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Archive for January, 2009

Homeless man gets 15 years for stealing $100 !!!!

A homeless man robbed a Louisiana bank and took a $100 bill. After feeling remorseful, he surrendered to police the next day. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

Isn’t a person realizing the “errors of his/her ways” what the whole so-called justice system claims as its goal?

Here is a link to a photo of Roy Brown

[PEOPLE PROJECT received word of this from SCHAP,
Stop Criminalizing Homeless And Poor,
posted by: “isfonelove” Iolmisha@cs.com, Wed Jan 28, 2009]

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/265402#tab=article&sc=0&local

Homeless man gets 15 years for stealing $100

A homeless man robbed a Louisiana bank and took a $100 bill. After feeling remorseful, he surrendered to police the next day. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

Roy Brown, 54, robbed the Capital One bank in Shreveport, Louisiana in December 2007. He approached the teller with one of his hands under his jacket and told her that it was a robbery.

The teller handed Brown three stacks of bill but he only took a single $100 bill and returned the remaining money back to her. He said that he was homeless and hungry and left the bank.

The next day he surrendered to the police voluntarily and told them that his mother didn’t raise him that way.

Brown told the police he needed the money to stay at the detox center and had no other place to stay and was hungry.

In Caddo District Court, he pleaded guilty. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison for first degree robbery.

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Sleep is a physiological need, not an option for humans. It is common knowledge that loss of sleep produces a host of physical and mental problems (mood irritability, energy drain and low motivation, slow reaction time, inability to concentrate and process information). Certainly, no one would suggest that a groggy truck driver who stops his rig on the side of a road rather than risk falling asleep at the wheel does not act to prevent a significant evil, i.e., harm to himself and others….

‘I mean it doesn’t take an expert to tell us that, to convince a person, that there are ill effects that arise from sleep [deprivation].’

quoted from

In re Eichorn, 69 Cal.App.4th 382 (2000)

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This letter was probably rejected as a Letter to the Editor, so we put it here! Note: People in SoHum (Redway, Garberville) are often picked up, brought almost 2 hours away to Eureka, cited, and released to the street with no way back home and no survival gear that they were carrying. All over the country, benches and anything that allows people to rest for a moment, are disappearing.

The Grinch that stole the picnic table

Oh how cool for the town square to donate the picnic table to the some peoples community park. The real reason is that it is another chapter in the war on the poor. Was anyone in our community contacted to see if they would rather , sit at at a picnic table or a small bench at some people’s town square? People finally had a reasonable place in town to gather without being harassed but, oh no that just couldn’t be. The same merchants that sign petitions to get the police unprecedented power to get folks to move on and who think they are above the law and clouds made that decision. I have seen the kindness and generosity of this community first hand and have seen the dark side also. Backpacks are like yellow stars to the right wing profilers, off to the gulag you go.

As the cops constantly harass folks who live in their rigs or park on our streets a motor home sat along the highway in Richardson grove for months. I guess it sat there because no one was living in it.Ahh what kind and generous times we live in.

How we treat our poor is a direct reflection of us as a community. I know you catch more bees with honey but this just stings me.

Name withheld to protect myself

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on Dec. 23, 2008 against the City of Laguna Beach, its council members and police department on behalf of the homeless people of Laguna Beach. The suit claims that the city’s anti-sleeping ordinances result in an unconstitutional harassment of homeless people. The city’s police illegally conduct ‘sweeps’, picking up homeless people from the streets and subjecting them to interrogations in the middle of the night.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, claims the town is engaged in a campaign of harassment against the homeless while providing no year-round city-sponsored shelters. The 21-page complaint focuses on an ordinance that criminalizes sleeping on the street, which ACLU attorneys said is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Read More…

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[originally posted Jan 4th, please read now!]

Cold weather, especially over an extended period of time, takes a heavy toll on the health and well-being of the most vulnerable members in our community.

