[Hpn] two regrets, and two questions...

Coalition on Homelessness, SF coh@sfo.com
Tue, 22 Aug 2000 03:39:55 -0700

Hey Harmonica Tom, welcome back!

the posting below is as per your request. I didn't write it to fan 
the flames of controversy, I wrote it in response to some postings on 
the LA IMC from allies of ours. You should read all the postings 
regarding Hayes to gain a more complete picture of his disgraceful 
role during the DNC. We have enough real work ahead of us without 
dealing with the loose cannons rolling around the deck.

LA was quite an eye-opening experience. I heard someone say at the 
rally in Pershing Square before the Human Needs Not Corporate Greed 
march that it was the the second time in their life that they were a 
part of a movement that has joined so many in the struggle. ditto for 
me. and I'm certain it's going to be a bumpy ride before all's said 
and done.

as for your second request, I believe the folks to direct police 
abuse reports from the DNC would be the Midnight Special Law 
Collective (gotta love that name - sounds like some kind of groovy 
bail bond operation, but it's not). their phone number is 323 / 
939.3039 and their email is neo@lawcollective.org. If anyone learns 
differently please let me know.

I gotta deadline (like what else is new?) I'll be posting further 
reports from the front lines of the battle to rescue justice when I 
pull my nose off my monitor sometime later this week.



(or two regrets, and two questions...)
by ch@nce 8:00pm Sat Aug 19 '00

I can see that I'm not going to be able to successfully hold my 
tongue about Ted Hayes...

Let me preface these remarks by qualifying my perspective. My name is 
chance martin, I work for the Coalition on Homelessness San Francisco 
where I edit the STREET SHEET - the oldest street newspaper on the 
west coast. I've been a homeless advocate/activist for about 10 
years, except unlike Mr. Hayes - who maintains that he voluntarily 
chose to live among "the homeless" - I became homeless when I lost my 
small business behind disability in 1988. Perhaps the reason why 
Hayes can so casually objectify homeless people by labeling them as 
"the homeless" is because he sees them as separate from himself. And 
labeling, after all, is the first step in disempowering any group of 
people. Self-appointed leaders like Hayes invariably predicate their 
"leadership" on their success at disempowering their followers.

That being said, allow me to state that Ted Hayes is the most 
tireless, most shameless self-promoter that I've ever met in all my 
years of homeless advocacy. Do a search on Dogpile for "Ted Hayes" 
and you'll see what I mean. Hayes has carved out a niche for himself 
by making statements in the corporate media that pander to the 
"quality of life" crowd, and frequently at the direct expense of the 
civil rights of the same homeless people he claims to represent.

I first met Hayes at at statewide civil rights organizing conference 
in L.A. several years ago. Or, more correctly, I met Hayes and his 
entourage, including an attractive European videographer who shooting 
a documentary NOT about homelessness, but about Ted Hayes. It seems 
he was using the conference as a backdrop for his latest vehicle for 

At first I was puzzled, because Hayes' remarks were so far off-topic 
from the workshop's discussions that I was starting to mistake him 
for another drug causality. Then I realized that he wasn't even 
speaking with US, and that all of his comments were solely for the 
benefit of the camera. As this became clear, I dismissed Hayes as an 
aberration, paid scant attention to his theatrical posturings, and 
said silent thanks that homeless advocacy in San Francisco hadn't yet 
"gone Hollywood."

Thankfully, Hayes stayed pretty much off my radar until very 
recently, when we received an invitation to send a "delegation" to 
his "National Homeless Convention" at Dome Village. The stated 
purpose of this gathering was to gather input for a "National 
Homeless Plan." I had my reservations, but since we were sending a 
group to participate in the protests anyway, and especially since we 
spent a great deal of time last year developing an action plan to end 
homelessness in San Francisco

we thought we'd check it out.

I spoke to some folks at Dome Village by phone, and asked for a draft 
of the document they were working from so we could be prepared to 
participate. They faxed a program and agenda, and pretty sketchy ones 
at that. Not to be deterred, I checked out Dome Village's url, and 
what I found there was disturbing, to put it mildly.

The two most clearly articulated components of Hayes' plan were: 1) 
the plan's basic intent was to create an even greater role for 
corporate interests by inviting them to become stakeholders in the 
creation of a domestic "Marshall Plan" (the post WWII U.S. policy 
that opened war-torn Europe to exploitation by corporate interests 
and laid the foundation for the present European economic union), and 
2) installing none other than Ted Hayes as national "homeless czar," 
heading a Presidential Commission for "the Homeless." Can you say 
"grandiosity?" Can you say "lack of insight?" Seems like Mr. Hayes is 
one ambitious man.

Also disturbing was that the url's content changed almost daily. This 
presented a problem for me because I had been asked to critique 
Hayes' Plan for an interview with a Los Angeles micropower radio 
station through LA IMC. Ultimately, I decided not to take Ted Hayes 
to task for solidarity's sake (and since we were going to participate 
in his convention) and spoke instead about the plan we developed, and 
about the National Civil Rights Organizing Project we're working on. 
That is my first regret.

