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Gender: Female
Hometown: Bay Area, CA
Member since: Tue Aug 19, 2014, 11:02 PM
Number of posts: 3,732

Journal Archives

Some Remarks for Third Way Kos

I've mentioned before how it really bugs me that Kos (of Daily Kos) is a rightwing New Dem/Third Way in local politics but makes his living off of crowdsourcing progressive opinions. Today his comments were popping up on the pro side of the Air BNB debate, so the spirit moved me to go back and get some screenshots of some of his greatest Third Way remarks.

There was one remark I felt compelled to respond to - not because it was Third Way, but because I felt it showed how Kos had participated in driving the forces of gentrification in the area (besides promoting Big Development, trying to sweep away the homeless people, and not getting it about AirBNB...)

Markos: One of the problems I have in attracting talent to the home office in Berkeley is lack of affordable living space, and I actually pay employees really well. I finally threw in the towel, and most of my new hiring is remote.

My Reply on Why Kos is Part of the Problem

This comment reveals how you are part of the problem in Berkeley. There are lots of highly skilled unemployed people in Berkeley. Yet you feel compelled to look for talent elsewhere. Originally you were bringing in talent to displace the current residents of Berkeley. Now you are hiring remotely, sending capital resources outside of the city.

This is why South Berkeley - where many residents have been forced back on public assistance and supportive housing - has particular cause to complain. If Berkeley has been wooing all these tech start-ups and incubators, where are the *entry level* jobs for them? The soft jobs seem to be passed out to friends of friends, often invited in from the outside. The advertised jobs request skills of superhuman capacity - and they are often only contract jobs to boot!

Someone finally came up with a fabulous resource: localwisejobs.com. At last local jobs are supposed to be consolidated in one place and not hidden hither and thither. But if you look on the tech jobs page, where the GOOD jobs should be: all they ask for is FREE interns. There is no evidence of the jobs that the "gentry" got - the jobs you say you pay well for - that are rapidly displacing the people of South Berkeley from their houses.

Given your persistent New Democrat stance, I doubt you will understand the problem with bringing in your "new blood" and sweeping out the poor people in your way. But they are only poor because they couldn't get good jobs. Please think about that.

Attacks on SSI/SSDI Should Not Be Part of the Democratic Policy Position

Posting OPs or comments about the "fraud and waste" that plagues SSI/SSDI is a backdoor to a discussion about "cutting entitlements", and more specifically "stealth welfare". This anti-SSI/SSDI propaganda comes straight from Fox News, and it is only supported by the occasional scandal (which is duly prosecuted by law enforcement) and a lot of personal anecdotes. Just like the perpetual astroturf on welfare, everyone "knows" someone who got away with cheating SSI/SSDI.

Yet everyone who has actually applied for SSI/SSDI knows what a red tape nightmare the process has become - chiefly because the system is overburdened by all the qualification checks, bureaucratic documentation, and fraud investigations to address the continuous accusations of screeching concerned citizens. It is now practically impossible to get SSI/SSDI without a lawyer, which creates a major access barrier for lower income people with emerging disabilities. If you are under 60, your case gets automatically denied and you usually have to appeal twice, and the process takes around three years. If you do manage to get on SSI/SSDI after 3 years, you are still subject to regular reviews. You can also be reported for fraud at any time. It always baffles me why those people who are so irked about knowing "someone" committing fraud didn't simply report it.

Those people who had to wait three years lived in poverty, often in torturous conditions: sometimes they lived with family who didn't want to take care of them and sometimes they lived on welfare. OFTEN they became homeless. Sometimes they died while waiting to get SSI/SSDI.

Once you have SSI/SSDI, you will continue to live in poverty. It's less than $900/month, and you are ineligible for food stamps. You are allowed to work (swapping out your aid for what you earn) but if you go over a certain amount you will lose your benefits. You are allowed to save very little - even through fancy mechanisms that the government has created to try to help people on SSI save to go to school or make a very small down-payment on a house). When you have to work you have to go through the hassle of reporting your salary - I believe it's on a weekly basis.

And of course you will be surveilled the whole time and have to go through regular reviews to see if you are still medically qualified for SSI/SSDI.

Like welfare, the government does as much as they can to make sure that this program is NOT WORTH IT. That it is demeaning, cumbersome, a hassle, and barely survivable to live on. Taxpayers long before the current crop of "concerned citizens" were poking in their noses to make sure no person could feel comfortable to "depend" on SSI/SSDI even if they were blind and deaf from birth and there could be absolutely no argument about their qualification to be in the program.

