UC Berkeley law school study finds increasing criminalization of homelessness in California

Mark Hawthorne, also known as ‘Hate Man,’ is a well-known Berkeley homeless man who has lived in Berkeley since 1973. A UC Berkeley

School of Law study analyzed anti-vagrancy laws in California cities and found that state cities have more such laws than their counterparts in other states.
Alvin Wu/Staff
Mark Hawthorne, also known as ‘Hate Man,’ is a well-known Berkeley homeless man who has lived in Berkeley since 1973. A UC Berkeley School of Law study analyzed anti-vagrancy laws in California cities and found that state cities have more such laws than their counterparts in other states.

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A study analyzing anti-vagrancy laws in California was released by the Policy Advocacy Clinic at the UC Berkeley School of Law earlier this month, concluding that such policies are increasingly ostracizing the homeless.

Conducted on behalf of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, or WRAP, the study looked at data from 58 cities across California — including Berkeley — where anti-vagrancy laws have been enacted. Co-authors and graduate students Marina Fisher, Nathaniel Miller and Lindsay Walter and professor Jeffrey Selbin further concluded that California cities have more anti-homeless laws on average than their counterparts in other states.

Miller compared this proliferation of municipal codes to the Jim Crow and anti-Okie laws, adding that these efforts reflect an attempt to “get the undesirables out of the public eye.”

These laws were also alleged to be increasingly enforced on a discriminatory basis, and Miller said “police officers have a ton of discretion.”

“There are laws that prohibit sleeping and resting on the sidewalk,” Fisher said. “(But) you don’t hear about people camping at night to get the latest iPhone getting affected.”

WRAP will be using the group’s findings in its advocacy of a statewide “right-to-rest” act that would extend basic human and civil rights protections to homeless people.

The study categorized four distinct activities in public spaces that these laws seek to criminalize: standing, sitting and resting; sleeping, camping and lodging, including in vehicles; begging and panhandling; and sharing food.

According to the study, there are a total of 12 restrictions on such activities — four each against sitting or resting in public areas, sleeping in public areas and begging or panhandling — in the city’s laws. Unlike 12 other cities in the state, Berkeley does not impose any public restrictions on the sharing of food.

Councilmember Kriss Worthington of District 7, the area covering Southside, said that throughout his time on the council, he’s felt that politicians have tried to ostracize homelessness.

“People feel a lot of compassion, but they also feel like it’s not beautiful out there to have to look at (the homeless),” Worthington said.

He said, however, that he believes it is real-estate developers and not local shop owners who are pushing for such anti-vagrancy laws.

Such efforts came to a forefront with the Berkeley sit-lie ordinance, proposed in November 2012. If passed, the ordinance would have criminalized the act of sitting on a sidewalk in Berkeley’s commercial districts from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Genevieve Wilson, co-chair of the city’s Homeless Task Force, said policy efforts to combat the issue of homelessness “tend to get heavy-handed” and stressed the importance of introducing “healthy policy.”

The task force was set to meet Monday night to discuss various issues related to youth homelessness, including the significance of being a LGBTQ youth, provisions for job training and the support for a year-round shelter.

Contact Ishaan Srivastava at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ishaansriv.

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  • David Joshua Teague

    You should interveiw us homeless citizens on what they do to us

    • slumjack

      One man was “awakened” from sleeping on the sidewalk, recently, by a cop kicking him in the testicles, sending him to the ER.

  • Neighbor

    Our Parks and sidewalks were never intended to serve as homes for people. When they are used for that purpose serious issues arise and they cannot be used for their original purpose. Advocates for the homeless like Kriss Worthington have admitted they are unnaffected by the presence of homeless people and their possessions, often stored along homes and businesses. Why are there not homes for these people, most of whom are mentally ill or drug addicted? Instead we encourage them to sleep in the park with drug dealers and call it compassion. We feed them regularly and get warm good feelings from the activity.

    I used to live in a town where people went to the park with the kids to feed the ducks, in Berkeley the ritual is go to the park to feed the homeless. People’s park is a haven for ex-cons who surround the “philosopher of hate” pictured above. Let’s be honest, the ex-cons and the young travelers and many of the mentally ill and drug/alcohol addicted are homeless by choice. They prefer living in the Park to being in a shelter or group home, probably because of all the strict rules. People flock to the Park and the larger Berkeley area from all over the country. This creates an obvious sanitation and noise problem not to mention a refuge for petty criminals and neighborhood drug dealers.

    • slumjack

      Most “official” tallies reckon the “mentally ill” to be a minor proportion of people that are homeless. But then, “chronic homelessness” itself is regarded as a “symptom” for that matter.

      What probably most people don’t well reallze is how many MORE people are actually homeless, even around you often, that you simply don’t recognize as being so, because they don’t look nor act “like” who people regard as being homeless. At the same time, probably quite some number of people you assume ARE homeless due to how they look and what they’re doing, aren’t.

      Yes, there are some people as you describe. And, yes, “shelters” are lousy places for anyone to spend any length of time and do have “strict rules”. But staying in those shelters IS “being homeless” too. So the choice is to be homeless there or outdoors without the tin tyrants and waste of time (they require going in at around 6pm and staying in there. They are not pleasant nor productive at all.

      • Neighbor

        I agree 100%. So what do you want? What would be the ideal situation? A place where people get services, but can hang out and don’t have to worry about drug testing? Where they can become lease-holders, eventually? I would go along with that.

        • slumjack

          My response to the article is in agreement that “criminalizing” people, as described, solves little to nothing. I’ve taken a look at various 5 or 10 year plans “to end homelessness”, locally and nationally. In fact, several years ago, HUD did a national tour with events in many cities ostensibly to conduct something like that, too.

          “On May 20, 2009, President Obama signed the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009. The HEARTH Act amends and reauthorizes the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act with substantial changes”

          “On July 6, 2012, the President signed into law P.L. 112-141, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Subtitle C, of Title II, Division F contained four HEARTH Act technical corrections”

          In Berkeley, Mayor Tom Bates stated that about $8 Million is spent annually on helping homeless people. I’d like to see a clear accounting of that, including line items. Maybe also a budget plainly and completely detailing how much money and resources has been going into the “criminalizing” activities and now their enforcement.

          I spend an afternoon recently helping a homeless woman. In the morning, she’d gone into a place to use a bathroom and when she returned all she owned had been taken from the sidewalk. A BPD officer there gave her a business card that he’d jotted an address on the back, telling her she could retrieve her possessions there. That was incorrect, as it turned out. She has medical problems and was supposed to go see a doctor that day, but instead was forced to try to locate and then somehow go retrieve her things.

          Some calls were made to BPD and city agencies, enquiring where her things had actually been taken to, by whom, why and exactly what was necessary procedurally in order to get it all back, ASAP (the upcoming evening was forecast to be very cold and she wasn’t wearing much at the time).

          We were told that such confiscations of people’s belongings like that was actually initiated and under the authority of… Berkeley Mental Health. That struck me as very strange, especially since a police officer was there, apparently involved.

          I’ll spare you all the Monty Python skit type details, but most of the “referrals” via telephone led to a voice message “opportunity” to get called back… sometime or other. Bear in mind that she didn’t have her phone, either, which was with her stuff. We used my phone and number, instead. I’ve STILL not gotten a callback… days later.

          We wound up speaking with some city blue collar workers, who gave us some real information — like exactly who in management at a certain agency we ought to talk to. This required letting ourselves into “Authorized Personnel Only” places, surprising some people. We did locate that person, who then did give us some names and telephone numbers of persons at another agency, confirming their office location.

          By the time we got there, it was getting a bit late in the afternoon and I was concerned about succeeding at restoring her belongings to her before business hours ended. From some past experiences, I suspected that the actual location where her things had been taken was all the way across town — miles away. She has no personal transportation – again, does have medical problems – and EVERYthing not on her person at the time was taken from her.

