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Health, Housing, & Public Services News

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Wed May 17 2017 (Updated 05/19/17)
The Poverty, Politics and Profit of Section 8 Housing
More than 2 million families now use Section 8 vouchers to keep from becoming homeless. It's the government's largest program to help low-income families pay their rent. However Section 8 housing proposals face stiff opposition in cities across the US, including the McKinney and Frisco suburbs of Dallas, Texas. Nicole Humphrey, an opponent, proclaimed, "In this neighborhood, most of us are stay-at-home moms with young kids. The lifestyle that goes with Section 8 is usually working, single moms or people who are struggling to keep their heads above water. It's just not people who are the same class as us."
Defund OPD writes: The process of allocating Oakland’s 2.6 billion dollar budget for 2017-2019 has begun. We believe that the scandal-ridden and dysfunctional Oakland Police Department consumes far too many of our city's resources. It’s time to audit police spending and performance, and redirect wasted funds to community-building, constructive strategies for making Oakland a safer and better place to live. The people of Oakland know that policing is the wrong framework for bringing true security to our communities. Oakland’s budget needs to reflect our values and our priorities.
Fri May 5 2017 (Updated 05/10/17)
Affordable Housing Crisis in Sonoma County
The bay area's affordable housing crisis continues to expand, and students at Sonoma Student University are trying to cope with the implications. Kendyl Saxby writes: Sonoma County is in a rent crisis that is negatively effecting everyone and it is only growing. People are stuck living in squalor due to the 1% vacancy rate in Santa Rosa. Families can no longer afford extracurricular activities for their children. College students cannot afford rent and end up living at home with their parents or homeless. Employers are losing workers who can no longer afford to live here.
The City of Santa Cruz is considering a number of new policies that would impact local homeless people. There is an effort by a handful of property owners and their allies at City Hall to end the Food Not Bombs meals outside the downtown Post Office. Officials may implement a number of new restrictions and architectural changes to make the lives of those without housing more painful. One unhoused person, Greg Mercado, died of complications from an old surgery twelve hours after the police kicked him out from the City Hall grounds and gave him a ticket for being in a park after hours.
Tue May 2 2017 (Updated 05/04/17)
UCSC's Kerr Hall Reclaimed Until A/BSA Demands Are Met
Update: In a meeting on May 4, Chancellor George Blumenthal agreed to meet all four demands presented by A/BSA. Students stress that the struggle continues.

On May 2, hundreds of students rallied in Quarry Plaza at UC Santa Cruz to "let the Chancellor know Black Students need support from the University." Students then marched to Kerr Hall, the main administrative building at UCSC, and launched a reclamation of the building. Employees left the building, as students declared they will remain until the demands from Afrikan Black Student Alliance (A/BSA) are met. Their demands begin by stating, "The Afrikan Black Caribbean identified students have spoken. The issues on this campus far exceed anything easily fixed. However Black students at UCSC have composed a list of uncompromisable demands."
Thu Apr 20 2017 (Updated 04/24/17)
Cops Boot Santa Cruz Homeless Folks to the Curb
Keith McHenry reports: On April 17, the police came and kicked people out from under the Santa Cruz City Hall awning into the pouring rain during a very severe storm. On April 18, following a community meeting at the public library on solutions to homelessness, library staff shared that city manager Martin Bernal was making several changes, including the removal of the benches outside the library and the stationing of two police officers. After the meeting, members of the Freedom Sleepers gathered at City Hall to plan a march on Tuesday, May 9 with the message “Housing For All — No Penalty For Poverty.”
Pacifica Foundation is a non-profit organization which owns five independently operated, non-commercial, listener-supported radio stations known for their progressive/liberal political orientation. Its national headquarters adjoins station KPFA in Berkeley. Bill Crosier, Pacifica Foundation's interim Executive Director, addressed members of the 5-station radio network after it became known that at least one of the KPFA Local Station Board members, with others, has secretly contacted celebrities and prominent supporters of progressive causes, falsely claiming that Pacifica is “collapsing”, and asking them to be on the board of a new nonprofit organization which would seek to acquire Pacifica's assets, or at least those of station KPFA.
Wed Apr 12 2017 (Updated 04/15/17)
"I Don't Work With Pot, I Work With People"
Valerie Corral and her former husband founded Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) in Santa Cruz, the nation’s oldest continuously operating medical cannabis collective that provides free cannabis for 30 percent of its members. She also helped write and pass Proposition 215, California’s revolutionary medical marijuana law. She has helped build the medical industry and seen it change into what it is today. Now, another twenty years later, the financial climate around cannabis in the United States has changed into a million dollar industry, but Valerie still isn't interested in making money from cannabis.
Fishery scientists are expecting a record low return of fall-run Chinook salmon to the Klamath River this year, due to a combination of several years of drought, water diversions in the Klamath Basin and to the Sacramento River and the continued presence of the PacifiCorp dams. Tribal, commercial and recreational fishermen are currently waiting for the decision by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) on the fishing seasons at its meeting in Sacramento on April 10, but the outlook is dismal, based on the low Klamath salmon estimates.
