes plans the project for 27 acres it owns in eastern Travis County. The project is OK’d by an Austin zoning board in July and county commissioners on Tuesday.

How America Is Solving Its Homeless Problem

How America Is Solving Its Homeless Problem

by  • September 6, 2013

To protect and serve the rich jail the homeless The relentless assault on American Labor has resulted in record numbers of homeless people.  According to the Economic Policy Institute if the minimum wage had kept pace with the productivity growth over the last 35 years as it did for…

How America Is Solving Its Homeless Problem

by  • September 6, 2013

The relentless assault on American Labor has resulted in record numbers of homeless people.  Assault on AmericaAccording to the Economic Policy Institute if the minimum wage had kept pace with the productivity growth over the last 35 years as it did for the twenty years prior to 1968 the minimum wage would be $18.67 per hour and the median wage would be $28.42 per hour instead of the $16.30 per hour workers currently receive. (1)
That extra $11.42 and $12.12 per hour of productivity went somewhere, where?

CEO pay grew 127 times faster than worker pay over the last 30 years despite workers doubling productivity over that same time period. (2)

Income for the top 20 percent of American workers has increased since the 1970s while income for the bottom 80 percent declined. In the 1970s the top 1 percent received 8% of total income while today they receive 18%. During the same period income for the bottom 20% had decreased 30%.

In the 1970s the top 0.1 % of Americans received 2 percent of total income. Today they get 8%.

In 1980 the average CEO made 50 time more money than the average worker while today the average CEO makes almost 300 time more than the average worker. (3)

49.7 million Americans live in poverty. (4)

From one end of the nations to the other, American cities are dealing with an inadequate supply of housing for the working class by sending those who fall off the bottom rung to jail or shelters.  Many shelters are shelters in name only and are more reflective of a nighttime jail.

Which one is the shelter and which one is the jail?
Shelter ThreeJail Two
Tampa Florida enacted a law a few weeks ago that makes it illegal to sleep or store personal belongings in public. (5)

Columbia South Carolina has criminalized the presence of homeless people in downtown while Palo Alto, California recently outlawed the use of vehicles by homeless individuals. (6) (7)

Being forced into shelters of substandard living conditions has a lot more in common with the segregation laws of the 1950s south and the Japanese Internment Camps during World War II. (8)

The general tune that you hear from homeless service providers, policy makers and the justice system is that people are homeless because they have substance abuse problems and or mental health issues.  This belief allows policy makers to blame homeless people for their circumstances while simultaneously avoiding the true cause of homelessness, a lack of housing.

26.2 percent, 79 million, of Americans suffer from mental illness and 6 percent, 18 million, of Americans suffer from serious mental illness. (9)  The 26.2% mental illness rate for all Americans was the same for those who were homeless across the nation on a given night in January 2010.  (10)

More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older – nearly 9% of the U.S. population – use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (11) (12)

44%, 137 million, of Americans drink alcohol at least once a week. (13)  15% of the people living in the United States, 47 million Americans, are considered “problem drinkers,” according to the National Institutes of Health. (14)

34.7% of all sheltered adults who were homeless had chronic substance use issues which are higher than the 24% of the general population yet it is theorized that many people who do not suffer from substance abuse problems actually develop one as a result of and response to being homeless.  Thus the increase in substance abuse in the homeless population is directly related to the difficulties and despair of being homeless. (15)

There are only 1,600,000 people who endured a night of homelessness in 2009/2010.  On a single day in January 2012, 633,782 people were experiencing homelessness.  Only 110,000 people suffer from chronic homelessness.  (16)

If the primary reason why people become homeless was the result of mental illness and or substance abuse then there would be a minimum of 30 million people suffering homelessness in America yet there is at most 1,600,000 who endured one night of homelessness over the course of a year with the current daily average being 633,782.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration most Americans who are illicit drug users, 9.4 million in 2004, or heavy alcohol users, 10.6 million in 2004, also hold full-time jobs. (17)  This statistic obliterates the argument that people are homeless due to their own self-destructive decisions from mental health issues or of abusing mind altering substances.

125,000 families that are currently housed are at risk of becoming homeless not because of mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse but because of nation wide cuts to the federal Section 8 housing voucher program. (18)

“Because rents are so high, many of these families may, quite literally, find themselves out on the street as a result of these arbitrary budget cuts,” Stephen Norman, executive director of the King County Housing Authority, Washington State (19)

So in places like Columbia South Carolina, Tampa, Florida and Palo Alto, California people could literally go from an apartment to the street and then to jail because the government has removed them from the Section 8 rental assistance program.
If it weren’t for mom and dad allowing their grown children to live at home there could easily be 1.5 million more young adults who do not have a mental illness or substance abuse problem living on the streets subject to arrest for simply being homeless. (20)

If people are not homeless because of mental illnesses and substance abuse then why are they homeless?   Why do the homeless service providers, policy makers and law enforcement promote these erroneous reasons to the public as the cause of homelessness?

Answers, people are homeless because there is a shortage of housing created on purpose to maximize property values and the homeless service providers, policy makers and law enforcement industries all have a monetary incentive to create more homeless people not less.  By promoting these fallacies the special interest groups can mold public opinion away from the solution that would eliminate the vast majority of homelessness.

“In early 1984 on Good Morning America, Reagan defended himself against charges of callousness toward the poor in a classic blaming-the-victim statement saying that “people who are sleeping on the grates…the homeless…are homeless, you might say, by choice.” (21)

Anywhere from 30% to 44% of homeless people have a job, thus being unemployed isn’t the cause of homelessness necessarily. (22)

In the 1980s the proportion of the eligible poor who received federal housing subsidies declined. In 1970 there were 300,000 more low-cost rental units (6.5 million) than low-income renter households (6.2 million). By 1985 the number of low-cost units had fallen to 5.6 million, and the number of low-income renter households had grown to 8.9 million, a disparity of 3.3 million units. (23)

The cost of an emergency shelter bed funded by HUD’s Emergency Shelter Grants program is approximately $8,067 more than the average annual cost of a federal housing subsidy (Section 8 Housing Certificate). A recent HUD study found that the cost of providing emergency shelter to families is generally as much or more than the cost of placing them in transitional or permanent housing. (24)

The un-housed spend more time in jail or prison than the housed, which is tremendously costly to counties and states.  Often, time served is a result of laws specifically targeting the homeless population, including regulations against loitering, sleeping in cars, and begging.  Additionally since the homeless do not have private residences to drink alcohol upon as most people do they are disproportionally arrested for drinking in public compared to the general population.