          The receptionist at the window asked if we had “an appointment”. We said that the city dept. Supervisor we’d just seen in his office had sent us there to see the person we identified. The receptionist was very surprised by this, relaying the matter to the party we’d requested. She “left a meeting” to come and see what this was about. To her credit, she decided to get in her city work car and rendezvous with us at that location all the way across town (I was driving the woman in my truck).

          It’s a very large metal “dumpster” type thing located in a lot nearby the Recycling Center operation. She had a key to unlock the access door and there it all was. The woman I was helping wanted to triage the stuff some, since she can’t carry it all at once, but was told she had to just take it all outside that container, as our especially helpful city agent got off work at 4pm and had to go now.

          So we just hauled it all out onto the dirt/ground where she spent a short time offloading a number of things that had to just be left right there. I transported her and the remainder of her belongings back across town to the downtown sidewalk where it all had been taken from her behind her back that morning.

          To get “housing” from a program to “help homeless” people in Berkeley, one must get one’s name on a list. That list is only “open” to add names, once in a blue moon. Then it typically takes… years… before anything will actually happen.

          What are all these “services” we hear about, costing the city millions of dollars?

          • Neighbor

            That is appalling. I agree there needs to be some accounting for the money spent. It is a waste of money to provide services or shelters that people don’t want and won’t use. And, unless they become disruptive or cause other problems, homeless people should be allowed to drink or smoke pot and go out in the evening just like anyone else. Why should they be held to a different standard? But personally I do not agree with allowing people to live in parks or hang out all day on sidewalks with dangerous dogs – there has to be an alternative. I’d like to see the city move toward a solution that homeless people really want. I’d also like to see some federal funds for cities that provide good services and end up providing services for people from other areas. This issue needs to be addressed also.

          • slumjack

            Given some of your remarks in other posts, you could appear to be either contradicting yourself and/or “playiing Devil’s advocate”.

            We hear a lot about the opaque, euphemistic “services” or simply “resources”, but the real, specific FORMS of what these refer to are key and compel further practical details. I suspect so much of the mere rhetoric, and especially from the “industry” that pays their own rent/mortgages from doing these “services” maintain that smokescreen deliberately, because I am familiar with those amount to in practice.

            A main “shelter” in Berkeley is weirdly physically like a “jail”, specifically, and operated too much like one. Bunk beds are in “alcoves” with bars to separate these from a main room which has a central “booth” in which the “staff” operates like “guards” and such. The “strict rules” are obviously based on presumed “lowest common denominator” premises (e.g. meant to control and confine criminals and/or drug/booze addicts), and do NOT regard nor treat people as adult, free citizens. Who WOULD “want” to HAVE to surrender to that, every night, in order to merely “sleep indoors”?

            The core and crux of most of “the issues” about “homeless people” actually have to do with … image and appearances. And “class” alienations/treatment. What is the essential “difference” between a person that is “homeless” and one that is “not homeless”? That’s also why it’s so endemic that once enough attentions go toward “the homeless issue”, locally or federally, typically there is a recursive, rerun exercise in “defining” that and the associated words/terms/concepts. But these very re-enactments of all the same kinds of repetitive “studies”, “committees/commissions”, etc. in effect become THE major squandering “consuming” of substantial funds, time, and efforts promoted as “helping the homeless” – but which amount to a perpetual going through same motions without ever arriving at producing much, if any, manifest changes or improvements. This may be why there apparently is a simultaneous bureaucratic avoidance of ever eclearly documenting the real budgets, including the detail of how much of the money supposedly meant to “help the homeless” is thereby transformed into keeping those bureaucrats comfortably employed to themselves avoid being homeless, but not very many others.

            MOST “programs” and “services”, in reality and effect more like “helping the homless” REMAIN homeless, if somewhat more comfortably, conveniently and/or looking/sounding good in reports, promotional websties and photo opportunities.

          • Neighbor

            Well we don’t disagree in many respects. As I have already suggested the harsh rules make the shelters unpopular and understandably so, and if they are not working better solutions need to be found. And yes I completely agree that we need accounting. I would totally be behind a push for that. I think it would be a much better theme for your rally ext week. I just think we need honesty on all sides. How can one think that if they camp out for hours outside someones window, arguing and using drugs, mere feet away, or in large groups with dangerous dog types in front of their place of business all day, it will have no impact?

          • slumjack

            Again, your own personal “complaint” continues to be violations known as “disturbing the peace” with existent laws applicable.
            li
            It’s not “my rally”. Its “our” event, as a community and all so inclined.

            I’m “here” querying the actual budget and expenditures, as I am elsewhere too. But the “theme” of that is consistent with the “theme” of misuse of public and legal resources in wrongful ways against a “type” or “class” of citizen/person. In this case, to identify the initiators and facilitators of these would, I am sure, reveal that certain commercial interests are driving our local government and police force, not disgruntled citizens/residents (although, sure, they’re playing their tune to those, to “rally” their own support).

            And if you want to be “honest” about these things, then be sure to include in your references to “shelters” that, rules aside, there are WAY less “beds” (or mats on floors) than there are people with no other shelter nightly. So our police officers are waking them up in the middle of the night and telling them to “move on” to …. where?

            This is all really simple. Where is the line item, detailed, clear accounting for the $8 Million per year Bates claims to be spending to “help homeless people”? I believe that would include some substantial portions garnered from state and/or federal funds meant for that. How are the “adverse to homeless” people city activities being funded so far?

      • Neighbor

        Do you have a reference to those official tallies of who the homeless in Berkeley are. Thanks.

  • Neighbor

    ““People feel a lot of compassion, but they also feel like it’s not
    beautiful out there to have to look at (the homeless),” Worthington
    said.”
    He is lying here. Ask the police why they get constant calls about the homeless. Go on, ask them. It is not about how they look. When will we get some real reporting on the subject.

    • slumjack

      The polce don’t get anywhere near constant calls about homeless people, which is why they often try to get people to complain. The “Ambassadors” hired to walk around all day were actually instructed by their surpervisor to make a point of calling and complaining to the police as often as they could – because citizens weren’t.

      That’s *manufacturing* “problems” and fabricated tallies. Along with highly “selective enforcements” against people, based on economic class, and decoy laws for this purpose. Why all the dishonesty about this?

      • Neighbor

        People who live near the park complain about it and are stressed out from the noise. The two main reasons thee are not more complaints to police are 1) there is no permanent solution – complaining gets old after a while and 2) guilt for the reasons you cite above, that appropriate services do not arrive and instead homeless people are sometimes treated in a way that seems like they are getting pushed around and don’t have good alternatives.

        • slumjack

          Some may. Ironically, though, some of the most frequent and loudest commotion is actually by quite some number of people that apparently are U.C. students. Is the “enforcement” or “solution” the same?

          My response to the article includes the manifestly accurate observance that yes – most definitely – homeless people “are getting pushed around”. “We” (taxpayers, citizens) are financing this, as well. Reportedly, the police chief met with and spoke before the Telegraph Business Improvement District commercial organization, openly acknowledging a current program of this nature and that a printed listing of such activities was distributed to local business locations, encouraging their participation, as well.

          Since there is an absence of “good alternatives” for the targeted people, such a concerted “pushing around” program stands out as a rather Catch-22 harassment and, in execution, has often been simply cruel. Apparently, that’s meant as a “force multipler” effect, if not more simply officer’s personal “style”. One officer said outright that this all was initiated by the City Manager.

          As is spread among all my postings here, my intent and interest was in concurring with the article’s reported finding by the U.C. students that conducted the study. And to point out that, right here in their own “backyard” is one possibly iconic example. They concluded that such “criminalizations” were wrong and that real, and humane corrections and alternatives ought to be sought instead.