Recently, a small household in Eureka, made its garage available as a safe sleeping space for people with no shelter. The household and a group of friends (many PEOPLE PROJECT folks) organized the space in response to the dangerous weather and police conditions on the street. It was actually quite simple. Prior to opening the safe sleeping space, we discussed how we thought it would work best. One of the things decided beforehand was that we would make the space available for 11 nights (December 21-31), and would be explicit about that time frame, so that people sleeping there could depend on a stable schedule.

At this time, opening your home or some covered space is imperative. We were so grateful for the garage, and all went well. Being only a temporary situation, we are reaching out to you, asking you to open your garage, yard, or big room for whatever time you decide is possible.
We imagine a rotating emergency sleeping space.

We have found that when a community cooperates and shares in the protection of its most vulnerable members, the result is a vital sense of security experienced by all.

The people who recently shared their garage and those of us who supported and helped coordinate that emergency shelter space are available to talk with you about our experiences. We are eager to assist you in many ways if you are able to open up a sleeping space.

Ways we can assist you include: collecting floor padding, blankets, sleepware, and other necessary warm things (the garage just used had a cement floor); driving folks who need a ride to and from the space; and being present in the sleeping space overnight. The volunteer-run PARC (Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community) in Old Town Eureka fully supports the creation of temporary or permanent dignified community sleeping spaces. PARC is available, for any set-up you may provide, as a phone contact, a donation drop-off, and a dedicated resource for people offering or utilizing a safe shelter.

People can and do freeze to death in cold or wet or windy weather.. here we have all three at once. And the police continue to harass people and ruin their gear in the rain and cold. Please call and/or email if you want to talk about opening a space up yourself. It is freezing at night, and we can make a way through these hard times together.

Please Call PARC: (707) 442-7465

The following are the guidelines that were posted on the inside of the garage. You may have some different ideas for your place. We believe that emphasizing honor, dignity, and relationship makes for a truly “safe space.”

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ WELCOME ///////////////////////////

This is a hate-free space. that means…
NO racism, sexism, homophobia, etc
* please no physical or verbal violence
* smaller room is for women only
* bigger room in is for all

To protect this safe sleeping space…
– no drinking alcohol or doing drugs (including pot) here
– use lights, not candles
– every night, come through front house door when you first arrive;
then use the front gate to go in/out.
– use bathroom in the house (walk in back door, then to right)
– quiet after 9pm, and during cigarette breaks

You are welcome to sleep here…
– every night through the night of Dec 31st.
– Please come in no earlier than 6pm and no later than 10:30pm
-mornings, out by 9am please

Please do not leave your belongings here,
as no-one is here to protect them

Please communicate theses guide-lines with newcomers

If you need anything, please feel free to ask.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\///////////////////////////////////////////

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These are 3 accounts from the January 6, 2008 Grub-n-Grab.

News from Wabash and UNion (EKA)

Grub and Grab, January 6 2009
Eureka,CA

A Grub and Grab is the creation of our imaginations, where we practice what we preach and live our dreams of community. Without any financial burdens, we reclaim a neighborhood space where we can allow for relationships outside of the state and capital regulations. Simply, it is a place where we share the abundance of our society as well as our individual aspirations. In the heart of this winter season, we bring hot food, drinks and warm clothing for all who have been weathered by the storms. Under large tarps we put up dry tables of countless goods that belong in the hands of those who need it. We know that in the downfall of their economy, we are left to struggle for all necessities. The GNG is one way that we stand together and provide for ourselves. This is not charity, this is beyond solidarity. This is not a one time deal, but an ongoing practice of our values. GNGs have been going on since the summer of ´07. This last GNG has turned out to tell the story of many elements to our situation of crisis. The story of this event will help to clarify our purpose to ourselves and the greater Eureka of what are our intentions

Because the GNG was scheduled for the 24th of December, it must have been perceived as a christmas happening, although it was not specifically that.

