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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

Alameda Study Shows Homeless Are Previously Working Seniors

Not "irresponsible, lazy, addicts" after all, eh...?

At least this is what is happening in Berkeley while Mayor Bates twiddles his thumbs, builds luxury condos for the uber rich, and imagines avoiding building low income housing will push those (black) undesirables out. As mentioned in previous posts I found out at the Berkeley city council meeting that my subjective impression that my West Berkeley neighborhood had become whitewashed over Bates tenure was not wrong: black demographics in Berkeley have gone from 30% to 10%. I believe that can be directly tied to policies meant squeeze low-income people out while unconscious prejudice (in the most "progressive" city in America) blocked any real stepping stones at the bottom.

This article was included in a post I have in GD about how the average taxpayer forks over $6000/year in corporate welfare and only pennies to the poor. Yet it's always "we can't afford" any more aid (should be rephrased as INVESTMENT!!!) with cuts directed at the most vulnerable.


YOUR taxes pay $6000 in Corporate Welfare and only Pennies to Aid Poor

For every whirly eyed Tea Party wingnut screeching about how the national coffers are being drained by ALL THAT MONEY we spend on "black) lazy, irresponsible, drug addicts" who are unlucky enough to need food, housing, and basic necessities for survival, perhaps you should confront them with the facts about where their tax money is really going:


Jaw-dropping isn't it? People have posted hundreds of articles here about how the welfare system has collapses, and how no money is getting to the poor. There has been a lot of hand-wringing about how "we" can't afford to do anything about it. The latest budget includes yet more cuts in Food Stamps and WIC. I've personally attended a welfare general assistance interview where all the applicants for the pittance - a LOAN of $336/month for 3 months out of the year - were threatened with surveillance and neighborhood interviews by fraud investigators (how much did they cost the State?). We're supposed to be down to the wire here, aren't we?

But we can afford to give banks and corporations subsidies of $6000/year out of our pockets?

Where is the outrage? Where are the pitchforks?

By the way, a recent survey of the homeless in Alameda County (Oakland), where the housing situation has reached crisis situation because the tech boom inflated housing prices and rents astronomically, did not turn up those "lazy, irresponsible, drug addicts". The survey turned up elderly, disabled people who had worked, albeit for low wages, all their lives.

America Leads Civilized World in Homelessness. Source: http://www.alternet.org/economy/consequences-american-greed

This is wrong.

This is the opposite of building civilization.

Here's another NYPD cop "turning"!

So, it seems the NYPD sees their job as planting evidence to meet their quotas.


On 86% black and latino people.

That is, when NYPD cops aren't slamming 89lb boys through plate glass windows and then chaining them to a bed for four days while claiming the boy was under arrest for assaulting someone else.

*Source: various Anonymous twitter feeds while checking on their action.

However, check this one cop out. Last comment: "Portrait of Courage" +1

Source: https://twitter.com/TrackKingCole/status/548954809714618368/photo/1

Tech Billionaire Slams His Peers For Being 'Stingy'

I especially love how Marc Benioff says people need to take action NOW, not pledge to take action after they die. I don't really follow the lifestyles of the rich and famous in San Francisco - does this guy usually sound like he should be Mayor of Everything?


As a resident of the Bay Area who has suffered a lot under the regime of tech stinginess, all I can say is I can't wait to see how he (literally) puts his money where his mouth is. And I want to know who else, BY NAME, is getting on his bandwagon.

Government Funded By Fees = Failure to Tax 1%

I was just reading this article about how Ferguson used court fees and fines to fund local government - meaning that the money mostly comes out of the pockets of the poor: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/reformers-target-traffic-courts-ferguson-27683209

I've read other articles about the virtual "debtors prison" situation in other Southern states that resulted from outsourcing court functions like probation, court fine handling, etc.

In my own city there has been some gaming of the taxes: parcel taxes multiply while the Mayor uses the shrinking General Fund (from property taxes) at his discretion.

