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Archive for February, 2009

Got a coat?
Blanket?
Pair of warm socks?

People who are living outside need dry coverings! Coats, socks, and blankets leave as fast as they come (It doesn’t help that the police constantly steal peoples’ only belongings to keep warm!)

Please call PARC if you have anything. The rain and wind are real rough to live in continuously. The phone number for PARC [Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community]: (707) 442-7465

Here’s PARC’s webpage: http://parc.2truth.com/

Imagine being soaked wet- and not having any place to dry off.
Imagine finally falling asleep, cold and wet, on the concrete or on a piece of cardboard, and the police come and wake you and take your only bedding… It happens ALL THE TIME.

Donations PLEASE.
Thank you.

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Recently, copwatchers witnessed 4 (that’s right FOUR) Eureka Police Officers arresting a woman for sitting in a covered bus stop late at night with only a blanket in her hand.

Three vehicles, two of them K-9 units, were there. The officers were: Adam Laird (Badge #40), Kurt Rulofson (new guy), Ed Wilson (Badge #96), and Mike Guy (Badge #63).

The woman asked the officers, “Where do I go?”

She told them “I didn’t do anything.” But, you see, if you sit somewhere in public at night, when you have no other place to go, you get arrested.

After the woman was HANDCUFFED, male officer Rolofson, in the presence of the other cops and 4 copwatchers, searched her. That means he put his hands in her ass pockets and felt all over for… something (found nothing). It happens quite often here in Eureka- male officers searching women.

The woman was CITED and RELEASED LATER THAT NIGHT (or wee hours of the morning). Undoubtedly, she was sent back to the streets (where there is NO legal place to be or sleep) WITHOUT HER BLANKET which was seized by the cops and, as is customary, kept at the Jail until a “business day.”

If the woman wants her blanket (and it hasn’t been destroyed), she has to march up to the Sheriff’s desk on a week day only, show ID, and jump through the hoops to get it back.

http://redwoodcurtaincopwatch.net

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IHSS threatened – take action

[forwarded from SCHAP- “Stop Criminalizing Homeless and Poor”; One comment regarding this letter is included in the bottom of this post. Please feel free to add your comments, as with every post on this site.]

originally from Laura Rifkin:
PLEASE REMEMBER – This is based on the Governors Proposal; the negotiators are keeping silent.

February 6, 2009

THE GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED BUDGET WOULD ELIMINATE IHSS DOMESTIC SERVICES FOR 81,000 LOW-INCOME SENIORS AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program provides services to low-income seniors and people with disabilities who live in their own
homes to help prevent more costly out-of-home care. Governor Schwarzenegger proposes to eliminate domestic and related services for IHSS recipients who have less severe impairments effective May 1, 2009.

This change would reduce IHSS Program funding by $257.6 million between May 2009 and June 2010 and affect 81,000 vulnerable Californians.

Estimated Impact of Governor’s Proposal To Eliminate Domestic Services for Recipients With Less Severe Impairments in the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

