[Hpn] STREET SHEET E-Zine -- July 2001 -- Part 1

coh coh@sfo.com
Tue, 03 Jul 2001 15:20:30 -0700

    We live under a government of men and morning newspapers.
            - Wendell Phillips
San Francisco's STREET SHEET Online Edition - JULY, 2001

Wanna revolution?

        by chance martin

1  What Quality, Whose Life, and Whoケs REALLY
    ウStuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place?イ
        by COH staff

2  North American Street Newspaper Association Conference History
        by Paula Mathieu

3  CHCROP Update
        by CHCROP staff

        by Paul Boden and Barbara Duffield

5  King Willieケs City Budget Power Plays
        by the People's Budget Collaborative

        by COH staff

7  Right To A Roof!
        by COH Housing Workgroup

8  Our Word is our Weapon
        by George Tirado

9  Swinging Through the Concrete Jungle
        by Hoops McCann

        by Leroy F. Moore, Jr.

11  Workforce Investment Board Can Dramatically Change Employment
        by Joel Oppenheimer, St. Josephケs Village Family Center

        by Miss Visitor

13  Gentrification Under the Veneer of Revitalization
        by kaponda

14  Different Kind of Victim
        by West of Twin Peaks Observer

        by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

16  Santa Cruz Civil Rights Update
        by Robert Norse

17  Who Will Speak for the Voiceless?
        by Maureen Thompson with Ivory Madison


18  Nuestra palabra es nuestra arma
         por George Tirado

19  Hoteles de cuartos individuales: Precarios e insalubres
        por R.M. Arrieta



     Meetings are an addictive, highly self-indulgent activity that
     corporations and other large organizations habitually engage in
     only because they cannot actually masturbate.
                - Dave Barry

Sorry this month's edition is tardy, this past weekend was the last one I
could safely take off until after the North American Street Newspaper
Conference that will take place July 26-29th at New College of California
here in San Francisco.

Frankly, I'm pretty damned excited.

Not to say the conference doesn't promise some particularly painful passages
of process -- part of the festivities will be devoted to sessions where we
actually determine the roles and responsibilities between member
publications and this still-emerging entity that we call NASNA. If our
planning's successful, and luck smiles on our efforts, NASNA will be a much
stronger and responsive organization at the end of this year's conference.

But the beauty part is that SF is in the middle of yet-another tourist
season-inspired anti-homeless campaign. How do you think seeing homeless
peoples' asses kicked by SFPD is going to impact representatives from over
40 publications in the U.S. and Canada? Can you say Tourist Boycott?

For those who can't attend, the SF Bay Area Independent Media Center
[ http://www.sf.indymedia.org/ ] will be uploading media throughout the
conference (we took over New College's computer lab, heh-heh).

Next year, we'll all go to Boston. A word of advice to our friends at Spare
Change and What's Up: please book the conference facility and accommodations
NOW and save yourself a LOT of headaches later!

But I'm also kinda sad. Adam Arms, COH staff attorney par excellence, has
left us to work as a public defender in Portland, OR. How many lawyers are
we ever going to come across who'll work for $22,500/year, create kick-ass
artwork, and play left field like a pro? I'm not optimistic.

And in honor of John Lee Hooker, who boogied on right off this mortal coil
last week, here's song lyrics for July:

The Waterfront

I cover the waterfront
Watchin' the ship go by
I could see everybody's baby
But I couldn't see mine
I could see the ships pullin' in
To the harbor
I could see the people
Meeting their loved one
Shakin' hand
I sat there
So all alone
Coverin' the waterfront

And after a while
All the people
Left the harbor
And headed for their destination
All the ships
Left the harbor
And headed for their next destination
I sat there
Coverin' the waterfront

And after a while
I looked down the ocean
As far as I could see - in the fog
I saw a ship
It headed this way
Comin' out the foam
It must be my baby
Comin' down
And after a while
The ship pulled into the harbor
Rollin' slow
So triple (?)
And my baby
Stepped off board
I was still
Coverin' the waterfront

Said "Johnny,
Our ship had trouble - with the fog
And that's why we're so late
So late
Comin' home
Comin' down"

John Lee Hooker

Hope to see y'all in SF later this month. Maybe we'll slip on down to the
Boom-Boom Room and raise a glass for Mr. Hooker.