What I'm wondering is whether the "States Rights" attitude has actually impoverished communities by leaving them to fend for themselves in an economic environment where all the money is being funneled to the 1%. Since wealthy people are geographically distributed in uneven ways, then local taxes can only go so far anyway: States need to shore up the smaller towns - just as the US political system shores up the smaller States by giving their voice equal weight in the Senate. Yes there is some "socialism" built right into the Constitution - but there it's recognized as "fairness".

Anyway, it seems like there should be a way to fund small towns that comes out of the pocket of the 1%, not out of the pocket of the poorest of the poor.

Black Cops Balance Duties With Understanding of Racism

This is a nice article that acknowledges problems exist and the need to develop community relations:


I hope it isn't just a PR exercise. There has been a recent fuss in nearby Richmond over the fact that police there are not allowed to do anything "political" - and that apparently includes taking a side about police misconduct, re: Ferguson. I wonder if this article had to be "approved" by some consultant first. Nevertheless, I approve of the tone it takes and the direction that it goes in. There needs to be more of the same in Berkeley and Oakland.

Open Letter from San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland Police Unions

At least they don't strike the fascist tone of the NYPD:


At the same time, I feel that this letter doesn't quite admit that part of the trigger for the protests - especially in Oakland (I can't speak about San Francisco or San Jose - has been misconduct, abuse of power, and racial profiling from the police. It's sad that the police feel unappreciated and maligned, but this is not about their feelings anymore. We're glad that they continued to do their jobs despite the fact "three of their own" were killed across the country: but #BlackLivesMatter is about an empty seat at a black family's dinner table every 28 hours. And I'm under the impression this statistic doesn't even include women. So black families have just a weeeeeeeeee bit more courage and dignity in continuing to do their jobs despite the REGULAR killings of "their own".

The police say they want reconciliation. It seems that reconciliation starts with the simple acknowledgment of the truth of the situation. It seems that reconciliation in this case should start with a remorseful stance on the part of the police instead of "gee, you are hurting our feelings."

Moreover, the mishandling of the protests in the Bay Area only exacerbated the problem. As I have repeatedly pointed out, you don't respond to a protest against police misconduct and abuse of power with police misconduct and abuse of power. By applying measures that didn't discriminated between protesters exercising their civil rights and protesters breaking the law - i.e. using tear gas, rounding up protesters in "kettles", etc. - the police just perpetuated an authoritarian image, suggesting they were there to protect someone else's "order" and their own police "codes", not protect and serve the people The jackboots, armored vehicles, and drones did not help. Waiting until late at night to start with the ultra-fascism didn't help because this is the age of video and the police were on candid camera.

At what point are the police going to finally stop and say "oops - we get what we did wrong here now." When the protest is against the police, the police should focus on arresting criminals (like looters) only, and avoid doing "broad sweep" sort-em-out-later arrests at all costs!

The Berkeley Police Department didn't sign on to this letter. They might belong to the Oakland Union - I'm not sure. In any case, the same advice/wishful thinking applies to them.

UPDATE: The mainstream media has started to pick this up. The narrative they are crafting seems to be a stand off between the extremes of whiny speech-controlling police and the radical frak-the-police extreme fringe of the protests. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_27197719/police-union-leaders-say-protests-have-devolved-into

Note How This Reporter Reacted to the Cop Knocking on His Door

When a cop knocked on this reporter's door in the middle of the night, the reporter felt like he was having a panic attack:


The cop was showing up to badger the reporter to make changes in a story.

(As a side note: normal people cannot change how reporters use or exploit them for a story once the reporter has their preferred narrative - usually a corporate PR war room one - in place.)

Kudos to the Berkeley Police Union from distancing themselves from this epic fail.