I especially hope those on Team Hillary are listening and will take up this message. Her platform is weak on poverty issues right now, and as long as SSI/SSDI is being treated as "stealth welfare", it's vulnerable to cuts and/or further bureaucratic over-burderning that will lead to cuts down the line. SSI/SSDI needs to be actively defended, and it needs to be expanded. The recipients live in poverty in major urban areas: they need help with food and housing. I would advocate streamlining and simplifying the program so people wouldn't need to hire a lawyer and they could easily step in and out of disability coverage as needed.

I don't think DU would stand for it if someone posted an OP advocating the elimination of Social Security retirement benefits. They would recognize that as a Republican talking point, not part of the Democratic platform. Framing SSI/SSDI as a fraud-plagued entitled should be recognized in that same light. I honestly don't get why this is even seen as a matter for debate. We could debate banning abortions, too: but that's not up for debate here because it's a right-wing talking point. Well, so is treating SSI/SSDI as "stealth welfare" that can be had by anyone who complains of having a "backache and depression".

Please step up and recognize that anti-SSI/SSDI propaganda is spreading Fox News talking points and DU discussion should be creating policy around supporting SSI/SSDI (or transcending it with better ideas).

UPDATE: in another thread edhopper posted links to articles that cover the facts about how small a "problem" SSI/SSDI fraud really is. I'm reposting the articles here for the purpose of general education:

Social Security Disability Fraud is Rare: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/195559-social-secuity-disability-fraud-is-rare

Nine Facts That Prove Disability Insurance Isn’t A Giant Boondoggle: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/10/16/2787821/facts-disability-insurance/

Right-Wing Media Miss The Facts On Disability Fraud: http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/06/28/right-wing-media-miss-the-facts-on-disability-f/194669

Update 2: A commenter pointed out that people living on SSI/SSDI are also living in poverty. I don't want to change the flow of my argument by going into the different circumstances for poverty in urban and rural areas - but I will add here people on SSI/SSDI in rural areas also live in poverty and face the additional burdens of lack of public transportation, lack of Internet access, lack of access to community agencies, and lack of access to legal advocates that can help them sort through the mind-boggling problems government programs continually subject poor people to. I would choose urban poverty any day because there is greater chance of finding a lifeline in a time of crisis here.

Update 3: MattP noted that SSI is currently being swiftboated with a phony "overpayments" scandal. People who work while on SSI must report their status an income weekly: you can only imagine the bureaucratic red tape that entails. In the end, the government always recovers the money, and normal people are always stuck with the hassle and extra expense. Here is a great article from CNNMoney on what the overpayments situation really means for all involved: http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/28/pf/social-security-overpaid/

Note that article claims the Social Security Administration actually works at a 99% accuracy rate. Wow! Finally, this is what Sean Brune, a senior advisor at the Social Security Administration, told a U.S. Senate panel regarding the SSI overpayments audit:

“Let me make clear that while we work diligently to correct and pursue them, improper payments do not equate with fraud. Improper payments can occur for a number of reasons, some of which are outside the control of the beneficiary or the agency.”

Source: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2015/03/18/ssi-flagged-improper-spending/20143/

Fast Track = "Too Big to Fail"?

Is this the right analogy?

It seems like there are many issues with TPP that would be better to examine in a separate trade bill, where legislators in either country country could challenge the issue on its particular merits. Is this deal going to hurt our rice farmers? Let's negotiate something fair.

The main reason to smuggle everything into the huge mega-package of TPP, and then give the President Fast Track powers to approve it, is to smuggle in whatever provisions the various high level players want and insist on getting it all approved together - so any qualms look like a quibbling hold up of the process. (The sort of thing that makes impatient people roll their eyes and groan: "Not again!".

By rolling all these countries and all these deals into one mega trade deal, the TPP has been deliberately designed to be Too Big to Fail.

Moreover, the staff working on it all have a vested interest in getting the bill passed, so they may spin things in particular ways *just* to get the bill passed. Their *job* is to put lipstick on the pig.

Having seen what Too Big to Fail banks and brokerages did to this country, isn't it strange that Obama would want to preside over a global Too Big to Fail deal as the signature of his Presidency?

