Petitions to End Criminalization of Homelessness in the Bay Area

29 AUG 2018 By ANN GINGER (mclihumanrights.org)

End the criminalization of homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area. Demand political leaders in Oakland and Berkeley agree to the demands of the homeless.

On August 24, 2018, the San Francisco Bay Area Landless Peoples Alliance (BALPA) began the campaign to demand political leaders in the cities of Oakland and Berkeley to sign our Declaration of Campaign for the Human Rights of Landless People.

BALPA is led by homeless and formerly homeless organizers working together to mobilize to end the human rights violations against our communities. In the Declaration of Campaign for the Human Rights of Landless People, BALPA demands the following:

First: All criminalization of homelessness must end immediately.

Second: To live in dignity landless people in “safe havens” will be allowed to self-govern.

Third: Collective punishment and all other activity designed to undermine “safe havens” will end.

Fourth: All confiscation of landless people’s property will end, and all property immediately returned.

Fifth: Officials will communicate to all public agencies the location and status of all sanctioned encampments to coordinate transitional housing services.

Sixth: Resolve that all landless people have the human right to assert self-defense against prosecution for activities necessary for survival.

Seventh: All new housing shall prioritize housing for landless people and truly low-income people.

The full text of these demands can be found here in the Declaration of Campaign for the Human Rights of Landless People. BALPA asks our allies and supporters to sign this Declaration here and ask the political leaders of Oakland and Berkeley to do the same. Sign the email petitions below demanding that our political leaders in Oakland and Berkeley agree to these demands.

Sign here:  http://www.mclihumanrights.org/2018/08/29/petitions-to-end-criminalization-of-homelessness-in-the-bay-area/

Note from Mike Zint:

Please take a few minutes for this. We need help. This page has reached over 30,000 in the last week. If we can get that many signatures, we may be able to make some things change.

Please share this. If you know a politician, send the link. Get people interested.

In 1988, Reagan did away with homesteading. Free land is not allowed. Our land. But the corporation’s get to use “federal land” as they see fit.

We end homelessness by providing housing. Tiny homes on homesteads is not being discussed. The rich might lose a few dollars.

–Mike Zint

Don’t Just Impeach Trump. Annul His Presidency

Annulment would repeal all of it – recognizing that such appointments, orders, rules, and records were made without constitutional authority

"A malignant bullying megalomaniac who lies like most people breathe, and who’s able to suck the oxygen out of every news cycle, might well pulverize any Democratic opponent." (Photo: AFP/Timothy A. Clary)

“A malignant bullying megalomaniac who lies like most people breathe, and who’s able to suck the oxygen out of every news cycle, might well pulverize any Democratic opponent.” (Photo: AFP/Timothy A. Clary)

The only way I see the end of Trump is if there’s overwhelming evidence he rigged the 2016 election. In which case impeachment isn’t an adequate remedy. His presidency should be annulled.

Let me explain.

Many people are convinced we’re already witnessing the beginning of the end of Trump.

In their view, bombshell admissions from Trump insiders with immunity from prosecution, combined with whatever evidence Robert Mueller uncovers about Trump’s obstruction of justice and his aide’s collusion with the Russians, will all tip the scales.

Democrats will take back the House and begin an impeachment, and the evidence of impeachable offenses will put enough pressure on Republican senators to send Trump packing.

I don’t believe this for a moment.

First, the Senate has never in history convicted a president of impeachment.

Second, even if Democrats flip the House in November, Republicans will almost certainly remain in control of the Senate – and so far they’ve displayed the integrity of lizards.

Third, Fox News and the rest of the right-wing sleaze media will continue to distort and cover up whatever the evidence shows – convincing 35 to 40 percent of Americans, along with most Republicans, that Trump is the innocent victim of a plot to remove him.

Finally, Trump himself will never voluntarily resign, as did Nixon. He’ll lie and claim a conspiracy to unseat him.

He’s proven himself a superb conman, an entertainer-demagogue capable of sowing so much confusion and instigating so much hate and paranoia that he has already survived outrages that would have broken any garden-variety loathsome president – Helsinki, Charlottesville, children locked in cages at the border, firings and cover-ups, racist slurs, clear corruption.

