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“This (conservatorship law) sounds like slavery to me,” reported Memphis, houseless poverty skola reporter for POOR Magazine’s RoofLESS radio after a terrifying town hall on SB1045, the new anti-poor people conservatorship legislation that was just signed into law by then-Gov. Brown and will be enacted as a “demonstration” in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
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.
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.
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.
This was a cop calling me. He had my 13-year-old son, Tibu, who he had “detained” at West Oakland BART for doing nothing wrong – for selling the newspapers that he and his comrades at Deecolonize Academy produced. The cop profiled him as “a runaway” – code for houseless youth. It’s a constitutional right to free speech that Tibu and the other newspaper sellers are exercising, something the youth skolaz are learning right now in their oppressed People’s Herstory class at school.
Homeless people and their allies will be honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign and Resurrection City on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 12:00-2:30 p.m., at Civic Center Plaza. They are gathering as part of Martin Luther King Day protests occurring across the West Coast, including Denver, Sacramento, Salinas, Oakland and Portland, to highlight increased criminalization of homeless people and to protect the rights of poor people, along with the Reclaim MLK Day 120 Hours of Action.
In pouring down rain, city officials started clearing “Box City” at 7 a.m. this morning. City workers threw belongings into dumpsters and crushed previously occupied boxes. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness released best practice guidelines for municipalities recommending that individuals in encampments should have access to housing before they are removed from said areas and, if no such housing exists, to provide temporary shelter that leads to housing. San Francisco is violating those guidelines.
At a time that the Department of Justice is calling the citing, arresting and forced displacement of homeless people for sleeping cruel and unusual punishment, new data from the SFPD indicates that it is fully engaged in this practice: Homeless people received 11,920 citations for resting in public space in 2014. A total of 13,390 citations were given to homeless people for anti-homeless “offenses.”
On Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), coordinated its West Coast Days Of Action across three states and 11 cities. From 2005 to 2014, WRAP has worked to build a large people’s movement rooted in and accountable to groups and individuals defending poor peoples’ constitutionally-guaranteed human right to exist in public space, acquire housing and employment, and enjoy equal protection under law.
In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the weekend commemorating his work in the Civil Rights Movement, Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) member organizations are creating model legislation for California and Oregon Homeless Bills of Rights. Groups across California and Oregon will be holding events and rallies throughout MLK weekend.
San Franciscans working from 2004 to 2013 to keep tasers out of SFPD officers’ hands as they “talk down” people in public crisis are today celebrating SFPD Chief Greg Suhr’s Wednesday, April 10, decision to drop his “less lethal” taser proposal for San Francisco cops. Idriss Stelley Foundation Program Director Jeremy Miller affirmed: “The Police Commission should be commended for engaging this issue seriously in a manner that befits their political responsibility. Tasers torture and kill. They are unaccountable weapons for unaccountable officers. But it was the people of San Francisco who forced Suhr’s hand.”
Police Chief Greg Suhr and the SF Police Commission finally scheduled and held the required community forums, where Suhr and Comdrs. Richard Corriea and Mikail Ali described the Electronic Control Weapon (ECW) proposal and invited community input. This updated story includes a report on the Tenderloin community forum, organized by residents. All testimony was anti-taser.
A Dec. 4, 2012, ACLU letter to SF Mayor Ed Lee urged rejecting any SFPD proposal “to deploy tasers or other conductive energy devices”. The letter emphasizes that costly tasers would generate heavy legal fees from officer overuse and abuse, posing serious injury and death risks, especially to SFPD’s targeted populations: people in public mental health crisis and people of color.
As the police continue to shoot unarmed and mentally disabled people, including a man in a wheelchair, the community is speaking out against these incidents of excessive force. On Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 17, about 150 San Franciscans and Bay Area activists expressed their outrage with a march and rally in San Francisco.
The end game for the ballot proposition known as “sit/lie” is to not just rid the city of homeless people but, more importantly, to shift the power balance in San Francisco to the right. The biggest funder of Prop L, millionaire Ron Conway, says: “We must take our city back … This is about survival.” Pushing Prop L with a passion is one-time Republican political action committee fundraiser C.W. Nevius, now a Chronicle columnist, who parrots arguments proposed by an ultra-right-wing think tank, the Manhattan Institute.
A march called Real Deal or No Deal, expected to be the biggest of the season, will take off at 3 p.m. Wednesday from Hallidie Plaza to City Hall. San Franciscans hit hard by the recession will join with city workers and the working poor to march against Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposed city budget.