Belated Comment on "Did Stigma of Poverty Drive This Couple to Suicide"

Because I can only check the Internet in spurts, I only found out today about this story of couple that committed suicide because they could not access resources to alleviate severe poverty: http://www.thenation.com/article/206585/did-stigma-poverty-drive-couple-suicide

In this story, a Minister and neighbors wring their hands about why this couple did not reach out to them for help. They also note (correctly) that the appeal of "asking the Internet" reduces the feeling of shame by allowing the "beggar" to remain anonymous or at least to hide behind the mask of the screen. I have often pointed this out on DU when people have questioned the practice and raised (equally valid) concerns about the mask of the Internet enabling scammers.

I'm sure this article and the notion of the stigma of poverty has already been discussed in depth on DU. However, I wanted to add an angle that probably wasn't discussed because you actually have to go through the experience of extreme poverty to understand it. Even the Minister in this article clearly does not get it. His advice is terrible. While building community is always good, he should not be encouraging people to ask for this sort of help from their neighbors.

Firstly, neighbors won't be able to help them. Problems making rent, especially, are structural problems that require regular support. A neighbor might pitch in the first time, but after the second ask the neighbor will look at the asker funny. By the third time the neighbor will start constructing negative reasons as an escape hatch from having to give yet again. So "asking the neighbors for help" is just a set a set up for future torture at their hands.

But there is a more subtle reason to avoid asking your immediate neighbors for help. When a poor person asks for help, anyone who provides help takes a judgmental interest in what they do with the offered resources far in excess of the value of those resources. Thus, for the pittance a poor person gets in general assistance welfare and food stamps, they have to deal with a crazy amount of red tape, paperwork, appointments (with cost of transportation imposed upon them), and surveillance. The same goes for every program they try to access. Do they want services from the Department of Rehabilitation? They have to be prepared to be judged on punctuality, neat appearance, and general work readiness. Do they want to maintain employment services? They have to fill out these job application tracking sheets and report to those job developers. Are they applying to SSI? Their disability better be documented up the wazoo. How many medical appointments does that take? Did your doctor refer you to physical therapy or an exercise program? Better do that to prove you're not resisting advice. Programs monitor you and refer you to other programs that also monitor you - and in return you barely resist homelessness.

Now imagine the people who live right next door to you - that you have to see every day of your lives - are also scrutinizing you for what you are doing with *their* money they lent you. They will be asking why you are still feeding your cat companion of 20 years, why you still maintain the luxury of Internet access, why you indulged in a salmon for dinner, why you haven't sold your books yet when they "advised" you, too. Yes, that's the worst part. Once people lend you money, their "advice" becomes law.

All of this scrutiny, judgment, and "tough love" encroaches on a person's sense of autonomy, long-cultivated personal identity, and basic human dignity. When all these people own a piece of you, it's invasive - their demands and micro-judgments are literally crawling inside of you. There is nowhere you can go to push all their buzzing out and just assert yourself. The daily appointments and obligations of the poverty bureaucracy tear poor people every which way. That kind of torture being rendered from the close distance of a neighbor would be intolerable.

People cry out to the Internet in hope of getting enough non-strings-attached resources to reclaim some autonomy and human dignity. But at best that's a temporary bandaid since they almost always need structural help in the form of a rent subsidy and other aid. It sucks that the highest profile "Ask the Internet" cases seem to be Red State whiners. You would think the very least they could do is admit that they voted for the party that's against helping the poor. But no. They think charity will come through for them, and GoFundMe keeps rewarding that assumption while leaving the structurally poor in a state of poverty.

I hope this post gives people something to think about. If it came down to choosing between giving up my last bit of human dignity to Judge Judy neighbors and death, I'd probably choose death, too.

Article "In Defense of Looting"

I read this article during the "Berkeley Protests", and I thought it was interesting:

During the Berkeley protests, where the "looting" was penny ante to say the least, there were many aspects to consider:

1) The looters could not be pinned down to a particular "culprit": mixed in with the protesters were provocateurs, anarchists, and people who just wanted to get some free beer.

2) The looters targeted corporate/chain stores over local businesses - the type that tend to exploit people for minimum wage and on-call shifts. This might have only been a phenomenon in an area with a heightened awareness of issues of corporate power, though.

3) The police were playing political games. But, of course they had to, since they couldn't do much enforcement: they had screwed up community relations to the point where they didn't have enough community behind them to safely do their jobs on the street.

