Root H Barrett 
Member since Oct 4, 2012


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Recent Comments

Re: “Homeless Residents Protest Continuing Closure of Lake Merritt Campsites

Two of the most persistent myths about homelessness are that 1) people come from other towns to be homeless here, and 2) homeless people are secretly, magically rich.

On 1: Every town believes this, and homelessness is everywhere. There is no town all the homeless people are leaving. The vast majority of homeless people in Oakland lived here before they became homeless. They lost their homes in housing crisis and the wave of displacement hitting this city. And now they're being pushed around again.

On 2: Poverty exists. These aren't rich kids exposing themselves to the terror of living on the street for fun. People on the street are vulnerable to violence including sexual assault and they aren't able to access basic services. But where are all of these homeless teens coming from? In the majority of cases, they were kicked out of their homes for being gay.

Posted by Root H Barrett on 10/25/2018 at 12:12 PM

Re: “Unfounded Fears

Incidentally, while Measure S wouldn't do a thing to help businesses or people, it would do a lot of harm.

It costs more, month by month, to put people in jail than it does to send them to Cal. Since a second violation would carry a penalty of up to 6 months in jail, that's an incredible drain on city resources.

If we want to get people off of the sidewalks, we can invest those resources in a shelter that's open during the day (which Berkeley doesn't have). If we want to help people break the cycle of poverty, we can invest those resources in having more than 135 shelter beds for over 600 people!

Burying someone under piles of citations and jail terms is profoundly harmful when that person is broke and alone to begin with.

A staggering number of people on the streets are LGBTQ youth who were kicked out of their homes when they came out to their families. Homeless people are disproportionately people of color, veterans, former foster children, and people living with mental illness.

When you attack people living on the streets, you attack some of the most marginalized people in our society. That's not what community looks like.

17 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Root H Barrett on 10/04/2012 at 2:36 PM

Re: “Unfounded Fears

We know that sit/lie wouldn't help businesses make a single dollar.

The San Francisco City Hall Fellows report found sit/lie to be a complete failure. According to Berkeley city records, commercial areas with visible homelessness have fared better during the recession.

In other words, we can verify that the central premise behind Measure S is false. People sitting on the sidewalk have zero effect on business.

Why the insistence that there must be some connection? Why, in the middle of big box stores stealing business and an economic collapse caused by the big bankers, do we pick out homeless people?

To speculate, I think we're taking our general discomfort with poor people and trying to give it some justification. We don't want to say that we're uncomfortable because we're terrified that we might be poor someday too. We don't want to say that we blame them because we feel guilty for going home to warmth and comfort while they shiver in the rain.

We know that poor people don't cause economic downturns, but we're willing to believe it, because the alternative is that we might have a responsibility to help them.

15 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Root H Barrett on 10/04/2012 at 2:26 PM

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