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Re: “Berkeley To Consider Banning Plastic Straws

There are straws made from compostable plastic these days. I'm not sure how quickly they biodegrade if they become litter

Posted by Omar Yacoubi on 05/30/2017 at 2:58 PM

Re: “Oakland Expends Considerable Money and Person-Power Displacing Homeless Residents, According to City Records

Oakland has a problem with the massive growth of street encampments. This is a land-use issue, and we need to stop conflating it with homelessness. Each of these phenomena needs to be addressed on its own terms.

Solving our housing problems will take time. Shame on those who, meanwhile, exploit unhoused people as a political scourge, sustaining encampments in our neighborhoods (even distributing tents!) as a means of publicizing Oaklands shortage of low-income housing. (Indeed, tighter enforcement of rent control is a no-brainer, as is the dedicating the resources and political will to fight evictions. Problems that involve drug use or mental illness are far more complex, and any solutions are sure to be controversial -- if the implicit issues can ever be settled, and if truly effective and universally accepted "treatment" even exists)

Acquiring a tent is an act of volition; its not a magical by-product of homelessness. Ive been homeless (twice, each time for about a year), but I never imagined that the streets and sidewalks of my city (or any city) were available to me for storage of household belongings or for pitching a hulking tent. I never considered that an option so I found and developed all sorts of other ways to cope. In at least one case, this even involved going to another city where I had friends whod put me up until I got my life back off the ground.

Criminalizing homelessness? Nowhere else to go? In a city with all sorts of intricate zoning, health and building codes (and where we constantly hear talk about peoples deep roots and pride in their neighborhoods), people may be free to come and go as they please -- but no one has a right simply to perform certain vital functions on the neighborhood street of their choice. Our streets are not available for camping, any more than theyre available for taking a crap.

For now, the City should immediately set aside campgrounds for its current nomadic population, appropriately situated in its own (or an industrial) neighborhood, on open land with toilet facilities and trash receptacles, possibly including secure storage as well. So-called activists -- if theyre welcomed -- might best assist in maintaining peace and well-being among the residents, rather than inflicting themselves upon neighborhoods of the housed. (Let them save their ideological ire for the 1%!) More power to them if they can help create a community of "mutual aid" that resembles a Rainbow Gathering, or Yasgur's farm. ;-)

"Safe ground" is a wonderful concept; it should also insure that every existing neighborhood is safe ground" for its housed residents. Therefore, such a policy must correspond to Zero Tolerance for street encampments. Enforcement? Anyone who erects a tent where camping is not explicitly permitted should be warned that he or she has thereby waived any property rights to that tent, or to household belongings deposited on the street -- and that such items are considered to be trash. If need be, signs should be posted around town to that effect: "You abuse it, you lose it."

So much for "whack-a-mole"!

Homeless residents? Wheres THEIR outreach to their neighbors? Homelessness is not a license to pitch camp at whatever spot one decides is convenient, dumping ones belongings on the street of ones choice. Existing residents (those with a residence) are also entitled to a modicum of consideration and respect.

Otherwise, are we ready to demonstrate, for all the world to see, that spreading squalor is Oaklands real "secret sauce"?

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 05/30/2017 at 1:21 PM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

Oakland has a problem with the massive growth of street encampments. This is a land-use issue, and we need to stop conflating it with homelessness. Each of these phenomena needs to be addressed on its own terms.

Solving our housing problems will take time. Shame on those who, meanwhile, exploit unhoused people as a political scourge, sustaining encampments in our neighborhoods (even distributing tents!) as a means of publicizing Oaklands shortage of low-income housing. (Indeed, tighter enforcement of rent control is a no-brainer, as is the dedicating the resources and political will to fight evictions. Problems that involve drug use or mental illness are far more complex, and any solutions are sure to be controversial if the implicit issues can ever be settled, and if truly effective and universally accepted "treatment" even exists)

Acquiring a tent is an act of volition; its not a magical by-product of homelessness. Ive been homeless (twice, each time for about a year), but I never imagined that the streets and sidewalks of my city (or any city) were available to me for storage of household belongings or for pitching a hulking tent. I never considered that an option so I found and developed all sorts of other ways to cope. In at least one case, this even involved going to another city where I had friends whod put me up until I got my life back off the ground.

