Misdemeanor or felony?
Which one would you think should get more attention. This isn't white bread versus wheat bread. This isn't caffeinated coffee versus decaffeinated coffee. This is a choice between something that can get you ticketed, like "smoking in the commercial zone," and "hit and run," literally.
While the Berkeley police (whom I will not name, because I believe they are being used, just like the rest of us) were detaining someone for "smoking a cigarette in the commercial zone" (never mind they allow sales of tobacco products in the 'commercial zone'), there was a vehicle collision at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way. The car (and passenger) who caused the accident fled the scene, as there were many witnesses who did attest, except for the police, who were too busy issuing citations for "smoking in the 'commercial district'" when the whole thing happened. According to the witnesses at the scene, the victim of the hit and run pulled off and came over to the police to see if they could assist him. When he met them, apparently the police asked him if he "got the license plate number?"
The person did not get that number. This person was also told, by those very same police, that they "could not do anything about it." That was the quote I got from a witness who works at Papa John's on Shattuck Avenue.
I'm not sure what came of that interaction with the police. I didn't stick around too long. At the time, the police had moved on to the corner of Philosophy Flat. The police had two African Americans (one male, one female) detained, in handcuffs, on the urinal cake. The urinal cake is the cemented-circular planter box that sits in most of the corners of the downtown areas. I have coined them this unflattering name because that is the color (and mark) of one Block By Block (or, SMS Holdings, rather... a "faith-based" union-busting corporation out of Knoxville, Tennessee), a "janitorial service" brought into Berkeley, California, to "get rid" of the homeless and to spy on American citizens of all sorts in the process of "cleaning up the city." But I digress. The two African Americans were being searched. Apparently, they had a small baggie of weed exposed when the police rolled past them and they were then searched for that "crime."
Meanwhile, there is someone running around with a "felony hit-and-run."
Okay, this is gone on way long enough.
First off, the city says they would like to extend the olive branch (now) to the homeless, and they would like us to offer up some solutions for some real services, and at the same time, take that olive branch and hit us over the head with it? Ever since Measure S was known to be defeated, the punitive nonsense began. Little stuff, too. Actions designed to make those targeted feel antagonized into leaving town. It's a systematic harassment, by a corporation (from a red state and coming into a blue state and blue city -- Berkeley, California), wielding its power through an intermediary such as Block By Block, through most of the city council of Berkeley, California, and on to homeless American citizens, some of them veterans of foreign wars.
And now we have a situation where the police were sent to harass these citizens, by this corporate entity? The police have much more important things to do out here, and harassing citizens over misdemeanors, like smoking pot or cigarettes, is not what the taxpayers of Berkeley need done to fix this (homeless) problem. Again, it's another scapegoat attempt in shooing away the problem, instead of addressing the problems like adults. And sending homeless people to a place like B.O.S.S./M.A.S.C. for shelter, when there is an infestation of bed bugs, lice, scabies, whatever, is not an option. Otherwise, more would jump at the opportunity to get their lives in order. The light at the end of their tunnel is coming from a train, and it has D.B.A. on the front of it.
These Fascists do not care about American citizens, even though they are citizens, barely. I think we should take their rights away myself. I think we should deport them, too, for systematically harassing American citizens. Again, a few of them veterans. It's bad enough that we are failing our kids, but failing those who serve this nation, so these Fascists can swill down their filet mignon, lobster tail, and high-class tail, err, "massage therapists." But yeah, smoking Cannabis and tobacco... this has go to stop, people! How many more ways can I write this sh*t?! What is it actually going to take to get this community to put down their plastic yogurt spoons and actually take this issue to the mayor and his scum-bag, land-owning (the ones charging the exorbitant rents) cronies. Hey, if you want to actually fix the problem, you're going to have to spend a little money. You can't do it on a shoe-string budget.
There are ways around that even, though. If one of you "people" donate a building, someplace not near downtown, and allow us artists to transform it into a livable space, so we can then help those you seem to despise so much, I'm sure you can write it off on your taxes as donation, or something equal to that. A warehouse that is just sitting, rotting ... while you have a homeless problem that is "rampant." Hey, how about we deal?
-James Richard Armstrong II