    Program County – Number of Recipients – Affected Loss of Funds

Alameda 3,320 $13,678,000
Alpine 3 $10,000
Amador 30 $87,000
Butte 630 $2,176,000
Calaveras 50 $182,000
Colusa 30 $55,000
Contra Costa 1,450 $5,495,000
Del Norte 60 $235,000
El Dorado 150 $555,000
Fresno 2,250 $8,359,000
Glenn 70 $243,000
Humboldt 320 $899,000
Imperial 990 $2,288,000
Inyo 20 $53,000
Kern 880 $2,575,000
Kings 320 $882,000
Lake 290 $1,180,000
Lassen 50 $145,000
Los Angeles 34,290 $96,747,000
Madera 300 $776,000
Marin 300 $1,281,000
Mariposa 40 $106,000
Mendocino 260 $868,000
Merced 560 $1,179,000
Modoc 20 $64,000
Mono 5 $25,000
Monterey 640 $2,233,000
Napa 150 $645,000
Nevada 110 $407,000
Orange 3,020 $7,520,000
Placer 330 $1,328,000
Plumas 50 $109,000
Riverside 3,020 $10,571,000
Sacramento 3,850 $16,538,000
San Benito 70 $296,000
San Bernardino 3,560 $11,702,000
San Diego 4,590 $13,448,000
San Francisco 3,700 $14,137,000
San Joaquin 1,280 $3,829,000
San Luis Obispo 310 $1,122,000
San Mateo 540 $2,754,000
Santa Barbara 480 $1,587,000
Santa Clara 3,010 $10,837,000
Santa Cruz 420 $1,655,000
Shasta 490 $1,321,000
Sierra 10 $13,000
Siskiyou 90 $209,000
Solano 540 $2,474,000
Sonoma 870 $3,816,000
Stanislaus 1,130 $2,873,000
Sutter 150 $444,000
Tehama 190 $481,000
Trinity 30 $66,000
Tulare 510 $1,217,000
Tuolumne 70 $100,000
Ventura 650 $2,043,000
Yolo 330 $1,215,000
Yuba 130 $441,000

Total 81,000 $257,574,000

Note: Total number of recipients affected and total loss of funds are Department of Social Services estimates and reflect the Governor’s
proposal to eliminate domestic and related services for IHSS recipients with less severe impairments beginning on May 1, 2009
. Estimated loss of funds includes federal, state, and county funds. Estimates of affected recipients are rounded to the nearest 10, except for Alpine and Mono counties, and estimates of loss of funds are rounded to the nearest $1,000. County estimates are based on counties’ share of the IHSS caseload and expenditures in December 2008. County estimates may not sum to totals due to rounding.

Source: CBP analysis of Department of Social Services data

forwarded by:
Laura E. Williams, President
Californians for Disability Rights, Inc.
http://www.disabilityrights-cdr.org/
————————————-
from Frank Z:

“I was an IHSS “social worker” in Ventura County. Their definition of social work does not involve concern for the elderly and disabled clients. Rather, it involves a system of insurmountable caseloads resulting in the least amount of attention to the clients. The approach to this program is to give the clients the LEAST amount of help possible. I remember several home visits with our nurse who was there to “assess” the needs of clients. She mentioned several times that “it’s all about saving the taxpayers a few dollars” as we drove passed the Ronald Reagan library to the assisted living complex to do the assessment. The caretakers are low-paid and mostly immigrants and “low-skilled” workers. The SEIU takes a cut of their check but the caretakers receive no health care or any other benefits that a union is supposed to fight for. The caretakers only get paid for the amount of hours authorized for the clients based on the “assessment” and the social workers are encouraged to give as few hours as possible, thereby creating a natural antagonism between caretakers and social workers. The whole situation left me disillusioned and led to me going back to school, partly because the medical benefits, salary, and retirement weren’t enough to reconcile the hypocrisy of the system. When services are cut, the state’s rhetoric always seems to be, “these are difficult financial times and we need to cut spending…” as if it were an isolated incident. However, in my opinion, it is not a matter of balancing the budget but of the value system of classical liberalism and its neo-liberal manifestation. From the seventeenth century, individuals have argued against what were then called “poor laws” in Europe, insisting that they would limit freedom of hardworking individuals and encourage laziness and drunkenness. This same rhetoric is used today when taxing the super-rich is still denounced as an attack on individual liberty. The philosophy of the welfare system is to make it as difficult and shameful as possible to get assistance and to give the bare minimum.

As long as both our “representatives” and “advocates” accept this framework, then they will continue to quibble over what and how much to give and never be held accountable for their capitalist logic of scarcity.

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Protect community space
Letter to Editor, Times-Standard
Posted Feb 13, 2009

Recently, People’s Action for Rights and Community (PARC) volunteers were informed that their rent would be raised 33.3 percent by Consolidated Property Management Company until the managers find a “more suitable tenant.” PARC has been serving our community since November of 2007 and runs entirely on donations.

