August Poetry of the Streets

She closes the door/ of her studio/ by Dolores Park/ hands the landlady/ (who jacked up her rent/ damn near double)/ the key/ “If anyone should ask/ tell them I won't be back/ to Cable Car land"/ and begins her long/ wandering inside/ America's abandoned/ homes

Unethical Medical Experiments on U.S. Citizens

The United States has an epidemic of ill health due to excessive drugging. The American people are considered a giant pool of experimental subjects for massively wealthy drug companies. Many persons diagnosed with mental illness are experimented upon, often without their consent and against their own best interests.

The Homeless Reservation

I surmised grimly that I was to be put into the Homeless Reservation. I had never heard of anyone leaving there, alive or dead. People disappeared, never to be heard from again. Politicians had arrived at what they believed to be a final solution to the “problem” of homeless people.

DBA Ambassadors Sweep People Away ‘Like Trash’

Block by Block "ambassadors" utilize a strange sweeping technique to harass people on the streets. I hope the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission will request that Block by Block employees refrain from this kind of "beautification" activity. It demeans us as a community to have people treated like trash.

Artist’s Portraits Reveal the Human Faces in Our Midst

I realized that bringing them to life in drawings was quite unique, seeming to have more joy in it than I’d ever experienced before. Walter was delighted. Nate always greets me now with a thankful smile. Donald, the very gentle one, spoke proudly and warmly when pondering his portrait.

House Keys Not Handcuffs: Homeless Organizing, Art and Politics

Police use laws against trespassing, panhandling, loitering, vagrancy and disorderly conduct to punish poor people and exacerbate their misery. They also confiscate their meager possessions, bringing additional despair. Homeless people are an irritant to public officials and a fruitful source of arrest statistics for police departments throughout the nation.

Orwell Foresaw the Rise of Surveillance and Loss of Freedom

Orwell’s chilling prediction of omnipresent surveillance has already come true in many ways. With modern technology, it has become feasible to conduct round-the-clock surveillance of far greater numbers of people on a more massive scale — and with far less effort — compared to what Orwell described in 1984.

All Shook Up: How Human Beings Are Turned into Categories

When highly diverse individuals are lumped into a single category, the result is terribly misleading. In the composite picture in the minds of those who promote anti-homeless laws, many different sorts of people are merged into one. The ensuing discussions get shipwrecked because nobody is having the same discussion.

The Brave New World of Centralized Intake in Berkeley

One can’t help but notice that all this wrangling over intake forms, coordination, and “centralized intake” hasn’t managed to produce any additional low-income housing or shelter beds. Berkeley’s last low-income housing expenditures were about 15 years ago, and involved rehabbing some already existing low-income housing units.

The Questions About So-Called Affordable Housing

Many people already question whether so-called affordable housing projects in Oakland and the Bay Area are really affordable to most disabled persons receiving their income through SSI, or for retired persons receiving Social Security. It is evident that all too many are not truly affordable to low-income people.

Selling Street Spirit Changed His Outlook on Life

Ralph is facing some major challenges now. Social Security and government assistance won’t go far in providing food and shelter for him and his wife while she is disabled. Getting out to Berkeley Bowl with the Street Spirit every day will keep up his spirits and a roof over their heads.

Resistance to Police Violence and Racism

Although several deaths of young African American men at the hands of the police have received a great deal of publicity, hundreds more police-inflicted deaths have not been reported. Across the nation, police officers who have killed innocent African-American men are rarely punished by racially biased court systems.