A couple of us stopped by Dome Village Monday (after we missed the 
start of the U'wa demo) to see if we should find parking and bring 
the other ten folks in our group to Hayes' "Homeless Conference." A 
large white canopy had been erected, under beneath which sat a stage 
and row upon row of empty chairs. Dangling in hopeful anticipation 
from the canopy's support poles were signs designating where 
representatives from the various corporate media outlets could set up 
their cameras, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX... etc.

Thinking this was only a lull in the activities, we wandered further 
to the registration table, and then entered Dome Village - a cluster 
of neat and wonderfully habitable little "buckyballs" in a well 
shaded, park-like setting nestled beneath the freeway. It certainly 
had the look of a "model" habitat - the kind of "model" you promote 
to funders for more free money. After all, Dome Village was initially 
funded by a quarter-million dollar grant from ARCO - one of many 
"models" of corporate savagery - and receives ongoing support from 
the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Can you say 
"one strike" rule?

Hayes wasn't there. Few were there, except some residents and a lady 
I've corresponded with via a homeless email list. (hi, Catalina!) And 
no-one there could offer a single confident statement about when, or 
if, anything was ever going to happen. Sadly, it was a non-event. We 
hung around and made polite talk for a few minutes, then hiked back 
to the van to eventually catch up with the end of the march (more on 
that later).

The only other time during our stay (we returned to SF Tuesday 
evening) that we passed by Dome Village, a band was playing in the 
cool shade of that big white canopy to those same silent rows of 
empty seats. The band was pretty good - the scene looked like a 
surreal wedding reception after the bride got stood up. My guess is 
that being so roundly ignored is precisely why Ted Hayes decided to 
up the ante.

Later that evening, we had already gravitated to the barriers before 
LAPD gave the dispersal order following RAtM's protest performance. 
Our group couldn't risk arrest because three of us were in jeopardy 
from INS, so we headed down Olympic to Loyola Law School where we had 
scammed free parking (because several others of us were legal 
observers). About the same time we arrived at our destination we 
heard several loud pops in the distance, and saw several LAPD cars 
and ambulances screaming down Olympic while LAPD's helicopters began 
their late evening light show. I only learned later that the LAPD had 
decided to begin their candy-assed pissing match in earnest. So many 
of my friends and comrades were injured in the ensuing police riot 
that I can only say that is my second regret.

One occasion when Ted Hayes surfaced on my radar screen since the 
civil rights conference was when he stepped forward to exonerate the 
LAPD after a certain officer snuffed Margaret LaVerne Mitchell - a 
5'1" African-American homeless grandmother allegedly suffering from 
mental illness - because she waved a six-inch screwdriver at him in 
self-defense from a distance of six to eight feet. Hayes ensured that 
he seized his media moment (off Margaret's dead back) by instead 
blaming homeless advocates (with the notable exception of himself) 
for permitting her the misfortune to be pushing a shopping cart down 
La Brea Ave. past some quality-of-life enforcement bicycle cops in 
the first place.

Ironically, when Hayes was victimized himself by the same gang of 
brutal, racist, violent, redneck thugs he then chose to blame the 
anarchists (does anyone else detect a pattern here?) Blame-laying is 
game-playing, and Hayes knows how to play his self-promotion game for 
media exposure points by blaming anyone handy, especially those 
groups who threaten his corporate and governmental benefactors most.

A photographer friend of mine (who had her shoulder shattered in the 
panic after the cops opened fire and charged the people who hadn't 
managed to escape the protest pit in time on Monday night) told me 
that Hayes had set up a barricade of homeless people between the 
protesters and the cops. And that's my biggest question - was Hayes 
so desperate for some media attention in the midst of the spectacle 
unfolding around him (which he was vociferously boycotting because he 
couldn't be its focus) that he would place innocent people in harm's 

My second biggest question is this: was Hayes actually injured, or 
was he dramatizing another silly-assed martyr trip for the cameras?

As a social anarchist, I have deep concerns whether Hayes is, indeed, 
a provocateur or some another flavor of cop symp. If he's dependent 
on HUD funding, we can safely assume that he is thoroughly 
compromised. Someone of the investigative bent should go to Dome 
Village and demand to see a copy of his project's most current form 
990. Non-profits must provide them on request to the public by law. 
It would be very instructive in the purposes of learning exactly who 
truly holds the strings to the media puppet we know as Ted Hayes.

Yesterday, when I was playing the video from the LA IMC site of Hayes 
(after his *miraculous* recovery) to a couple members of our LA crew, 
who also happen to be African-American, they asked, "What in the hell 
is his message?" and "Is that supposed to make sense?"

My reply: "Some of us carry a message, others carry a mess."

The views represented here are the views of chance martin, and not 
necessarily shared by all the members of the Coalition on 
Homelessness, San Francisco.


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