imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Homeless No More

by Janet C. Phelan Tuesday, May. 13, 2008 at 10:49 AM
janetcphelan@yahoo.com (310) 755-4469

The laws criminalizing homelessness may have a subterranean purpose.

It is a rainy day in Santa Monica. About dozen homeless people have gathered under the overhang at The Ocean Park Community Access Center on Olympic Boulevard, which is the hub for homeless services in Santa Monica. While the rain pours down, the homeless huddle, share cigarettes and joke wryly about available “shelter.”

Santa Monica developed a reputation as a "homeless friendly” community back in the eighties, when the City of Santa Monica opened its doors to the poorest of the poor, setting up an extensive network of homeless services and even sanctioning a "tent city" on the lawn of City Hall. Drawn by this reputation as well as by the warm weather, the homeless began to stream in to Santa Monica. Along the way, the politics of this beautiful, wealthy city by the sea changed, but the reputation remained.

The current leadership of the city of Santa Monica is, in fact, engaged in legal warfare against this population. Under the tutelage of the misnamed “Homeless Liaison Office,” the city has drafted and passed legislation criminalizing behavior that simply bespeaks poverty. A major proponent of these new laws is Councilman Bobby Shriver, brother to Maria Shriver, who is the wife of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was Shriver whom I first heard drop the phrase, “quality of life crimes.”



For example, it is now illegal (and punishable by six months jail time) to engage in any of the following behaviors: Washing your hair in a public restroom; Sleeping on the beach or in parks during the day; Sleeping in a car; Shaving in a public restroom; “Aggressive” panhandling. The definition for “aggressive” involves all verbalizations requesting assistance. Signs are still legal.



In addition, the City has passed laws that placed a “chilling” effect on those wishing to assist the homeless, by feeding them. The 9th circuit court of appeals upheld laws in Santa Monica which prohibited public feedings, unless a permit were acquired. The terms of the permit, which were required for events accommodating more than 150 people, placed a minimum 0 clean-up fee, payable to the City, as well as a more modest permit fee simply to pass out food to hungry people.



Paul Grymkowski, a former owner of the chain Gold’s gym and a deacon in a local church, had been passing out food two days a week in Palisades Park for a number of years. He was providing high quality, vegetable-intensive meals, which were enormously popular among the homeless. Upon passage of the anti-feeding law, he changed his format and began to display signs reading “The Grymkowski Family and Friends Picnic.” He reasoned that he could not be arrested and jailed for holding picnics.

The police began to show up at Grymkowski’s events, and shortly thereafter, he discontinued serving meals in the park. The Status Report from The City of Santa Monica reveals that the number of public feedings dropped from 26 down to only five, since the adoption of the permit laws in 2002. The status report also includes the rationale for the permit laws: “The feedings often attract large crowds. As most of the persons receiving food are, or appear to be homeless, they usually have significant amounts of personal property with them…wear and tear on park property is substantial. Perhaps most importantly, the scheduled public feedings tend to facilitate homeless people staying in the streets.”



Well, I guess if they don’t eat, they won’t be living on the streets (or anywhere else) very long…



Several years ago, Grymkowski expressed concern that he would soon be jailed for his large heart. At this point, he has moved his picnics out of the park to the “legal” interior of the OPCC Access Center.



Homelessness is increasing in Santa Monica. The ravages of the economy and the termination of the Section 8 housing program in Los Angeles have all contributed to the swelling of the numbers of the poorest of the poor. The service visits at OPCC support this perception. The number of people served at OPCC’s Access Center for FY 2004-2005 was 2,095. By FY 2006-7, the number had jumped to over 2,700.



Interestingly enough, the official Homeless Census, sponsored by Los Angeles Homeless Services Association, tells a different story. The census reports that the numbers of homeless in Santa Monica dropped 25% between 2005 and 2007, from 1991 to 1506. This was dutifully reported in the Santa Monica Daily Press, which quoted city officials as stating that the results of the homeless count demonstrate that the efforts of the city to help the homeless are working.



John Maceri, the Executive Director of OPCC, did not return calls from TAB inquiring as to the discrepancy between his agency’s figures and what was reported in the press.



