The poet T.S. Eliot once addressed a deeply disturbing question to city dwellers everywhere, a profound challenge to our consciences that cuts to the heart of everything that has gone wrong in our society.
This very odd question occurred to me after Terry Messman, the editor of Street Spirit, suggested I write something for the paper in conjunction with the publication of my book, Doodling on the Titanic: the Making of Art in a World on the Brink.
This country preaches love and commitment to Democracy. But government officials and staff send government workers to come and demolish our houses and curbside communities. Officials cry, “Democracy!” But decisions hit us like the bombs the United States uses to destroy homes and communities in other countries.
Many people with disabilities are dependent on government benefits in order to survive. However, the process of acquiring these benefits is nowhere near easy. It can be deeply intimidating, making it feel inaccessible for those who already struggle with disabilities.
In April, the City of Berkeley voted to enforce a new law that limits the amount of space your personal be- longings can take up on the sidewalk. The new regulations state that if your personal property takes up more than 9 square feet, the city can take it away, and you could be subject to a citation.
I always get this weird flashback when I’m walking down Telegraph Avenue on Thanksgiving day. Back in the Good Old Days I used to always meet up with my pals Duncan and Vince at this Telegraph Avenue coffee shop every Thanksgiving. Joint called the Wall Berlin. The Wall Berlin was one of the few coffee shops that was open on Thanksgiving. So it became kind of an annual holiday tradition for the three of us. I can still picture us sitting there at our table outside the café, quietly sipping on our coffee and talking about our plans for the holiday.
Berkeley’s homeless residents staged a protest march on Wednesday, October 23rd, starting at the Seabreeze encampment on University Ave and West Frontage road and ending at Berkeley City Hall. The purpose of the march was to bring attention to the cruelty of what I will call the “homeless shuffle,” the process by which agencies such as CalTrans, the Berkeley Police Department, and Amtrak take turns forcing people to move from corner to corner, and disposing of all their personal property in the process.