Mitchell Halberstadt 
Member since Jul 15, 2013


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Recent Comments

Re: “Citing Gentrification, Craft & Spoon Announces Closure

I loved the traditional Filipino food at Kainbigan, and the down-home atmosphere; never concerned myself with whether it was "of color." (Then again, I'm gay: what's so "queer" about that?)

Talk about resisting "assimilation"? What irony here!

Here's hoping Caabay keeps cooking, and finds another location where we all can enjoy the best of her food!

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 05/12/2018 at 1:51 PM

Re: “Second 'Tuff Shed' Homeless Camp Opens in Oakland, but Some Criticize Closure of the Surrounding Encampment

Mixed feelings on what Naomi wrote. The points about "thinking in silos" and about possible existing spaces are extremely worthwhile and are definitely deserving of further attention and exploration.

However, when she says, "Moving people around (or 'out') does not solve the problem" -- that depends on how one defines the problem. As I've suggested in another comment, we're dealing with two discrete problems: a desperate need for low-income housing (along with displacement from existing homes) -- and the expropriation and abuse of public space. ""Moving people around (or 'out')" is intended to address that abuse as a legitimate concern unto itself.

If we're about to get a lot of new inhabitants pushed out of SF, our message shouldn't be that they're welcome to set up tents and dump their belongings on our streets. "Where should they go" shouldn't be treated as a rhetorical question. It's a problem for each of person to solve, day-by-day -- as it was for me when I was homeless. "Compassionate" doesn't mean "patronizing." (Beyond showers and toilets, so much for "services.") The solution is NEVER a tent on the street of one's choice.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 05/10/2018 at 10:28 AM

Re: “Second 'Tuff Shed' Homeless Camp Opens in Oakland, but Some Criticize Closure of the Surrounding Encampment

The Tuff-Sheds are a move in the right direction, but as a place for the vast number of homeless folks to camp out (with nearly 3,000 on the streets), they're far too expensive and limited in scope.

Oakland is dealing with two discrete problems: a shortage (and loss) of low-income housing, and the expropriation and abuse of public space. How did "homelessness" become conflated with a supposed "right" to camp (and dump all one's household goods) on the street of one's choice?

In addition to the Tuff Sheds, the City should designate areas where camping is permitted (and doesn't intrude on residential or commercial neighbors), and (at least in many of those instances) dispense with all the surveillance and on-site "social services."

Meanwhile, we need to adopt a Zero Tolerance policy toward camping on the street. We can offer this nomadic population somewhere else to go, but we're not obliged (nor do they necessarily want us) to be living their lives.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 05/09/2018 at 6:20 AM

Re: “Opinion: Why Building Housing Near Mass Transit Promotes Collectivism

PS: Don't get me wrong. I'm not opposed to dense housing near transit hubs. I merely reject Victoria's one-size-fits-all vision of "collectivism" as a rationale.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 04/10/2018 at 4:22 AM

Re: “Opinion: Why Building Housing Near Mass Transit Promotes Collectivism

Dense cities are glorious living artifacts -- perfect, perhaps, as habitats for those touting the current urbanist orthodoxy, with its relentless mantra of "Get people out of their cars," or for those rare creatures who'd relish an opportunity to wait in the rain for a farting, lumbering bus (and to mandate that everyone else do the same).

Many people would prefer to visit rather than live in crowded conditions -- and many feel liberated by being able to come and go as far and as fast as a car can take them, on their own schedules, improvising their own routes. (As for fossil fuels, cars can be electrified -- the sooner the better!)

Suburbia looks like "sprawl" when one's looking down on it. The open road (even in the form of a freeway) is itself a shared vision -- of personal empowerment and expansiveness.

Cold War? Ever heard of Kerouac? Or Springsteen's "Thunder Road"? Got a problem with that?

When collectivism stifles personal autonomy, it turns repressive. That's indeed a real problem. Community ain't worth nothin' if it ain't free.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 04/10/2018 at 4:02 AM

Re: “Chinatown's New Tiki Bar The Kon-Tiki Nears Grand Opening

Somewhere there's sanity -- in that vast middle ground between ubiquitous tent cities and $13 cocktails. Meanwhile, give us back our parking spaces. Those gnat racks that have replaced them are a solution in search of a problem.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 11/14/2017 at 2:34 AM

Re: “Chinatown's New Tiki Bar The Kon-Tiki Nears Grand Opening

Somewhere there's still sanity - in that vast middle area between homeless encampments and $13 cocktails. As for those gnat racks? Give us back our parking spaces!

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 11/14/2017 at 2:24 AM

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