Preserve Affordable Housing in Berkeley

Any proposed development at the vacant lot on the corner of Haste and Telegraph Avenue that precludes the replacement of the 77 lost units of SRO housing is a theft of irreplaceable housing. Berkeley has systematically destroyed its SRO housing, replacing it with high-end condos and rental units.

Spare Change Leads to Spiritual Change

Surely, homeless people are entitled to our daily deeds of justice and compassion. Surely, they deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. When we respond to that holy call to kindness, we bring blessing into our lives and into the lives of all we touch.

Aging in America

Has aging become a crime in the U.S., punishable by a shot of Botox or various and sundry tucks, snips and pulls? Simone de Beauvoir, the French existentialist philosopher, in her book, The Second Sex, called our treatment of the aged “scandalous.”

HMOs Make Vision an Unaffordable Luxury: A Personal Narrative

It will cost money I don’t have just to fix my current glasses frames and their already jerry-rigged earpiece, where I used a piece of wire I cut with some toenail clippers from a spiral notebook and attached it between the lenses and the tiny hole in the earpiece.

Democrats Cave in to Right-Wing Ideologues

Democrats are joining Republicans in Congress to shred the safety net for the benefit of the financial interests of huge corporations. Their rhetoric about “shared sacrifice” rings hollow when the vast majority of us are being sacrificed to the financial benefit of big banks and large corporations.

An Ominous Path to an Orwellian Society

Our society is in a state of constant surveillance. While this may help solve crimes, it interferes with the privacy of individuals. Businesses are hiring private security forces to monitor the public, especially the poor. It can be crazy-making not to know when and if one is being watched.

Deadly Budget for the Poor and Elderly

Can a civilized nation accept the draconian cutbacks being proposed by the U.S. Congress at this very moment? Can anyone with a spark of humanity support a budget that allows the most destitute to die on the streets all over the nation, rather than helping them?

Heroes in Our Midst

Many nonprofit service providers are working to alleviate the ever-worsening symptoms of poverty by meeting the needs for shelter, food and services. But very few go the extra mile to stand up in defense of the human rights of the poor, or to take part in protests against structural injustice.

Cruel Cuts to Medi-Cal Are Creating a New Underclass

I have a close relative who is losing all of his teeth because of the lack of available dentistry under Medi-Cal (with the exception of extractions). The policy of not covering dental was first enacted under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and now is the responsibility of Gov. Jerry Brown. My relative is risking his health in order to retain one tooth — the last one he can use to chew food. A new lower class is being created before our eyes, one based on the ability to identify Medi-Cal recipients through their lack of teeth.

Taking It to the Streets

When one of the Suitcase Clinic speakers asked all those who opposed the anti-sitting law to stand up, virtually everyone in the council chambers stood up, making a very strong statement to the City Council. It had been my hope that the homeless people and street youth who actually sit on the sidewalks would have a chance to speak, but sadly they were denied.

Disaster Capitalism: A Perfect Alibi for the Far Right

Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that Ryan’s plan “would get about two-thirds of its more than $4 trillion in budget cuts over 10 years from programs that help people of limited means ...” The proposed cuts to Medicaid alone would harm states, individuals and health care providers and could cost nearly two million private-sector jobs, according to Ethan Pollack of the Economic Policy Institute. Economist Dean Baker summed up the Ryan plan eloquently as “government by people who hate you.”