“Shocker: The Real Gordon Gekko Just Endorsed Bernie Sanders” by Kali Holloway (alternet.org)

The model for the ultimate Wall Street symbol of greed and corporate evil says Sanders would get the economy moving best.

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

March 10, 2016

Gordon “Greed is Good” Gekko remains an enduring symbol of Wall Street greed, corporate lawlessness and 1980s excess. That’s why it’s pretty surprising that the guy on whom the Wall Street character was based—former corporate raider Asher Edelman—says Bernie Sanders is the strongest presidential candidate. Appearing on CNBC’s “Fast Money” this morning, Edelman responded immediately when asked who he thought the best candidate for the economy would be.

“Bernie Sanders,” Edelman said, without missing a beat. “No question.”

Asked to elaborate, Edelman stated his case.

“Well, I think it’s quite simple,” he began. “If you look at something called ‘velocity of money’—you guys know what that is, I presume—that means how much gets spent and turns around. When you have the top one percent getting money, they spend five, 10 percent of what they earn. When you have the lower end of the economy getting money, they spend 100, or 110 percent of what they earn. As you’ve had a transfer of wealth to the top, and a transfer of income to the top, you have a shrinking consumer base, basically, and you have a shrinking velocity of money. Bernie is the only person out there who I think is talking at all about both fiscal stimulation and banking rules that will get the banks to begin to generate lending again as opposed to speculation. So from an economic point of view, it’s straightforward.”

Watch the clip of Edelman explaining himself, and big-upping Sanders, below.

 Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.
Share This Item

“Organizing Lessons from Civil Rights Leader Ella Baker” by Chris Crass (anarkismo.net)

Ella Baker stressed the need to not only politicize and mobilize people, but to consciously develop people’s capacities to be organizers and leaders in the long haul struggle for a better world. While “each one teach one” strategies and training people in the skills of organizing don’t grab headlines in the media, it is this work that builds movement and develops a community of empowerment, solidarity and support that we need in order to transform society.

ella_baker.jpg

Ella Baker, who was born in North Carolina in 1905, was politicized and radicalized by the poverty of the Great Depression. She participated in self-help programs throughout the 30s and developed an understanding and respect for the process by which people take control over their own lives while also protesting injustices.

In the late 1930s, Baker became a field organizer for the NAACP. She would travel throughout the South and lecture, network and organize with any one person or group of people she could find. She would stay with local branches and help organize membership drives. She would assist local groups that were having either internal or external problems. However, her overall goal of organizing was to bring the NAACP to the grassroots. As an organizer, Baker believed very strongly in the abilities and the knowledge of local people to address their own issues. She believed that the national organization should serve as a system of support to offer assistance and resources to local campaigns and projects. She believed that organizations needed to serve the grassroots that made the organization strong.

In the early 1940’s she became the assistant field secretary for the NAACP and by 1943, she was named the national director of branches. Baker describes her years of organizing with the NAACP and what she tried to accomplish as follows: “My basic sense of it has always been to get people to understand that in the long run, they themselves are the only protection they have against violence and injustice. If they only had ten members in the NAACP at any given point, those ten members could be in touch with twenty-five members in the next little town, with fifty in the next and throughout the state as a result of the organization of state conferences and they, or course, could be linked up with the national. People have to be made to understand that they cannot look for salvation anywhere but themselves”.

Baker’s organizational style actively worked to keep people informed and empowered, with the goal of people organizing themselves. Baker argued that strong people do not need a strong leader; rather they need an organization that can provide mutual aid and solidarity. Those views on organizing were very different then those of the national NAACP. In fact, Baker became critical of the national NAACP’s failure to support the development of self-sufficient local groups, as it failed to help “local leaders develop their own leadership potential”. In response to the unsupportive stance of the national NAACP, Baker began organizing regional gatherings to bring people together and help develop local leadership and organizing skills.