What Quality, Whose Life, and Whoケs REALLY
ウStuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place?イ

Using the police to address homelessness is nothing new. During the Great
Depression, local governments jailed homeless people using vagrancy and
loitering laws. Since the courts have found vagrancy laws unconstitutional,
what we see today in San Francisco, and across the nation, is the police
using illegal camping, blocking the sidewalk, and trespassing citations to
criminalize homeless people.

But baton-swinging as a homeless policy has not worked, and will not work to
solve the problems associated with homelessness. Mayor Jordanケs Matrix
program had San Francisco police handing out thousands of citations, and the
problem of homelessness increased. Mayor Brown claimed to end the failed
Matrix program, but the police have stepped up their citation writing. SFPD
issues tens of thousands of citations per year for simply performing
life-sustaining acts, such as sleeping. Yet homelessness remains.

Police departments are not staffed by social workers, nor do they develop
housing. They are not trained nor do they have the resources needed to deal
with the myriad problems keeping people on the street. Officers know that
writing someone a citation for ウlivingイ in a park will not get that person a
roof over their head, or medical treatment, or a living wage job. They admit
that writing citations is futile and a waste of time. But the Mayor insists
that officers continue to write these citations.

The question we must ask ourselves is this  do we want our government to
focus its attention and resources on criminalizing homeless people, or do we
want the focus to be eradicating homelessness?

Recent media pieces and statements by the Mayor have framed homelessness as
a problem in need of stricter policing and tougher prosecution of homeless
people. These statements identify the presence of homeless people in United
Nations Plaza, Justin Herman Plaza, Market Street, and Civic Center Plaza as
an issue of crime and a failure to punish. Demands for increased (selective)
law enforcement ignore what keeps people living in the streets  the loss of
affordable housing, primarily due to billions of dollars in cuts by the
feds, and the inaccessibility of substance abuse and mental health

Mayor ウElect-Me-And-I-Will-End-Matrixイ Brown sneaked a quarter of a million
dollars into the Cityケs budget two years ago to prosecute quality-of-life
offenders. Brownケs problem was that D.A. Hallinan had enough integrity not
to prosecute homeless people for survival activities like sleeping or
urinating. So Brown added the money to the City Attorneyケs office in direct
violation of the Cityケs Charter (itケs not in the City Attorneyケs purview to
prosecute local infractions).

Under this program, the City Attorneyケs Office had two full-time lawyers
sitting in San Francisco Traffic Court prosecuting homeless people for such
ウcrimesイ as being in a park after hours or blocking the sidewalk.

Last budget cycle, Hallinanケs office absorbed this $250,000 line item and
took over the prosecution program. This budget cycle heケs cut the ウprogramイ
out altogether. Not only was this a no-brainer morally , it also stopped the
hemorrhaging of our Cityケs resources.

Although the City Attorneyケs and District Attorneyケs programs purported to
offer treatment services through pretrial diversion, they floundered,
turning into costly, unworkable fiascoes. The Coalition on Homelessness
received many documents through Public Records Act requests which contain
information verifying the prosecution programケs lack of effectiveness. The
majority of people brought into the program were channeled into manual labor
ウcommunity service.イ Zero people received medical treatment. Zero people
received housing. Many of those claimed by the District Attorneyケs office to
have received ウsubstance abuse treatmentイ were simply given information
about Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.

Just as painting over the stains from a leaking pipe can provide you with
the illusion of having ウfixedイ it, ignoring the cause of the problem will
inevitably lead to bigger problems for you in the future. Rather than
forcing homeless people to ウmove along,イ or putting them into jail, San
Francisco must address  and must force our state and federal government to
address  the causes of homelessness.



