Finally, a personal “victory” to share. As some of you know, WE were forced into homelessness over a year and a half ago by the Trump-supporting gentrificators Jessica Sawczuk, Eugene Gorelik, who refers to himself as “Mean Gene,” and their “Oakland Redevelopment Group LLC.” These gangsters purchased the building that our family resided in for over 20 years – and which had been my only residence in California since moving from Chicago in 1995 – and then proceeded to violate our rights and City and State laws.
The Poor People’s Campaign is all about the oppressed citizens of this nation – making the connection between the working proletariat and the lumpen proletariat. This will close the gap between the working poor and the non-working poor, who share common interests, such as affordable housing, affordable health care, adequate educational institutions, adequate wages that provide a standard of living that’s suitable for a human being. Once we bring the lower class together by successfully campaigning around our shared human rights, then we can bring an end to such exploitations as mass incarceration, the death penalty, homelessness and poverty.
The passage of this measure is a resounding voter mandate for desired change around homelessness, giving the city the resources it needs to finally address the crisis. For thousands of destitute San Franciscans, this has infused hope that they will soon have the opportunity to thrive that only a home can bring. Prop C only taxes large corporations that gross over $50 million and has a detailed plan for both its spending and results and mandates community oversight of the funding.
In California and across the country, progressives are coming together to demand change. We need affordable housing for our communities. On Nov. 6, voters in California will be able to vote on Proposition 10, an amendment that will let local governments determine if housing in their area should be rent controlled based on the needs of those in their communities. Prop 10 is a key example of how we can make California and the rest of the United States affordable for all families. Vote Yes on 10!
This proposition is stunningly progressive and spectacularly needed. It’s a small tax on corporations that will dramatically improve the lives of homeless San Franciscans. Over 20,000 San Franciscans experience homelessness a year. Prop C will address this by raising $300 million annually. Half of that will build and acquire permanent housing, a quarter will go to mental health and substance abuse treatment, and the last fourth goes to homelessness prevention, temporary shelters and hygiene centers.
As a shockwave of disclosures expands the Hunters Point scandal, more startling historical and scientific facts were revealed by Daniel Hirsch, former University of California Santa Cruz Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy director on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. A clutch of powerful federal, state and local politicians has been involved for decades in the remediation and redevelopment of Superfund sites Hunters Point and Treasure Island.
If only I’d known on that day, as I taped onto the front door of apartment 11 on 575 Berk Ave. in the Monterey Pines Apartments in Richmond, California, a flyer that read, “Fight CPS and COURT CORRUPTION. Recall Judges Rebecca Hardie, Lois Haight, and Jill Fannin” – if only I’d known that behind that door would be the scene of a gruesome and senseless murder just three months later.
San Francisco is a rich city! This election gives voters, including those of us on the “poor side of town,” the rare opportunity to spend some of that wealth on ourselves, the people who need it most. TODAY, on Nov. 6, 2018, we can vote for local Proposition C to house the homeless – put on the ballot by homeless people – and we can vote for state Prop 10 to control sky-rocketing rents to protect ourselves from the threat of homelessness. Here in District 10, we can relive the glory days when BVHP was a force for City Hall to contend with and the oldtimers told us to “VOTE 100%” -- meaning we should all vote, and on critical issues we should vote as a block.
“You were right, Tiny. Interdependence does work for us poor mamas.” My revolutionary poet, fellow welfareQUEEN at POOR Magazine and co-founder of Homefulness and KEXU radio Laure McElroy and I spoke quietly on the phone in the kind of intimacy befitting deep sister comrades like we were and had been for many years of deep struggle and deep resistance. Writing this today is so hard for me between tears and pain. I’m so unsure of how to go on without her love. On Sunday, Sept. 23, we held a multi-nationed tree-planting ceremony in Laure’s honor at Homefulness.