          I’m not here with a detailed proposal in hand to pitch. Rather, I’d agree that the “criminalizations” wrong us all, in essence, while consuming some unknown real cost/expenditure (how man officers/vehicles, at what frequency/duration x total hourly costs) to do so.

          I’d also suggest that ANY U.C. students of relative academic (or personal) interests in some regard (e.g. legal, social work, civic planning, etc.) may benefit from getting more familiar and, possibly, more involved in this local version of the phenomena, possibly including contributing toward more just and better “investments”.

          • Neighbor

            I have no problem with the students’ exuberance. The hours when it gets loud are also predictable. But you never know when a park denizen is going to end up under one’s window cursing and raging for hours. Or when two alcoholics are going to get into an endless screaming argument in the park that can be heard for blocks.

            “I’m not here with a detailed proposal in hand to pitch.”

            yes you keep side stepping this issue. I am not asking for details either. You won’t respond to the fact that Hateman WANTS to live on the street and run his “hate camp” in peoples park. You won’t admit that many others prefer the same. There is no alternative that they would accept, is there? They just want to live in a nice park in a mild climate and have their meals delivered on time.

          • slumjack

            There isn’t a “the issue” of submitting detailed proposals here. That must be your Srawman. We still haven’t detailed how criminalizing homeless people “solves” anything other than, say, your expressed NIMBYism,

            But it *could* be appropriate to perhaps actually detail how this pragmatically “works”, is conducted, how planned, executed and financing. Perhaps more opportunities for a humane, sensible, more effective option could be reconfigured.

            or tI’m responding to the actual article here about the U.C. Law Students’ study and their advocacy that criminalization is misguided, It’s also one of the more dubious *uses* of “the law” in that these are *decoy* laws, meant for “selective enforcement” against “types” of people and – class.

            I laud them for this work of theirs and encourage them to follow through with some real, hands-on “case study” action, which is convenientlh available in their own community which currently has a particularly bad example taking place.

            As for your personal concern about the individual Mark Hawthorne (sometimes known as “Hateman”) or some other persons that peeve you apparently because they deliberately live outdoors, that sounds like a personal problem of your own. Or

          • Neighbor

            There can be no solution until we take an honest look at the problem I agree. But no one said anything about illegal activities by students. And no pet peeve – Hateman has been quoted extensively as saying he prefers to live on the streets with his followers. You are no more sincere than the city council is. For the last time streets and parks are not appropriate living spaces. So the current solution is the only one for now.

          • slumjack

            Define “living spaces” and “appropriate”. No – don’t.

            The U.C. Law students have produced their study finding Berkeley to be among the “worst” places, in terms of “criminalizing homelessness”. This is being done by taking away longstanding simple Rights of ALL citizens, too. Sure, it’s all meant for “selective enforcement” against only targeted “types” and “class” or persons and some of the officers involved are even surprisingly candid about that, as well.

            It all is ONLY NIMBYism. Doesn’t “solve” anything. Berkeley is among the worst, because other places are doing much better.

            The students are also correct about such Draconian misuses and abuses of laws, law enforcement, citizens, public and even federal funds (obtained via the premise of “helping the homeless” but in fact used to hartass and harm them) needs to be addressed and corrected.

            This does not somehow require you nor I using this venue to conjure some “new solution” to homelessness. After all, if Berkeley is one of the worst, then most all other cities are doing better with some doing best, which could more easily be emulated. A key feature commonly found is that they aren’t focusing on just harassing and criminalizing homeless people, pretending that’s ANY “solution”.

          • Neighbor

            You still won’t admit that not all the people we are discussing want homes. The person illustrated in the article has expressly said he does not. And no, ‘disturbing the peace’ is a long process and no working person has time to constantly engage in the process which involves IDing the person and exposing themselves as the complainer. So no real solution for those affected.

          • slumjack

            Your diversion attempting to somehow get me to “admit” what other people intend or express according to you merits no further response.

            Complaints to the police about improper behavior are a simple phone call. I have no idea what co-called “constant process” you are trying to hide behind.

            It appears that while you are comfortable with publicly identifying and having police harass others, you balk at accusers being identified as well.

            There is a sound reason why our justice system includes the right to face one’s accusers and requires substantiations for allegations, yes. Still, the police that acually respond to such calls do not, in act and fact, typically identify complainants at the time.

  • Big Bear

    If you gave a party for ten eight-year-olds and had a cake equally divided in ten pieces and when the children sat down after blowing out the candles you gave one of them seven pieces, one of them one and a half pieces, and split the rest unevenly between two more kids and gave the other five kids nothing — their “childish” sense of right and wrong would be seriously offended. Probably you would have a kid riot on your hands. Most Americans would judge — as most who know it do judge — that an economy whose wealth is distributed in these proportions is grossly unjust — is in fact a total failure as far as humanity and morality goes. And those are in fact the proportions in which the wealth of America is distributed. What is it that happens to some people between the age of eight and eighteen that deprives them of this basic moral intelligence?

    • slumjack

      This “nation” itself was founded upon stealing everything, genocide, and then “building” the country with slave/oppressed labor, for pittances. That’s exactly *how* “the rich”, “upper class” have long become and continued being as “the powerful” and “leaders”.

      The main problem now is that the “the masses” have become more educated about how it actually works, including the more sophisticated “conceptual” manipulations and complex financial/political swindles, and are also accessing technologies that “empower” them too. And many are STILL unwilling to have their guns taken away.

  • Skip Loader

    BB sounds like Putin’s chess-playing pigeon: the one that craps all over the chessboard, knocks over all the pieces and struts around like he won.

  • slumjack

    An irony of the promotional timing of this (study and article) is that in just recent weeks both UC and Berkeley City Police have emphatically stepped up and sustained their “enforcement” programs against homeless people – to the point where a daily/nightly outright harassment campaign is underway. This includes what appears to be a deliberate, planned “street sweep” scheduled for late hours, when people have already turned in and been asleep. The police arrive at interval hours like 10pm, 12pm, 2am and 4am, obviously for this purpose of locating and then “rousting” people.

    They are awakened and sternly told that they cannot be there doing that and so must gather up all their belongings and “move on”. Further commands include directions such s instances I witnessed on Hillegas St. just South of Dwight Way, which specified that they must move at least two blocks and could not go to the Willard Park area, nor College Blvd. nor Telegraph, effectively driving them to … nowhere. The officer stated that he “couldn’t tell” them anywhere that they *could* sleep, but detailed that it wasn’t allowed “on private property nor public property”.

    This has been a concerted enforcement routine of a provision (PC 647e) within the “Public Commons for Everyone” initiative which prohibits “Lodging In Public” but apparently is not a civic code item such as BMC 13.36.010 which disallows lying on sidewalks in certain identified areas and/or times.

    I’m disappointed to see Councilman Kris Worthington quoted as claiming that this police deployment is a result of “developers” but not local businesses. That strikes me as so deliberately false that I can only ascribe that to his political self-interests, somehow. After all, he faced a pretty earnest effort to oust him from his longheld council seat last election, largely driven by developers while is incumbency is likely due and answerable to the local businesses in his district. Seems somehow self-serving to me, even at the expense of the very well known truth and facts of these matters — that certain local businesses and their commercial organizations have been key sources of efforts for just this kind of “selective” use of police, especially the “Business Improvement District” associations of Telegraph and Shattuck and the individual business owner members that comprise and administer these.

    For years on end now, we see the “responses” to such things “result” in people that are paid to have meetings in order to prepare to have more meetings with people paid to do so, in order to pursue yet more meetings – as if this hasn’t been going on for years on end. It’s a living, I guess. And how they pay *their* rent/mortgage.

    • Skip Loader

      “An irony of the promotional timing of this (study and article) is that
      in just recent weeks both UC and Berkeley City Police have emphatically
      stepped up and sustained their “enforcement” programs against homeless
      people”

      It’s about time.