North American Street Newspaper Association Conference Meets Here July 26-29

History of NASNA Conferences
For two humid August days in 1996, Chicago played host to a historic
conference. For the first time, representatives from 26 street newspapers
across the U.S. and Canada came together to get acquainted, share ideas, and
explore the possibilities of creating a network. It was there, in a
unanimous vote by participants, that the North American Street Newspaper
Association (NASNA) was born.

Unity in Difference Street newspapers have a mission to do one or both of
the following: 1) to inform the public and shape perceptions about social
issues, poverty and homelessness, and 2) to empower homeless people through

Despite this agreed definition, it has been clear since that first
conference that there is no one best way to run a street newspaper. Papers
range from Chicagoケs StreetWise, with a monthly circulation of 90,000 and a
staff of more than a dozen, to Eugeneケs Homeless Journal, a stapled, xeroxed
booklet written and produced entirely by one homeless woman. Participants
express a range of views about how best to balance creating a marketable
publication and involving homeless people in the writing and decisions of
the organization. Ultimately, every paper adapts to its local community in
striking this balance between entrepreneurialism and activism. The sharing
of views and information at this first conference left participants
committed to the value of an association where papers could regularly meet.
A steering committee was elected to create NASNA as an umbrella organization
to share information and resources, facilitate the growth of new projects,
and promote the concept of street papers.

Annual Conferences Each summer since 1996, NASNA members have come together
for an annual conference in a city that is home to a street newspaper.
Seattle, Washington, was the site of the 1997 conference; Montreal, Quebec,
in 1998; Cleveland, Ohio, in 1999 and Edmonton, Alberta in 2000. The 2001
conference will be hosted by Street Sheet in San Francisco. Moving the
conference to a new location each year helps spread the conference
geographically to include more people from all areas of North America. In
addition, participants get the chance to learn about the local conditions
facing homeless and poor people in the host city, and the conference helps
attract local media attention.

In 1998, for example, Tim Harris, then NASNA chair, and the staff of
Montrealケs LケItin駻aire held a press conference on homelessness in North
America, which was attended by 20 to 25 local television and newspaper
reporters. This resulted in wide media coverage of the conference and the
NASNA network. Staff from LケItin駻aire were interviewed for an hour-long
television news program regarding their work with the homeless of Qu饕ec.
According to ノric Cimon of LケItin駻aire, ウWith all the media attention, we
gained credibility, and now when thereケs something happening related to
homelessness, weケre called. What we write has credibility because weケre
linked to a lot of other papers across North America.イ In 2000, the Edmonton
conference received coverage in the daily newspapers and alternative press.
In addition, more than 100 conference attendees and local activists held an
anti-homelessness march through the streets of Edmonton. The march leader,
Our Voiceケs editor Michael Walters, spoke through a bullhorn to curious
passers-by: ウIn Edmonton, 1500 people are homeless. This is a public
disgrace. We should all be ashamed. We should all do something about it.イ
(ed. note: Edmunton has approximately the same total population but only
about 10% of the number of homeless people we have here in SF, and theyケre

After the rally, organizers held the first ever North American Vend-Off,
where vendors from member papers each sold their own cityケs newspaper on a
designated stretch of Edmonton streets for one hour, raising public
awareness of homeless and of the international network. The winner, Terry
Flamond, from Calgaryケs Street Talk sold 57 papers in an hourケs time, and
won a free trip to this yearケs conference, and a genuine bag of Edmonton ice

Workshops Probably the most valuable component of each yearケs conference is
the series of small workshops on a specific aspect of street newspaper life.
The first yearケs conference featured workshops on Marketing/Promotions,
Structure/Leadership, Producing the Paper, and Vendor Issues. In subsequent
years the workshops have grown to include Starting a Paper from Scratch,
Working with Youth, Involving Homeless People in Leadership Issues, Covering
Urban Issues, Writing Workshops, Homeless Papers and the Internet, the
Ethics of Photojournalism, Working with Volunteers, Civil Rights Issues, and
Race, Class and Poverty.