Baker worked to organize and support regional gatherings to both develop people’s skills and build communities of support and resistance. This is an example of Baker’s commitment to bottom up organizing that values the work of developing relationships between people and building trust, respect and power on a grassroots level. She believed in participatory democracy, not just in theory or on paper, but in the messy and complex world of practice: where mistakes are made, decision-making is tough, and the process of growth is slow.

In her essay, “Ella Baker and the Origins of ‘Participatory Democracy'”, Carol Mueller breaks down Ella’s conception of participatory democracy into three parts: (1) an appeal for grassroots involvement of people throughout society in the decisions that control their lives; (2) the minimization of hierarchy and the associated emphasis on expertise and professionalism as a basis for leadership; and (3) a call for direct action as an answer to fear, alienation and intellectual detachment.

The call for direct action was one of Baker’s main strategies for creating meaningful social change. She argued that it is the people themselves who create change; that not only does direct action challenge injustice in society, but that ultimately individuals confront the oppression in their own heads and begin the process of self-transformation and self-actualization.

She also believed that as people organize, they will learn from their mistakes and successes and become stronger people in the process: people who believe in themselves and feel a sense of their own power to affect the world around them and make history. If there was a shortage of food due to economic injustice, she would help people to provide food for themselves but she would also help organize folks to protest the economic conditions that deny people food. If the school system isn’t providing a satisfactory education, then the community must come together to demand changes and to also provide alternatives ways of learning (i.e. after school programs, study groups, tutoring programs, free schools, homeschooling, etc.). For Baker, direct action was about achieving immediate goals, but it was also deeply connected to developing a sense of power in the people involved. It is this sense of power that would change people far beyond winning the immediate goals and help build a sustainable movement with long-term commitment and vision. It would also hopefully impact people’s perceptions of themselves in relationship to the world and open up greater possibilities for happiness and satisfaction.

Ms. Baker had an innovative understanding of leadership, an idea which she thought of in multiple ways: as facilitator, creating processes and methods for others to express themselves and make decisions; as coordinator, creating events, situations and dynamics that build and strengthen collective efforts; and as teacher/educator, working with others to develop their own sense of power, capacity to organize and analyze, visions of liberation and ability to act in the world for justice. Ella believed that good leadership created opportunities for others to realize and expand their own talents, skills and potential to be leaders themselves. This did not mean that she didn’t challenge people or struggle with people over political questions and strategies. Rather, this meant that she struggled with people over these questions to help develop principled and strategic leadership capable of organizing for social transformation.

Baker described good leadership as group-centered leadership. Group-centered leadership means that leaders form in groups and are committed to building collective power and struggling for collective goals. This is different than leader-centered groups, in which the group is dedicated to the goals and power of that leader.

Baker’s commitment to participatory democracy led her to resign as the national director of branches of the NAACP in 1946. She moved to New York to care for her niece and became the local branch director and immediately began the process of taking the organization to the grassroots; out of the offices and into the streets.

After the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education verdict declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional, Baker and the local branch started campaigning against segregation in the New York school system. Additionally, after the court decision, Baker and several other organizers formed the group In Friendship, which provided financial assistance to local leaders in the South who were suffering reprisals for their organizing. In Friendship believed that the time had come for a mass mobilization against the legally sanctioned racial apartheid of Jim Crow society in the South. When the Montgomery Bus Boycott campaign generated local mass participation, national support and international media, In Friendship thought they might have found the spark that they were looking for. The group established contact with the Montgomery Improvement Association who was leading the campaign and began taking notes as well as offering support and advice.