The Day

We set up at eight o’clock with hot food and and a warm crowd. There was a sense of accomplishment amongst the crew. Pleasantly, through word of mouth there was about 10 of us setting up, making it easy to set up and unload. Also, we were fresh faces to one another, allowing for making new relationships and connections. Through persistent organizing we pulled a crew together ofof strangers ready to work together at 7 in the morning outside in the rain without compen$ation. But – We were there! We set up at this building that barely looked like a place of worship, it was an old run down church. The church at Wabash and Union is an example of capitalist and bureaucratic process that have lead to neglect and waste. The building stands with broken windows and boarded up doors hardly resembling a church at all. Now it stands with a new story.

People came down Wabash by car, bike and foot to see what was going on. We flew through coffee and potatoes. As the rain came down, people came up to get dry coats. This is very practical – no? We shared conversation with old friends and new acquaintances that came by. There was joy in the air despite the water clouds above. People were pleasant and respectful, not following rules or judicial law, but our own common sense. The children reflected this, happy faces and giggles, there was kid clothes and even toys. Some came for the coffee, and some came to say hi. Some came with carts, and some came with minivans. We were grateful, and our smiles showed it. Aside from th chit chat, we also screened movies with a portable TV. It was place to hang out – and thats what we did, content under the protection of tarps.

While people trickled in and out of the space, some of us went to pass out fliers at Henderson Center. Our fliers were received well except for a group of employees who suggested we leave before security came to throw us out. This seemed strange considering our good intentions, but not surprising policy for a corporation. Upon our return, the PIGZ were at the site serving orders to move from our location prematurely. We had intended to be there another 3 hours. Against our will, we packed our things and hung our tails between our legs, like the dogs they treat us like. I was not ready to leave. I was not ready to be arrested. We packed up three truck loads, and gave thanks for the success we did have.
How come our day of giving was not allowed and the december 24 give away was hailed as a miracle? the ongoing contradictions of the state and property owners is not new to me but still just as outraging!
—————————————————————–

NO HOAX! But a miracle is still a miracle!

The spirit of giving and community empowerment lives on- even sprouts an unexpected branch. What was recently dubbed an internet hoax and cruel prank was actually a very simple slip up. The December 24th Grub-n-Grab, which was called off due to extenuating circumstances around resources and weather, was to be the 7th such event organized and carried out in recent years by PEOPLE PROJECT. It was our hope that as the Craigslist ad had only been posted for a few hours between 12 and 7 am, the risk of anyone showing up was minimal. That it caused anyone inconvenience is regrettable, and we at PEOPLE PROJECT apologize for the miscommunication. That this mishap should generate so positive an experience as to be called a miracle, was an inspiring surprise and we wish we had been privy to the organizing that ensued after we pulled the posting.

The Grub-n-Grab is no joke. We have hosted 7 such events in this area over the past 2 years. It all started when People Project members happened upon several truckloads of goods a local church was needing to get rid of. The high spirits that ensued from this first give-away led into conversation about what had made the event unique and special and why it felt so different from the other “institutional” charities we have all experienced in one way or another.
Inspired to affect compassion, sharing, empowerment, and community cooperation; and eager to re-imagine what community could look like, and feel like, PEOPLE PROJECT members carried the dream into action. It was in the spirit of this tradition, that on the 6th of January we rolled up our sleeves to host the event which had not been able to happen on the 24th. Only a little bit sheepish from the spin-off of our mistake and the title of “evil Grinch”, we set up our canopy and tarps and put on a great event. There was hot food, live music, educational videos, children playing, and lots of free stuff picked out. As was so beautifully illustrated in the Miracle on Wabash story, those moved to help were not necessarily coming from a place of affluence and privilege, and the real show of wealth came from the spirit of sharing.
Such is the case consistently in our organizing, where many among us are houseless, and where in working together to create a space where humanity and care are held in priority over material success and profit, the result is the kind of empowerment and community uplift bestowed by the spirit of sharing itself. We hope to join forces with those who rose to the occasion on X-mas day to ensure that this wonderful occurrence does not get buried in the past as a one-time thing. Past experience confines us to the unfortunate expectation that should the “miracle workers” endeavor to act on a continuing grass-roots basis, in collaboration or otherwise, they will be met with many of the frustrations, obstacles and harassment we have and continue to struggle with. However, of course always optimistic, we pray that in this case things may be different.