Criminalizing homelessness? Nowhere else to go? In a city with all sorts of intricate zoning, health and building codes (and where we constantly hear talk about peoples deep roots and pride in their neighborhoods), people may be free to come and go as they please -- but no one has a right simply to perform certain vital functions on the neighborhood street of their choice. Our streets are not available for camping, any more than theyre available for taking a crap.

For now, the City should immediately set aside campgrounds for its current nomadic population, appropriately situated in its own (or an industrial) neighborhood, on open land -- with toilet facilities and trash receptacles, possibly including secure storage as well. So-called activists -- if they're welcomed -- might best assist in maintaining peace and well-being among the residents, rather than inflicting themselves upon neighborhoods of the housed. (Let them save their ideological ire for the 1%!) More power to them if they can help create a community of "mutual aid" that resembles a Rainbow Gathering, or Yasgurs farm. ;-)

"Safe ground" is a wonderful concept; it should also insure that every existing neighborhood is safe ground" for its housed residents. Therefore, such a policy must correspond to Zero Tolerance for street encampments. Enforcement? Anyone who erects a tent where camping is not explicitly permitted should be warned that he or she has thereby waived any property rights to that tent, or to household belongings deposited on the street and that such items are considered to be trash. If need be, signs should be posted around town to that effect: You abuse it, you lose it.

So much for "whack-a-mole"!

Homeless residents? Wheres THEIR outreach to their neighbors? Homelessness is not a license to pitch camp at whatever spot one decides is convenient, dumping ones belongings on the street of ones choice. Existing residents (those with a residence) are also entitled to a modicum of consideration and respect.

Otherwise, are we ready to demonstrate, for all the world to see, that spreading squalor is Oaklands real "secret sauce"?

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 05/30/2017 at 1:19 PM

Re: “How Nature Heals: Why East Bay Doctors Are Prescribing The Outdoors To People Of Color

Thank you for this article, bringing attention to a new way of addressing this issue through the healthcare community. Dr. Zarr recently did a webinar through the American Society of Landscape Architects to share about the program he has helped to develop in Washington DC. It was a collaboration of the Children's Outdoor Environments and the Healthcare and Therapeutic Garden ASLA networks. The more we all talk about it, the more heads will come together to pave the way for solutions!

Posted by Lisa Bailey on 05/29/2017 at 5:30 PM

Re: “Letter of The Week: Our Readers Chime In On Driving While High

If anything, there should be little or *NO* parking for this brew pub. Instead, take the existing parking and fill it with bike racks - as a bicyclist and pedestrian, I'd rather have people getting home after a night of drinking in some way other than DRIVING! I guess the neighborhood NIMBYs thought their housing ownership extended to the street in front of their property but - and this is so sad to reveal to them - it does not.

Posted by Opressed Automobile Driver on 05/29/2017 at 4:46 PM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

Oh, you mean actually ask all the people (renters, artists,event promoters) and corporations to pay TAXES? Is that what you mean, Edward Cervantes? Not JUST the home owners?

And yes, too many of the homeless have been there long term. I know there are more than a few who have been there since I moved to Oakland over 20 years ago. They were there due to mental/emotional issues and are still there for those reasons. Treatment has to be paid for by someone.

Oakland was financially gutted decades ago and is kept that way by a bread and circuses mindset today.

Only by bringing in money can the needed services be paid for. That means being friendly to new development and new businesses; not just supporting what's already here. That is nowhere near enough to reverse the damage and neglect of decades.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 05/29/2017 at 10:41 AM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

Any plan that does not include treatment for mental illness and drug abuse will fail. We have seen plenty of articles by EBX blaming these tent cities on lack of affordable housing, while completly ignoring the elphant in the room.

Posted by Robert Murphy on 05/27/2017 at 9:06 AM

Re: “Oakland Expends Considerable Money and Person-Power Displacing Homeless Residents, According to City Records

In response to Mr. Ferrell's comment: I'd add that people go where they know. Most of the homeless people i know out here in West Oakland were displaced from longtime homes here in West Oakland.