Dr. Pamela Fischer, of Johns Hopkins University, studied the 1983 arrest records in Baltimore and found that homeless people are actually less likely to commit crimes against persons or property than housed people but more likely to commit non-violent and non-destructive crimes like loitering, sleeping in cars and parks, drinking in public, begging etc…(25)

A University of Texas study revealed that it costs $14,480 per year to house a homeless person in jail and $20,000 per year in prison. (26)

Next door to Palo Alto is San Mateo County that is attempting to obtain public funds to build a new jail that will house 576 to 832 people at a minimum cost of $165 million to build yet is likely to double to $330 million as a result of issuing bonds to finance the project. (27)

We need to house all those homeless people somewhere.

China’s population is 1.344 billion and incarcerates 1,548,498 citizens, 118 people for every 100,000 citizens.  The United State’s population is 313million and incarcerates 2,193,798 citizens, 737 people for every 100,000 citizens. (28)

The extensive homeless population is the collateral damage of a faulty housing market and corrupted economic regulations.  These deleterious institutions are the mines that produce the human fuel for the prison industry as well.  In 2008

approximately one in every 31 adults (7.3 million) in the United States was behind bars, or on probation and parole.  (29)
prisonOver $74 Billion dollars a year is spent on the prison system. (30)   It costs approximately $47,102 per year to incarcerate one person in a California prison. (31)   It costs U.S. tax payers $9 billion a year to feed, house and clothe the people who are in jail waiting for trial who cannot afford bail. (32)

Why all this information on the prison system?  Because the faulty economic system that produces the majority of inmates is same faulty economic system that has produced the increased homeless population.  The judicial, jail and prison system is a $100 billion dollar industry and those that benefit financially form it: bail bondsman; deputy sheriffs;  prison guards; construction companies; doctors; lawyers; etc… do not want to upset the apple cart by resetting the economy to ensure that most Americans can earn a good living.

It is this same conflict of interest that prevents people who earn a living from the homeless service provider industry from criticizing the policy makers regarding the faulty housing market and corrupted economic system.

Homeless service providers receive much of their funding from the government and wealthy interest groups, interest groups that are the ones actually directing policy makers in government to enact certain laws and policies that benefit them financially.

If a homeless service provider were to publicly criticize the policy makers for failing to produce enough housing the policy makers and private interests will withhold funding from that homeless service provider and give it to another service provider who is willing to go along with the program.

Additionally, if enough housing were created the majority of the homeless population would disappear on its own rendering the homeless service providers as an obsolete and unnecessary industry.  Hence, the reasons why the homeless service providers continue to promote the fallacy of mental health/drug use as the primary causes to homelessness is to perpetuate their gravy train job security.

“We’re pretty good about not talking about income inequality,” Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor. (33)

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”  Warren Buffett
The federal government’s multi-agency approach to help the homeless is often confused, according to a recently released report that catalogues the hundreds of different ways the government squanders taxes through waste, overlap, fragmentation and bureaucracy.

The Government Accountability Office report found that in 2009, federal agencies spent about $2.9 billion on more than 20 programs that targeted homelessness. If that money were to be targeted toward the building of homes, at say, $200,000 per home, it could theoretically produce 145,000 houses. (34) 

The two above industries, law enforcement/incarceration and service providers are small potatoes compared to the one which is directly responsible for the plethora of homeless and that is the real estate industry as a whole.  Property owners whether they be large corporations or the young couple who owns a single home have an inherent conflict of interest to producing a large supply of housing in close proximity to their low paying jobs when those low pay jobs exist in close proximity to expensive real estate.

The corporations and apartment owners are seeking to maximize lease amounts while the young couple wants to see the value of their house rise at an absurd rate to create a quick and substantial profit demonstrating that both have an inherent conflict of interest to producing a large supply of housing.
LandlordIt is a case of supply and demand economics.  The housing market keeps the supply of housing low which creates a high demand and thereby enables the property owners to charge renters more money increasing profits.  In the case of home owners what historically was a lifetime investment is now a mechanism by which to sell for a profit within a few years and anything that would derail such a goal is to be squashed.

Federal Minimum Wage:   Pay before taxes  (40hrs per week)

1965            1.25        $200 per month

1970            1.60        $256 per month

1975            2.10        $336 per month

1980            3.10        $496 per month

1990            3.80        $608 per month

2000            5.15        $824 per month

2010/11       7.25     $1,160 Per month


One bedroom Apartment in Palo Alto

1965:       $87.50          to       $130.00

1970:       $115.00        to       $165.00

1975:       $125.00        to       $150.00

1980:       $385.00        to       $400.00

1990:       $600.00        to       $775.00

2000:       $1,200.00     to    $1,600.00

2011:       $1,100.00     to    $1,650.00


Percentage of a Single Person’s Minimum Wage Income Used On Housing Cost

In 1965            43.5%   to  65.0%       of income to Housing Cost

In 1970            44.9%   to  64.4%       of income to Housing Cost

In 1975            37%      to  44.6%      of income to Housing Cost

In 1980            77.6%   to  80.%         of income to Housing Cost

In 1990            98.8%   to  127.4%     of income to Housing Cost

In 2000          145.6%   to  194.0%     of income to Housing Cost

In 2010/11       94.8%   to  142.2%     of income to Housing Cost
The Extortion of the Poor:
A studio in Palo Alto typically goes for $1,400 a month in 2013.  Retail and grocery jobs generally pay $12.00 per hour if you’re lucky which equates to $2,100 a month before taxes.  After deducting federal and state taxes that amounts to roughly $1,900 a month which leaves $500 for food, health care and other expenses.

A person, John, is giving 74% of his/her income to a property owner just to have a box to sleep in.  Thirty hours of this person’s work week produces John zero lasting capital.