On Tuesday afternoon, some of the most significant obstacles standing in the way of such ongoing community self-determination were made clear. A property manager, more concerned with what he stands to lose than what he has to give, and a police force, obligated to enforce policy based in social anxiety rather than optimism and hope, put an early end to Tuesday’s Grub-n-Grab. The officers dealt fairly with us and we in turn, though disappointed, complied in the prompt breakdown of the event. Community members scrambled for last minute finds and bites of food as we packed.

The take home message would seem to be that an isolated instance of spontaneous humanity is permissible, but that the ongoing work of lifting each other into a stance of dignity cannot be allowed. Whether this condition stems from class prejudice or from the general cultural anxiety around disparity and issues of social justice, or any number of other possible reasons, it is difficult to say. It may be that this treatment stems from the belief that if our houseless community members are treated with respect, a larger population of dispossessed people will be attracted. Meanwhile, frustration and anger mounts for those of us faced daily with the deterioration of health, dignity, and life of people being pushed into extremes of poverty by a system unwilling to address its problems and which penalizes those who most need help and protection. We would hope that the colossal adversary of poverty and systemic blindness in our communities would be villain enough to rally ongoing response. But if it takes a fictitious evil Grinch to rally folks from the couch cushions, we will gladly show up in costume.

Travis Lathrop,
Peoples Project
————————————

A participant from GRUBNGRAB explains events and feelings (Eureka)

I am excited to have been involved with my first Grub n´ Grab; an ongoing struggle to share with people our intent and compassion. The GNG practices mutual aid with creativity and is acting as a catalyst by pushing for a market-less way to distribute within a very market dependent culture. The GNG allows people to become peers amongst each other; diminishing the ideaś of class, salary, and capital. Autonomy and dignity share this special space with the proles and the elite, while both browse freely amongst the excesses of yesteryear’s forgotten product.
There is another definite symptom of creating such a space. The folks who involve themselves in the event, whether it be browsing for clothing, eating some ´taters or setting up tarps and tables, seem to adopt a sense of respect and responsibility for that space. On Tuesday we turned a beaten up and neglected church into a safe haven from the rain and in some cases the hunger. People who came away from that came away with a sense of respect for the location, us, and other participants.
When the Realtor Ron Queen, arrived his demeanor and attitude were authoritative. Immediatly he proved this to be true by demanding to know who was in charge of the event. Having understood that this space was shared by everyone and we all participated in setting it up and maintaining it, I answered him by acknowledging that fact. After i took a look at who he was barking at, i realized he had been speaking towards(at not to) KRSTNA and CRTNY. As if to let people know who was running the show ´now´. During our confrontation with him we repeatedly tried to talk outside the sphere of capital, and property. He was intent on remaining decided in his favor and ignored our attempts to express our discontent with having to leave after an already successful day of sharing. He informed us that the police were arriving shortly and that we were to break down our tarps and tables, food and clothing, banners and fliers, immediatly. Upon arrival the PIGZ tried to make sense of the situation. Doing what they know best to do, they confirmed the Realtorś claims, identity, and ´supposed´ right to eject us from the property by giving us an hour to break down. Ron Queen, during all this time, stood on the side of the law. Shoulder to shoulder with the two officers he had ordered to remove us. After their departure more folks showed up to ask about the event. Many took clothing as fast as we could break down. As we finished up we realized the hour had passed and still no intervention.
Grub N’Grab is a space that means i can detach myself from capitalism and engage in true community solidarity. Reaching out to those who need us just as much as we need each other. We can attach ourselves to something that is more real and more tangible than the state would ever believe. We have made a collective effort to escape from that which has confined us, and that to me means everything. It means Survival.

p.s. Final analysis: Smash Capitalism; Off Da Pigz, Everything for everyone!

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Reno Dismantles Makeshift Homeless Encampment

By Jeff DeLong • jdelong@rgj.com • January 10, 2009

Crews on Friday dismantled a makeshift encampment set up outside
Reno’s homeless shelter on Record Street, leading to complaints by
some living there that they now have no place to go.