In all likelihood, we’ll have him for another two and a half years.

Don’t bet on him losing in 2020, either. A malignant bullying megalomaniac who lies like most people breathe, and who’s able to suck the oxygen out of every news cycle, might well pulverize any Democratic opponent.

Even if he loses in 2020, we’ll be fortunate if he concedes without being literally carried out of the Oval Office amid the stirrings of civil insurgency.

In other words, Trump’s presidency is not authorized under the United States Constitution.

Oh, and let me remind you that even if he’s impeached, we’d still have his loathsome administration – Pence on down.

But lest you fall into a miasma of gloom, there’s another scenario – unlikely, but entirely possible.

Suppose, just suppose, Robert Mueller finds overwhelming and indisputable evidence that Trump conspired with Putin to rig the 2016 election, and the rigging determined the election’s outcome.

In other words, Trump’s presidency is not authorized under the United States Constitution.

Suppose these findings are so compelling that even Trump loyalists desert him, the Republican Party decides it has had enough, and Fox News calls for his impeachment.

What then? Impeachment isn’t enough.

Impeachment would remedy Trump’s “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But impeachment would not remedy Trump’s unconstitutional presidency because it would leave in place his vice president, White House staff and Cabinet, as well as all the executive orders he issued and all the legislation he signed, and the official record of his presidency.

The only response to an unconstitutional presidency is to annul it. Annulment would repeal all of it – recognizing that such appointments, orders, rules, and records were made without constitutional authority.

The Constitution does not specifically provide for annulment of an unconstitutional presidency. But read as a whole, the Constitution leads to the logical conclusion that annulment is the appropriate remedy for one.

After all, the Supreme Court declares legislation that doesn’t comport with the Constitution to be null and void, as if it had never been passed.

It would logically follow that the Court could declare all legislation and executive actions of a presidency unauthorized by the Constitution to be null and void, as if Trump had never been elected. (Clearly, any Trump appointee to the Court would have to recuse himself from any such decision.)

The Constitution also gives Congress and the states the power to amend the Constitution, thereby annulling or altering whatever provisions came before. Here, too, it would logically follow that Congress and the states could, through amendment, annul a presidency they determine to be unconstitutional.

After the Trump administration was annulled, the Speaker of the House (third in the order of presidential succession) would take over the presidency until a special election.

As I’ve said, my betting is Trump remains president at least through 2020 – absent compelling and indisputable evidence he rigged the 2016 election.

But if such evidence comes forth, impeachment isn’t an adequate remedy because even if Trump is removed, his presidency – all that he and his administration did when he occupied office – would be constitutionally illegitimate.

It should be annulled.

Berkeley 3rd-best US city to live in, ranking says

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ELINA BLAZHIYEVSKA/STAFF

Berkeley ranks as the third-best city to live in nationwide, according to a new 2018 review by the website Niche.

According to Niche, Berkeley scored an A-plus in categories ranging from quality of public schools to nightlife, weather, commute and living situation for families. It also came in first as the “healthiest” city in the United States. But the city scores lower in other criteria, such as crime and safety, housing and cost of living.

“Berkeley has wonderful weather: very mild winters, cool summers, no rain in the summer. This is definitely top-five weather,” said Mike Zint, co-founder of homeless rights activist group First They Came for the Homeless. “Housing? Only if you are doing well — the cost is too high.”

According to the Niche website, rankings are based on rigorous analysis of key statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. census, as well as millions of reviews by Niche users.

Berkeley residents, for example, were ranked based on ethnic and economic diversity. The median household income was recorded as $70,393, higher than the national average, and the percentage of residents with university degrees also exceeded that of the nation.

The “higher education rate” counted for 12.5 percent of the final rankings, whereas cost of living and violent crime rates received 10 percent and 5 percent weightings, respectively.

The city received its lowest ranking — a D-plus — in the “cost of living” category. Both Zint and homeless advocate Guy “Mike” Lee criticized the city’s policies, saying that they favored wealthier citizens and that more should be done to build affordable housing.

“We have an ever-increasing homeless population due to inaction of public policy beyond a bologna sandwich and a pat on the head,” Lee said.