      • slumjack

        About time for what? To try to just harass them back to Albany Bulb (the historic ping-pong location), which is currently closed?

    • Neighbor

      The problem is that homeless people are kicked out of the park between 6pm and 10am every night putting a strain on surrounding residential areas who already have to deal with the Park situation all day. So asking people to go down to business areas for the night is reasonable. How about finding them homes? According to police many refuse services and want to remain on the street. However this is unreasonable, parks and sidewalks are not designed or zoned to be residences. Where do people relieve themselves after the bathrooms close at night? The same places kids play in the daytime. Let’s have an honest accounting of who the homeless are in Berkeley. I think it would be pretty eye opening.

      • slumjack

        How about some available, open public restrooms? Even decent port-a-potties? That opaque, euphemstic word “services” supposedly being refused means… what, exactly?

        By the way, around the People’s Park area are MANY student housing buildings. I can attest to where many of them relieve themselves even very late at night often, while hootin’ and hollerin’ and running around the neighborhood.

  • slumjack

    An irony of the promotional timing of this (study and article) is that in just recent weeks both UC and Berkeley City Police have emphatically stepped up and sustained their “enforcement” programs against homeless people – to the point where a daily/nightly outright harassment campaign is underway. This includes what appears to be a deliberate, planned “street sweep” scheduled for late hours, when people have already turned in and been asleep. The police arrive at interval hours like 10pm, 12pm, 2am and 4am, obviously for this purpose of locating and then “rousting” people.

    They are awakened and sternly told that they cannot be there doing that and so must gather up all their belongings and “move on”. Further commands include directions such s instances I witnessed on Hillegas St. just South of Dwight Way, which specified that they must move at least two blocks and could not go to the Willard Park area, nor College Blvd. nor Telegraph, effectively driving them to … nowhere. The officer stated that he “couldn’t tell” them anywhere that they *could* sleep, but detailed that it wasn’t allowed “on private property nor public property”.

    This has been a concerted enforcement routine of a provision (PC 647e) within the “Public Commons for Everyone” initiative which prohibits “Lodging In Public” but apparently is not a civic code item such as BMC 13.36.010 which disallows lying on sidewalks in certain identified areas and/or times.

    I’m disappointed to see Councilman Kris Worthington quoted as claiming that this police deployment is a result of “developers” but not local businesses. That strikes me as so deliberately false that I can only ascribe that to his political self-interests, somehow. After all, he faced a pretty earnest effort to oust him from his longheld council seat last election, largely driven by developers while is incumbency is likely due and answerable to the local businesses in his district. Seems somehow self-serving to me, even at the expense of the very well known truth and facts of these matters — that certain local businesses and their commercial organizations have been key sources of efforts for just this kind of “selective” use of police, especially the “Business Improvement District” associations of Telegraph and Shattuck and the individual business owner members that comprise and administer these.

    • Mike Hunt

      Just curious slumjack, are you homeless? Or do you live in a house/apartment/dorm?

      • slumjack

        Why’s that, Mike? Elsewhere, you pretended that you are somehow unable to attack people personally if you don’t happen to “know them” personally, in response to Big Bear’s observation of your reversions to the Ad Hominem Fallacy.

        And here your ONLY response to the issues, actions and pertinent info I posted was to… ask about my personal circumstances? Aren’t you cagey?

        • Mike Hunt

          Would you be okay with people you don’t know sleeping on your floor or in your bed? Coming and going as they please? I’m guessing you will say that you would be totally fine with this. So my next question is do you actually shelter any destitute individuals? If not, why?

          • slumjack

            That’s another Fallacy to attempt to Beg The Question and a Strawman one, at that. After all, a sidewalk down the block isn’t your floor or in your bed.

            Why are you attempting all these Fallacies in response to the topic?

            But, yes, I *have* sheltered some destitute persons and/or allowed them on some properties, at times under certain conditions.

            “Criminalizing” their very existence and basic human needs such as sleeping doesn’t “solve” ANYthing, other than possibly mere NIMBYism. And the way this “enforcement” is being conducted is just needlessly cruel. Of course, it may also be done so late to avoid the rest of the public eye, as well.

          • Skip Loader

            “That’s another Fallacy to attempt to Beg The Question and a Strawman one, at that.”

            Evasion noted. Do you think that merely being “homeless” allows one to appropriate public or private property at will?

          • slumjack

            Which use of public property is, then, “public” and “okay”? These people EXIST. There was an “emergency” shelter open during the worst rains but is closed now. All human beings have to be somewhere and have to sleep sometimes. What’s your problem with that simple reality? Why NOT let people sleep in a park at night — it’s perfect fine to do so during the day.

          • Neighbor

            Because the city parks are not meant to be homes for people, and because their original purpose should be respected. Let’s not lose focus on the fact that people need homes.

          • slumjack

            Homeless people have attended quite some number of the interminable “meetings”, including one-on-ones with city councilpersons, police officers, consortiums, etc. and there’s even a “homeless commission” and whatnot for the city. These were “advocating” for things like some area where sleeping, if not “camping” was legal and okay. Maybe with some minimal provisions like some fresh water and portapots. Same thing for the homeless fortunate enough to have a vehicle, since “habitating” in those (other than paying a special place for that) is also illegal.

            Other cities have done both. Berkeley has done neither.

            The original purpose of People’s Park? It was a trashy undeveloped dirty parking lot the Univ. left after demolishing all the former houses there. I was among the thousands of people that transformed it into that park, some years ago, including quite a serious tussle with the Univ. local and then state government, yet prevailing eventually and now persisting for almost 46 years.

            I don’t recall that park’s purpose being specifically “for” mainly “homeless” people, nor excluding them. To this day, it’s fine for people (homeless or not) to sleep there during the day. Or in other parks, too. Just not from about 10pm to 6am or so.

            THAT is among those decoy rules/laws actually meant to exclude homeless people, often with highly selective enforcements. If we were to just be plainly honest about it.

            The fact that people need SOMEwhere to be, every day, every night AND to sleep is a simple reality. Right now. Always. Even while years continue to roll by with our paid (including public and “charitable” orgs) agents having countless meetings and making all the plans to “solve” the raw fact that there are STILL a lot of people homeless with those ongoing needs to exist and get by in that predicament. Perhaps we’ll see a corollary article published once they get that done.

            “Criminalizing” them is more obviously about driving them away to… well, nowhere in particular. It adds serious functional and survival hardships and only “solves” some other people’s suffering of their disapprovals, contempts and unpleasantness of having to see or encounter them.

          • Neighbor

            Whenever there are stories with interviews it turns out many area homeless not from Berkeley. Supposedly the city is attractive to homeless people from other areas. Also, Hate Man himself has said he prefers to be homeless. Many/most of the young travelers, who also hang out on Telegraph with their pit bulls did not grow up here and do not appear to be looking for jobs or apartments. how can the City solve that problem? Many others refuse care, even shelters. I think someone should be helping them 24/7 not just leaving very mentally ill people on their own. But the others….should people have the right to live on the street when shelter is available?

          • slumjack

            Again, the only specific “problems” I see you or many others ever assert are either particular behaviors that are ALREADY addressed by existing laws (i.e. public intoxication, disturbing the peace, dangerous pets, littering/vandalizing, public urination, etc.). And that’s regardless of whether a person is a “local” with whatever extent of history one might require to accept their status as such, or a “travelor”/visitor for some length of time.

            Besides, in this day and age, we have an especially “mobile society” with LOTs of relocating residents, travelers, visitors and/or part-time “residents”. ANY real concern about this just can’t be due to merely THAT status. And Berkeley’s supposedly reknown “services” (which same complainers paradoxically ALSO complain that “the homeless” AREN’T availing too) are distinctly and significantly INFERIOR to any number of other places, in fact. To the point where, as the Law Students have found, Berkeley has progressively become one of the WORST places for homeless people, in real terms – mwith some of our local politicians and influential commercial interests pushing, possibly even illegally right now, to harm them further.