Once the campaign came to an end in 1956, with a major victory against segregation on the city buses, In Friendship put forward a proposal to the local leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. Ella Baker , Bayard Rustin and Stanley Levinson approached Dr. King with the idea of an organizational structure to help network and build a Southern movement against segregation. They believed that Montgomery had shown that “the center of gravity had shifted from the courts to community action” and that now was the time to strike. In 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was founded. The SCLC was intended to be a network of local leaders and communities coordinating their actions and providing assistance to one another. The SCLC was also formed around the strategy of getting more clergy members to involve themselves and their church communities in the Civil Rights struggle. SCLC started with sixty-five affiliates throughout the South. The leader of the SCLC was Martin Luther King, Jr., but it was Ella Baker who opened and ran the group’s office in Atlanta, and she used her connections throughout the South to lay the groundwork for the organization. The two principal strategies of SCLC, laid out at the group’s founding conference, were building voter power in the Black community and mass direct action against segregation. Baker spent two and a half years as the acting executive director of SCLC. She ran the Atlanta office and traveled throughout the South building support for the organization. The first project was the Crusade for Citizenship, which aimed at doubling the number of Black votes in the South within a year. With hardly any resources and little support from the other leaders of SCLC, over thirteen thousand people came together in over 22 cities to plan and initiate the campaign.

During her two and half years of organizing with SCLC, her relationship with the leadership began to wane. While Ella continued her work building a bottom up, grassroots powered organization, others in SCLC consolidated their adherence to the strategy of the charismatic leader-centered group style that formed around King. In addition to this, she was never officially made the executive director during her tenure as ‘acting’ executive director. Baker said that she was never made official because she was neither a minister nor a man. The failure to recognize and respect women’s leadership was a major weakness in the SCLC and in other formations of the Civil Rights movement.
Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Organizing Tradition

In 1960, a massive resurgence of Civil Rights activism and direct action took place amongst students who initiated the sit-in movement, which swept through the South like wildfire. Thousands of students participated in desegregation actions in which Black and some white students would sit at segregated lunch counters requesting to be served and refusing to leave. The sit-ins were dramatic; they brought the tensions of racial apartheid to the surface and often ended with white violence against the sit-in protesters. The sit-in movement erupted out of previously existing autonomous groups and/or networks that had been forming. They were largely uncoordinated beyond the local level and there were no visible public leaders – it was a self-organized movement. Within a year and a half sit-ins had taken place in over one hundred cities in twenty states and involved an estimated seventy thousand demonstrators with three thousand six hundred arrests. Ella Baker immediately realized the potential of this newly developing student movement and went to work organizing a conference to be held in Raleigh, North Carolina in April of 1960.

The conference brought together student activists and organizers from around the South who had participated in the sit-in movement. There were two hundred delegates out of which one hundred twenty were student activists representing fifty-six colleges and high schools from twelve Southern states and the District of Columbia. As the conference was organized by Baker and she was the acting executive director of SCLC, the leadership of SCLC hoped that the students would become a youth wing of the adult organization. However, Baker, who delivered one of the key-note speeches at the conference, urged the students to remain autonomous, form their own organization and set their own goals that would reflect their militancy and passion for social change.

The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee was born out of the Raleigh conference. SNCC (pronounced Snick) was run by the students themselves along with two adult advisors: Ella Baker and Howard Zinn. It would become one of the most important organizations of the 60s. They played a major role in the Freedom Rides, another direct action tactic that dramatically protested segregation. It’s organizers started the “jail no bail” strategy of filling the jails and refusing to pay bail until segregation was ended. SNCC also played a principle role in Freedom Summer in Mississippi. That campaign followed their strategy of grassroots community organizing that took them into some of the most formidable areas of the South.

Ella Baker has been referred to as both the mid-wife who helped deliver SNCC and the founder who helped articulate the base principles from which the group developed. For instance, SNCC was committed to group-centered leadership, to mass direct action, to organizing in the tradition of developing people’s capacity to work on their own behalf, and to community building that was participatory and involved local people in decision-making with the goal of developing local leaders. In looking to the lessons of Ella Baker’s organizing strategies, it is useful to look at SNCC to see how these concepts were experimented with and applied. From the examples of SNCC, we can draw both insights and inspiration for the work that we are doing today.

