It’s simple. Public sidewalks are too crowded for homeless people, but wide enough for waddling robots and monolithic, data-sucking electronic sidewalk billboards with 65-inch screens. Public sidewalks are dangerously over-filled with backpacks and bedrolls but have a sad aura of being deserted without unpermitted signboards, tables, chairs, and rolling racks of commercial merchandise.
On Thursday December 6, without warning, the city administration violently evicted the 13 residents of the Housing and Dignity Village (HDV), a service hub at Elmhurst Avenue and Edes Avenue in deep East Oakland. Over 20 Oakland Police officers were present to lead residents away in handcuffs, as Public Works employees worked overtime to destroy everything on site.
The beloved poet died in early December, leaving behind a legacy of poems that capture a bygone Berkeley.
Julia Vinograd—resistance icon, the Bubble Lady, Berkeley’s very own bard—died on December 4 after a long battle with colon cancer. She was 74. Vinograd has been a staple of Telegraph Avenue since the late 60’s, selling poetry books, blowing bubbles, and watching the world go by.
Amidst a slew of new homelessness policy, the unhoused organize to make an impact. Homelessness has long been recognized as a staggering social crisis in the Bay Area, but 2018 was the year it became a full-blown political and legal crisis. In Oakland—the epicenter of the East Bay’s shelter crisis—homelessness was the top issue debated during the mayoral and city council races, and the city’s leaders increasingly recognize the need to prioritize services and shelter for the unhoused.
It was December 6, and Oakland Police officers had stormed Housing and Dignity Village—a homeless encampment for women of color and their children in East Oakland—to evict the residents who lived there.