Lee also predicts a “crime wave,” attributing a potential rise in crime to poor living standards and a shrinking police force. Niche based the ranking for the “crime and safety” category on violent and property crime rates. According to the website, the rates for robbery, burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft exceeded those of the nation.

San Francisco, Irvine and Sunnyvale also ranked among the top 20 cities to live in. Only Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Naperville, Illinois, outranked Berkeley in the review.

Although City Councilmember Kriss Worthington said he approved of Berkeley’s ranking, he noted that the high rating encourages many people to move to the city and could contribute to increased housing costs. He added that the city must work to reduce its violent crime as well as build more affordable and student housing.

“I think if we could fix those two things, we could probably be No. 1 — best city in the whole country,” Worthington said.

Contact Jenny Weng at jweng@dailycal.org and follow her on Twitter at @jennyweng1999.

Note from Mike Zint:

Well Berkeley, I was nice. I did not lie, I just held my tongue. The people of Berkeley get the credit for this.

–Mike Zint

City makes available new storage lockers for those without homes

Three years later, and not adequate for the demand. But it’s a start, right? Or is it so the city can say they are doing something.

The ideal situation would be high school lockers in a supervised public space, with no hours of operation. Cheap to purchase, more space, and employed homeless don’t need to carry what’s needed because the lockers are closed. That’s a real solution. And a few homeless can be employed to maintain the locker space, and supervise.

Unless the city thinks homeless can’t be trusted.

–Mike Zint

Storage lockers for people experiencing homelessness, located at BOSS’s Multi-Agency Service Center in the city’s Veterans Memorial building, are due to be available in September Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nearly three years after promising to launch a program for the homeless to store their belongings in downtown Berkeley, the city is doing it — for a fraction of the original cost.

Last December, after approving $50,000 to operate the new program for a year, the Health, Housing and Community Services (HHCS) department put out a request for  Berkeley nonprofits to run the locker program. Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS) was the only organization who responded by the April 2018 deadline.

The 58 lockers are located at BOSS’s Multi-Agency Service Center, at 1931 Center St. They each have nine cubic feet of space; they will be accessible from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the weekends. The lockers will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, starting next month. There is no application process. Although there is no maximum time limit for use, lockers will be reassigned if left unattended for 31 days.

The city will provide and maintain them. BOSS will provide access and security.

“We saw a need, and we thought we could fulfill that need,’ said Donald Frazier, the Executive Director of BOSS.

“Hiring a nonprofit makes sense because they can leverage existing programs which work with same or similar populations, and deliver the service more efficiently,” said City of Berkeley spokesman Matthai Chakko.

The locker program is designed to provide a place for people without homes to keep items they normally would not have space for in a car, on the sidewalk or in a shelter. The city hopes that will entice more people experiencing homelessness to use city homeless shelters. Lack of storage space for personal belongings at those shelters is a major reason many people do not want to use them, according to a recent survey among the homeless population.

Frazier said the program will only go so far due to lack of adequate funds.

“Is that enough resources to accommodate that need? Absolutely not, and I think that’s commonly known… $50,000 dollars is not going to purchase much.”

“This is not going to be a solution for every single person who is homeless or comes through the city at any particular time,” acknowledges Chakko. “That is a very, very big number. At the same time, this is a step towards finding solutions to problems and figuring out if it can help.”

The original budget for the project, devised in February 2016,  prompted some sticker shock — $50,000 a year in startup costs and $350,000 a year for city staffers to run it — and it never came up for a vote.  The new plan will be overseen by the director of BOSS’s Multi-Agency Service Center and aides, instead of the higher-paid city case managers and paid security personnel that were originally envisioned. That program also had a larger footprint.

The City Council could have requested more than the initial $50,000 by waiting until November, when the city begins its budgeting process;  but that would likely have delayed the implementation of the program until 2019. And, given Berkeley’s chronic homeless problem, there was pressure from homeless advocacy groups, and from councilmembers, to get something going more quickly.

BOSS could potentially receive an extra $100,000, including the funds to operate a second site, during that budgeting process.

Note from Mike Zint of First They Came for the Homeless

August 26, 2018

Please read this. First thing, the wording on 647e is not “unpermitted,” it’s illegal lodging. Lying on public property is illegal, according to the mayor. It’s city property. But the city is owned by the people. Unpermitted objects? You mean poor people’s property is not allowed. A traveler visiting Berkeley will be permitted to put their travel gear there.