Charles Payne writes in his book, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: “SNCC may have the firmest claim to being called the borning organization [as in inspiring and helping shape other organizations]. SNCC initiated the mass-based, disruptive political style we associate with the sixties, and it provided philosophical and organizational models and hands-on training for people who would become leaders in the student power movement, anti-war movement, and the feminist movement. SNCC forced the civil rights movement to enter the most dangerous areas of the South. It pioneered the idea of young people ‘dropping out’ for a year or two to work for social change. It pushed the proposition that merely bettering the living conditions of the oppressed was insufficient; that has to be done in conjunction with giving those people a voice in the decisions that shape their lives. As SNCC learned to see beyond the lunch counter, the increasingly radical philosophies that emerged within the organization directly and indirectly encouraged a generation of scholars and activists to reconsider the ways that social inequality is generated and sustained.”

One model of organizing in SNCC was the Freedom School used in Mississippi. The Freedom Schools prioritized political education informed by daily reality to connect day-to-day experiences with an institutional analysis. The Freedom Schools focused on building leadership and training organizers. SNCC envisioned the schools to operate as “parallel institutions” or what many anarchists refer to today as “counter-institutions”. Charlie Cobb, who first proposed the creation of the Freedom Schools said that the schools were to be “an educational experience for students which will make it possible for them to challenge the myths of our society, to perceive more clearly its realities and to find alternatives and ultimately, new directions for action”. Curriculum at the schools ranged from “Introducing the Power Structure”, to critiques of materialism in “Material Things and Soul Things”. There were classes on non-violence and direct action as well as classes on economics and how the power structure manipulates the fears of poor whites. The lessons learned from the Freedom Schools can help us to envision programs that educate as well as train people to take action.

Ella Baker devoted her time, energy and wisdom to SNCC, which came to embody those principles of participatory democracy and grassroots community organizing that she had helped to develop throughout her lifetime as a radical organizer. Both Baker and SNCC struggled to create collective leadership, to engage in activism that empowered others to become active, to generate change from the bottom up and to experiment with expanding democratic decision making into everyday life.

The history and experiences of SNCC offer much to organizers today, in terms of how we go about our work and how we envision our goals. One organizer from SNCC, Bob Zellner, described being an organizer as similar to a juggling act, “Organizers had to be morale boosters, teachers, welfare agents, transportation coordinators, canvassers, public speakers, negotiators, lawyers, all while communicating with people who range from illiterate sharecroppers to well-off professionals and while enduring harassment from agents of the law and listening with one ear for threats of violence. Exciting days and major victories are rare”. Ella Baker described community organizing as ‘spade work’, as in the hard work gardening when you prepare the soil for seeds for the next season. It is hard work, but it is what makes it possible for the garden to grow.

Charles Payne warns us repeatedly to look at the everyday work that builds movements and creates social change and to draw from those experiences in order to learn the lessons for our work today. He writes, “Overemphasizing the movement’s more dramatic features, we undervalue the patient and sustained effort, the slow, respectful work, that made the dramatic moments possible”.

From here, he develops an analysis of how sexism operates in organizing efforts. He explores why it is that in most histories of social movements, the profound impact of women is rarely mentioned. In the Civil Rights movements it was women and young people who were the backbone of the struggle. On this Payne writes, “We know beyond dispute that women were frequently the dominant force in the movement. Their historical invisibility is perhaps the most compelling example of the way our shared images of the movement distort and confuse the historical reality. There is a parallel with the way in which we typically fail to see women’s work in other spheres. Arlene Daniels, among others, has noted that what we socially define as ‘work’ are those activities that are public rather than private and those activities for which we get paid. In the same way, the tendency in the popular imagination and in much scholarship has been to reduce the movement to stirring speeches – given by men – and dramatic demonstrations – led by men. The everyday maintenance of the movement, women’s work, overwhelmingly, is effectively devalued, sinking beneath the level of our sight”.