The City of Santa Monica has launched an aggressive program to address the “homeless problem.” The shelter programs in Los Angeles County, of which Santa Monica is a part, currently offer a maximum of about 12,000 beds, for a population of over 73,000. This figure includes the “winter shelter” beds, when the National Guard Armories open their doors between the months of November and March and transitional housing beds. For Santa Monica, “homeless capital of the United States,” the emergency and transitional shelter beds total 261. This figure increases by 464 if one adds in the transitional housing beds, which can be occupied for up to two years. Julie Rusk, director of Santa Monica City Hall’s homeless effort, seized upon the so-called “drop” in homelessness in Santa Monica and proclaimed, “We are going in the right direction.”



Rusk did not return calls from TAB requesting an explanation for the apparent drop in the homeless census at the same time that the service numbers for OPCC were on the rise. Stacy Rowe, Human Services Administrator, did agree to speak with this reporter. She suggested that the reasons that the figures for OPCC were on the rise was due to the “excellent” job of outreach that agency was doing.



However, rhe word on the streets is that the numbers of homeless in Santa Monica is exploding. “We’ve got people flooding in here like nobody’s business,” said “Dave,” who was parking his bike in front of OPCC.



Under the banner of addressing the “homeless problem,” Santa Monica has recently set up a “Homeless Court.” The questionable Constitutionality of bifurcating the legal system and setting up a court for only those in particular economic stratum does not seem to bother City Hall. Homeless court convenes once a month, to hear cases involving “quality of life” and other petty cases against homeless individuals. The city’s website hails this as “an innovative pilot project.” Spearheaded by Santa Monica Homeless “Czar” Ed Edelman, the court will offer drug and psychiatric assistance, rather than jail time, to those arrested for “petty offenses.”



In “Ending Homelessness in Santa Monica,” authored by the Urban Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C., a “big stick” approach is advocated, using the threat of increased incarceration as the prod. “As things stand now," states the report, “the only ‘or else’ that the court will have, as it urges homeless people to ‘cooperate, or else,’ is a relatively short stay in jail. We believe it will need a stronger ‘or else’ to make a real dent; changing the jail could supply that strength.”



This brings us to the spectre of Army Regulation 210-35. Drafted into law in 1997 and revised in 2005, 210-35 calls for the setting up of “civilian inmate labor camps” on military bases. There has been much buzz, mostly on the internet, concerning closed military bases being reconfigured as “concentration camps.” The fact is that 210-35 reveals who the denizens of these forced labor camps will be. Section 3-5 (a) (6) states that the camps should be set up in compliance with the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. This was enacted under the administration of Ronald Reagan, in 1987.



The Army Regulation goes on to mitigate any sort of press coverage of activities or inmates, and chillingly states that if inmate deaths occur, the host agency will not be held responsible.



In an interview last fall with Danielle Noble of the Homeless Liaison office in Santa Monica, Noble explicitly denied any knowledge of 210-35. “We have enough trouble getting the homeless into regular housing,” she said. “Why would we put them in concentration camps?”



I guess I have some questions, too. Why would someone be arrested for shaving in a public restroom? Why would the City of Santa Monica put forward 6, 237 (estimated costs for one year pilot Homeless Court ), which admittedly served only eighty-two people in a one year span of time, when it would cost less to simply house these individuals?



And why is the legal system being altered to criminalize poverty? Why does the Urban Institute advocate “changing the jail” to “make a dent” on homelessness? And why in the world does the Army now have in place plans to place homeless people in forced labor camps?



The poor are always with us, or so stated the Bible. Maybe the U.S. Government has made different plans.



Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Ms. Julie Rusk Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010 at 12:42 PM
Author's response Janet Phelan Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010 at 8:36 AM
Questions with no good answers given, huh ? home-free Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Local News

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Du pain et des jeux J18 9:53AM

Fbi joins with Facebook to remove this report J18 7:08AM

Paraphysique de martyrologie J17 8:00AM

Asian Countries:Cambodia, Vietnam, N. Korea do not permit unlawful immigration J16 8:06PM

Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator J16 11:24AM

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Cleanup J13 4:14PM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why J09 8:54PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme ) J09 12:44PM

Google, World's Biggest Censor, Was Founded By The CIA J09 10:25AM

For a World Free of Nuclear Risks J09 8:29AM

Corrupt CDC Ignores Meat Fish Recalls J09 4:55AM

The (Temporary) End of Globalization J09 3:03AM

Aternatives to Abortions such as Plan B the pill, condoms and IUD J08 4:03PM

U.S Congressional Legal Minds Know Better Than Allowing Texas To Murder Hank Skinner J08 3:37PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy