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Indybay Feature
The Wicked Witch of the West AKA Mayor of Oakland
by ntuit
Saturday Nov 30th, 2019 6:43 PM
The Mayor and her administration are failing miserably in helping homeless people
Oakland, CA. – November 30, 2019 – Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf continues to show her true colors with the latest removal and arrest of homeless protestors camped out at City Hall. On the night of November 25th some of the highest paid police officers from one of the most notoriously corrupt police agencies in the nation were called out by city hall to forcibly remove peaceful protestors who were asserting their first amendment right of protest. Not only were they forcibly removed but were arrested and sent to the Santa Rita jail where they were required to post bail to leave the jail. Yes – people who are homeless and probably have barely a cent to their name are put in jail with an unreasonable bail applied. Nothing new in the neo-liberal democratic party world of Alameda County. This follows the troubling police assault and arrest of formed Oakland City Council member Wilson Riles, Jr at City Hall. What is happening at City Hall in Oakland?

Well, things to help homeless people – apparently not too much. To hear the Mayor’s office and Schaaf henchman Joe DeVries tell it they are bending over backwards with efforts to help the homeless. When you talk to many homeless, the main job of DeVries and his hoard of police and other city workers appears to be to push homeless people from one place to wherever they can land without any resources. It is a form of ethnic cleansing.

The City of Oakland, its’ mayor and many on the City Council fail to recognize the serious emergency that homelessness is. A prime example of their attitude is the treatment of these homeless advocates who were needlessly arrested while protesting under their first amendment rights. Why arrest and harass people who are already struggling and suffering with no housing and poverty? This is the result of the callous attitude of this mayor and many who live in denial like Council member Larry Reid (https://postnewsgroup.com/2019/10/11/where-can-oaklands-homeless-park-their-vehicles/) who had fought progressive and sensitive measures the would help homeless people living in their RVs. He suggests that these are people from other places. If he got out there he might realize that many, many of Oakland’s homeless are formerly housed Oakland residents who were born and raised in the city and many, many are people of African American heritage. Why is that? Apparently those who have not already moved out – to Antioch or Stockton or wherever – are faced with living on the street. This is gentrification and an assault on long time members of our community by the Mayor and wealthy real estate supporters.

A special agent of the United Nations has visited Oakland and condemned the fact that so many of our fellow americans are living in deplorable conditions on the streets of Oakland. When will the leadership of this city wake up and be forced to deal with this in a sensitive and practical manner? Apparently they won’t listen in a respectful way to legitimate protestors who have no representation in our halls of government. How many homeless, or poor people for that matter – hold positions in the mayor’s administration or serve on the City Council. Who represents them?

During recent rains and cold spells do we hear anything about the City of Oakland opening up shelters or centers for people to get in out of the cold? In 2017 in an act of gross incompetence or just cruelty the current mayoral administration failed to spend $2.2 million that was set aside for anti-displacement efforts.
(https://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2018/05/22/oakland-failed-to-spend-22-million-on-anti-displacement-and-homeless-assistance.)

Is this assault on the homeless another government betrayal similar to what happened to the World War I veterans who camped in Washington, DC in 1932 in an effort known as the Bonus March and were forcibly and violently removed from the City by the US Army?

Homeless people – especially those who are sick or in need of special care – do not have time to wait for state programs or federal funding. They need help now – today. This is an emergency and it is time the City of Oakland and its mayor started to treat it as such.

The mayor and her administration might do well to heed the words of UN special rapporteur Leilani Farha about homelessness:

“Homelessness is an egregious violation of human rights [...] requiring urgent and immediate human rights responses. [...] Homelessness is caused by states’ failure to respond both to individual circumstances and to a range of structural causes: abandoning the responsibility for social protection, implementing laws and policies that discriminate against homeless people, [and] failing to adequately regulate real estate markets.”
https://sf.curbed.com/2018/1/22/16920118/homeless-oakland-san-francisco-united-nations


Comments  (Hide Comments)

Yesterday, I posted most of the following copy here: https://oakland.granicusideas.com/meetings/3844-star-special-life-enrichment-committee-on-2019-12-04-5-00-pm/agenda_items/5ddee92cf395e784a7012af9-2-18-2251-subject-homeless-encampment-manageme

Comments supplied:

I think the approach is all wrong. I think the reasons the conditions continue to deteriorate is because the City of Oakland persists in:
> Failing to perform adequate stakeholder engagement prior to providing services to glean appropriate needs.
> Only engaging in community groups, advocacy organizations and the general public stakeholder and not the actual persons on the street—this is why they are falling far short at successful execution. [pp 9.PUBLIC OUTREACH/INTEREST]
> Giving services to these encampments instead of instituting a rubric for fomenting empowerment.

Why does the City of Oakland insist in advocating to place houseless/curbside folks in mostly unkempt, unsanitary, unsafe shelters? Perhaps they should earmark funds to support shelters that provide unsatisfactory and unsanitary conditions the ability to ameliorate and fix their inhumane, uncomfortable settings, so folks will actually want to stay there.

Based on their numbers, there are only ~26% shelters and transitional housing available for the unhoused population in Oakland—pretty low for a success rate. Surely they realize more financial support needs to be earmarked for temporary and transitional offerings while more TRULY affordable housing for low-income residents become available.

-=-=-
I also wanted to include the following in the aforementioned URL, but there was not enough space:

Something else they fail to handle satisfactorily...

Most hand wash stations are NOT sanitized before they are replenished with water. This inadequate servicing promulgates pathogen growth. They spend on average, $1500/mo/portapotty unit, which is a gross overcharge, when instead there are opportunities for generating income to offset the cost of commodes/toilets. Seriously, the city is getting ripped off.

I would hope by now they would have gleaned knowledge about sustainable and best practices from SquareOne Villages model in Eugene, OR and the local HERE/THERE Camp in Berkeley.
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