What does John do in response to being forced to hand over the fruit of his labor to someone else solely because the other person owns all of the land and refuses to build more housing, John moves into his van to keep the $1,400 for himself.  So what does the property owners and local business community do in response to John moving into his van to keep his hard earned money for himself, the property owners and business leaders lobby the local policy makers to make it illegal to sleep/live in a vehicle and thereby force John to move back into a wooden box and to hand over the majority of the fruit of his labor to the property owner, a person who has more money than he knows what to do with.

In any other circle we would call the above act extortion.


Duke Grad Student Lives in Van to Save Money:

In order to maintain their erroneously inflated property value and high rents property owners rely on the government to make up the difference between the underpaid worker or disabled person and the cost of rent through the Section 8 voucher program.

Due to a 1% vacancy rate the average one-bedroom apartment in Santa Clara County goes for $1,700 a month.  The current cap on the Section 8 voucher for Santa Clara County is $1,315 for a one bedroom which is considered the fair market rate but not necessarily what the market will bear.  This means that if a person finds an apartment for $1,315 the government will pay the landlord $854.75 while the tenant on the program will pay $460.25.  (35)

If there was a enough housing in Santa Clara County to create a 10% to 15% vacancy rate the cost of an average apartment could conceivably drop to $800 a month with the low end being around $500 a month.  This would enable the vast majority of people who rely on the Section 8 program to leave the program saving the government, tax payers, millions of dollars locally and billions of dollars nationally.

So the question is, why do we as a society refuse to demand larger supply of housing a surplus of housing?

Increasing the minimum wage to $20.00 per hour will not solve the problem of affordable housing if the housing supply is not correspondingly increased as well.  If the minimum wage were increased 275% to $20.00 per hour the property owners would in turn increase their rents 275% negating any gain by the workers.  The gains in productivity would be shifted from the corporations through the workers and to the property owners resulting in zero benefit to the American worker.

Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman, Bill Clinton and even Richard Nixon and George W. Bush acknowledged that private housing markets fail the poor by not providing housing for people with low incomes.

A caveat should be made regarding Homeless Service Providers.  The criticism directed toward Homeless Service Providers is strictly to those organizations whose budgets are bloated with staff salaries producing minimal impact at reducing the root causes of homelessness.  There are many local and national organizations that truly help the homeless lessening the difficulties and hardships incurred by the homeless without seeking self enrichment off of the existence of homelessness and without compromising the fundamental values of fairness in the economy and housing markets for self preservation.




What’s the Solution?

What do all of the pundits like to say, “we’ll you’re good at criticizing but you don’t provide any solutions.”  Well to satiate all

of the pundits, here is at least one feasible solution.

There is one significant solution to homelessness and the exploitation of the American worker and that is to shrink the difference between income and the cost of housing.  The only way to shrink the gap between pay and housing cost is to increase the supply of affordable housing.  Attempting to solve the homeless problem without decreasing the housing costs of the 49 million Americans living in poverty will be a fruitless effort.

Palo Alto is a magnified microcosm problem of what is going on around the country from San Francisco to Tampa, Florida.

‘The people who worked in the retail shops and grocery stores in Palo Alto in 1975 used to be able to afford a studio or one bedroom apartment in Palo Alto without requiring any government subsidization.  If these people were enabled to secure housing in the town they work in by providing a surplus of affordable housing then the working poor would no longer need government housing assistance freeing that assistance up for the homeless who do not have jobs and or are disabled.

There are a number of people in Palo Alto who claim that if a person cannot afford to live in Palo Alto they need to move elsewhere even is said person works in Palo Alto.  The problem with that argument is that the cost of housing in the twenty miles adjacent to Palo Alto is not much different than Palo Alto.  When you factor in the cost of commuting upon those who can least afford to commute to work what little might be saved by living 30 to 40 miles away from Palo Alto would actually result in a greater cost than living in Palo Alto without commuting.


“What the Market will bear.” The problem with that assertion is that the Market is not bearing requiring the government to step in and provide food stamps and housing vouchers to people who are working full-time.

The policy makers, homeless service providers and law enforcement have to blame the homeless for being homeless because if they didn’t then they would be forced to address the true cause of homelessness and that is the exploitation of American through the use of a housing shortage.

The policy makers created the problem of homelessness through implementing bad policy in order to maximize profits for special interests.  Now that there is a homeless problem instead of implementing the solution, creating more housing, the policy makers would rather criminalize the homeless so that more special interests, the justice system and homeless service providers can make a gravy train living.

If people could go to work and reap the majority of the fruit of their labor without having to hand it over to property owners would these people have more reasons or fewer reasons to commit crimes?  If the homeless drunk was not drunk in public but on private property he wouldn’t be cited for being drunk in public.

By increasing a surplus of decent and affordable housing even if it requires the government to step in with money the

government will save money in the end due to the reduction in jail and prison costs plus there is the immeasurable benefit of reducing the number of victims of crime.

With a significant reduction of crime, hundreds of thousands of attorneys, prosecutors/defense attorney will no longer be needed.  These attorneys use their connections to with the policy makers to ensure that their industry stays afloat through economic oppression and exploitation.

The current mindset in America is that if you work in a grocery store you don’t deserve to bear the fruit of your labor.  It is this mindset that needs to be flipped on its head.

The average American male has the ability to go into the woods, chop down some trees and create a very nice log cabin in three to six months of work.  Once his cabin is complete he no longer has to work on it and is now free to pursue all the other necessities of life and personal objectives.  This is how it should be for this is how it was.

In 1965 it took 4.5 years’ salary of a custodian to purchase a 2 bedroom house in Palo Alto, California.

In 1975 it took 8.5 years’ salary of a delivery driver to purchase a 3 bedroom house in Palo Alto, California.

In 2011 it takes it takes 40 to 54 years’ salary of a delivery driver to purchase a 3 bedroom house in Palo Alto, California.   (40)

If Abraham Lincoln were forced to work 30 to 40 hours a week on his cabin year after year then he would not have had the time to become an attorney.  If Lincoln did not become an attorney he would have never become President.  If he had not become President then he would have never issued the Emancipation Proclamation.  Lincoln was liberated from the slavery of housing so that he could liberate an entire race.