Previous tenants have vacated due to rent increases, including 3-2-1 Coffee and Silver Threads. While these businesses are missed, PARC is unique in providing free support to people whose human rights have been violated. It also serves as a workshop and organizing space for a variety of community groups, including the People Project, Icarus Project, Accíon Zapatista and more.

PARC provides resources, protection, and self-empowerment for the poorest and most vulnerable in our community. I have used the PARC office as a meeting space for the Northcoast Icarus Project, a radical mental health organization, and attended an informative and empowering “Know you rights?” workshop there. PARC is hub for grassroots knowledge-sharing. If we are to build a caring society we need such gathering places in order to create alternatives to oppressive structures. Incidentally, PARC also makes available free clothing, blankets, children’s books, and other necessities for those in need.

A valuable community resource is in jeopardy. In these times of economic need we need spaces like PARC more than ever. Your readers can address letters of support to the owner John Egan, then send them to PARC, e-mail , fax 707-442-7465 (call first), or deliver: 320 2nd St. Suites 2F & 2G in Eureka.

Hannah Clapsadle

Eureka

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Ex-LA hospital exec arrested in alleged med fraud
The Associated Press, Jan 30, 2009

LOS ANGELES—The former co-owner of a hospital was arrested Friday on charges stemming from a scheme to recruit homeless people for unnecessary medical treatment to collect millions of dollars from government health programs.

Robert Bourseau, the 74-year-old former chairman of City of Angels Medical Center, was arrested at his downtown home without incident, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Vince Farhat.

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Bourseau on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks to a Skid Row recruiter, and 11 counts of paying kickbacks.

Also named in the indictment was Dante Nicholson, the former vice president of the hospital, and Bourseau’s company that operated City of Angels, Intercare Health Systems, Farhat said.

Nicholson, 51, of Palmdale, will be summoned to an arraignment next month, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Lawyers for the men could not be immediately reached. Messages seeking comment were left at two phone numbers listed for Bourseau, who also has a home in Rancho Mirage. He made an initial court appearance Friday and was detained pending trial, U.S. attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek said. An arraignment was scheduled for Monday.

Bourseau and Nicholson each face a maximum of 65 years in prison if convicted of all charges. Intercare could face fines up to $6 million.

The hospital was sold in December to Success Health Systems, and now operates as Silver Lake Medical Center, Farhat said.

The indictment stems from an alleged scheme in which City of Angels officials paid a recruiter $500,000 over three years to round up homeless people from Skid Row with Medicare or Medi-Cal cards and transport them to the hospital.

The “patients,” who were paid $100 or less,

(what?????)
were usually diagnosed with minor ailments, including yeast infections and dehydration, and the government programs were billed for the medical treatment.

Bourseau’s business partner, Dr. Rudra Sabaratnam, pleaded guilty last year to bilking Medicare and Medi-Cal of $4.1 million from 2004 to 2007. The recruiter, Estill Mitts, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. money laundering and tax evasion.

Both men are scheduled to be sentenced later this year.

SEE ANOTHER ARTICLE:
HERE…Dr. Rudra Sabaratnam, 64, admitted to paying approximately $493,000 in kickbacks to Estill Mitts, the owner of a skid row-based recruiting storefront facility, and others to recruit homeless patients and take them to the hospital for unnecessary services.

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“Aftermath” by Robert Norse Thursday Feb 12th, 2009

The law in its majestic equality “forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” –Anatole France

So it now goes in Progressive Santa Cruz.

At the 7 PM session of City Council, the only item on the evening agenda was the Second and Final Reading of the expansion of the Downtown Ordinance Forbidden Zones, making three infraction ‘crimes” a potential misdemeanor if unattended to, and metering the benches (plus the fluff added by Matthew’s secret Downtown Impro.vement Task Force.