Luis Góngora Pat was a 45-year-old indigenous Mayan Mexican, an immigrant worker, and a family man who supported his wife and three children in southern Mexico. On April 7, 2016, his life was brutally taken by SFPD. Luis’s killing was at the nexis of several struggles faced by low income people of color: indigenous peoples’ struggles, housing rights, illegal evictions, immigrant rights, dignified wage labor, homelessness, racial profiling and discrimination, police brutality and utter impunity for killing Black and Brown residents. On Friday, April 7, the one year anniversary of his death, Luis’s family will march against police terror in the so-called Sanctuary City of San Francisco.
Mike Zint & JP Massar write: What does it take to get off the streets? Money? Affordable housing? Employment? Of course the answer is yes, but none of those things is the first step. The first step is stability. Stability that the housed take for granted. A lack of stability means the homeless barely survive. Figuring out how to exist with no sense of safety and security and nowhere to go, worrying about the police yet having committed no crime, takes all that someone has. Sometimes it’s too much and a short note appears in a local paper.
Anti-homeless architecture is common in Santa Cruz, including hi-frequency Mosquito Boxes in parks, removing planter boxes and free speech zones on Pacific, replacing the City Hall lawn with gravel and rocks, and now the ugly chain link fencing at the historic downtown post office. On March 11 and 12, Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs decorated the anti-homeless fence at the post office to make it more attractive. Signs, toys, toothpaste and toothbrushes, socks, soap, clothes, shoes, flowers, and strips of fabric were weaved through the links of the fence.
Keith McHenry writes: The most common government response to the suffering of those being forced into homelessness is the passage of laws against being homeless. Laws against sleeping, sitting, asking for money, living outside, or what officials call “quality of life crimes” make this bad situation even worse, and make the lives of homeless men, women, and children even more miserable. Another aspect of this punitive response to homelessness is passage of laws prohibiting the public sharing of meals with the hungry. The hope is that hiding from public view the problem of homelessness will make it go away.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
7:30PM Wednesday May 24 Sex Workers and Mental Health
1PM Saturday May 27 Berkeley Art Center Day
7PM Friday Jun 9 Paul Madonna at Alley Cat
12:30PM Saturday Jun 10 Who Killed Parkmerced?
Hunger Strike Set to Begin May 25 at Folsom State Prison SF Bay View Monday May 22nd 11:58 PM
End Santa Cruz City Manager Martin Bernal’s Cruel War On Those Without Housing Keith McHenry (2 comments) Monday May 22nd 11:31 AM
FightBack against City Manager's Anti-Homeless Signs at City Hall Robert Norse (1 comment) Saturday May 20th 11:44 AM
Santa Cruz NAMI to Host Deceitful D.J. Jaffe Sylvia (4 comments) Thursday May 18th 10:18 AM
New City Hall Restrictions Ambiguous and in Need of Clarity Steve Pleich Wednesday May 17th 12:45 PM
Emergency Freedom Sleepers Sleep Out Tonight ! Keith McHenry (posting by Norse) (9 comments) Friday May 12th 5:17 PM
Sonoma County Rent Crisis and the Effect on Millennials Ross Galleto, Kristina Jaco, Iyla Knight... Monday May 8th 4:30 PM
Healthcare in Sonoma County: Uninsured Continues Emily Kyle, Irma Saucedo, Yoseline Bean Sunday May 7th 8:11 PM
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Neoliberal Austerity Leads to Deeper Crisis Atila Kilic Monday May 22nd 6:18 AM
Section 8 Vouchers Help The Poor — But Only If Housing Is Available Laura Sullivan & Meg Anderson / NPR Wednesday May 17th 10:54 AM
Nicole Humphrey, 'Not Racist or Bigot,' on Class and Section 8 Housing FRONTLINE in Dallas, TX (12 comments) Wednesday May 10th 5:14 PM
FEMA and Louisiana Present stats on Flooding Events of 2016 wtulnews@gmail.com Thursday Apr 20th 2:53 PM
Private Enterprise Committed to Social Interests Joachim Beerhorst Wednesday Apr 5th 4:32 AM
House Rejects Puerto Rico Healthcare Amendment Greg Williams Friday Mar 24th 6:59 AM
Stephanie Jackson: Community Organizer for Ride New Orleans on Making Riders' Needs Heard WTUL New Orleans 9.15 News & Views Wednesday Mar 22nd 1:43 PM
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From 9/11 Inside Job to Repeal of AHA: US Gov't Murders Americans Never Forgive, Never Forget (1 comment) Thursday May 4th 9:43 PM
Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy Franz Segbers Friday Apr 14th 4:54 AM
Cower or Continue? Bob Lamonica (1 comment) Wednesday Feb 22nd 9:07 PM
Will Work for Food kelly borkert Monday Feb 6th 12:18 PM
The Descent Society Oliver Nachtwey Monday Jan 23rd 3:43 AM
The Generations Manifesto www.openculture.com (1 comment) Thursday Dec 22nd 8:34 AM
Low Taxes is an Act of Desperation Rudolf Hickel Tuesday Dec 20th 7:20 AM
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