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Fresno Homeless Fight for Justice Part 2

by Mike Rhodes (editor [at]
The City of Fresno is on the attack again. They are willing to spend endless amounts of money to chase the homeless from one vacant lot to another. Why won’t they use some of their resources to provide a safe and legal campground where the homeless can live?
The City of Fresno tried a new approach in court today in their ongoing attempt to evict the homeless in an encampment at Ventura and F street in downtown Fresno. They dropped their effort to get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and convinced the judge to dismiss a case they had brought before the court.

With the court hearings over, the city now plans to move forward with the evictions, claiming the “owner” of the property has asked them to clear the homeless people off the land. The city is expected to say the homeless are trespassing and subject to arrest if they do not leave.

Some homeless advocates say the city has mis-stated the ownership issue of the property and coerced the “so called” owner into asking for the homeless to be removed. The legal owners of the property died and it is now in probate. Robert and Walt Williams were in court and testified that they owned the property. Walt Williams is the executer of the estate and will decide who owns the property. If the homeless advocates are correct and the property is not currently owned by the Williams’s, it could make any arrests that take place on Thursday problematic for the city. The homeless are talking about challenging any arrests that occur in court, through civil action.

Bruce Rudd, Assistant City Manager, is telling the press tonight that they will try and force the homeless off the property tomorrow, starting at 8 a.m., without arresting anyone. Alan Simon, one of the homeless living on the vacant lot, told me that he can’t move. Simon has a cast on his leg and says he is not capable of packing up his tent and moving it. He says that he will stay and see what happens.

The mood in the camp this evening was defiant, with most of the people I talked to saying they would not move. People said there was no place else to go. The City of Fresno has no campgrounds or other facilities where people can go. Rudd claims that The Rescue Mission has bed space available and that the homeless at F and Ventura should go there. Rudd did not tell the media that The Rescue Mission is for men only, that you have to sit through a Christian religious service before you get a bed, or that many homeless people will not go to the Mission because of the way they treat the homeless. Larry Arce, the Rescue Mission director, has sent his “disciples” into the homeless encampments to destroy their tents and other property.

Rudd is also telling the media that the homeless should avail themselves to the other services available, so they can get off the streets. Other city officials attempt to take the moral high ground by saying they are trying to put an end to the terrible conditions at the Ventura and F street encampment. They do not, however, explain why the city has seemingly endless amounts of money to attack the homeless in court and chase them from one vacant lot to another, but no money to establish a safe and legal campground where the homeless can live.

For earlier stories about the city’s attempt to evict the homeless from this property, see:

§Brandon Morse
by Mike Rhodes
Brandon Morse (far right) speaking this evening to the homeless at the F and Ventura encampment. Brandon and his father, Rick, have installed portable toilets and provided trash pick up for the homeless.
§Love Letters From the City
by Mike Rhodes
These are the notices posted by the city to intimidate the homeless into leaving the Ventura and F street encampment.
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Robert Blind Bear
Thu, Jan 28, 2010 3:27PM
Wed, Jan 27, 2010 9:06PM
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