As organizers today, it is crucial that we look at our own work and consider what activities we place value on. How do we treat the people making the grand speeches and leading the rallies? And how do we treat the people making the phone calls, facilitating the meetings, distributing the flyers, raising money, taking time out to listen to the troubles of other organizers, coordinating child-care, cooking all day, patiently answering dozens of questions from new volunteers or potential supporters, or working really hard to make other people in the group or project feel listened to, respected, heard, valued and supported?

Whose names do we remember and whose work do we praise? As organizers we are not just putting together actions; we are helping to build community, helping to build supportive and loving relationships between people, helping to sustain and nourish alternative values of cooperation and liberation in this fiercely competitive and individualistic society.

This was the strength of Ella Baker’s work, a strength that I think we can learn enormously from: her attention to group development. Ella Baker stressed the need to not only politicize and mobilize people, but to consciously develop people’s capacities to be organizers and leaders in the long haul struggle for a better world. While “each one teach one” strategies and training people in the skills of organizing don’t grab headlines in the media, it is this work that builds movement and develops a community of empowerment, solidarity and support that we need in order to transform society. Ella Baker’s legacy is one that both inspires and informs our day-to-day efforts. The challenge before us is to make sense of her legacy in relationship to our work today.

This is an excerpt from an essay written by Chris Crass on organizing lessons to be learned from the life long revolutionary organizing work of Ella Baker.

Share This Item

Occupy San Francisco All The Very Best Pics (from Nearly Pantless Nick)

Occupy San Francisco All The Very Best Pics:

A pictorial journey through Occupy San Francisco… I didn’t get quite everyone and everything but I got a lot, I hope you enjoy it!  (This video previously contained a copyrighted audio track. Due to a claim by a copyright holder, the audio track has been muted.)
–Nearly Pantless Nick

Share This Item

“Armed U.S. Marshals Enforce Eminent Domain” by John Zangas (popularresistance.org)

New Milford, PA – The land of the free got a little smaller this week when cutters from Williams Partners Company began clear-cutting trees on the Zeffer-Holleran property, readying it for construction of the Constitution pipeline. Five acres of the property were condemned under eminent domain to build the natural gas pipeline.

A dozen Pennsylvania State police and heavily armed U.S. Marshals escorted scores of tree cutters to remove hundreds of sugar bush maple trees from the property. The Marshals carried AR-15 assault weapons and wore bullet proof vests.

But when the cutters began tree removal they encountered trees with U.S. flags activists had painted on them. Activists stood out of the way during the cutting but held large signs spelling “People Not Pipelines.”

As land owner Megan Holleran watched the tree removal she kneeled in silence as the maples fell. “They made a very clear demonstration today, that all of their talk of dealing with landowners with respect and fairness couldn’t be further from the truth. They refused to see us as people and brought guns to our home,” she said.

Her mother, Catherine Holleran said, “We were shocked. I don’t know what in the world they thought they were going to encounter,” she said in response to the militarized force. “Nobody was giving them a hard time,” she said.

Allies stand by the Hollerans as their maple syrup business is destroyed./Photo by Vera Scroggins

The Hollerans were joined by over a hundred environmentalists and supporters from the region in the month-long delay of the project. Nearly a thousand more supported them with donations of money and supplies, according to land owner Catherine Holleran. Calls of encouragement came from countries around the world, including France, Chile, Australia, according to Megan Holleran.

Vera Scroggins, a resident of Susquehanna County, railed against the builders, calling them “bullies” responsible for “raiding land and destroying property for profit.” Scroggins also rebuked Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf for being “nowhere to be found” when the people of Pennsylvania needed him most. “Our state has become a corporatocracy – where are our elected officials?” she asked. She documented the cutting with video and photographs.

The Hollerans have owned the 23-acre tract since 1950, when Megan Holleran’s grandfather bought it to start the Harford Maple Syrup business. Losing the hundreds of sugar bush maple trees will effectively end 90% of their business.