            Such an undue self-congratulatory fabrication could then only be a ruse toward ever actually supplying such resources and/or services and as a chimerical “justification” for demonizing and wronging that targeted “class”.

            I think it’s also somewhat a false, strawman “issue” to even attempt the local/foreigner idea, since what are complained about are specific *behaviors/actions” by individuals. The *location* of these is always presented as somehow “fused” with ONLY certain “types” or persons. Because I frequently have observed U.C. students violating SAME EXISTING LAWS, or even worse (i.e. shooting pellet guns AT “homeless people”) with little to NO police enforcement or consequence.

            Let’s just be candidly, bluntly honest about this. After all, why not?

          • Neighbor

            “public intoxication, disturbing the peace, dangerous pets, littering/vandalizing, public urination”..”are ALREADY addressed by existing laws”

            No. If a resident in the area observes these actions and reports them police may show up but little can be done if they don’t observe the activity. Maybe the pitbulls are running off leash or whatever, the police arrive, the dogs are put on leash or claimed to be under “voice leash” and so on and the next day it’s the same crap. It is also a huge job to call the police every time and a huge expense for taxpayers, so overall there is little incentive to report the problems to police yet all those things occur. I asked to see your reference for the claim that drug addicts, convicted drug dealers, and those with serious mental disabilities are not vastly over-represented in this population. I agree with you that services are needed and it is disgusting that this is happening in a so-called liberal city. But homeless people quickly dominate areas where they gather. It is intimidating not “offensive because the people are poor”. They are squatting, taking over an area of public space. Some are claiming this as a right – not housing necessarily, but the right to live on public lands including sidewalks and area parks.

          • slumjack

            Just when, and how, did ALL locations become either private or jpublic property to the extent that some people can no longer even exist and live ANYWHERE?

            “Land of the free?” Or the bought and paid for or else?

        • Mike Hunt

          Would you be okay with people you don’t know sleeping on your floor or in your bed? Coming and going as they please? I’m guessing you will say that you would be totally fine with this. So my next question is do you actually shelter any destitute individuals? If not, why?

        • Skip Loader

          Mike didn’t attack you, he asked a question. Or like most fanatical lefties, do you consider it a personal attack whenever anyone questions you or asks you to back up your statements with facts?

          • slumjack

            I’m sorry, Skip… I must’ve missed your answers to those questions.

      • slumjack

        Why’s that, Mike? Elsewhere, you pretended that you are somehow unable to attack people personally if you don’t happen to “know them” personally, in response to Big Bear’s observation of your reversions to the Ad Hominem Fallacy.

        And here your ONLY response to the issues, actions and pertinent info I posted was to… ask about my personal circumstances? Aren’t you cagey?

  • Big Bear

    Yes, they go along with reading comprehension. Or they don’t. As the case may be.

    Speaking of philanthropy, it is a statistical fact well-known (except to people like Mr. Hunt) that the poorer the American the higher proportion of personal income and wealth we tend to give to charity (on average, of course). Proportionately, Big Money is the least charitable segment of the American population. This has been true for a very long time. And of course it stands to reason: how can one in a hundred of us keep half of everything if, once they have looted it (“legally” of course, according to the laws they buy from the legislatures they own), they gave it back? Let’s not be silly — even when the “Best People” encourage it — and their lackeys, hirelings and dumb pawns too. The Best People have reasons, you know, for spreading stupid ideas among the rest of us — they do it in their own interest, not ours.

  • Big Bear

    Mr. Hunt, in your several comments below you throw up a few terms from one among the innumerable economic theories. But I’m not talking about theory. I’m talking about facts: the facts of the distribution of wealth in America today, its hereditary concentration in the hands of one family in ten thousand and the controlling power it exercises over the American economy — a power which it established in the later 1890s and has been consolidating and extending ever since for approaching 120 years — four generations. This isn’t a matter of theory, it is a matter of historical fact, indubitably established. And these facts have everything to do with the character of the economy and the society we live in perforce — including the facts of homelessness, among which are the fact that over a million American children are now homeless and the fact that as many as seven million homes are being held by investors off the market (the so called “free market”) vacant because people don’t have the money to pay the prices investors demand — don’t have it because they do. As I mentioned earlier, half of Americans have zero “liquid capital” (as some theorists call it), zero wealth to invest, even in their own shelter (let alone anyone elses), and we always will and we will die that way. Just as more than have of all Americans have been doing for four generations now. And half of the wealth in America today is in the hands of one person in America, with the contolling “share” in the country in the hands of one among a hundred among those one-in-a-hundred — Just as it has been for nearly four generations. These are facts, not theories. They are solidly established and one or another professor on campus should be able to refer you to authoritative sources. An emeritus prof at UCSC has a useful website, called — if I remember correctly — Who Owns America. It will point you to pertinent sources if you can’t find a prof on campus here to help you. One way or another you need to acquaint yourself with them, and, if you are interested in economics, reflect on them. Particularly if you wish to continue to pontificate on the subject. They are the basis of all theory, as well as the foundation of economic and social reality around us.

    • Mike Hunt

      The prospect of coming to any agreement on the income inequality debate is dwindling. However I think we can find some common ground on another issue: basketball inequality. See I love basketball but I’m not very good at it. The basketball skill distribution in America is extremely unequal. A select few individuals control the vast majority of basketball skill in this country. My solution is to chop off the legs of every NBA player so that the basketball skill distribution is more egalitarian. Surely Big Bear we can agree on this point!

      • Big Bear

        One difference is that not everyone is forced to play basketball but every Ameican has no choice but to play in the American system, which is dominated by a small gang — one in ten thousand players — of nine-foot bullies. But in another respect your analogy is apt, since great height, like great wealth, is a hereditary characteristic. However, if you compare genetic and financial statistics you will see that a nine-foot financial bully has much greater odds of having a nine-foot father and grandfather and a nine-foot son, than Wilt Chamberlain’s son has of reaching his father’s height. The financial law and institutions owned and operated by our nine-foot economic bullies insure it — have insured it for 120 years now — a lot longer than the NBA, and a lot more effectively.

        • Mike Hunt

          Wrong again. Nobody is forced to live in America unless they are in prison. But that is besides the point. You comment is very interesting to me and I think gets to the crux of the matter. You insinuate that wealthy individuals are “bullies.” Why? Why do you call them bullies? Why do you vilify success? What have they ever done to you? Maybe a bit of jealousy? Maybe you are a bit greedy yourself for what they have and you lack? Maybe?

          • Big Bear

            So you suggest that most Americans should leave? But then where would the investor class get its servants and its rent serfs?

            As for financial bullies — over a million homeless children looks symptomatic to me.

          • Mike Hunt

            So you vilify wealthy individuals because you think they cause youth homelessness? First time I heard that one…

          • slumjack

            Except all the people that can’t afford passports and travel?

            Your “points” are topping out the Specious Meter.

          • Skip Loader

            “Except all the people that can’t afford passports and travel?”

            Not having passports or airline tickets hasn’t exactly stopped millions of Mexicans from entering our own country illegally. As easy as it is to get into this country, it’s probably just as easy to leave. And again, if our country sucked that badly in terms of economic opportunity, how come millions of people willingly break our laws to come here?

            Once again, the evidence refutes the bloviating progressives.

          • slumjack

            So you advocate illegal actions. Noted. You’re dismissed.

          • slumjack

            Except all the people that can’t afford passports and travel?

            Your “points” are topping out the Specious Meter.

        • Liz.dickson

          Just because one is born into wealth does not mean that they will forever uphold that characteristic. One could just as easily lose their fortune as one could gain their respectable place within society.