Neither Beiers nor Lane kept their commitments to ask solid questions about the law, though Lane said he encouraged “musicians with complaints” to come to him. Rotkin repeated the same misinformation that there was “no consequence” presently for ignoring or tearing up infraction citations, which required giving the police additional “war against terror” problems (the terror of the panhandler, the sitter, the street performer, the homeless sleeper, and the political tabler).

Rotkin ignored the fact that two instances of any of these crimes within 6 months is currently an automatic misdemeanor unless lowered by the city (which it always does with sleepcrimes in order to stop jury trials, save itself money, and avoid a public defender).

I call him a liar on this issue because I brought the matter to his attention specifically on tape (see http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb090205.mp3).

During this session there was actually more public opposition to the ordinance changes than support. The merchants had hauled out their dog-and-pony show on January 27th and didn’t feel the need to come back. The weather outside was cold and nasty–reflecting the nature of what was being done inside Council chambers. There were less than 20 people in the audience, compared to the estimated 300 that attended the prior meeting. The supporters knew their fix was in.

Mayor Matthews untypically allowed 3 minutes for public comment and gave me 5 minutes for my organizational presentation (she said she’d lost the e-mail requesting it in advance, but accepted my word that I’d sent it).

Joe Schultz served his usual hot spirit-sustaining soup and agreed to do a benefit meal to challenge the ordinances in future. Students from Cabrillo and UCSC agreed to do some organizing against the ordinances for a future protest planned downtown for March.

HUFF will continue to work on what is the real issue for many poor people downtown: fighting back against (legalized) police harassment through a more unified system of documentation, witnessing, public education, and legal jujitsu (the laws that they’ve passed also apply to tourists and customers).

The DIY Copwatch Blog, when we complete it, should be a useful tool to document police, host, ranger, and deputy harassment soon after it happens and provide the data base for seeing just who’s getting cited for “bad behavior”.

“Bad behavior”, of course, now includes sitting in the expanded forbidden sidewalk zones, playing music that a resident objects to, serving free food if that dissatisfies a merchant, sleeping at night if you’re homeless, or having a “bad attitude” towards police demands (“you’re drunk”, “no we don’t have to use a breathalyzer”, “yes we will release you at 3 AM without your property”, “no we don’t have to justify it in court–we dropped the charges”).

Increased policing and squeezing people into smaller and smaller zones will naturally produce warm relations in the community between police and public. Contributing to a “more welcoming” downtown.

Any real attempt to deal with “bad behavior” by police, including false arrests, overcharging, mis-citing laws, selective enforcement, intrusive surveillence, and special interest security-guard behavior on the (impoverished) public payroll naturally went unnoticed and unmentioned by City Council.

Rude, angry, and abusive behavior on the street, as I’ve mentioned before, is nowhere explicitly dealt with in these changes, nor, largely, in the original downtown ordinances themselves. Nor are the causes and provocations that produce resentment addressed. These are gentrification anti-homeless laws that expand police powers to move people along and punish them for doing what poor people do in public spaces: sit, try to sell their possesions, perform, table for change, and beg.

If a tourist or resident says “you’re a dirty beggar” to a panhandler, that’s “free speech”. If a panhandler says “you’re a callous tightwad”, that’s cause for a citation for “abusive panhandling”

“The poor have to labour in the face of the majestic equality of the law, which forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

The new changes go into effect a month from last Tuesday.

Interestingly enough, other cities have defeated these kinds of laws. Most recently Northampton, MASS activists and streetfolks fought back. See http://michaelannland.blogspot.com/2009/02/poverty-is-not-crime-stops-panhandling.html

For more details on the prior Santa Cruz struggle, check out http://www.the-alarm.com/pdf/7-26-02.pdf . The Alarm (2001-2005) published many articles and letters about this struggle. Their archives can be found at http://www.the-alarm.com/pdf/index.html My thanks to Fhar Meiss for his tireless work on this paper.

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