Cabot Oil & Gas Company and Williams Partners applied for permission to build the 124-mile project in 2013. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted the first approvals to cut trees in Susquehanna County in January of this year. However, no permits have been issued to begin cutting in New York. The 30″ pipeline is planned to run from Susquehanna County, PA to Scholaire County, NY, 24 miles of which runs through Pennsylvania.

U.S. Marshals wear body armor and carry AR-15 assault weapons./ Photo by Vera Scroggins

Williams representatives and tree cutters first showed up at the Holleran property on February 11th, but the Hollerans and about 30 supporters, asked them not to begin cutting. The Williams official called State police, but police refused to enforce the permit, so the cutters left. But on February 19, a Federal Magistrate called the Hollerans into court, ordering them to comply with the order to cut.

The $683 million Constitution pipeline has been at the center of a growing regional resistance in Pennsylvania against hydraulic fracturing infrastructure, also known as “fracking.” Thousands of miles of gas pipelines have already been approved and permitted across the nation by FERC. Since 2009, when the fracking boom began ramping up in the Northeast U.S., over 9,000 fracking wells have been drilled across Pennsylvania. Susquehanna County sits on top of the Marcellus coal belt, the source of natural gas from fracking.

Note from Mike Zint:

You will never truly own anything as long as someone with more money and a bigger stick can come take it. “But it’s legal,” is nothing more than justifying the unjust.

The good news is everyday, more and more people are getting fed up. The bad news is the politicians are aware, and are actively crushing resistance to their corruption.

Solution: Have a seat, and don’t move for a week. Everything will change. It’s called a national strike.

Share This Item

San Francisco’s new homeless shelter (from Mike Zint and Sarah Menefee)

Welcome to San Francisco’s new homeless shelter. My co-founder, Sarah Menefee went by and took these shots. As a homeless person, I know cities want us gone. Fear of FEMA concentration camps is everywhere among the homeless. To have this show up now, in the city famous for torturing it’s homeless population, should outrage every American. Razor wire and a fence serve what purpose, Ed Lee? Positioning these people where you did is far from services and public transportation. Disabled people will have problems. Do you care, Ed Lee? Or do you want homeless exterminated like the fence and razor wire suggest.

Please share this. This page just had a single post hit over 50,000. You people people have the ability to make a difference right now!

–Mike Zint

Sarah Menefee's photo.
Sarah Menefee's photo.
Sarah Menefee's photo.
Sarah Menefee's photo.
Sarah Menefee's photo.

I went out to Pier 80 last evening to see if i could figure out which building was the new homeless ‘shelter’ warehouse being used as an excuse to harass homeless people all over SF – there are reports that people in there don’t have freedom to come & go – it certainly does look like a prison camp! – this is not housing, Mayor AssHat & all you greedy criminals! – if you can’t provide housing for people at least let them take care of themselves & seek shelter where they can – not in jail! – homeless leaders i know would very much like to know what’s going on inside, would love to hear anything you know, to pass along.

–Sarah Menefee

Share This Item

Police Brutality on 216 Eddy & Taylor on March 4, 2016 (from Mike Zint)

Police Brutality on 216 Eddy & Taylor at 3pm March 4, 2016

Note from Mike Zint:

Black and homeless. Double the bigotry. The police do hit him from behind while he is on the ground, and the police do try to intimidate the cameraman into coming down to “talk.” I have had SFPD grab at my camera before. They are above the law. They are murdering people. And they are getting away with it. Share this. Expose these criminals for what they are. Bullies with badges.

Share This Item

Berkeley Post Office occupation update (March 4, 2016)

First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless

March 4, 2016

This is BPOD. The Post Office occupation in Berkeley. Today, we received a major food donation. The suprise is the source. This food was donated by City College, San Francisco. We hope these donations continue. We feed hundreds every week, 24 hours a day. There is no schedule. It’s on the food table. Grab what you need. Share what you can. This is how you make a difference. This is how you create positive energy.