Some where along the way the property owners convinced the policy makers that people should have to work 30 hours a week on their housing indefinitely.  They have accomplished this by manipulating the housing economy into making housing much more expensive then it needs to be or should be.  By artificially making housing more expensive than what most people are capable to pay off in a few years the property owners have shackled the low wage earners to working on their housing for the entirety of their lives unnecessarily.

This is theft.  This is extortion.  This is slavery.
Broken ShacklesIt is time that the policy makers liberate the 100 million Americans who are enslaved to property owners.  In the 1800s they picked cotton, today they pour coffee and stock your produce.

Every person should be able to afford a decent place to live in the town and or city that they work.

The State of California already actually does this through the Housing Accountability Act Government Code Section 65580-65589.8. (41)

However there is no teeth to the law which enables city’s like Palo Alto to avoid providing housing for every person who works in its city forcing the low income workers to live as many as twenty miles away.

Section 8 housing just enables the property owners to maintain their unnecessary exorbitant rent.

I’m sure there are other formulas that would be more appropriate and work better however here is one as an example for food for thought.


Housing Mandate:
Every city and or town shall provide a 5% surplus of housing based upon the number of jobs each city/town produces that pay the federal minimum wage up to 30% of each city’s/town’s median income separated into four average income levels as follows:
ONE:  Each city/ town shall produce a 5% surplus of housing for the total number of jobs within said city/town paying the federal minimum wage at full-time at a cost not to exceed 25% of the federal minimum wage paid out for full-time work, which is 166 hours a month;
TWO:  Each city/town shall produce a 5% surplus of housing of the average income of the bottom 5% of income earners based upon the jobs produced within each city’s/towns boundaries at a cost not to exceed 25% of the average of the bottom 5% of income earners within each city’s/town’s boundaries based upon full-time work which is 166 hours a month;
THREE:  Each city/town shall produce a 5% surplus of housing of the average income of the bottom 5.1% to the bottom 10% of income earners based upon the jobs produced within each city’s/towns boundaries at a cost not to exceed 25% of the average of the bottom 5.1% to 10% of income earners within each city’s/town’s boundaries based upon full-time work which is 166 hours a month;
FOUR:  Each city/town shall produce a 5% surplus of housing of the average income of the bottom 10.1% to the bottom 15% of income earners based upon the jobs produced within each city’s/towns boundaries at a cost not to exceed 25% of the average of the bottom 10.1% to 15% of income earners within each city’s/town’s boundaries based upon full-time work full-time work which is 166 hours a month;
FIVE:  Each city/town shall produce a 5% surplus of housing of the average income of the bottom 15.1% to the bottom 20% of income earners based upon the jobs produced within each city’s/towns boundaries at a cost not to exceed 25% of the average of the bottom 15.1% to 20% of income earners within each city’s/town’s boundaries based upon full-time work full-time work which is 166 hours a month;
SIX:  Each city/town shall produce a 5% surplus of housing of the average income of the bottom 20.1% to the bottom 25% of income earners based upon the jobs produced within each city’s/towns boundaries at a cost not to exceed 25% of the average of the bottom 20% to 20.1% of income earners within each city’s/town’s boundaries based upon full-time work full-time work which is 166 hours a month;
SEVEN:  Each city/town shall produce a 5% surplus of housing of the average income of the bottom 25.1% to the bottom 30% of income earners based upon the jobs produced within each city’s/towns boundaries at a cost not to exceed 25% of the average of the bottom 25.1% to 30% of income earners within each city’s/town’s boundaries based upon full-time work full-time work which is 166 hours a month.

For Example:
A)    If the average income of the bottom 5% of the median income of Palo Alto job earners is $1,700.00 per month and there are 1,000 jobs in Palo Alto that make up this income bracket then Palo Alto will need to provide 1,050 units of housing that cost no more than $425.00 per month.
B)    If the average income of the 5.1% to 10.0% of the median income of Palo Alto job earners is $2,400.00 per month and there are 1,000 jobs in Palo Alto that make up this income bracket then Palo Alto will need to provide 1,050 units of housing that cost no more than $600.00 per month.
C)    If the average income of the 25.1% to 30.0% of the median income of Palo Alto job earners is $3,600.00 per month and there are 1,000 jobs in Palo Alto that make up this income bracket then Palo Alto will need to provide 1,050 units of housing that cost no more than $900.00 per month.
Should any city/town fail to produce the above housing supply for its residents said city will be subject financial penalties which shall include but not be limited to federal conservatorship enabling eminent domain action to take place in order to secure the minimum housing requirements.

The excess in housing will drive down the cost of all other housing and open up housing for those homeless people who are on fixed incomes and or disability.

Mark Johnston, the acting assistant housing secretary for community planning and development, estimated that homelessness could be eliminated for a cost $20 billion annually. The housing department’s budget for addressing homelessness is currently about $1.9 billion. (37)

$20 billion is slightly less money than Americans spend on Christmas decorations, according to an analysis from ThinkProgress. (38)




National Security:
Cost of the War in Afghanistan:                                                                    $654 billion
Cost of the War in Iraq:                                                                                  $814 billion
Money spent on Department of Defense for 2013 and counting:               $488 billion
Money Spent on Homeland Security Since 9/11:                                          $712 billion  (39)
If we were to redefine Homelessness as a National Security Risk then $20 billion would look like a bargain.

SOURCES:
(1) (2) (3) (3B) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (16B) (16C) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (22B) (22C) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (38B) (39)
(40)   Palo Alto Housing Costs:
In 1965 a 2 bedroom house cost $23,000.00
In 1965 a 4 bedroom house cost $36,000.00
In 1965 a Machinist earned  $8,500.00  a year
In 1965 a Custodian earned $5,100.00 a year
A Machinist’s yearly salary was  37% of the cost of a 2 bedroom house.
A Machinist’s yearly salary was  23.6% of the cost of a 4 bedroom house.
A Custodian’s yearly salary was  22% of the cost of a 2 bedroom house.
A Custodian’s yearly salary was  14% of the cost of a 4 bedroom house.
In 1975 a 3 bedroom house cost $61,000.00
In 1975 a Delivery Driver earned $7,200.00
A Delivery Driver’s yearly salary was 11.8% of the cost of a medium quality house.
In 2011 a 3 bedroom house costs $1,200,000.00
In 2011 a Delivery Driver earned $22,000.00 to $30,000.00 a year
A Delivery Driver’s yearly salary is 1.8% to 2.5% of the cost of a low-end quality house.
A person’s yearly income of the cost of an average house in Palo Alto went from 22% to 11.8% to 2.5% of in the last 45 years.
References:   The “Palo Alto Times,”  the “Palo Alto Times-Tribune,” the “Palo Alto Weekly,” and “Craigslist”