Posted by Edward Cervantes on 05/27/2017 at 5:24 AM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

If its a finance matter, why not ask citizens for money? There are many issues that require more funding, but citizens of any community should feel obligated to ensure all of its members have some basics. If concerned with encampments, and dumping, and blight, and/or the safety and well-being of fellow citizens and would like to contribute toward ending homelessness in our home city, send what you can to Oakland's "Housing 4 All" Fund c/o Libby at City Hall.

Posted by Edward Cervantes on 05/27/2017 at 5:12 AM

Re: “Video: Oakland's Homeless Residents Are Targets of Arson Attacks

...and after the emeryville fire, people immediately suspected "the homeless."

we gotta stop blaming and scapegoating people for their unfortunate circumstances. its not an easy life, why do we insist on making it even more difficult and less likely they'll ever make it out of "homelessness?"

Posted by Edward Cervantes on 05/27/2017 at 5:00 AM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

Its such a Beautiful article...
post by http://www.dnenews.com/

Posted by Daily News By Emma on 05/26/2017 at 12:24 PM

Re: “Oakland Expends Considerable Money and Person-Power Displacing Homeless Residents, According to City Records

Have you ever walked or biked to Montclair? I have. Wanna know why there are no camps there? Try it for yourself. It will become painfully clear why there are no camps.

It's not about there being more enforcement for any reason... It's just too hard to do, so the camps are in the flat lands or West Oakland, deep East Oakland and around the Lake.

It's not a "class" thing, just plain human practicality.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 05/26/2017 at 11:52 AM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

A well written an informative article; listing active suggestions and estimates of costs. This type of reporting informs and educates.

Thank you!

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 05/26/2017 at 11:43 AM

Re: “Video: Oakland's Homeless Residents Are Targets of Arson Attacks

"Homeless Residents Are Targets of Arson Attacks" - your headline is one-sided. The reported incidents indicate that homeless residents engage in arson attacks, too. It is common to see angry disputes at the camps, and apparently some of them escalate.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 05/26/2017 at 11:41 AM

Re: “New Data Shows Significant Rise In Homelessness In Alameda County, According to Biennial 'Point In Time' Count

Is the data available online? Could you please provide a link in addition to the summary? Thank you in advance.

Posted by Tommy Katz on 05/26/2017 at 11:15 AM

Re: “Video: Oakland's Homeless Residents Are Targets of Arson Attacks

There are personal beefs and random attacks, just like with people with homes. The recent fires that have killed people in buildings have also been swept aside instead of real prevention strategies like empowering residents to flag and monitor threats. These fires aren't solving any disputes, so conflict management must be addressed.

Posted by Natasha Haxe on 05/26/2017 at 9:29 AM

Re: “Video: Oakland's Homeless Residents Are Targets of Arson Attacks

Thank you for this article and the footage. I work with a organization that works directly with these encampments, and it is disheartening to know people would intentionally destroy peoples lives and attempt to kill them. I would be really nice to see the police investigate this more.

Posted by Ryan Dal Porto on 05/26/2017 at 7:10 AM

Re: “Video: Oakland's Homeless Residents Are Targets of Arson Attacks

Despicable... And not surprising. Oakland "handles it's own business" and doesn't snitch.

There is no such thing as "inside the system" here anymore... It just got worse after Occupy Oakland.

By the way, did anyone else notice that human trafficking is being investigated by county law enforcement in connection with the street corner fruit vendors?

Maybe if we step up there will be hope.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 05/25/2017 at 8:48 PM

Re: “Berkeley To Consider Banning Plastic Straws

Next week: "Berkeley to ban blunt wrap packages and condoms."

Posted by Gerry Singfeld on 05/25/2017 at 3:37 PM

Re: “Berkeley To Consider Banning Plastic Straws

As far as I can see there is no need for a plastic straw and take out cup manufacturers will have to adapt. Maybe people can be compelled to bring their own cups? And while we are at it also ban single use plastic bottles NOW.

Posted by Francesca M. Austin on 05/25/2017 at 11:00 AM

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