–Mike Zint

Share This Item

“Death claims 97-year-old Burlingame woman fighting eviction” by Kevin Fagan (sfgate.com)

MarieHatchMarie Hatch, the 97-year-old Burlingame woman whose fight against being evicted from her home of 66 years drew international attention, died Thursday evening.

Ms. Hatch apparently died of natural causes after suffering from a severe cold for more than a week, family friends said. She had been hospitalized and Thursday evening returned home, where she succumbed.

“It’s so sad — we will miss Marie,” said Cheryl Graczewski, who lived next door and had been advocating for Ms. Hatch since she first received word in December from her landlord that she had to vacate the house.

“She was a real sweetheart. There was a lot of spirit in that woman.”

Joe Cotchett, the powerhouse lawyer who — after The Chronicle broke the story last month — took up Ms. Hatch’s fight with a lawsuit, said her case was “the tip of the iceberg as to how senior citizens are being treated in the Bay Area in terms of being put out on the sidewalk.”

His law partner, Nanci Nishimura, was at the Hatch home comforting her relatives and her longtime roommate, 85-year-old Georgia Rothrock. “There is no doubt that her being served with a notice that she had to be out on the sidewalk brought about her death,” she said.

“From December 2015 when she first learned that (landlord) David Kantz intended to sell the house and believed he had a right to evict her in 60 days, Marie Hatch mentally and physically deteriorated because she was so scared, upset and distraught,” Nishimura said.

In response to Ms. Hatch’s plight, hundreds of people from as far away as New Zealand and all over the United States mailed in money and offers to either have the woman live with them or to buy the house and let her stay in it.

Cotchett’s firm filed suit in San Mateo County Superior Court on Feb. 26 arguing that Ms. Hatch had been promised lifetime tenancy in the home by three generations of women who owned the house. The suit contends elder abuse and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Kantz and his lawyer did not return calls Thursday evening.

Cotchett said he will continue to wage a legal fight on behalf of the Hatch family, and on behalf of Rothrock so she can continue to live in the house.

Ms. Hatch, who was fighting cancer and had difficulty leaving her home because she was prone to agoraphobia, told The Chronicle that when she moved into the house in 1950 her landlord said she could live there for life. That landlord, Vivian Kroeze, died, and her daughter and granddaughter successively carried on the promise, Ms. Hatch and Cotchett contended in the lawsuit.

“This seems so unfair,” Ms. Hatch told The Chronicle. “Why should I have to leave my home because this young man wants to make all this money?”

It was only in 2006, when Kroeze’s granddaughter was killed by a boyfriend while she was getting a divorce, that the promise fell into doubt, Ms. Hatch contended. Kantz, the granddaughter’s widower, said his wife’s trust was expiring later this year and that he had to settle finances on the house for the sake of his two sons.

“I feel bad for the elderly lady, I feel bad for my sons, I feel bad for me,” Kantz told The Chronicle. The house, long paid off, was listed on the Zillow real estate site at $1.2 million.

Graczewski, who moved this past week from her home — Kantz, who owned that house, had also served her with a notice to vacate — said the big question now is what will happen with 85-year-old Rothrock. She set up an appointment with social workers Monday with the roommate in hopes of planning for her future.

Kevin Fagan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: kfagan@sfchronicle.com

Note from Mike Zint:

We failed. As a society, this never should happen. We are all getting older. Doesn’t it make sense to fix these problems before we become senior victims too?

 

Share This Item

OccupyForum presents. . . What’s in the Water? From Flint Michigan to the Bayview: Environmental Injustice’s Cause and Genocidal Outcomes in Communities of Color With Steve Zeltzer and Dr. Raymond Tomkins (on Monday, March 7)

OccupyForum presents…

Monday, March 7th from 6 – 9 pm at Global Exchange

2017 Mission Street near the 16th Street BART station

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

What’s in the Water?