Ronnie Goodman, a well known San Francisco artist who is experiencing homelessness, had his artwork confiscated by the City, and was then arrested and spent a night in jail. He was charged with a state anti-lodging law known as 647e, which is probably unconstitutional, and felony vandalism, which was then dropped for lack of evidence. Ronnie is a very gifted, creative individual who has struggled with many challenging issues, including poverty, homelessness, racism, hunger and injustice.
With our planetary situation worsening – from massive flooding in India to Bangladesh, fire-nados raging out of control from Siberia to California and record high temperatures in Scandinavia and the Arctic, etc. – you and your organization are encouraged to join the worldwide RISE FOR CLIMATE JOBS & JUSTICE on Saturday, 8 September. In our region, the march will convene at the Embarcadero in San Francisco, at 10 a.m. This major people’s mobilization precedes the so-called “Global Climate Summit.”
Salt, grease and fried meat filled the air with just a hint of burnt sugar thrown in. My mind wandered to breakfasts past sizzling in a greasy diner. This time, however, I was on my bike, riding past an empty lot in East Oakland at 6:30 a.m. No houses or restaurants were remotely close. And then I saw the smoke and heard the sizzle. It was coming from one of a long line of late model Subarus, Hondas, BMWs, Acura sedans and even a Mercedes.
A white jogger throwing a Black homeless man’s property into Lake Merritt. A well-dressed man kicking a sleeping man’s face so severely he was hospitalized. The owner of a local club circulating death threats to homeless people and chasing a camper with a gun. These are just some of the publicized events. Of course, people forced to live outdoors face this and worse on a regular basis.
What will Democrats do when they can’t campaign as the “least-worst” option, then shame and blame anyone who dares to vote Green? Greens are running against incumbent Democrats in three California congressional races with no Republican bogeymen in sight. The names of all three Greens will appear right alongside the Democrats’ names on the November ballot, so voters will readily see that they have a choice besides writing in their cat, their cousin, a Green, or some other marginalized candidate.
California Penal Code 422.55 defines “hate crime” as a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of the victim’s disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. There are multiple state hate crime laws that provide enhanced penalties for violating the rights of people in one of those protected groups. Recently, acts of violence against the homeless have been caught on tape and circulated on the media. They show that cities like San Francisco and Oakland should enact their own local laws adding their homeless citizens to that list of protected groups.
There we were – the unhoused, the evicted, the displaced, the disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor white, youth and elders on one accord, all colors, all nations, all cultures, all ages, all abilities. The 2018 Poor Peoples March on Washington was originally launched by impacted poor, houseless and formerly unhoused people from the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign 15 years ago. Poor folks walked in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor Peoples March on Washington in 1968.
In 2017, Cheri Honkala, the founder of the Poor People’s Campaign for Economic Human Rights, ran for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in Philadelphia’s District 197. I spoke to her about what happened. It was a special election last year for a representative to the Pennsylvania State House. On the night of the election, there were literally hundreds of calls to our campaign headquarters and the district attorney’s office about election fraud.
On March 27, the San Francisco Bay Area’s Stop Urban Shield Coalition claimed victory in its four-year battle to stop Urban Shield, a war games and weapons convention for cops held in Alameda County every year since 2007. I spoke to Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of Media Alliance and co-facilitator of Oakland Privacy, a citizen’s coalition that works regionally to defend the right to privacy and enhance public transparency and oversight regarding the use of surveillance techniques and equipment. She has worked with the Stop Urban Shield Coalition since 2014.
Board of Supervisors President and candidate for mayor London Breed has announced an aggressive plan to address San Francisco’s homelessness crisis, focused on building more housing, more quickly; preventing those who are currently housed from falling into homelessness; improving street behavior and offering more services for addiction and mental health issues; and getting tent encampments off the street.
Land and housing is a humane right for All; not a privilege and a way to reap more profits for the monied interests! As WE see it, these latest efforts to “re-develop” and “gentrify” our cities – from San Francisco to Oakland, Harlem to Chicago and beyond – are a continuation of the centuries-long horrific wars of mass genocide perpetrated by European capitalism, European (white) nationalism and the false doctrines of European (white) “superiority” and racist terrorism.