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Same Tired Diatribe: Part: 3

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This article is a response to a "letter to the editor" from "The Berkeley Voice." I outline why this is just more of the "same tired diatribe." I have isolated the "problem" as it is, which is the philosophy (or mentality) of those thinking they are fixing the problem, when they are doing nothing more than moving it, which only perpetuates the problem, and ends with scapegoating of American Citizens.


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Again, I pick up The Berkeley Voice. Why do I do this?! Is this some sort of punishment for something else? Is this my karma for something I did some place else to some one else?

It's not so much The Berkeley Voice I have an issue with, per se. It's people sending them letters. In their "Letters to the Editor" section, I noticed some stuff (this morning) that pisses me off. And, one of those things that pisses me off is more of the same tired diatribe.

Instead of wanting to fix this problem... or trying to fix this problem, rather, people tend to think putting stop-gap measures in its place are going to work. And then they are shocked when they find out that the Dollar Store (Thanks for that Kayleigh!) Duct Tape they panhandled for is coming off the gaping (jugular) bleed they received while at the DBA's Christmas Party for the Homeless? Okay, that's a lie. The DBA doesn't care enough about the homeless to throw such a shindig.

To the letter: "Telegraph Ave. issues to face" just points out why we still have these problems; they are self-inflicted problems, too, people. And, it's not that I disagree with this person's point that People's Park has devolved into rampant nonsense that has little to do with the original intent of the fight for that piece of land... I left there four years ago and only go back when there's a large event because of this fact. But that doesn't also mean I would like to see the place turned into some sort of monument of a struggle we are still having, by the way. This struggle for civil rights persists, if you haven't noticed? Yeah, more irony. I am going to have an overdose of irony if I do not get out of Berkeley soon!

Here is the quote:

"In order to preserve the memory and significance of People's Park and all that it stood for back then, I propose a monument and plaza be created, with enough green area for it to still be considered a park. The new park could also be tastefully lighted, with paths and benches, as well as some form of security system in place.

Perhaps a nationwide competition for design ideas for such a monument and plaza, jointly supported by Cal and the city -- think Vietnam wall, etc. -- would be a great start in the right direction. Not only would the monument preserve in perpetuity what Berkeley in the 1960s stood for, it would go a long way toward solving the crime and nuisance problem the current park represents.

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In addition, I think it very likely the monument would attract tourist to the area from around the country, providing further inducement for the kind of attractive development the university and the city could be proud of.

-Jack Lieberum


Again, I understand what this guy is trying to achieve... but, again, like so many others who have failed, he is missing the point.

He uses this quote, which I am going to use against him,

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"Although there are references to such issues as homelessness, there was no mention of the 'elephant-in-the-room' problem: People's Park."

I quoted "elephant-in-the-room" for a reason. Because, a lot like most who give a cursory attempt at fixing this problem, Mr. Lieberum is missing that very elephant and is doing so with the pachyderm sitting right next to his own logic, from his very own (dead-end) room. The problem with his proposal is, he is not actually fixing anything... he is scattering it. If the city and campus were to adopt this idea, it would merely move the people from that park and on to those streets near it, like Telegraph and Shattuck Avenues, respectively. You think the merchants, DBA, the Telegraph Business Improvement District (TBID), and city hall are bitching right now, you go ahead and scatter all those folks from People's Park and see what occurs. Oh, and I find it ironic that Mr. Lieberum points to the "Vietnam wall, etc.," because some of those he would be displacing from that park are veterans.

And all that stuff about "'tasteful' lighting" is nauseating. Who are you to decide what "tasteful" even means? And we could "attract tourists" to that park and this town if we were to embrace the culture you purport giving a crap about. Because, a lot of us homeless out here are standing up for those original ('American') values. Sure, there are those in the park, and elsewhere, who could care less about those reasons, and use that park and this town as their own personal drug source and participate in the furthering of their addictions... but that is their right to do so. As it is the right of the Berkeley Police Department and University of California Berkeley Police Department to enforce existing laws, currently implemented for those police so they can handle the stuff you don't like, like getting high (in public). Getting high at home, however, now that's a different discussion, all together.

Why is it we as human beings constantly act this way? Why is it we never attempt to fix the problem? Is it money? Is it really? Because, if that is all it is, then you we all deserve what we get! We reap what we sew, is that not correct? Or, is that just more cliches ripped from the bible just win an argument with someone you don't really care about anyway. And again, our elected officials crying about not having enough money, while voting themselves "cost-of-living raises," while allocating certain taxpayer funds toward an urban tank for "just in case something happens" (Got Guilt?)... and $12 million dollars on an animal shelter (And don't shoot me in the face for pointing that out. I love animals. And I also agree that the city of Berkeley needed to do something about their already-burned-down animal shelter, but to spend that much money, on that building [the building is way too gaudy], when they could have done it much cheaper, is appalling to me. For that amount of money they could have tried fixing both problems! And don't hand me '$12 million dollars isn't all that much when you think about it,' because even $1 million dollars seems to be too much to spend on the homeless, any time it is brought up to do so.) doesn't inspire confidence in those "best and brightest," either.

Am I the only one who thinks this thing is meant to fail? The only way to make money on the homeless is to apparently not fix the problem, or even try. I think keeping all of us in a holding pattern, pushing us through the system, pushing us through drug programs that judges own stock in, where everyone is getting their backs scratched, except for those afflicted by whatever it is they are afflicted with, is the problem. When judges begin to own stock in privatized prison systems, you are going to have a situation where the weakest in our community are going to be exploited. It's like listening to Nancy Reagan hold sermon about "Just Say No To Drugs!," while she pops a butt-load of uppers.

You would think that, with all this Federal Corruption, that the local politicians would have seen the (illegal) behavior of those Feds and say, "Hey, that's wrong! We have to do something about it and stop it from the ground up!" You would like to think that, wouldn't ya? But that's not the truth, is it? The truth goes something more like, "The Feds are doing what they want, by changing the rules to fit their (illegal) agenda... so let's do the same! Woo hoo! It's a free-for-all!"

And people call me a "cynic"?

So sad.

-James Richard Armstrong II


I'm a homeless student, writer, and activist... currently panhandling my way through school (and life.).
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