From Flint Michigan to the Bayview:

Environmental Injustice’s Cause and

Genocidal Outcomes in Communities of Color

With Steve Zeltzer and Dr. Raymond Tomkins

Lead poisoning is irreversible. Pediatricians such as Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha (who discovered the Flint water crisis) fear the Flint children who tested with elevated levels will suffer lifelong consequences. “If you were to put something in a population to keep them down for generation and generations to come, it would be lead,” Hanna-Attisha said. “It’s a well-known, potent neurotoxin. There’s tons of evidence on what lead does to a child, and it is one of the most damning things that you can do to a population. It drops your IQ, it affects your behavior, it’s been linked to criminality, it has multigenerational impacts. There is no safe level of lead in a child.

The Flint water crisis is a drinking water contamination crisis began in April 2014. After Flint changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water to the Flint River, its drinking water had a series of problems that culminated with lead contamination with extremely elevated levels of the heavy metal. In Flint, between 6,000 and 12,000 children have been exposed. Nine lawsuits have been filed against government officials on the issue, and several investigations have been opened. The city was declared to be in a state of emergency by the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, before Obama declared it as a federal state of emergency. Four government officials—one from the City of Flint, two from theMichigan Department of Environmental Quality, and one from the Environmental Protection Agency—resigned over the mishandling of the crisis, and one additional MDEQ staff member was fired and another has a termination hearing pending. Governor Snyder issued an apology to citizens and promised to fix the problem.

While the local outcry about Flint water quality was growing in early 2015, Flint water officials filed papers with state regulators purporting to show that “tests at Flint’s water treatment plant had detected no lead and testing in homes had registered lead at acceptable levels.”The documents falsely claimed that the city had tested tap water from homes with lead service lines, and therefore the highest lead-poisoning risks; in reality; the city does not know the locations of lead service lines, which city officials acknowledged in November 2015 after the Flint Journal/MLive published an article revealing the practice after obtaining documents through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

In 2003, Bayview Hunters Point residents and community environmental justice organizations filed complaints with the US Department of Energy, charging the California Independent System Operator and PG&E with violating Title VI of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964. By applying standards that subject Bayview Hunters Point residents, the majority of who are low-income people of color, to unnecessary levels of fossil fuels, PG&E and California Independent Systems Operator are violating civil rights, the residents and organizations said.

Two years later, residents continued to suffer a medical chart’s worth health problems through being exposed to pollution from two of the state’s oldest power plants. This is in addition to the constant bombardment they’ve received of fumes and gases from sewage treatment, cement factories, a radioactive shipyard, and two highways. According to a 2003 study by the nonprofit Greenaction, residents in Southeast San Francisco are hospitalized for cognitive heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, emphysema, and asthma at three times the statewide average. “The city of San Francisco has never made a commitment to the people of Bayview Hunters Point or to their health,” said Dr. Raymond Tompkins, administrative lecturer at San Francisco City College.

The rate of breast cancer in African American women under the age of 50 is twice as high there as in the rest of the state, he said. “The same chemicals that cause breast cancer cause testicular cancer,” he cautioned, adding that the health department has not even been searching for the latter disease when collecting its statistics on Bayview Hunters Point residents. He also pointed out that while the life expectancy for a white male living in San Francisco is 78 years, for an African American male in Bayview Hunters Point, it is 58 years. “We’re talking about life and death here.”

Please join us at OccupyForum Monday night to hear from Steve Zeltzer and Dr. Ray Tomkins about environmental genocide in communities of color; to call out the perpetrators, and to take a stand with communities against the corrupt agencies and systemic racism in the United States that allows, and perhaps encourages this to happen.

Time will be allotted for Q&A, discussion and announcements.

Donations to Occupy Forum to cover costs are encouraged; no one turned away!

Share This Item