If a middle class reporter has this reaction from just one encounter with the police, just think of the PTSD induced at poorer levels from REPEATED contacts with the police as I attempted to chronicle in the following 2 DU posts:

My Experience With a Police "Welfare Check" (This one gives other examples of police contacts)

ARG! Supervisor Keith Carson Cuts Off Line Before Welfare (His Arena) Comes Up! (Discusses threats made to welfare applicants)

The police need to STEP BACK from general community social work and focus on criminal activities. Local governments and communities need to work on putting more appropriate mediators and mechanisms in place.

My Experience With a Police "Welfare Check"

I wrote such a long comment on a post about a police "welfare check" gone tragically wrong, that I thought I'd turn it into a post. It's interesting this came up now, because I was actually trying to get at the subject of police replacing traditional public infrastructure during my 2 minutes at the emergency Berkeley City Council Meeting dealing with the Berkeley #BlackLivesMatter Protests and increasingly fraught relations between the community and the police. My comment must have not come across very well because I was skipped in both the tweeting and the news coverage. I guess I'm not cut out to be a public speaker, hehe.

Anyway, if I had somewhat longer than 2 minutes to make my point, here is the point I wanted to make:

With the collapse of the welfare system and many public services, people at the lower end of the social scale are increasingly exposed to negative/stressful encounters with the police. This isn't just in regard to criminal activity - this relates to evictions, drug/alcohol escapism, suicide interventions, domestic disputes that weren't actually violence, noise/nuisance complaints, etc. As your life becomes more desperate, and there is nothing you can do about it (for lack of programs and advocacy options), the more the police are knocking on your door. They have become ad hoc social control.

And then there is the "welfare check", which is more or less a blank check for police to walk into your house in the name of privacy from your neighbors.

My consciousness was raised about this recently, because I have experienced it personally, and I am outraged to no end about it.

If you check some of my sig and my other posts, you will see that I have been through a horror story with Social Services. The petition in my sig doesn't even include the part about me losing Medi-Cal and the bureaucratic hell-wave that entailed. Anyway, I had to deal with a lot of Social Services hearings and paperwork - the whole thing was very nerve-wracking and time-consuming, and it took over my life at a time when I had just been on the verge of getting on with my life. When I finally got Medi-Cal back, the first thing that happened was the HMO that manages my Medi-Cal services rejected a procedure I had been working on getting for many months. I found out appealing involved *yet another* Social Services hearing.

I am a mild-mannered person who in the past let important things slip through the cracks at my medical clinic: at one point I lost my eyesight mainly because I wasn't speaking loudly enough about getting missing information into my medical record and getting treatment I knew I needed. As I viewed this situation: I was not going to go through one more Social Services hearing - I was going to demand my medical clinic find another way (either the doctor rewrite the referral, or they find another way to work with the HMO). I had to speak strongly because my medical clinic had a history of not hearing me, and in this situation there was a clock running on the procedure (the imaging for it was already a year old). Unfortunately for me, I put it in writing. I said up at the top why I felt I had to speak strongly. Then I said they had to find me another way. And then I said I would hold a sign and march out in front of city hall in traffic if they didn't.

Did this get me my procedure? Noooooooo. Actually helping to fix my medical problems might be giving into my spoiled little tantrum or some other psychological behaviorial crap. Instead they called the police to do a "welfare check".

This in itself is a very nerve-wracking encounter, even if you know you've done nothing wrong and aren't going to get arrested. The police are potent symbols of authority. You also have to figure that you're in their database and "on the grid" once they have to speak to you.

I had to let the police into my room, without any advance warning they were coming. My room was a mess.

I had to explain to all my curious neighbors why the police had come knocking at the door. I'm really glad my housemate wasn't around at the time.

I had been going to that medical clinic regularly for over 2 years. Not just for medical appointments: I went there almost weekly for acupuncture, women's health groups, nutritionist advice, social work, all the extra stuff they had. Will all the bureaucracy in my life, I did not need all those extra appointments. I had mobility problems - I was often struggling just to get there, and sometimes I used bus money even though I couldn't afford it. I'm an introvert: I'd much prefer to keep to myself, but I made that effort to keep going to that medical clinic. The ONLY reason I kept pushing myself to do it was when push came to shove, I wanted the people there to know my face, recognize me as a human being, and make a decision based on their knowledge of me as a person.

