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Center Column Archives
On August 5, Palo Alto's City Council passed a ban prohibiting people from dwelling in their vehicles. Violation of the ordinance, which will take effect in 2014, can result in a misdemeanor charge with a fine of up to $1,000 and possible jail time of 6 months. Before the council's decision dozens of homeless advocates staged a protest in front of City Hall, then took turns addressing the council in chambers. They screamed out "shame!" when the council voted 7 to 2 to enact the ban.
Steve Schlicht, a member of the City of Santa Cruz's Public Safety Task Force and the director of marketing communications and information technology for Take Back Santa Cruz, posted on Facebook that he is "fine with junkies dying somewhere else. Outside the county is fine by me." The City's website describes the task force: "The Santa Cruz City Council created the Public Safety Citizen Task Force to provide a platform for the community to come together to better understand our current public safety concerns and recommend actions we take to improve the quality of life in Santa Cruz."
The Berkeley Post Office is being sold off as one of the first steps in the privatization of the Postal Service. Despite what seems to be the end of the road in terms of administrative challenges, a three-pronged local attack is being launched by various Berkeley community groups, Save The Berkeley Post Office and Strike Debt Bay Area. The first is a medium term threat of a lawsuit to block the sale. Secondly, a direct defense of the Berkeley Post Office begins on Saturday, July 27th. The third is an attempt to rezone the space the Berkeley Post Office sits on so that it cannot be used for private, commercial enterprise.
A small group of homeless people, living on a canal bank near West and Ashlan avenues in Fresno, had their property taken on July 17 by crews from the Fresno Irrigation District. Structures were pulled out of the shrubbery, a bulldozer picked up people's property and put it in a dump truck, and several dogs were also removed by the SPCA.
On July 3, an activist served representatives of the Santa Cruz County government with a written notice stating that the Sheriff department's policy of seizing the property of pre-trial homeless detainees violates federal code and the United States Constitution. The notice was accepted, and the activist believes that if a lawsuit is brought against the county, the authorities can not assert that they were unaware of the dangers they subject the homeless to.
Community members targeted by security guards paid by the City of Santa Cruz to patrol San Lorenzo Park say their free use of the area has been inhibited due to profiling. For years now, guards employed by First Alarm Security Services have been 'identifying,' and watching closely, individuals they perceive to be on probation or more generally, individuals they perceive to be undesirable for a variety of other reasons.
Hundreds gathered at the Federal Building in San Francisco on July 2 to protest the proposed Chained CPI, and to send a strong message to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi “Do Not Mess with Our Social Security, and Expand Medicare for All!” After surrounding the Federal Building, demonstrators covered blocks as they marched to Post & Market Street. In 50 cities around the country, similar demonstrations took place and fired up the fight.