Re: ALERT: Berkeley authorized police overtime for STREET SWEEPS FWD

Manfred Theis (manfredtheis@hotmail.com)
Mon, 09 Nov 1998 15:42:37 PST


----Original Message Follows----

Every time some high-ranking merchant, or city official, or police chief 
decides to crack down on the defenseless, they put out myths of 'sudden 
influxes.'  Was anyone there for last year's rehash of Matrix in Golden 
Gate Park?

When politicians and police (or anyone else, for that matter) have too
many on their staffs, they get bored and decide to enforce things that
have little to do with the law.  In the case of legislators, they just
have to keep passing laws to validate their positions.



----Original Message Follows----

Here is another opportunity to deconstruct representations of homeless
people in the media.

The article below. explaining a street sweep of homeless people from
Telegraph Avenue, says that people in Berkeley, California are "fed up"
with street people "panhandling, drinking, and impeding business".  It
says
"Today the _good folks_ in Berkeley are deeply concerned that an influx
of
homeless people and travelers from around the country has grown out of
control."

"Good folks" don't want panhandlers impeding business?  Would you agree?

What we've got here is a "morality tale", I think.  But whose "morality"
is
this, and whom does such "morality" benefit?  -- Tom Boland
<wgcp@earthlink.net>

http://www.toledoblade.com/editorial/edit/8k05ed3.htm
FWD  Toledo [Ohio] Blade - November 5, 1998

EDITORIAL: TIMES HAVE CHANGED

BERKELEY, Calif., the home of radical students of the '60s, the city
that
put the ``left'' in left field, has had it up to here with the homeless.

Once upon a time panhandling was a political act, a means of
transferring
wealth from the middle class to the hippie generation. Kids lounging in
San
Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district and in Berkeley were part and parcel
of
the flower power movement. No doubt many of them at that time were
simply
resting on the curb before going on to smash the capitalist state.

But times do indeed change. Today the good folks in Berkeley are deeply
concerned that an influx of homeless people and travelers from around
the
country has grown out of control. These days dealing dope and having
public
sex in Berkeley aren't signs of a good rock concert. They are bad for
business.

In fact, the city council in Berkeley has authorized police overtime to
rid
the Telegraph Avenue shopping area of street people. The action is in
response to complaints by store owners whose businesses have been
adversely
affected by panhandlers and drug dealers in the neighborhood.

Homeless advocates say it's all an election ploy by council, and they
urge
measures to deal with homelessness. But that's not really Berkeley's
issue.
Homelessness is a national problem requiring national solutions in areas
of
affordable housing and better care of the mentally ill and drug-and
alcohol-addicted, among other issues.

Homelessness won't be impacted one way or the other by what Berkeley
does.
Move the homeless from there, and they'll go somewhere else, and be
someone
else's problem.

But there is an irony in seeing this one-time center of the
counter-culture
so agitated that young people are panhandling, drinking, and impeding
business. Wasn't such behavior almost mandatory there 30 years ago?

END FORWARD
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