          • Big Bear

            Of course. But the 0.01%, the 16,000 families, the one-in-ten-thousand, do a remarkably good job of hanging on to and increasing their loot. Most of the big fortunes go back to before 1900, many go back to the Civil War, and some before. The Roosevelts were major bankers in New York City before 1700. The Steve Jobses are beloved of apologists for plutocrats but they are very rare. Over 90% of those 16,000 families are “old money” and have been around for several generations at least. One or two Steve Jobses every generation don’t make a bit of difference to the structure of the distribution of wealth in America and the plutocratic power this oligarchy exercises.

          • slumjack

            What a curious equation, Liz. “Easily gain their respectable place within society”? Which place is that?

          • Liz.dickson

            Wherever on the economic spectrum they fall.

          • slumjack

            Reputable place = economic status then? Everyone IS on that spectrum already. I equate “reputable” to be quite other than net worth, financially.

    • Skip Loader

      “I’m talking about facts: the facts of the distribution of wealth in America today”

      Wealth isn’t “distributed”. It’s earned, it’s inherited, and (unfortunately) sometimes confiscated, legally and illegally – but there isn’t some individual or group just arbitrarily handing out money based on personal whim and caprice. You lefties base too many of your economic theories on grossly inaccurate assumptions, which is why your ideas invariably fail sooner or later.

      • slumjack

        Yet, the U.N. and many other organizations, economists, politicians and others are yet having lively discussions about the distribution of wealth. Taxes and “brackets” are decisions about distribution of wealth. Are you a “Righty” which feels compelled to just do battle with “you lefties”, actual practical matters being irrelevent?

  • Mark Talmont

    Every day I see more evidence that being a law-abiding, productive citizen is being criminalized….

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2015/02/21/4391300/northeast-fresno-collision-leaves.html

    http://www.modbee.com/news/local/crime/article10697972.html

    This stuff is the Daily News out in the free-fire zone of the valley. DUI fatals, drive-by shootings, lately they’re blasting away at people in their cars; there’s a 16-year-old girl with bullet fragments in her eye right now, her family asks for help with a GoFundMe

    http://www.kmjnow.com/common/page.php?pt=Brianna+Ramirez%27s+Family+Asks+for+Help+With+Medical+Bills&id=28962&is_corp=0

    All these people, and many more, were minding their own business when they were attacked by people who feed off The System that Jerry Brown and his minions have built. Let everybody out of jail, don’t enforce anything against the illegals, boo-hoo. It’s a war on everybody else.

    • slumjack

      Well, that IS the point, in essence: one is “law-abiding” UNTIL being “outlawed” for the very same things by the passage of Yet More Laws for that purpose.

  • Big Bear

    What is the number one cause of homelessness in California? Housing costs grossly inflated by real estate speculation and usury. There is no connection between the cost of creating shelter — materials and labor — and the cost of paying for it. The cost of paying for it piggybacks decades of real estate speculation and usury and developer profits on top of the cost of housing and extracts it from rent and mortgage serfs. And those whom the economy or their incapacity to fulfill the demands of employers prevent from fulfilling the demands of landlords and mortgage bankers are out in the cold. Discussion that doesn’t confront these issues is a hoax and a smokescreen. Which is an academic speciality in which UC Berkeley is expert.

    • Mike Hunt

      You are exactly right! The price of a good does not depend on the material or labor inputs, but on the marginal utility derived from the good.

      To illustrate: would you rather live in San Francisco, or Kaktovik, Alaska?

      • Big Bear

        I’m a native here and I plan to die here. I’m sorry to see my country, my state and my native area pillaged and plundered by absentee predator investors and their hired shills. And the bogus choices you propose and the bogus pseudo-economic blather you dress them do not convince me otherwise.

        • Mike Hunt

          Suppose you are correct and that poverty and homelessness and that darn leaky kitchen sink are all caused by “predator investors and their hired shills.” Do you have a solution to the problem?

          • Big Bear

            All of the predatory economic relationships I refer to are based on corporate and financial laws that were written to serve the predatory interests that benefit from them, by legislators elected to serve those interests. These laws can be changed by an informed populace through democratic action. An informed electorate is key. That’s why you have never heard of what I’m talking about. Keeping you ignorant is key to maintaining these predatory economic relationships. Again, as I noted above, there are profs on campus who can refer you to the sources — Reich might be one and Saez (I might be mis-spelling him) is even likelier. Since you’re at a ‘great university,’ why not make use of it — including its library. The Daily Cal comments sectino isn’t really the right venue to seek a detailed education in basic economics. The university might be if you use it with intelligence and good judgment. Or course, if you already know it all, that won’t be necessary. But your comments suggest otherwise.

          • Mike Hunt

            You are insinuating that I am ignorant of economics. However when I attempted to elucidate the relationship between price and marginal utility you dismissed it as “pseudo-economic blather.” Maybe a trip to the library would do you some good as well.

          • Big Bear

            See above.

          • Skip Loader

            “All of the predatory economic relationships I refer to are based on
            corporate and financial laws that were written to serve the predatory
            interests”

            Yawn. If I wanted to hear that I would just hang out on Telegraph and listen to the gutter punks rationalize why they don’t have jobs.

        • Skip Loader

          “I’m a native here and I plan to die here. I’m sorry to see my country,
          my state and my native area pillaged and plundered by absentee predator
          investors and their hired shills.”

          I know a lot of ex-Californians who were happy to sell their property, cash out, and move to somewhere else far more sane and affordable.What exactly is your problem again?

  • Mike Hunt

    In America today bums and fast food workers are the most revered members of society while entrepreneurs and businessmen are the most reviled. Something is not right…

    • Big Bear

      What makes you think predators and fraudsters are worthy of reverence?

      • Mike Hunt

        Hey someone had to make that iPhone in your pocket and those Abercrombie jeans on your legs. I have more respect for people that strive to make life better for everyone through technology and innovation than I do for a bum smoking weed on the sidewalk or a guy at mcdonalds spitting on my fries.

        • Big Bear

          Banksters, financiers, investors and predatory corporations and their management didn’t do any of those things — the workers they hired and exploited for the profits that keep half the wealth of this country in the hands of 1% of the population did those things — often in sweatshops overseas where the “trickle down” economy that their hired liars tout to ignorance Americans doesn’t even “trickle down” on Americans.

          • Mike Hunt

            I’ll just say that I am glad to live in a country where people like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs get rich from their inventions that make people’s lives better. And I am glad to live in a country where people who are lazy or stupid or both have to live with the consequences of their actions.

            Sadly the progressive movement aims at reversing this dynamic by taxing successful people and giving the money to scumbags.

          • Big Bear

            So you think that 99% of Americans are “lazy and stupid” to the extent that we are fairly rewarded with under half the wealth in the country, and half of us are fairly rewarded with no wealth whatsoever (besides paltry personal possessions — clothes, maybe furniture, maybe a vehicle)? We certainly have different ideas about what makes a fair society and an equitable economy. But if your ideas are correct, America is doing a great job, because we have by far the least equitable distribution of wealth of all “developed” countries on Mother Earth. As for me, I disagree with your view and I imagine that most informed Americans also disagree with your view. This is why it is in the interest of the 1% who own and operate “our” country to keep the res of us misinformed. In your case, they appear to be succeeding handsomely.

          • Mike Hunt

            Maybe you can tell me who is in charge of “rewarding” people or “distributing” income? I would like to have a chat with that person. Oh wait! Wealth and income isn’t distributed! It is earned in a decentralized and organic fashion by individuals pursuing their own separate self interests. Also, your comment rests on the assumption that there is a fixed economic pie. That is to say, you seem to believe that if a rich person gets something, then that means they are taking something away from another person, which is flat out false. So, no sir, you are the one who is misinformed.

