The United States misappropriates resources (including the human ones) in a business-as-usual profit over people custom. For decades, the U.S. prison industrial complex has embraced tough-on-crime legislation to branch its growth through the incarceration of its citizens. One of the many downsides of this policy is the increase in people living in squalor while others are “sheltered” in the name of public safety.
On November 5, 2018, I was released from prison after serving 38 continuous years behind bars. Upon my return to freedom, a parole agent drove me to an area of San Jose that was dotted with cheap hotels. He dropped me off on The Alameda, a boulevard in San Jose, with everything I owned stuffed in a backpack and a small duffle bag.
People measure success in many different ways. For some people it’s marriage and children. For others it is making money. For many it’s just paying the bills due each month. And then you have people, such as myself, who believe that success is in the friendships you make, and in fulfilling the basic necessities needed in order to survive.
It looks as though we’re closing in on Christmas again, folks. That’s bad news in my book, and (I daresay) in the corporal book of homeless people everywhere. Take my holiday experience several years ago, for example. I spent Christmas Day stuck out in the rain, with services closed for those of my ilk, not to mention the usual five-in-the-morning “indoor resources” being closed (Starbucks, McDonald’s, etc.).
In the eyes of sixteen-year-old Hunter McLaughlin*, “coming out” would be a gateway to a new life. It would give him the opportunity to live more honestly and with a renewed sense of authenticity to his true self. But when he told his parents that he was transgender, the “new life” that awaited him was one plagued by emotional abuse, threats of violence, and seemingly endless conflict.
Dr. Phil, the affable problem-solving TV host, has a catch phrase he uses when defensive participants exhaust themselves telling him and the TV audience why they do things the way they do. He listens patiently. And then he says, “How’s that working for you?”
This November, Californians will vote on Prop 10, which will determine whether or not to repeal Costa-Hawkins—the 1995 law that placed limits on rent control in cities. If Prop 10 passes, it will be easier for California cities to lower their rents.
An alliance of tenant organizations is demanding a “full repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, nothing less.”