(41)  California Government Code:  65589.5. (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The lack of housing, including emergency shelters, is a critical problem that threatens the economic, environmental, and social quality of life in California.
(2) California housing has become the most expensive in the nation. The excessive cost of the state’s housing supply is partially caused by activities and policies of many local governments that limit the approval of housing, increase the cost of land for housing, and require that high fees and exactions be paid by producers of housing.
(3) Among the consequences of those actions are discrimination against low-income and minority households, lack of housing to support employment growth, imbalance in jobs and housing, reduced mobility, urban sprawl, excessive commuting, and air quality deterioration.
(4) Many local governments do not give adequate attention to the economic, environmental, and social costs of decisions that result in disapproval of housing projects, reduction in density of housing projects, and excessive standards for housing projects.
65580.  The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(a) The availability of housing is of vital statewide importance, and the early attainment of decent housing and a suitable living environment for every Californian, including farmworkers, is a priority of the highest order.
(b) The early attainment of this goal requires the cooperative participation of government and the private sector in an effort to expand housing opportunities and accommodate the housing needs of Californians of all economic levels.
(c) The provision of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income households requires the cooperation of all levels of government.
(d) Local and state governments have a responsibility to use the powers vested in them to facilitate the improvement and development of housing to make adequate provision for the housing needs of all economic segments of the community.
COMPLETE CODE HERE:  42

http://paloaltofreepress.com/how-america-is-solving-its-homeless-problem/

 

From Harassment to Exile: South Carolina Goosesteps Forward

NOTES FROM NORSE:   The horror story below provides a dark glimpse at what may be down the road for Santa Cruz.  In the last week, four homeless people reported being barred from the Boardwalk and general Beach area (which is required to allow public coastal access to the beach) for looking homeless because, two were told, “we had trouble with homeless people last night”.   Another group of six or seven–I only spoke to two of this group–noted that a force of 6-9 cops and security guards confronted them sitting near a fence and demanded they move.  When they did so and went across the street, they were followed, and told (apparently after a cigarette had been lit) that they were banned from the area for 24-hours.
CruzioWorks, an allegedly liberal workspace and internet provider, has refused to reinstate the homeless Dan Madison and his disabled son, denied access after paying $300 for space and service on August 6th because of a tenant’s appearance-based apprehensions about the two.  [See “Picketing Prejudice at CruzioWorks” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/08/14/18741605.php  ].  Madison’s polite attempts to appeal the decision and inquiries by Cruzio customers have resulted in form letters from James Hackett, Works Manager, declining to provide the specifics around the exclusion and refusing to restore his workspace and service.
Palo Alto has passed its ban against homeless in vehicles, denying the poor the right to finance their own shelter–which in California is often a vehicle, to go into effect in a month, and also driven those homeless without vehicles away from community centers at night.  This is not based on any kind of crime wave, but simply a desire to reassure fearful NIMBY’s.  [“Palo Alto votes to shut down Cubberley ‘shelter’ ” at http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=30683 ] Homeless poverty pimp services are being given service contracts that will not provide housing or shelter to those displaced, but apparently lessen the public appearance of blatant cruelty.
Meanwhile in Fresno, anti-homeless arson and shelter-destroying sweeps are on the menu for homeless folks [See “Who is Burning Down the Fresno Homeless Encampments?” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/08/12/18741445.php   ].
Back in Santa Cruz, Mayor Bryants homeless-free Task Farce is laying the groundwork for redefining homeless people as drug addicts, bums, nuts,  and drunks with a panel with a preconstructed agenda and a series of “experts” who are preparing the ground for more exclusionary measures.  After persistent pressure, I was able to get city staff to put on line the agendas, staff reports, and audio recordings of these meetings at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?page=1924  .

South Carolina City Approves Plan To Exile Its Homeless

By Scott Keyes on August 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/20/2496741/columbia-criminalize-homeless/

 

Homeless people need not enter downtown Columbia, SCHomeless people need not enter downtown Columbia, SC

 

Many homeless people in Columbia, South Carolina are facing an arduous choice: vacate downtown or be arrested.
That’s because last week, the Columbia City Council unanimously approved a new plan — the Emergency Homeless Response” — to remove homeless people from the downtown business district. Here’s how the initiative, which was spearheaded by Councilman Cameron Runyan, will work.

Police officers will now be assigned to patrol the city center and keep homeless people out. They will also be instructed to strictly enforce the city’s “quality of life” laws, including bans on loitering, public urination, and other violations. And just to ensure that no one slips through, the city will set up a hotline so local businesses and residents can report the presence of a homeless person to police.

In order to accommodate all the homeless people who will now be banned from downtown, the city will partner with a local charity to keep an emergency shelter on the outskirts of town open 24 hours a day. However, it’s unlikely the shelter, which can handle 240 guests, will be enough to handle the local homeless population, which numbers more than six times the available beds.

Homeless people can stay at the shelter, but they’re not permitted to walk off the premises. In fact, Columbia will even post a police officer on the road leading to the shelter to ensure that homeless people don’t walk towards downtown. If they want to leave, they need to set up an appointment and be shuttled by a van.

In other words, the 1,518 homeless people in the Columbia-area now have a choice: get arrested downtown or be confined to a far-away shelter that you can’t readily leave. Jail or pseudo-jail.

Michael Stoops, Director of Community Organizing at the National Coalition for the Homeless, told ThinkProgress that this measure was the “most comprehensive anti-homeless measure that [he had] ever seen proposed in any city in the last 30 years.” He likened it to county poor farms that were prevalent throughout the Midwest many decades ago. “Using one massive shelter on the outskirts to house all a city’s homeless is something that has never worked anywhere in the country,” Stoops said.