The structure of the workshops usually includes two or three people who have
experience with the topic who share their experiences and facilitate group
discussion and interaction. For example, the 1999 workshop on ウGetting
Homeless People in Leadership Positionsイ included Donald Whitehead from
Cincinnatiケs Street Vibes and Tim Brown of Sacramentoケs Homeward. Donald
told the story of a homeless man given leadership opportunities at
StreetVibes, which led to a career organizing and working on behalf of
homeless people. He was telling his own story. Tim gave short scenarios
about strategies of building consensus that engender feelings of
empowerment: ウIf people work together to generate an idea and itケs acted on,
thatケs empowering.イ The two then facilitated sharing of strategies and
questions from all participants.

Since 1997, NASNA has surveyed attendees at each conference, and the
workshops have consistently been rated of the highest value. With each
yearケs feedback, attendees request more small group workshops and more
opportunities to share personal experiences.

Keynote Speakers At each conference the participants come together to hear
one or more keynote addresses. Norma Fae Green, a historian at Columbia
College in Chicago, has spoken at two NASNA conferences about her research
on the history of street newspapers. Professor Green contextualized the
modern street paper movement by connecting it to similar papers prior to the
20th century, such as the Salvation Armyケs War Cry, printed in London, where
reporters went undercover to expose conditions in Salvation Armyケs own

Another memorable NASNA speakers was Lee Stringer, former vendor of New
Yorkケs Street News, the original modern street paper, and author of the
best-selling Grand Central Winter. In 1989 Stringer was surviving on the
streets and supporting his drug habit, when the paper began and he started
as a vendor for them. He ウcaught the writing bug,イ worked five years as
editor of the paper, kicked his drug habit, and landed a book contract. He
told the NASNA body an unforgettable cautionary tale of the ups and downs of
Street News.

Another conference featured long-time Seattle journalist and activist, Walt
Crowley, speaking about the alternative press movement of the sixties and
seventies. The most recent conference brought Canadian writer Pat Capponi
who spoke about her experience as a recipient of ウhelpイ from mental-health
social service agencies and relayed the importance of giving leadership and
structuring decisions to people who have been marginalized.

NASNA Business and the Executive Committee At the first NASNA conference a
steering committee was elected to meet and work on proposals for the full
NASNA membership to vote on. This structure has evolved into a 11-person
Executive Committee, which strives to maintain the following diversity of
representation: 50% male/female, 40% people of color, 50% people who have
experienced poverty, and 25% vendors. The executive committee meets monthly
for a telephone conference, and through a buddy system, relays information
to member papers throughout the year.

At each conference, NASNA members have a business meeting to vote on
initiatives for the organization. The following have been approved and are
now in place: a definition of street paper, mission statement, and
membership guidelines for NASNA; articles and bylaws, a structure for
electing an executive committee, paying dues, and raising funds for NASNA;
development of electronic interaction among members, including a website for
NASNA, an email listserve, and a homeless news service for sharing editorial
content among member papers (currently being finalized); and initiatives for
member development, which includes information for and support for new and
struggling papers.

Paula Mathieu 
Journal of Ordinary Thought



The California Homeless Civil Rights Organizing Projectケs mission statement:
    CHCROPケs mission, directed by the voices of homeless people, is a
    commitment to securing the civil and human rights of poor and homeless
    men, women and children. We will organize through education,
    documentation, legal advocacy, legislation and non-violent direct
    action. Simultaneously, we will advocate for positive solutions to
Throughout May 20th, 21st and 22nd, at the Housing California Conference in
Sacramento, folks of all different walks and stripes worked hard at laying
out a rock solid foundation for the California Homeless Civil Rights
Organizing Project. More than thirteen cities from across the state sent
representatives to participate. From Buena Park activists to a homeless
veteran from Modesto, with Santa Cruz civil rights advocates, San Diego
street newspaper publishers, Los Angeles community organizers, San Francisco
attorneys, Santa Barbaraケs trailblazing homeless folks and more participants
and perspectives from all points in between, CHCROPケs second face-to-face,
full work group meeting ROCKED!

The first afternoon, while waiting for the Southern California arrivals, we
used the time teaching and learning from each other.

With vigorous participation, member organizations presented workshops and
training around strategies, skills and approaches they developed in the
course of doing their local organizing and advocacy. The work put into
preparing these offerings paid off in a gratifyingly immediate fashion, as
most of them segued into killer Q & A / open discussion sessions. While
waiting for the next member organization to check in and start their
presentation, the rest of the group was able to do more than the clich
ウnetworking.イ Being a new group, but comprised of people who are
overwhelmingly NOT new to fighting the ongoing abuses of homeless peoplesケ
civil rights, plenty of ウsharedイ issues had been previously identified.
Using some of those issues in posing situations around the application of
the skills, tips or strategies presented, this unique group quickly ウcaught

The sparks and humor flew as the group envisioned and analyzed a San
Francisco-style outreach documenting Los Angeles cops on video camera!
Suffice to say, there are significant differences from one locale to the
next; California is a big state with incredible diversity. Thankfully,
CHCROP is structured to develop into the same  BIG and DIVERSE!

An ambitious agenda was set for the next two days of the work group meeting.
The work group participated in an action organized by SHOC (the Sacramento
Homeless Organizing Committee). The action was on the west steps of the
state capital building and ended with a confrontation between demonstrators
and State Highway Patrol Officers who illegally prevented participants from
carrying protest signs into the state capital building.

Returning to the meeting with the growing criminalization of homelessness in
mind, the work group concentrated on trying to create a stronger and more
effective organization. We reviewed the structure of CHCROP, our mission
statement was crafted, and we decided how communication between members will
be facilitated. Most importantly, we finalized an incident report form that
all CHCROP members will utilize as they document homeless peoplesケ civil
rights being abused. The completed CHCROP Incident Report Forms will be
pivotal in creating our advocacy agenda, because the information comes
directly from each member organization痴 outreach to homeless people, and
records (in their own words even, wherever possible) what is happening to
homeless Californians.

With the time and expense considerations of such a geographically dispersed
membership base, the work group incorporated regional meetings into the
communication and decision-making processes. While no final organizational
decisions will be made outside of a full work group meeting, the regional
meetings will still consider, evaluate and make proposals on all work group
agenda items and issues.

The next regional meetings will be especially important considering one
agenda item already set for us. The regional work groups will be looking at
the first results of CHCROPケs Incident Report Form. Reports will be copied
to the regional offices at the end of each month. By the time of the
regional meetings in August, there should be significant and accessible
documentation collected that is verifiably representative of Californiaケs
abuse of the human and civil rights of homeless people. Convening again in
November, the next face-to-face full work group meeting in San Diego will be
able to evaluate nearly six months worth of documentation from more than
thirteen cities across the state. That documentation will drive the next
steps in choosing our first issue to take on, and meets our mission
statement goal of an advocacy agenda driven by the input of homeless people.

Welcome to the California Homeless Civil Rights Organizing Project, where
our work is growing  but the buck has finally stopped.

Northern California will have the next regional work group meeting in late
August, hosted in Modesto. An exact date, time and location will be set by
the end of June. Call Kathleen Gray @ 415/346-3740, x319 for more
information. Southern California will also have their regional work group
meeting late in August, but the hosting site is still undecided. Contact
Rickey Mantley or Pete White @ 213/ 439-1070, after July 10 for the southern
regional meeting specifics.
9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net>
Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy
A Publication of the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
468 Turk Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
415 / 346.3740-voice  415 / 775.5639-fax