Beginning about 8 a.m., city workers removed tents, sleeping bags,
tarps, slabs of cardboard and other items to be hauled away by dump
trucks.
“I think it’s horrendous,” said Mike Kavanagh, who had been sleeping
at the camp for the past 10 days.
“They just don’t care,” said Kavanagh, 53. “People will have to walk
the streets.”
“We’re cleaning it up, and that’s about it,” Reno Police Sgt. Ray Leal
said as he watched workers dismantle the camp.
Fewer than 10 people slept overnight there Thursday, said Jodi
Royal-Goodwin, Reno’s community reinvestment manager.
“A lot of people were just using it as storage,” she said.
The site is at the same location as a larger “tent city” set up for
the homeless over the summer. The tent city had at one point as many as 160 people living there. The city officially closed the site in
October, but clusters of homeless have continued to sleep there, even
with the arrival of freezing winter temperatures.

City officials posted signs in the area Tuesday warning that all
belongings must be removed by Friday or would be discarded,
Royal-Goodwin said. Camping in the area will no longer be allowed.

The move was necessary because construction of a new day area for the homeless will soon commence at that location and because of unsanitary conditions, Royal-Goodwin said.

Some beds were available at the nearby shelters, she said.

That availability is sharply limited, however. The 158-bed facility
for men was full Friday, while there were 15 openings in the 50-bed
women’s facility, said Christie Holderegger of Volunteers of America,
which operates the Record Street homeless complex. A facility with
apartments for 21 families was expected to be full by today, though
there were two openings for pregnant women or single women with
infants or toddlers, Holderegger said.
The 60-bed men’s shelter at the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission has also
been filling nightly.
“There are people who will be turned away this evening,” a mission
worker said Friday.
Some of those displaced by the camp’s closure said they are now in a tough spot.
Kari Hartman and her husband Donald Morey, both 44, lived in the tent
city over much of the summer and then left. They returned to the
smaller camp a couple of weeks ago after Morey lost his latest job,
Hartman said.

The couple said they opted to stay at the camp rather than in the
shelters because they would have to sleep separated.

“We had our little camp set up right here,” Hartman said. “We just
don’t want to be separated.”
Hartman said she had no idea where the couple would go Friday night.

“It’s all up in the air,” she said. “If you go to the river, you get
arrested. You go to the parks, you get arrested. They don’t want you
downtown.
“We have no where to go,” Hartman said. ” If we had somewhere to go, we’d be there.”
Elizabeth Dorway, chairwoman of the Reno Area Alliance for the
Homeless, criticized the camp’s closure.
“I just feel this is a safe place for people to be,” Dorway said,
adding that those who stayed there will now probably be “dispersed”
around the city.
“It may have been unsightly, but the people are the real concern,”
Dorway said. “Where are these people going to go now?”

AND A DISCUSSION ON ABOVE TOP SECRET:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread426617/pg1

reply posted on 10-1-2009 @ 10:03 AM by projectvxn

I heard of this first through a friend who frequents St. Vincents for
breakfast every morning. He is homeless. Police actually denied access
to those wanting to claim their property before they took it away in
trucks, in effect depriving of property without due process. Reno gets
below freezing temps at night, and it is an arrestable offense to set
up a tent, sleep in your car, or seek shelter in any way. Most of the
people who are homeless in Northern Nevada are families with children
who have succumb to the current economic crisis. The police have been arresting people, taking and destroying their personal property
without probable cause, due process, or any other legal precedent.

My friend(Who shall remain anonymous) took me down there to see for
myself the hardships faced. I have been homeless in Nevada, and I’ll
tell you, it has gotten worse, not better for those just barely trying
to survive.

The police, according to my source, and my own experience at St.
Vincent’s, told us that the new stadium was going up and that they
“Did not want to have to look at a bunch of dirty bums”. What they
said to the news media, was obviously not reflected in the article.
But it is what they told us, verbatim.

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