Do we let them get away with this, or do we fight for our public property?

To: Members of the City Council
From: Mayor Jesse Arreguín
Subject: Enforcement Policy for Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt a Resolution setting enforcement priorities for the Downtown Berkeley BART
Station Plaza (“BART Plaza”) prohibiting lying and camping and directing the City
Manager to enforce Penal Code Section 647(e) at BART Plaza, Berkeley Municipal
Code Section 14.48.020 regarding unpermitted objects obstructing sidewalks, and
Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 13.36 relating to lying on public property, in addition
to all other applicable laws.

BACKGROUND

Construction of the new Downtown Berkeley BART Station Plaza, on the west side of
Shattuck Avenue between Center Street and Allston Way, is expected to be completed
in September 2018. The $7.6 million project is designed to improve both safety and
walkability, creating more open space and activating underutilized sidewalk space.
The Plaza will serve as the main gateway for many people arriving to Downtown via
BART, AC Transit, or UC Berkeley Bear Transit Shuttle, which combined has a total of
30,000 commuters daily at this location. To ensure the safety and promote a plaza that
is welcoming to all, enforcement of the following regulations is needed:

 California Penal Code Section 647(e): Unpermitted lodging
 Berkeley Municipal Code Section 14.48.020: Items obstructing sidewalks
 Berkeley Municipal Code Section 13.36: Persons obstructing sidewalks

No new laws are being created; the purpose of the Resolution is to prioritize
enforcement of existing laws.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
Staff time

CONTACT PERSON
Jesse Arreguin, Mayor 510-981-7100

Under Fully-Automated Communism, Your Wage Is $90 Per Hour (Says Math)

August 26, 2018 (johnlaurits.com)

Wages Under Fully-Automated Luxury Communism

Recently, a reader responded to two posts of mine — one that used macroeconomic data to show how much of the nation’s income ends up in workers’ pockets and another that looked into how long a US workweek might be if the US automated as many work-hours as existing technology allows —  and the response seemed worthy of publishing here (with permission, of course). The numbers used below are sourced from the posts “Working Class w/ No Living Wage” and “If Work-Hours & the Value of Automation Were Distributed Fairly Today.”

What follows is the response — the author wished to not be named.

Another great article. If we add in the stats you wrote about in “Working Class w/ No Living Wage: The Absurd Math of US Income,” then we should be able to see what the real value of those distributed work hours are. If the current average work week is 38.7, and the average annual wages are $49,630, then the current average value of an hour of work is:

\mathtt{\large \$49,630 \div 52 \div 38.7 \approx \$24.66}If the hours were split evenly as you suggest above, then we’d get:

\mathtt{\large \$49,630 \div 52 \div 30.7 \approx \$31.09}And if we add in automation, then we’d get:

\mathtt{\large \$49,630 \div 52 \div 1 9.23 \approx \$49.63}$49.63 for an average hours worth of work.

But the more interesting part of the article on US Income is that $9.8 trillion is unearned (i.e. not acquired by doing work). If we got rid of that, and moved all of the GNI (minus government benefits) to earned income, then we’d have a very different picture.

Total US income minus benefits:

\mathtt{\large \$18.75 \text{ trillion}\ – \$2.0393 \text{ trillion}\ = \$16.7107}If the mass workweek is 5.66 billion hours, the mass work year is 294.32 billion hours. So if all income was based on labor we’d have an average rate for an hours work of:

\mathtt{\large \$16.7107 \text{ trillion}\ \div 0.29432 = \$56.78}And if we throw automation in the mix than people on average should be working for an hourly wage of:

\mathtt{\large \$16,710,700,000,000 \div (52 \times 3,545,798,057) = \$90.63}End of Response ]

The final figure presented by this reader is what a US worker’s wage could be if (1) the full value of all US goods, services, and information was paid to the people who actually produced them and (2) if already-existing labor-saving technology was fully utilized to reduce the total US work-hours. In principle, there is nothing to prevent US society from simply paying its working people the full value of their labor and using public funds to gradually implement labor-saving tech in order to increase the productivity of all its industries. It is only capitalism that holds such a world in abeyance.