When that important moment came, they forgot I was a human being, and they fell back on their procedures. They treated me as an "it" that needed a "welfare check".

At least half a dozen people in that clinic should have known me well enough to understand what I had been through with Social Services, how I communicate, and what it would do to me if they called the police on me.

It's dispiriting to think how much time I wasted trying to develop some sort of human relationship with people there.

Anyway, this "welfare check" not only added a negative encounter with the police - it broke my relationship with my medical clinic as well. Think about that: people on the low end of the social scale may not have a lot of community ties. Do we need the police breaking the few they have left?

While the Berkeley PD does not have a bad reputation, there is some concern that a transgender woman named Kayla Moore died during a "welfare check" the police did on her last year.

Perhaps the police shouldn't be handling these "welfare checks". Perhaps they are a poor replacement for community outreach to isolated people with various needs.


Here is the post where I originally made this comment:
Innocent (white) Man Raided, Tased, Beaten, & Shot By a Corrupt SWAT Team (who Lied to Get the Raid)

RIP Kayla Moore

ARG! Supervisor Keith Carson Cuts Off Line Before Welfare (His Arena) Comes Up!

This rant xposted from GD where I guess no one knows any of these politicrats I'm talking about, sigh: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025975774

I am so angry right now, and I'm the type of person who might write forcefully, but who doesn't get angry in person. But now I'm pissed.

Tonight I went to the "Moving Toward Change and Crafting Solutions" Town Hall that was supposed to give people a chance to discuss the police problems in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, etc.) with our political representatives. The Town Hall was sponsored by State Senator Loni Hancock (married to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates), Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, and an array of other local political luminaries. I particularly went because I wanted to directly confront Supervisor Keith Carson, who is particularly in charge of Social Services (welfare). While the event was billed as a Town Hall, it was strictly limited to two hours: there was only so much of the public speaking that our political representatives could take at one sitting, and apparently they were going to insist on taking up part of the time themselves, even though we could always go to their web site or look at their literature to see their platforms.

At the meeting the line to speak was really long as expected: people in the Oakland area have long been traumatized by police issues and have needed this kind of venue to explain their experiences and offer suggestions. I really wanted to speak, so I toughed out that line. And I wasn't the only elderly/disabled person to stand in that line for over an hour without a chair, waiting patiently for our turn to speak.

As I neared the front Supervisor Carson kept intervening with advice to keep comments up, but he was the one actually using up the time with his interventions. At this point I began to grow suspicious. I've attended County Supervisor meetings on General Assistance reform. Did he recognize me? Did he know I was about to blow the lid off of welfare issues in front of this nice middle class audience?

As I got closer to the mike, and Supervisor Carson kept stalling, some kids in the back panicked and pushed their way to the front, crying out: "Let black kids speak!" Since they were black kids, and this issue affected them the most, I let them in front of me. But then I regretted it. At least one of them turned out to be from San Francisco, and they came to spout general propaganda instead of offer suggestions relevant to the local issues. Black kids, or not, by grabbing the megaphone, they may have prevented the hearing of an issue that affected a large swathe of the Oakland community -the black community - that normally doesn't get a voice at all. No one else spoke on Social Services issues that night.

When I reached the head of the line, Supervisor Carson cut off public speaking. He suggested the people he cut off might get a chance to talk after the politicians got to do their grandstanding, so I remained in line the full two hours - and there was an elderly woman right behind me who tried to hold on, too - though she finally had to sit down some. Of course the politicians used up the remaining time, and we did not get to speak.

Here is what I had to say if I had had my two minutes, and I believe it was worth the public's time. The crowd was mostly middle class, and I believe the world of Social Services would have been news to many of them.