          • Big Bear

            It’s a fact — there are several profs on campus who can send you to the sources — that 0.01% of the American population — one person in ten thousand — about 16,000 families — hold over 13% of all the wealth in “our” country — mostly by inheritance in their families going back over 100 years. These holdings are concentrated as controlling interests in the core financial, corporate and mercantile institutions of “our” country — financial entities like Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, industrial entities like GM, International Harvester, public utilites like ATT, the oil companies and power companies, commerical entities like Standard Brands, General Foods, Armour, Swift, etc. etc. And all these ownerships are coordinated and interlocked on what is referred to, in a general way, as Wall Street. This is the pinnacle of American economic power. These facts have been established, since 1902, by a whole string of Congressional investigations spanning the last century. This is no mystery to anyone acquainted with the facts. The fact that you aren’t says something about your education. Again, there are profs on campus who can point you to the sources. They are not seriously contested by informed people. Inform yourself and see.

          • Mike Hunt

            I am going to let you in on a little secret that only rich white people like me know about. You can actually open a brokerage account online and get yourself a little slice of American economic power. In fact, if you work really hard and save your money then one day you just might find yourself in the 1%!

          • Big Bear

            Yes and Santa Claus might come down my chimney with a bag full of gold, but fantasy is fantasy and fact is fact. Since you’re a student at a great university, maybe you should use it and learn some.

          • Mike Hunt

            Are you saying that it is fantasy to believe that through hard work and perseverance a person can become wealthy and successful? That isn’t fantasy at all. It happens all the time in America! And just the same, people who were once wealthy but made mistakes just as quickly fall to a lower economic status. In fact, very frequently people who are counted as being in the 1% income earner are only there for a very short time and can move in and out of this position. Most American workers will be counted as being in the top 20% income earners at some point in their life.

          • Big Bear

            Plainly I’m saying no such thing. But you are proving your inability to read plain English or your unwillingness to understand what you don’t want to hear — which is it?

            You will find it helpful to distinguish between “income” and wealth (assets). Economists do. Incomes vary much more than wealth. The structure of the distribution of wealth in America I describe here has remained essentially stable for four generations — not because those one family in ten thousand are harder workers or smarter but because they have used their assets to manipulate financial and corporate law and institutions to their benefit. Steve Jobs is not representative of this group — not remotely. The several dozen primary Rockefeller heirs are. The Hearsts. The Mellons. The Morgans. Etc.

            It helps to know something about what you are talking about. This takes intelligence and discriminating study. Reading comprehension is basic.

          • Mike Hunt

            Okay Big Bear you have presented what you believe is the problem of wealth inequality. Would you like to present your solution now?

          • Big Bear

            Certainly, in outline. Changes in corporate, financial and tax laws are key — because most big money is based on “franchises” and other legal privileges granted by law to specific moneyed beneficiaries. “Corporate personhood” is an obvious target. Absentee investing is another. Henry George’s “single tax” offers an excellent way to put an end to predatory real estate speculation. Usury laws are as old as the Christian Church. Many effective and tested ways of legally leveling the table without upsetting dinner exist. The vested interests — as Thorstein Veblen, a useful American economist, called them — work hard to keep these ideas hidden from the population at large, the way they keep the facts of the distribution of wealth in America hidden — because you wouldn’t want people to get ideas, would you? The real difficulty is taking American government back from the plutocratic oligarchy that has usurped it for the last four generations, and making it work again for what our constitution calls “the general welfare” instead of for the very powerful very wealthy few and their favorite servants. The plutocratic oligarchy that controls America has made a specialty of preventing this for four generations. Adult education — citizen education — in the real adult facts of the matter — instead of the pablum of propaganda peddled by the apologists for predatory wealth — this is basic. Have some.

          • Mike Hunt

            Ok then lets talk specifics. What percentage of tax receipts do you think should come from the top 10% income earners per year? What number would be most fair in your estimation?

          • Big Bear

            We need to make more fundamental changes — like eliminating corporate personhood and abolishing the Federal Reserve and replacing it with a public bank and public credit like the most solvent state in the union has, and has had, for a century — North Dakota — and like several of the original thirteen colonies had — and prospered by means of — until the plutocratic oligarchy of Great Britain outlawed it — precipitating the American Revolution (read Ben Franklin, supplement him with Ellen Brown’s Web Of Debt). Taxing capital gains at the same rates as income would be a start — as even Nixon said, the returns of labor should be valued as highly as the returns of wealth. But it’s not a question of fine tuning tax rates. It’s a question of outlawing the numerous forms of legalized fraud and pillage on which corporate wealth and the perpetual unearned cash flow of the one-in-ten-thousand are based. Usury is a glaring example. Even the Hebrew Bible forbids it.

          • Mike Hunt

            Well that is really a great fantasy you have…wait, it isn’t a fantasy! There is actually a place like that. Its called North Korea! In fact I think you would like it there so much that I am willing to part with a few of my gold doubloons to buy you a one-way plane ticket to Pyongyang!

          • Big Bear

            Wouldn’t you prefer to burn me as a witch? That’s more traditional, you know. “Commie”! “Red!” “Doodoohead!” Didn’t your mommy teach you not to call names? Ask one of your teachers what an “ad hominem argument” is and why its use betokens deceit or stupidity. Which is your excuse?

          • Mike Hunt

            I don’t even know you, so how can I attack you as a person?

            You know Big Bear I have refrained from pointing out your myriad spelling and grammatical errors because clearly English isn’t your first language and I also wanted to keep our conversation above that sort of thing. But you seem to just keep dragging it down by calling me stupid. But that is a common tactic of the left so I can’t fault you too much. Next time maybe just be a little more original okay?

          • Skip Loader

            I see that Big Bear is incapable of addressing Mike’s points.

          • Skip Loader

            “We need to make more fundamental changes (blahblahblah)…”

            I see you avoided Mike’s question. How predictable for your kind…

          • Skip Loader

            “”Corporate personhood” is an obvious target.”

            Oh, jeez – another one of the “corporations are evil” drones. You proposing that businesses be run on the basis of townhall meetings or what?

          • Big Bear

            Another really good idea is a tax on investment sales — a so called “Tobin Tax”. When you buy toilet paper, you pay 10% sales tax. People with money to play with gambling in securities should pay a similar tax on their purchases of financial paper. Such a tax on the order of 1%-3% would cover the federal budget and allow us to entirely eliminate the income tax.

          • Mike Hunt

            By the way, all those men were, and continue to be, great philanthropists.

          • slumjack

            Hmmm. “Men” again. Must be your mindset.

          • slumjack

            That’s also because “the top 20%” is such a relatively low income. Again, you inadvertently just underscored core points again – that the wealth curve begins to get steeper and steeper *after* that 20% until the final few single digit percents have MANY times more wealth than ALL the percent below.

          • slumjack

            Why are we to google Grace, instead of googling “Mike Hunt” to show us what you claim?

            And its the exceptions that prove rules, of course.

          • Mike Hunt

            Google me in 20 years…

          • slumjack

            What else *can* they say? There just is NO real, sensible “justification”. That leaves condescending, adversarial fallacious guff.

            But “the masses” HAVE gotten “smart” enough to have figured this out better and at larger scale than ever. Or is that “the market”?

          • slumjack

            Where “people who are stupid have to live with”… what?

            And you consider that “smart” of you?

          • Skip Loader

            Uh, what exactly would those “exploited workers” make again if there was nobody to provide capital, ideas, and organizational skills?

          • Big Bear

            A decent living in a decent human world, instead of a rat race in a debtors maze.

          • slumjack

            Ask the cooperatives?

        • thompson_richard

          But Bill Gates dropped out of college. Why post on a college website? How often do you eat at McDonald’s? In Berkeley? Are people really spitting on your fries?

        • slumjack

          You, inadvertantly, outright personify one of the core points in the actual issue in the article. This country wasn’t founded ONLY for “technology” entrepreneuring. There are matters of actual “liberty” and “freedom” (yes, including commercial pursuits too, but not requiring that to be free).