Homeless advocates may soon file suit to overturn the plan, arguing that the plan violates homeless peoples’ rights to equal treatment under the law and freedom of assembly. The South Carolina ACLU is also exploring the matter. Susan Dunn, the group’s legal director, was highly critical. “The underlying design is that they want the homeless not to be visible in downtown Columbia,” Dunn said. “You can shuttle them somewhere or you can go to jail. That’s, in fact, an abuse of power.”

Columbia’s move mirrors an unfortunate trend sweeping cities across the country: criminalizing homelessness. Already this year, cities as disparate as Miami and Tampa to Palo Alto have passed various ordinances making it virtually illegal to be homeless inside city limits.

South Carolina approves plan to exile its homeless

Homeless people in Columbia, South Carolina will have to choose between leaving the downtown area or getting arrested.
(1) |
|
South Carolline approves plan to exile its homeless. UPI/Hugo Philpott
South Carolline approves plan to exile its homeless. UPI/Hugo Philpott

License photo
Published: Aug. 21, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Columbia homelessness plan draws heated criticism, threat of lawsuits

Published: August 17, 2013

The homeless stand in line waiting for dinner at Ebenezer Lutheran church in Columbia on a Tuesday evening in March 2013.
TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com

 

  • Plan for winter shelter’s 24-hour operation Columbia City Council has adopted a plan to turn the city’s riverfront winter shelter into a centralized, 24-hour operation for a few months while city leaders and homeless service providers look for a site away from downtown to comprehensive services. Here are the primary provisions of the plan:
    •  The 240-bed shelter on the banks of the Broad River would stay open two additional months – between about mid-September and March 30, 2014.
    •  The city would assign nine police officers in three-person shifts to patrol the Main Street business district to keep homeless people out of the city center. Meanwhile, the city would crack down on enforcing its loitering, public urination and other public nuisance laws on those who decline to use the expanded shelter.
    •  The city would post one officer at a key access road to the shelter to be sure homeless do not walk toward the city center.
    •  Homeless adults would be directed from the shelter to services they need such as job placement, medical or mental health treatment. If they refuse, they would be taken to jail.
    •  A telephone hot line would be set up for residents or businesspeople to call if they see a homeless person downtown.
    •  Christ Central Ministries, which had a contract to run the shelter last year, would provide three vans to shuttle homeless clients to daily, off-site appointments.
    •  Christ Central has agreed to absorb the expected $1.2 million it would cost to run a 24/7 operation beyond the current $500,000 the city has budgeted for the shelter.
    •  A citizens committee would monitor how the shelter is operating and be a sounding board for concerns from neighbors and businesses.
    •  A portable kitchen would be set up at the shelter to feed homeless clients in one central location and seek to end the range of meal programs run independently by churches and other concerned groups throughout downtown, causing clients to walk from place to place.
    •  Any inmates released from the county jail or from state prisons would be dropped off at the shelter instead of the Sumter Street bus terminal or other sites. Firm agreements have yet to be reached on this provision.
    SOURCE: Emergency Homeless Response plan

By CLIF LeBLANC — cleblanc@thestate.com

Tempers are flaring as groups prepare to contest Columbia’s plan to remove homeless people from the city center, arguing it violates their constitutional rights.

Civil libertarians say the plan that City Council adopted unanimously last week violates their protections of equal treatment under the law and their freedom of assembly.

“There’s going to be a fistfight,” said attorney Tom Turnipseed, who for more than a decade has been involved in providing Sunday meals at Finlay Park through the Food Not Bombs program.

He said Friday a federal lawsuit will be filed and he expects that the city’s Appleseed Legal Justice Center and the state chapter of the ACLU will at least help if not join the suit.

“I guarantee it’s going to be more than Food Not Bombs,” said Turnipseed, an attorney, a former state senator and a longtime political activist.

Leaders for the Appleseed organization in Columbia and the American Civil Liberties Union stopped short of saying last week they will sue. But leaders of both organizations agree the policy is treading on constitutional protections.

Columbians have debated the “homeless issue” for nearly two decades in a city where on some days the homeless rival the number of shoppers, diners and pedestrians on key downtown streets. But City Council’s sweeping plan has brought the issue to a heated pitch.

Council – which includes three attorneys – agreed to Councilman Cameron Runyan’s proposal to turn the city’s riverfront winter shelter into a 24/7 center where homeless adults could not only sleep, but be provided meals and consult with caseworkers and others who would direct them to medical, mental health, substance abuse and job services.

The expanded center is set to open by Sept. 15 for about six months. It would be run by a faith-based organization that would provide transportation to discourage the homeless from meandering through downtown neighborhoods and businesses.
Perhaps the most controversial feature of the plan involves increasing police patrols in a 36-block business district and at the riverfront shelter to direct the homeless there for help. If they refuse, they could be arrested under a range of public nuisance laws that include loitering, public intoxication, public urination, aggressive panhandling or trespassing.

“I was concerned that it is criminalizing homelessness,” said Sue Berkowitz of the Appleseed center. “People could be targeted and made a suspect class because they’re walking down the street.”

Susan Dunn, the legal director for the state’s Charleston-based ACLU chapter, shares the same concerns.

“Police are not supposed to coerce people into behavior,” Dunn said. “The whole nexus of the relationship between law enforcement and the citizen is that … they have to have reasonable suspicion of a crime.

“The underlying design is that they want the homeless not to be visible in downtown Columbia,” Dunn said. “You can shuttle them somewhere or you can go to jail. That’s, in fact, an abuse of power.”

Vigorous defenses

Runyan argues that his proposal is an act of concern for the homeless with a tough-love approach.

“This is not about new laws. The homeless can’t be exempt from laws the rest of us live by,” Runyan said. “We’re not allowed to be drunk in public. We’re not allowed to urinate in public or camp in public places.

“This is about help and hope for people who are on the streets of this city.”

Asked if he discussed the legality of his plan with the city attorney’s office, Runyan said, “Why would I? The only time you would engage the city attorney’s office is when you’re going to change anything. We’re not changing anything.”

However, Runyan said the city attorney’s office knew for months about his proposal and did not raise concerns.

At least one Columbia lawyer agrees with the policy.