4) Property owners got outraged and complained "protesters aren't doing it right" to "get people on their side" as usual. Protesters, in reply, cried back: "where were you before we started breaking your stuff?" Blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, I was fascinated that someone took a shot at philosophically/politically justifying what is normally depicted as mob violence and "thug behavior". If thug is the new "N" word, how do you explain that in Berkeley it was a lot of white people? This is a political practice, and people do start screaming "Diversity of tactics!" when you try to stop them - and in Berkeley some people were injured when they did make a citizen's attempt to stop the vandalism and looting.

In another DU thread a politician is suggesting withholding food stamps from parents who don't stop their children from protesting. Perhaps one way to view vandalism and looting is as the natural response to this genuinely oppressive, downward-pounding political power that is always there for the poor, but rarely so openly placed in plain view.

Eminent Domain and Building a Stock for Affordable Housing Programs

Recently I watched a film about how New York used eminent domain to take over existing housing and hand over areas to big developers. My ears perked up again when I heard how eminent domain had been used in my own area to widen highways, build schools, etc. In all these cases eminent domain caused people to lose their homes.

Why can't eminent domain work the other way around? Why can't the city seize properties that were abandoned or forfeited in the course of criminal investigations and refurbish them as part of their stock for affordable housing programs? As I understand it, these properties usually end up being auctioned off for some pittance: then that money gets used for other purposes, and the property goes to house-flipping speculators.

Where there's a housing crisis, I think cities should crack down on condos being used as random investments, too. If a place just sits there empty for so many years, then I think it can be placed under eminent domain: someone who needs housing should be able to pay a fair price and move in.

What do you think? Is it possible to use eminent domain in a positive way? This also seems a faster way to build affordable housing stock than trying to collect tax money from developers and building affordable housing from scratch.

Cognitive Dissonance of Bringing Communities Together Over Affordable Housing

In recent months the housing crisis in Berkeley has come into sharper focus across the community as people began to realize the massive building developments that the city approved would mainly benefit the wealthy tech workers sloshing over from San Francisco. Slowly it's dawning on people that the developers get "density bonuses" from the State, are enjoying limitless demand at the top of the market, and haven't been accountable for providing "significant community benefits" in return for those windfall profits. Meanwhile, the people that are being rendered homeless by all the property-flipping and the almost non-existing social services system are starting to stack up like logs out on the streets, and the wildly enriched big developers are using every tactic from private police to great walls o' astroturf to political lobbyists to sweep the "human trash" that was created by their activities under their rugs.

The great wave of human tragedy has at last mounted so high that many segments of Berkeley's community agree we must do "something" and are actively organizing to "fight back". Since I've been particularly interested in how the housing crisis has affected the disabled community for several years, I was glad to see the great moment of consciousness raising finally come.

But is it possible for Berkeley to find community over affordable housing?

Traditionally, there has been a fundamental schism between landlords and tenants in Berkeley. The rent board periodically swings between landlord and tenant interests. There are points to be made on both sides. Property in Berkeley is very expensive and property taxes are ridiculously high. The middle class particularly regards property as it's great life investment: they may need to pull money out of their property in times of sickness or retirement. They dream of buying low and selling high. They also have valid complaints about being unable to get rid of nightmare tenants or they see others getting away with raising their rents to market rate. There are also objections to ugly developments ruining community character and amenities, lowering property values, getting in the way of solar energy use, etc.

Tenants, meanwhile, live in a city where housing isn't even affordable to people making a regular "middle class" salary. Most can't even hope to buy property here: foreign consortiums are coming in and paying all cash to speculate on "desirable" properties in Berkeley. Where are people on fixed incomes supposed to go? People on SSI get under $900/month and aren't eligible for food stamps. Berkeley's artist community means that the retired elderly may have gotten irregular formal income all their lives and may be getting very low social security checks. General Assistance welfare is only $336/month. I'm not sure how much TANF is. People who are currently on benefits may be in the process of skills re-training: with proper support they will be future taxpayers. With the constant Torture of the State, they will add to the numbers of homeless on the street and possibly to the criminal element.

There is also an established practice (which I detail further below) of professors at the university paying for their houses by renting to students. This may be the general practice of paying for a house in Berkeley - which amounts to exploiting people who are worse off than you economically to not only get a house, but a hot investment. My landlord paid $250k for his house: he parceled it into 3 rental units to pay the mortgage and provide income - and now he can sell for over a million dollars. Can you blame tenants for being bitter when they see the people who were lucky enough to get their property for free game rent control and otherwise make war on the poorer segments of Berkeley?