When applying for welfare, large numbers of people are herded into a room. They do not talk directly to their caseworker to go over their applications. They are presented with rules and circumstances which will be impossible to comply with, such as 2 day turn-around time for documenting any work they do. Then they are told they are all being investigated by the police because the State is cracking down on fraud. The investigators are spying on them and interviewing their neighbors.

People are being put in this situation because it's convenient for social workers, who have 900 cases apiece to process. But this is a recipe for paranoia about the police. And this paranoia is being set up in a population where the crumbling social infrastructure has increased their negative contacts with the police: the police show up at their door to evict them, to check for drugs, to intervene in suicide attempts, to deal with criminal (survival) activity, etc.

When people have fallen back on Social Services, they have fallen almost as low as they can go. This is the point where they need to start building trust in their community again, not the point where paranoia about the police should be generated. As part of the reform of Social Services, Supervisor Keith Carson's office should be sending "secret shoppers" to make sure how Social Services represents itself in County Supervisor meeting is actually want happens in their place of public operations at 2000 San Pablo.

Also, I wanted to accuse every single politician who was up on the dais of not responding to poor constituents who could only interact by email (because they didn't have a cellphone). I had tried to appeal to at least half of them about my welfare-to-work problem (see my sig) with zero response. I believe my MoveOn.org petition went to ALL of them. They all sat on the dais telling the audience how their office doors were open and how they were ready to help anybody and everybody with their problems. Well that has historically been a lie, and I wanted to publicly point that out. But I couldn't, because Keith Carson craftily cut off the public comment at my place in line. His office must have ignored a dozen emails from me - including ones that I started to copy to State senators, Federal Representatives and Senators, and eventually even the President. Sure the office door is always open, but no one is ever home. (ps. I know Keith Carson's office *got* my emails because the original one received a curt reception acknowledgement).

The above is the complete explanation of what I had to say: I would have had to condense my points into under 2 minutes. Possibly under 1 minute since people toward the back of the line got less time.

At the end of the meeting I went to the incoming Mayor Libby Schaaf, who offered to speak to people to try to tell her that Supervisor Keith Carson had cut the line right before I could speak on welfare - the topic that concerns his office/performance. Even if she wasn't the one to complain to, I just wanted to know where to complain. It was really upsetting not getting a chance to speak publicly on welfare issues: this world is so little known to people, and it seems very few people do speak up about it - at least in a specific, descriptive way. Well for once someone was on the spot, who could say something about it in front of a dozen elected officials and a largely middle class audience who was struggling to figure out why all these police confrontations were happening. And I was denied that chance - probably because Supervisor Carson had seen me at those Social Services reform meetings.

Unfortunately all the politicians there were in "shaking hands and kissing babies" mode, and I couldn't even get through their superficiality enough to find out who I could complain to.

I also tried to confront Supervisor Carson himself. I will document here that he denied seeing me previously at the Social Services meetings, but I don't believe him because I tried hard to meet his eye at them, too. When I brought up all the ignored emails, he had his assistant take down my information again to follow up. But where was he 3 months ago when I was kicked off Medi-Cal, and I found out the hard way that legally reporting work to earn money for basic necessities sabotages a rent check that goes to your landlord? Would have been nice to have someone "following up" then.

So now I'm back home, extremely bitter and cynical about the political process, and wishing my medical situation would at least allow me to drink. When I think how close I came to being able to tell all those politicians, to their faces, that people on welfare were being put in impossible circumstances and directly threatened with police investigation...I think it would have enlightened them a lot!!! And there was absolutely nowhere to complain about it.

Ps. As a minor addendum/annoyance: that same girl from San Francisco that cut in line kept trying to get the people who were trying to remain standing in line (to show they still wanted to speak) to "sit down" because she couldn't see. She could have moved. But even though she had gotten her chance to speak (by cutting in line), she was prepared to make a black thing of it because the white people in line wouldn't sit down on her command. By the way, there were still black people in line, too. Perhaps they also had something important to say that ended up being cut off by her all her "demands".
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