“I’ll debate anybody about the constitutional issue as to whether my rights are equal to the rights of the homeless,’’ said attorney Eric Bland, whose law office is at the corner of Bull and Calhoun streets. “I don’t agree there’s a constitutional crisis here.

“I work at Ground Zero of the homelessness problem,” Bland said. “The homeless have gotten to the point where they enter my property. They come inside and panhandle or ask to use the bathroom. When they’re told no, they get upset. I’ve had homeless key the cars of people in my parking lot. They sleep on my porch. They go through the trash.

“My employees feel unsafe. Clients feel unsafe. I have to carry a gun,” he said.

Bland said drug transactions take place near his law office. Friday morning, a woman and man he believes are homeless got into a profanity-laced argument just outside the firm, he said.

“The lawyers that are screaming aren’t the ones at Ground Zero of this,” Bland said. “They’re not the ones paying the taxes.”
He and a fellow businessman had been contemplating suing the city.

“It’s the city’s obligation to provide for the health and welfare of its citizens,” Bland said. The homeless “don’t have the right to stop people from the use and enjoyment of their property.”

Homeless people who enjoy the shelter, meals and other programs available to them through city government or a myriad of private providers must accept that “you’ve got to stay inside the system,” Bland said.

Legal, practical problems

Berkowitz and Dunn say that deciding who’s homeless might become a challenge.

“How do we identify who is homeless and who is not?” asks Berkowitz of Columbia.

Dunn, of the ACLU, goes further. “The police are being invited to profile by how somebody looks,” she said. “If you appear to be a homeless person, you have no right to be in an area because you’re interfering with business?

“That sidewalk belongs to someone who does not look particularly great just as much as it does to the rest of us,” Dunn said.
She also wonders how the city will deal with the children of homeless people who are arrested. “It’s not addressing the complexity of the problem. A shelter can get them a place to go. But it can’t get them a home.”

Dunn questions Runyan’s argument that the city is merely enforcing its laws.

She asked Columbians to think of it in another way: Imagine the same city laws being trained at teenagers.

“Yes, these laws are in place,” Dunn said. “But they’re going to use them against this particular community.

“What (the homeless) are really being arrested for is not going to the shelter.”

Dunn also wonders how the city can keep private groups, including many churches, from serving meals wherever and whenever they chose.

“The City Council doesn’t have the authority to decide who is going to be generous,” she said.

Turnipseed told council members the night they adopted the plan that Food Not Guns would “go to war” if it is told it can no longer use Finlay Park, a public facility.

Dunn said the ACLU will have to wait to see if they city applies the same crackdown techniques to Five Points revelers, for example. To have legal standing to file a lawsuit, a homeless person or one of the organizations that provides services, would have to ask the ACLU to sue on their behalf.

The small Appleseed organization has turned to a Washington law firm for a legal analysis before deciding whether it will sue, Berkowitz said.

Is message being lost?

Runyan, who has been working on the homelessness issue almost since his term in office began last year, said he does not understand the pushback.

“We don’t think there is any (constitutional) violation,” he said.

“This is not about hurting people. It’s about helping them,” he said. “But we’re not going to allow them to live on our streets anymore.”

The inability of city government or private providers to solve the persistent presence of homeless people in the heart of Columbia has created an atmosphere that attracts that population but leaves them to their own devices most of the day and night, many who work with the homeless said.

The problem is growing worse, though no hard numbers are available on the homeless population inside the city limits, Runyan and neighborhood leaders said.

Runyan laments that the public conversation “has become all about the punitive part of it.”

He contends that most homeless people will accept the use of the expanded shelter.

“There are people who are going to resist it,” Runyan said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re going to have to give them some tough love.”

He gets riled at the objections coming from civil liberty organizations like Appleseed and the ACLU.

“Is the ACLU going to crawl up Greenville’s and Charleston’s backs?” Runyan asks.

“What they’re arguing for, is to leave the homeless on the streets of this city without hope or help.”

Reach LeBlanc at (803) 771-8664.

LOTS OF COMMENTS AT:  http://www.thestate.com/2013/08/17/2926212/columbia-homeless-plan-draws-heated.html#storylink=cpy

Portland Moves Against Homeless Encampment

NOTES BY NORSE:   The excuses used by authorities to disperse a lawful assembly protesting housing and homeless policies in downtown Portland are similar to those used to disband panhandlers and political signers on medians in Santa Cruz in the recently passed “no lingering on the median” ordinance.  In Santa Cruz, the undocumented and transparently false claim of “public safety” has become the new mantra to drive the homeless out of sight and town in  Santa Cruz.  (See “Round Two–The New Anti-Homeless Laws Return for a Final Reading” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/06/10/18738230.php )

It remains to be seen if activists of all political stripes will roll over for this new contracting of public space at traditional protests at the Town  Clock and elsewhere.  I saw only one person took the  median (other than mobile photographers documenting the march) at the NAACP march denouncing the Zimmerman verdict in the Trayvon Martin case in Santa Cruz on July 21st.

For the perspective of the Occupy Portland and homeless encampment activists swept from the protest, go to  http://www.individualsforjustice.com/ .  The stories below are from Willamette Week, a more mainstream media source.
The comments that follow the stories are often moving and educational.  Check them out by clicking on the web addresses that follows the stories.

July 19th, 2013 By AARON MESH | News|

Mayor Charlie Hales Bans Camping in Front of City Hall

homelesscityhallA homeless camper poses behind new signs posted along Southwest 4th Avenue on July 19 – Aaron Mesh
Mayor Charlie Hales is kicking the homeless camp off the front steps of Portland City Hall.

Portland Police officers quietly posted metal signs in front of City Hall Friday evening outlawing obstruction of the sidewalk along Southwest 4th Avenue—in effect serving an eviction notice to the homeless encampment that has swelled to more than 40 people in recent weeks.

Hales spokesman Dana Haynes confirmed to WW tonight that the mayor ordered the signs installed, and has told police to sweep out sleeping bags and other property early next week.

“There are people who won’t use the front entrance because they’ve been harassed by the campers,” Haynes says. “We finally thought, ‘That’s it. No more.’”

Haynes says Portland Police have logged 113 calls in the first 180 days of this year to the sidewalk in front of City Hall. And in recent weeks, the camp has grown with the arrival of “summer travelers”—street kids who pass through Portland each year.

