ALERT: Homeless Sweeps in San Francisco & Berkeley, CA [USA] FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 11 Nov 1998 12:58:02 -0400


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http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/ap/ap_us/story.html?s=3Dv/ap/19981111/u=
s/home
less_crackdown_1.html
=46WD  Associated Press - Wednesday November 11, 1998


BAY AREA CRACKING DOWN ON HOMELESS

By Jordan Lite - Associated Press Writer


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Homeless advocates thought they had a savior in Mayor
Willie Brown, who was elected two years ago after promising to stop a
police crackdown on people camping out in doorways and city parks.

Now Brown and his counterpart across San Francisco Bay in famously liberal
Berkeley are finding that tolerance has its limits.

In San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, it's hard to walk without
tripping over crowds of ``gutter-punks'' passing pipes in doorways. Along
Berkeley's historic Telegraph Avenue, some merchants say their sales have
dropped by up to 75 percent at night because street people with dogs are
menacing customers.

After store owners, residents and tourists increased complaints about
aggressive panhandling and petty theft, San Francisco and Berkeley
responded by getting tough on the homeless.

San Francisco police have begun forcing repeat offenders into drug
treatment or jail, and in Berkeley, nearly 100 people have been arrested on
drug-related offenses in the last three weeks.

``This police department gets criticized all the time for being insensitive
to people living on the street. We're very concerned (but) we only have a
limited number of options,'' said San Francisco Police Chief Fred Lau.
``People deserve to live in an environment that's safe.''

But critics say politicians only want to make the homeless disappear, by
mimicking New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's ``quality of life''
campaign that swept street dwellers out of tourist and commercial areas.

``What we see is policing a very unpopular segment of people and channeling
anger toward them and rounding them up,'' said Paul Boden, who used to live
on the street and now directs San Francisco's Coalition on Homelessness.

There are only 1,900 shelter beds for as many as 16,000 homeless people
living in San Francisco, where a variety of social services have long been
magnets for street dwellers. Up to 1,200 homeless live in Berkeley.

As many as 40 percent of the street people in San Francisco are mentally
ill, and 30 percent have substance abuse problems, said Brown spokeswoman
Kandace Bender.

San Francisco's plan, implemented Friday, requires people convicted of
public drunkenness to serve two months in jail or enroll in a substance
abuse program after three arrests within 60 days.

``We are not going to criminalize the homeless,'' Bender said. ``On the
other hand, it is a problem to trespass on businesses, to defecate on
public property.''

But Boden claims the city is going too far, even photographing homeless
people and hanging their pictures in liquor stores warning merchants not to
sell them alcohol. Lau said he wasn't aware of any such program.

``These aren't people who have been tried and convicted in any court of
law,'' Boden said. ``They're just people the cops don't like.''

On Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue, the site of numerous civil rights protests,
a handful of store owners recently threatened to pull out of the area
because homeless people were harassing customers.

The city responded by authorizing police overtime to fight drug dealing and
aggressive panhandling.

On Tuesday night, Berkeley's city council considered a ban against sitting
and lying on the sidewalk. The proposal, which was sent back to committee
after debate, had its critics.

``It's a cruel and inhumane response,'' said Sally Hindman, director of
Chaplaincy to the Homeless. ``Berkeley has no detox program and is simply
arresting people with substance abuse problems.''

END FORWARD
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receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

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http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/ap/ap_us/story.html?s=3Dv/ap/19981111/u=
s/homeless_crackdown_1.html

=46WD  Associated Press - Wednesday November 11, 1998=20



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>BAY AREA CRACKING DOWN ON
HOMELESS


By Jordan Lite - Associated Press Writer=20

</paraindent>


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Homeless advocates thought they had a savior in
Mayor Willie Brown, who was elected two years ago after promising to
stop a police crackdown on people camping out in doorways and city
parks.


Now Brown and his counterpart across San Francisco Bay in famously
liberal Berkeley are finding that tolerance has its limits.


In San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, it's hard to walk without
tripping over crowds of ``gutter-punks'' passing pipes in doorways.
Along Berkeley's historic Telegraph Avenue, some merchants say their
sales have dropped by up to 75 percent at night because street people
with dogs are menacing customers.


After store owners, residents and tourists increased complaints about
aggressive panhandling and petty theft, San Francisco and Berkeley
responded by getting tough on the homeless.


San Francisco police have begun forcing repeat offenders into drug
treatment or jail, and in Berkeley, nearly 100 people have been
arrested on drug-related offenses in the last three weeks.


``This police department gets criticized all the time for being
insensitive to people living on the street. We're very concerned (but)
we only have a limited number of options,'' said San Francisco Police
Chief Fred Lau. ``People deserve to live in an environment that's
safe.''


But critics say politicians only want to make the homeless disappear,
by mimicking New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's ``quality of life''
campaign that swept street dwellers out of tourist and commercial
areas.


``What we see is policing a very unpopular segment of people and
channeling anger toward them and rounding them up,'' said Paul Boden,
who used to live on the street and now directs San Francisco's
Coalition on Homelessness.


There are only 1,900 shelter beds for as many as 16,000 homeless people
living in San Francisco, where a variety of social services have long
been magnets for street dwellers. Up to 1,200 homeless live in
Berkeley.


As many as 40 percent of the street people in San Francisco are
mentally ill, and 30 percent have substance abuse problems, said Brown
spokeswoman Kandace Bender.


San Francisco's plan, implemented Friday, requires people convicted of
public drunkenness to serve two months in jail or enroll in a substance
abuse program after three arrests within 60 days.


``We are not going to criminalize the homeless,'' Bender said. ``On the
other hand, it is a problem to trespass on businesses, to defecate on
public property.''


But Boden claims the city is going too far, even photographing homeless
people and hanging their pictures in liquor stores warning merchants
not to sell them alcohol. Lau said he wasn't aware of any such
program.


``These aren't people who have been tried and convicted in any court of
law,'' Boden said. ``They're just people the cops don't like.''


On Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue, the site of numerous civil rights
protests, a handful of store owners recently threatened to pull out of
the area because homeless people were harassing customers.


The city responded by authorizing police overtime to fight drug dealing
and aggressive panhandling.


On Tuesday night, Berkeley's city council considered a ban against
sitting and lying on the sidewalk. The proposal, which was sent back to
committee after debate, had its critics.


``It's a cruel and inhumane response,'' said Sally Hindman, director of
Chaplaincy to the Homeless. ``Berkeley has no detox program and is
simply arresting people with substance abuse problems.''


END FORWARD

-=20

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is=
 distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in=
 receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. *=
*


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink=
=2Enet>

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