          Do you have any idea how many of even the top “successful” celebrities and businesspeople have spent time homeless and broke? Innovation probably won’t come from folks that can’t think well enough to make meaningful distinctions, separate issues adequately nor throw out babies with bath waters.

          • Mike Hunt

            You are exactly right slumjack, America was founded so that people can live freely. It worked out pretty good until the 1930s…

          • slumjack

            Depends upon whose asked and which history is referred to. But I won’t haggle about that timeline, broadly. However, this ain’t the 1930’s (when plenty of people had to sleep outdoors, travel about with what they could carry, etc.). Thing is, whether you or anyone else, personally, might ever choose or need to do so, these are both Draconian laws AND are depriving us ALL of those longstanding freedoms, too. The trend toward stripping away more and more basic Rights of all people, in order to actually oppress some, has been underway for awhile now and is a most dubious “solution” for anything.

            Because some people find it unpleasant to have to see such persons that DO need to do so. ALL the laws do is make a very hard situation harder and force them “elsewhere”. That’s it.

            Of course, these laws and enforcement campaigns are ALWAYS accompanied with mentions and rhetoric about various other “services” and meetings and supposed “solutions” otherwise that really should be “discussed”. For years on end now. Over and over. But never quite result in much, if anything.

            Berkeley Mayor Bates is quote a coupla’ years ago claiming that the city has been spending about $8 million annually “on homeless services”. Try to find a clear, specific line item budget for that “spending”.

      • Skip Loader

        If you won’t like business and free enterprise, why don’t you move somewhere where the locals are more in line with your particular political and economic beliefs? I hear that Pyongyang is delightfully brisk and uncrowded this time of year…

    • slumjack

      Why you poor misunderstood “successful” people! Revered/reviled by WHOM then? Or is that just a standard kneejerk reaction whenEVER caring attention goes to others?

      Besides, HOW many “business models” are built that absolutely require minimum wage workers to get by on so little in order that the entreprenuers and businessMEN(?) may rake in a LOT more than that, and also by selling their stuff to ’em?

      • Skip Loader

        Typical liberal – more worried about making a bug fuss about how you’re more “caring” and “compassionate” than everyone else, with no concern as to whether your wonderful ideas actually work in the first place.

        • slumjack

          Your mere Ad Hominem Straw Man is very brittle, frayed and simplistic. Hobby of yours?

  • thompson_richard

    ‘The future is a boot smashing a human face forever’ (George Orwell). I saw a child’s terror in a homeless camp two years ago caused by a policeman holding a German Shepherd on a leash. I read newspaper articles about two psychologists who drew $81 million from the U.S. Treasury to torture prisoners; and a Boalt Law Professor who deemed such torture acceptable government policy.
    Parishes in Jolly Old England had the right to remove within forty days of arrival any newcomer deemed “likely
    to be chargeable.” Some areas also experienced an increase in the number of able-bodied relief recipients. In an attempt to deter some of the poor from applying for relief, Parliament in 1723 adopted the Workhouse Test Act, which empowered parishes to deny relief to any applicant who refused to enter a workhouse.
    During the 20th Century interwar period the Poor Law served as a residual safety net, assisting those who fell through the cracks of the existing social insurance policies. The high unemployment of 1921-38 led to a sharp
    increase in numbers on relief. The official count of relief recipients rose from 748,000 in 1914 to 1,449,000 in 1922; and the number relieved averaged 1,379,800 from 1922 to 1938. Prejudice, War, and the Constitution

    won the Woodrow Wilson Award of the American Political Science Association in 1955 as the best book of the year on government and democracy (attention: ASUC ~ you don’t have to go way back in time nor do you have to go far from Sproul Plaza to find Japanese-American put in concentration camps). Books by the late, great, blind Cal Professor Jacobus tenBroek are “The Antislavery Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment” (1951) — used by NAACP Counsel in preparing for Brown versus Board of Education — and “California’s Dual System of Family Law” (1964),

    • Mark Talmont

      An award named after the racist eugenicist internationalist traitor. I’m really impressed. He got the federal reserve in place and passed the income tax while promising that it would never apply to anyone besides….the top 1%! He put thousands of his political opponents in prison for speech crimes too. (Come to think of it, I can sort of see why left-wingers idolize him so.)

      Wilson hustled through a thing called the Webb-Pomerene Act which was Globalization release 1.0, it reversed all the anti-trust laws Teddy Roosevelt had gotten through–all the trusts had to do to re-establish themselves was just to…go offshore.

      Mexico is using the 14th to re-conquer California right now. You don’t suppose massively uncontrolled immigration has anything to do with housing does it? But I appreciate the Orwell reference, we’re living on the last page of “Animal Farm” right now. I kind of expect the last page of 1984 to arrive sometime after the coronation of The Empress. You probably think she’s going to make everything really fair? Stalin and Mao said so too.

    • slumjack

      The significance of the article’s study is the “criminalization” of the most poor and destitute. Through previousily generations, quite a few poor folks have “gotten by” on a daily hand-to-mouth basis via a set of simple, most humble options. These are being progressively outlawed, “criminalized” and removed. But that, alone, does NOT somehow then “get rid of” all the people actually needing those options. It ONLY just gives them even less, if any, options. All the pragmatic needs still exist.

      So what, exactly, is the point of these laws? Demonstrably, to just drive them away to some other place (assuming there is one and they can realistically actually go there). Or to… what? “Ticket” or jail ’em? Tickets are mainly a civic/judicial/law enforcement revenue source, in effect, but the poorest people can’t afford to pay fines. That leaves incarceration at public expense for limited spans of time. Then what? That’s one of the most expensive and least cost-effective “housing” methods.

      Which is why we have a corporate “prison” system installing that, instead, is selling the forced slave labor. The more things change the more they become the past, the Robber Barons, the Fiefdoms and the Class Wars all over again.

      • Neighbor

        Many homeless in Berkeley are homeless by choice. Perhaps the laws are protecting residents and business owners and making the homeless option less attractive. Case in point is hateman pictured above who refuses to live indoors. Also the large numbers of young travelers with their pitbulls seem healthy and relaxed and not very interested in looking for jobs and apartments. Let’s see some honest reporting on the subject for a change. And for those who need and want services why aren’t they getting them after more than 8 million spent in recent years?

        • slumjack

          “Homelessness” is “problematic” to “residents” and business owners requiring police “protection” just how?

          For instance, one BPD police officer said outright that “hanging out on Telegraph” is “fine”. BUT that people weren’t “allowed” to do so on the side of the sidewalk where a business bldg is – although they were NOT touching that bldg OR in the doorway or ON that property. He just pulled up in his cruiser car and shined the spotlight in their faces, with no explanation until approached and asked what he was doing. When others enquired about just what was being “enforced” that way, he got out of the car, possibly seeming somewhat threatening as he grabbed his baton and swaggered around the car complaining about how they had just “made me leave my car”.
          eing
          Were those “homeless” people? WHICH “law” was being “enforced”, exactly? HOW were any residents/business owners being “protected”?

          Again – we still haven’t quite defined “services”, but yes — WHAT HAS Mayor Bates and WHOM ELSE been spending $8 Million yearly on, specifically? And WHERE and HOW is this info and detail available?

          I haven’t yet been able to find that on the City website, nor a procedure on how to obtain it.

          • Neighbor

            I would like to see that information also. Please post the URL if you find it.

  • Suicidal_JD

    Law school ruined my life! I have no job and I have student loan debt that will follow me to my grave. Save yourself! DON’T GO TO LAW SCHOOL.

    • HighRy

      You made your bed. Either adapt and survive or give up like you are doing. You made the decision to go to Law School. Find a way to use your degree or find something else to do.

    • wildthang

      That’s happening in all professions, in order to survive they have to scam and cheat to keep afloat in competition with everyone else when fewer people can pay for mush of anything. Buyers of all things beware as paranoia grows in the season of the witch.