So long as the means to produce wealth remain in private hands — so long as public funds are directed in the interest of capital and not of the public purpose — people like Jeff Bezos will keep appropriating the fruits of labor and automation will never liberate but only un-employ people. There is no problem with scarcity — there is a problem with humanity’s social organization and with its institutions. There is no failure in our production of economic values — even now they are being produced to abundance (maybe even over-abundance). The math above shows that, if it could be allowed, this country can afford to pay a wage just shy of $100 to every human being who is willing to work.

It is only the obscenely wealthy whom we stretch and strain to afford…

In solidarity,
John Laurits

Does The Establishment Know Anarchy Is The Answer? | Under The Skin with Russell Brand


Russell Brand
Published on Oct 4, 2017

This week I’m joined by Carne Ross, a former high-flying diplomat and Middle East adviser who lost his faith in western democracy but put his trust in people power and is now putting forward the case for anarchism.

Pre-order my new book “Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions” here http://tinyurl.com/ycs8gu6b or by going to https://www.russellbrand.com/recovery/

‘Give Democracy a Chance’: Ahead of DNC Vote, Progressives Unite to Demand Party End Supremacy of Superdelegates

“If the DNC rejects this, it basically rejects the will of the convention.”

Protesters have gathered at the Democratic National Committee’s annual summer meeting to protest the use of superdelegates, which Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) supporters say unfairly swung the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

 

With protesters rallying outside the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) annual meeting in Chicago this week, carrying signs demanding that the Democratic Party “live up to its name,” progressive groups in favor of limiting the outsized power of superdelegates urged the committee to embrace a plan aimed at honoring the will of voters.

Opponents of the proposal—including 2016 superdelegates hoping to hang on to their disproportionate ability to select a presidential nominee—pledged to lobby aggressively in favor of keeping the superdelegate system as it is.

But supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) argued that doing so would not only be unjust to voters in favor of a more progressive Democratic platform, but also imperil the party.

“If the DNC rejects this,” when it votes on Saturday, Mark Longabaugh, a senior adviser to Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, told Politico, “it basically rejects the will of the convention.”

In the 2016 election, most superdelegates threw their support behind Hillary Clinton, with many going against the majority of their constituents who had voted for Sanders in the primary.

The resulting outrage among the party’s progressive wing led to the formation of the Unity Reform Commission and its proposal to strip superdelegates of their outsize influence. Earlier this year, the plan won the support of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee and a scheduled vote on Saturday by the entire body of party delegates will see it either adopted or defeated.

As The Real News reported from the Chicago inside and outside the delegate meeting on Friday:

As a coalition of proponents, including RootsAction.org and Progressive Democrats of America, wrote to DNC members in an letter ahead of the vote, “All we are saying is give democracy a chance.” The groups explained:

[The proposal] would prevent superdelegates from casting a vote on the first ballot at the 2020 Democratic National Convention—unless one of the candidates has already secured enough democratically elected “pledged” delegates in primaries and caucuses to win the nomination outright.

On Saturday, passage of this proposal from the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee would give a big lift to Democratic Party outreach and enthusiasm nationwide—indicating that the party is opening toward grassroots democracy.

More broadly, grassroots activists are urging increased democratic participation and financial transparency to strengthen the party and help it win more elections.

Fearing the plan’s popularity, opponents have claimed that a change to the party’s nominating system should require a two-thirds vote instead of a simple majority—an argument Jeff Cohen of RootsAction.org rejected.

“We’ve got so much wrongheaded and uninformed backlash,” Cohen told Politico. “The stupidity would be, a couple of months before the election, picking a fight with the [Democratic] base.”

Ahead of Saturday’s vote on the issue, Our Revolution circulated a petition calling on proponents of a fair voting system to add their name to the list of supporters of a number of democracy-strengthening initiatives.

“We’ve made huge strides in the Rules and Bylaws Committee by passing a resolution from Chair [Tom] Perez that all superdelegates stand down from voting on the nomination of the presidential candidate on the first ballot at the 2020 convention,”reads the petition. “Now, we need your support as we continue to advocate for democratizing primaries and caucuses with same-day party registration and increasing transparency and oversight in DNC spending.”