Right now these people in the middle-to-low income bracket (which includes people who work for nonprofits, caring professions, and most basic services) are being subjected to remarkable instability as landlords cash in and sell out to speculators and developers. There is nothing new about there complaints: its been hard for poor people to find housing in Berkeley for years. People have started to suggest that it's not unrelated that the black population has dropped from 30% to 7%.

Now that high rise developments are threatening to block the "iconic view" to the bay both property owners and tenants have found common cause in land use issues, and all profess to understand that the lack of affordable housing is a major component of this issue.

But do property owners appreciate the need for affordable housing as a problem they want to solve? Or only in the abstract? Is this cause only common long enough to get the signatures of tenants on petitions led by property owners?

I've been given several causes for cognitive dissonance during several meetings I've attended over the last few weeks. First, it seems like remarks/problems from tenants are cut off with impatience (though blatantly "greedy landlord" pov also gets cut short). When I went to a meeting that was broken down into subgroups, our subgroup was made primarily of tenants: but since the leader was a property-owner, the only ideas he presented on our behalf to the whole meeting were those that pertained to property owners.

At a teach-in today we were exhorted to get active in grassroots door-knocking volunteering for our political representatives. However, my overwhelming experience of political representatives in Berkeley - including the two that attended that meeting - is that they don't even bother to respond to respond to me. I'm a poor tenant: I don't matter to them. My problems have NEVER ONCE been addressed by a Berkeley political "representative". Here I am showing up to back their policies and help with their fights: I just wonder exactly what I have to do to be worth their time, too.

Also, I saw the community "swarm" on a couple of people. The first person got booed down for knocking capitalism and relating affordable housing to communist/socialist societies. She showed up at another meeting with a written version of her opinion: I took one of her flyers. So: community tolerance doesn't extend to outright support of communism. There was another woman who opened with how she wanted the the mayor investigated for corruption: she tried to give some examples about walkways and sewage overflow, but these examples got interspersed with how people had threatened to call the police on her. Half the people in the room physically closed in to pile on her. I don't know this woman's history or if her charges merited any further examination. But one thing really bothered me about this. A few minutes earlier a City Council Member present had talked about how the Mayor had enabled a particular developer to pocket $5 million dollars. I had personally been secretly wondering whether the Mayor was getting anything out of that deal: I'm hoping some journalist investigates the Mayor's investments or whether the developer in question has nomination power for the UC Regents (a group the Mayor wants to join). In other words: the Council Member himself made the situation sound *corrupt*. But when this poor woman brought up corruption, she was surrounded and treated like she was crazy. I bet her question could have been headed off at the pass if one of the Council Members would have treated her with dignity and immediately answered her question instead of letting her ramble on.

Anyway, the vibe I'm getting is that there is still a very firm power hierarchy in Berkeley. Some voices still carry further than others. At community meetings some people get to speak multiple times while others don't get to speak at all. The local media has a specific "rolodex" they turn to. City commission members (who can be "fired" by City Council members) provide a layer of expertise, and I know from personal experience that they only have to adhere to rules of order and listen to community members if there are witnesses present. And then there are the "community organization" efforts mentioned above. At every one I've attended "property owners" had the upper hand, though they were talking *about* affordable housing. Property owners were controlling the discourse, and I'm sure they will be able to shut off the discourse once they've got what they've wanted.

I often advocate that homeless people and people on welfare need "unfiltered" ways to voice their concerns because too many people with interests seek to insert themselves into the conversation and speak "on behalf of those in need". Those in need are capable of speaking for themselves, thank you.

The same thing has to be said about community coalitions that form around affordable housing: there needs to be ways to allow the unfiltered voices of those who need the affordable housing to bubble up. The voices of big property developers, landlords, property owners, City Council Members, etc. are overwhelming loud - and, unfortunately, their interests often vary considerably from the people who need the affordable housing. Space needs to be actively made for the authentic voices: that is the only moral thing to do if you want to create a genuine community alliance and gather all those tenant votes/signatures.

Need a Doctor? This Anti-Poverty Program Will Get You a Lawyer, Too

This article is several months old, but I think it's a great model program.


One contradiction in the system that I see is poor patients particularly need documentation of their situation from doctors so they can prove their eligibility and apply for services. However, doctors who serve poor patients are a) usually triple-booked and don't document much, and b) tend to be helicoptering in from privileged backgrounds to give judgmental lifestyle speeches, so they are slow on the draw for diagnosing anything in the first place.