The media drumbeat for Hales to crack down has grown, too, with local TV stations and Oregonian columnist Steve Duin featuring the camp, which calls itself a protest against city housing policies.

Hales signaled early in his administration that he would make ending an “epidemic of panhandling” a top priority—but lost a weapon in that fight when the Oregon Legislature spiked a bill that would have allowed Portland to revive the controversial sit-lie law.

Tonight’s sign installation means Hales is using the rule he has at his disposal: a segment of city code called a “high-use pedestrian zone.” The signs along Southwest 4th Avenue say the portion of sidewalk is for pedestrian use only.

Haynes says that zone, which is in use in several other downtown locations, will extend to the Portland Building next door, where most city bureaucrats work.

By 8:45 pm Friday night, homeless campers had already defaced one of the signs with graffiti and a Cascadian flag sticker. The crowd outside City Hall had expanded into Chapman and Lownsdale squares—home to 2011′s Occupy Portland protests—and included a shirtless toddler, several dogs and a white rat.

One protester, who calls himself Graham (“like the cracker”), told WW he saw police install signs shortly after the end of business Friday. He says he’s not leaving.

“We’re going to stay here, whether there’s signs or not,” Graham says. “It is a protest, for crying out loud. By the time the police get here, we’ll be ready.”

FOR COMMENTS GO TO:

http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-30465-mayor_charlie_hales_bans_camping_in_front_of_city_hall.html

July 22nd, 2013 By AARON MESH | News | Posted In: Cops and Courts, City Hall, Activism, PDX News

Mayor Charlie Hales Wants to Replace Homeless Camp with Food Carts at City Hall

occupy city hall vendettaAn Occupier outside City Hall on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 – Photo by Aaron Mesh
Mayor Charlie Hales‘ decision to evict a growing homeless camp from the Southwest 4th Avenue sidewalk is only the first stage of a plan to transform the plaza in front of City Hall.

The next step: food carts.

WW recently learned Hales met with staffers in the city’s facilities department in recent weeks to discuss adding food carts, coffee carts and tables to the City Hall plaza and lobby—essentially turning the 118-year-old building into a cart pod.

Hales confirmed these discussions to WW this afternoon.

“City Hall and the Portland Building should be the people’s buildings,” Hales says. “It should make sense for people downtown to drop by City Hall to grab a cup of coffee or a snack or lunch; to meet friends here; to consider this as their building. That’s our goal.”

Hales spokesman Dana Haynes says the mayor’s plan is still in talks, and the city hasn’t created a timeline for adding carts.

“His vision for City Hall includes food carts and coffee carts, inside the building and outside on the plaza, as well as more tables and chairs inside, and tables and chairs outside,” Haynes says. “He doesn’t have a timeline for this. But he has met with facilities and with other elected officials to outline the idea.”
The Oregonian mentioned the food-cart idea as a rumor last month. But today is the first time city officials confirmed the plan is underway.

As first reported by WW, Portland Police officers quietly posted metal signs in front of City Hall Friday evening outlawing obstruction of the sidewalk along Southwest 4th Avenue, using city code called a “high-use pedestrian zone.”

Hales confirmed in a press conference today that city officials would power wash the sidewalk this week, removing the homeless encampment that has swelled to more than 45 people. Reports have questioned whether city code gives the mayor legal authority to ban sleeping on a stretch of sidewalk 24 hours a day. Hales hasn’t had an answer.
(UPDATE, 3:37 pm: It doesn’t.)

Campers on the sidewalk, who say they are protesting housing policies among other issues, say they won’t leave without a fight.

Hales says the eviction is necessary because campers have been harassing visitors and television crews reporting from City Hall.

But they’re also bothering City Council. Sources tell WW all but one of the city’s elected officials have stopped using City Hall’s front entrance on Southwest 4th Avenue in recent weeks to avoid being heckled.

Hales says he wants City Hall and the next-door Portland Building to be inviting to the public—which is why he removed electronic security gates this summer. The Oregonian reported this morning Hales also considered adding bioswales to the sidewalk but dropped the idea after city commissioners objected.

“They should be natural gathering spots,” Hales tells WW. “But that hasn’t been the case lately.”

COMMENTS AT  http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-30472-mayor_charlie_hales_.html

Inmates Clear out City Hall Homeless Camp

inmatephotoMultnomah County jail inmates remove property from outside City Hall. – Andrea Damewood

Multnomah County jail inmates removed property from a homeless camp outside City Hall this morning, as Mayor Charlie Hales delivered on his promise to clear the Southwest 4th Avenue sidewalk.

The jail may soon have new residents. City Hall officials tell WW that campers who want to be arrested in protest will be later this morning.

By 7 am, most of the 45 campers in front of City Hall had moved across the street and camped on the sidewalks around Terry Schrunk Plaza.

As WW reported, Mayor Charlie Hales is clearing out the growing camp of protesters and homeless people from the plaza in front of City Hall—his plan is to install food carts there instead. The area, he says, is a high pedestrian use zone and must be kept clear.

About two dozen Central Precinct officers made their way to the plaza and City Hall shortly after 8 am, and began asking people to move their belongings off the sidewalks on both sides of Southwest Fourth Avenue, and campers started screaming at cops about displacing the displaced.

“The sidewalk is sacred ground!” one man shouted. “You don’t mess with the sidewalk as far as protest goes!”

Next, a Multnomah County inmate work crew arrived around 8:30 am and cleared up cardboard and other items left by campers. Inmates have a contract with the city to do such clean up; city workers are set to perform the power washing Hales promised yesterday when he announced he was cleaning out the campers.

On the use of inmates, Hales spokesman Dana Haynes says “it’s one of those contractual things… it’s not the best visual.”

Jim Whittenberg, who is not homeless and lives in Northeast Portland, sat on the bench of his wheeled walker, saying that he plans on getting arrested in solidarity.

“Hales is bad news, he’s acting just like a corporate entity,” Whittenberg says.

The mayor’s office is also removing a set of homemade shrines, including the thatch tent that calls on people entering City Hall to pray for the end of the city’s camping ban.

The city is crafting a code of conduct for the plaza as its justification for removing the vigils and has hung the new code in the windows at City Hall: