[Hpn] Sacramento Right to Sleep rally and arrests-2 Bee articles

paula farrell paula_95814@yahoo.com
Tue, 23 Jul 2002 15:12:29 -0700 (PDT)


Capitol rally pushes for homeless rights

 Speakers charge that Gov. Gray Davis is not doing
enough on the issue.
 By Ed Fletcher -- Bee Capitol Bureau
 Published 2:15 a.m. PDT
 Thursday, July 11, 2002

 Calling it an extension of the civil rights movement,
dozens of homeless and their advocates took to the
Capitol on Wednesday to call for an end to laws
banning sleeping on public land.

 The rally and a sleepover on the Capitol lawn were
the culmination of a nearly two-month-long "sleepwalk"
from San Diego to Sacramento.

 "Nobody realizes that the homeless have no right to
sleep," said Nancy McCradie, a co-founder of the
sleepwalk.

 McCradie, a homeless advocate from Santa Barbara,
said she hopes the sleepwalk and rally will get people
talking about the issue.

 "The homeless say, 'What good are social services if
we don't have a place to stay?' " McCradie said.
"Their basic need is a place to be legally."

 Many of the scores of speakers who came from all over
California -- some with the sleepwalk caravan, others
just for the day -- charged Gov. Gray Davis was not
doing enough to aid the homeless.

 "It is illegal to be homeless in California," said
Ken Noto of the San Francisco-based Coalition on
Homelessness. "The only housing program that is really
established is
 jail."

 Noto said jailing the homeless is more expensive than
housing them and makes their transition back to the
working world more difficult. Plus, "when they come
out of jail they are still homeless," he added.

 A Davis spokesman rejected the idea that the
Democratic governor is not working hard for the
homeless.

 "The state is addressing their problems," said Russ
Lopez. "Plans are on the way, but it is not going to
happen overnight."

 In April, Davis held a statewide summit on
homelessness and signed a $2.1 billion housing bond
that will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.

 Davis does not have the authority to force cities and
counties to change local laws, Lopez said. He
suggested the protesters direct their concerns at
those who are in a position to help them.

 The goal is not to see the homeless sleeping or
camping in parks or sidewalks across the state,
McCradie said. "The goal is to get the word out.
(This) is the beginning of (a new) civil rights
movement," she added.

 Instead of extending the right to sleep anywhere,
McCradie said, state and local governments should
offer more temporary and longer-term housing options
for the homeless, including shelters, campgrounds and
recreational vehicle parks.

 The high cost of housing in California does not help,
activists said.

 Recent housing figures show that California has 15 of
the nation's 25 least-affordable communities,
including San Francisco, which tops the list,
according to the National Association of Home
Builders.

 Santa Barbara -- where the median home price is
$700,000 and the rental market is brutally tight --
has been one of the least friendly communities for the
homeless, but the city is making strides, McCradie
said.

 "We had to teach people the (public land) is not
their private club," said McCradie, who lives in an RV
in Santa Barbara. 

 About the Writer
 ---------------------------
 The Bee's Ed Fletcher can be reached at (916)
326-5548 or efletcher@sacbee.com
--------------------------

Eight arrested in homeless protest

 By Ralph Montaņo -- Bee Staff Writer
 Published 2:15 a.m. PDT Friday, July 12, 2002

 SACRAMENTO -- Eight people were arrested early
Thursday for trying to camp on a
 Capitol lawn during an overnight protest of
homelessness.

 The people arrested were part of a group of about 40
who gathered at the Capitol
 to protest a lack of housing for homeless people
during the summer months.

 About 3 a.m., California Highway Patrol officers told
the protesters they were not
 allowed to sleep on the the Capitol lawn, had to move
their demonstration and
 were not allowed to sleep or camp.

 Eight protesters refused  to move and were  arrested,
the CHP said.

 One activist at the scene  said the arrests were 
illegal.

 LeAnne Harvey with Mary  House at Loaves &  Fishes in
Sacramento  said the people arrested  had no
intentions of  sleeping on the grounds  but agreed to
be  arrested because the  CHP kept changing the 
rules.

 Harvey said protesters  were first told they could 
stay on the lawn as long  as they did not leave
anything behind or damage the grounds.

 The rules changed when the first officers left for
the day and the graveyard shift  took over, Harvey
said. 




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