When there are poverty programs right on the premises there is an opportunity to educate the doctors about the *whole* life situation of their patients and the problems they have to deal with. In the past few months doctors or nurses have just blithely assumed I can buy or "save up" for the following:
1) Over the counter medications and vitamins.
2) Pill splitters
3) Blood pressure monitor
4) Good walking shoes
5) Home blood pressure monitor
6) YMCA pool membership

If I give any pushback about not having a direct cash income, the doctor will Authority'splain to me that I "need" what they want me to buy.

This situation is somewhat baffling to me since my clinic has a strong reputation for working with the impoverished segment of the community - it includes social workers, mental health specialists, and "community health workers". Yet it seems none of these people are giving presentations directly to the doctors. One doctor "explained" to me that I should include vitamins in my social services "budget". Huh? Did people on welfare get a "budget" back in the 60s or something?

I would like someone to explain to these people that my number one concern is stable housing: and if reducing stress would contribute to improving my health, then supporting me in that area would be just peachy. But even that is a vicious cycle: if my health was in the zone, I'd be able to work steadily and housing would no longer be an issue. So what I really need is some security about the medical system working with the social system, and not in ignorance of it (or worst - AGAINST it). If that were the case, I'd probably be haunting the doctor's office and the ER a lot less.

How to Respond to the Kansas "Cruise Ship" Judge Judys

Ever since the 1980s politicians of all stripes have been building their careers on the backs of punishing the poor for laziness, inappropriate spending, general bad character. The collective sins of society find catharsis in the discipline of the poor. Whenever there is a whiff of revolution in the air, politicians distract everyone by yelling, "Hey, look over there - there's a poor person for you to judge!"

What can we do about this before the bar of who the poor and the judged is raised enough to get to YOU?

I have an idea.

Is there an academic or an investigative journalist of good will out there who might be willing to put together a little study that correlates corporate welfare and indirect tax transfers to the rich with what the 1% spends the transferred taxpayers money on?

For instance, instead of just saying that the average taxpayer gives corporations $6000/year in corporate welfare (while giving social services for poor PEOPLE only pennies), could we offer the opportunity for some Judge Judy scrutinizing of whether this money goes into particular pockets...and then how those people spend that money? Perhaps taxpayer money IS going toward lobster and cruises and horse racing...but not for the benefit of people eligible for Assistance for Needy Families but rather for people who could have afforded such luxuries on their own damned earnings - but got graft from taxpayers on top of that.

It seems like people can't resist the urge to judge other people for "getting away with" doing something human: choosing to vary their diets with some treat, attempting some escapism from a horrific state of life (especially if they can't afford a traditional "vacation", or exercising choices about what to buy that might give them a little boost in life (investing in getting nails done at a salon before a job interview). But if the taxpayer rejects subsidizing these things for the poor in their effort to normalize their lives and uplift their condition, then the taxpayer should *all the more* reject subsidizing these same things and more for people who had other options to pay for them.

The 1% should be scrutinized as much as the poor are: follow them with a microscope, subject them to "fraud investigators", set them up as constant examples for public shame for how they spent their tax-payer subsidized gains.

I believe some studies like this are one of the most important things that could be done to help the poor, in terms of shifting the political landscape. Who will step up?

Development Astroturfers to People on Fixed Incomes in Berkeley: "Thanks for Playing! Buh Bye!"

One of the local news venues in Berkeley in plagued by astroturfing trolls that seem to represent big property development interests and the wishes of newly minted tech millionaires to swarm in and seize all "desirable" property. Occasionally regular Berkeley citizens will drop in and try to offer some debate so the place won't just stand as unmitigated propaganda for property speculators, but it is wearisome and ultimately pointless.

For instance, this is the response you get to the idea that the elderly and disabled on fixed incomes are being displaced by market rents far above what they have to work with:

> fixed income renters

The terms of renting are very very clear to any adult. You're in a desirable area. If you get priced out, you move on. Detroit is very cheap and your fixed income is portable. Why is this so hard for you to understand? You knew the terms of the deal when you decided to rent. Thanks for playing! Buh bye! (source here)

Why is it "so hard to understand" that Berkeley is an International center for the Independent Living Movement, and that means there is a large constituency of disabled people here who are long term residents. But being on fixed incomes all their lives, many NEVER had the capital to buy a house! It's the fact they have lived here for decades and have significant ties to the community that makes Berkeley their home.

I have an idea, Mr. Buh bye - why don't YOU move to Detroit! And take your frigging property-flipping troll army with you!
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