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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/7/12

"Civil Sidewalks"?!-- From a Homeless Person's Point Of View

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"A person who qualifies themselves for their calling well, never fails of employment."

-Thomas Jefferson (Updated, Gender-Nonspecific)

The Downtown [Berkeley] Business Association (DBA) has the Hate Machine on full throttle these days.  In the past I have written about their "ten-year plan," where they refer to homeless and mentally handicapped people (one-in-the-same, in most of cases) as "blight."

Now these Fascists are moving on their "no-sit-no-lie" (ironically worded as well) order, having influenced the city council (through fascist [when government is taken over by corporations and policy is dictated through them that is the very definition of 'fascism'] means) to vote to put the aforementioned discriminatory option on this November's ballot. Ballot measure S, if voted "yes" upon, would then make it illegal for anyone (And 'anyone' is the most important part of the legislation, because the police will be instructed to apply the law [if adopted] unevenly, as the homeless and mentally handicapped will be the ones targeted, solely.  Sort of like how Block By Block and their Ambassadors apply the 'no smoking' ban downtown; another piece of legislation acquired through businesses putting pressure on city council members, even though they sell tobacco products in the very place they don't want the product used?  That's like complaining about a crack dealer at the corner of your block, in your neighborhood, but then taking twenty percent from him [or her] at the same time.) to sit on the sidewalk, for any reason whatsoever.

Therefore, if you are having a nice day out with your kids, like I've witnessed from dozens of mothers and fathers, sitting in front of John's Ice Cream, on the sidewalk, enjoying their dollar scoop, you would then be subject to a ticket.  That's right, you can be having a wonderful day, eating ice cream, and sitting on the ('civil') sidewalk, and you would be in danger of breaking the law.

And, define "civil" for me.  And explain to me just who are the ones not being that, exactly.  Because, the last time I [had] checked, it was (at least) 4-0 in favor of the street kids and homeless in general, over the "up standing citizens"l... and I have proof!

I write "4-0" because of four cases, that I know of, where it is the homeless who are victims of the system and the way it is set up, currently.  Also, the four cases I am about to tell you about are being done by people the Downtown [Berkeley] Business Association (DBA) would pat on the back and call them "pal." 

First case: When I used to sleep in front of the California Theater, about a year back, I was attacked by an "upstanding citizen (and downtown Berkeley business owner) of the community."  As I was setting out my bedroll for the night, I could hear a drunk, ranting, from the general direction of Burgermeister.  This moron was heading our way, too... toward Razan's Organic Kitchen, which would be very ironic, as you will soon find out.  When this inebriated citizen approached, he shouted, "I'm going to [expletive] up some homeless mother [expletive]!"  So, I decided to scare him off, and came out of the shadows, and shouted, "Hey!  Get the [expletive] out of here!"  He was startled, to say the least.  He jumped back, (almost fell down) his eyes bulging outwardly with drunken shock, and then decided he wanted to brandish a "smiley."  (A smiley is a chain with any heavy-type object [usually a pad lock] at the end of it.  And, when it hits you, you get another "smile.")  So, I pull out my utility knife.  He never liked the odds when they were even, so he backed up, again.  He then grabbed a brick from between Razan's and the parking garage, and proceeded to chuck them at me.  The first one, again, ironically enough, almost went through the window of Razan's.  The second and third bricks did not get close, as the police would soon get there and straighten the entire thing out.

The Public Drunkard and Downtown Berkeley (DBA?) Business Owner was made to go home by the police officers.  Officer Kelly was the officer in charge that evening.  Oh, and this guy also threatened to shoot me with a gun.  I never told the police that piece of information, as I did not want to have this guy to to jail on "terroristic threats," simply because he was acting like an ignorant (redundant) drunk.  I've had an alcohol problem in the past so I understand the disease part of it.  However, the mentality he was displaying was very dangerous.  And, the police just allowing him to leave, without so much as a ticket or arrest, tells me the mentality of the police and these business owners versus us homeless out here.  I was told, by officer Kelly, that "apparently he owns Razan's." 

Hey, if this situation were the other way around, and a drunk homeless person did this to a business owner... do you believe the end result would have been the same?

That's 1-0

We all know what this measure is aimed to do, though.  And it has nothing to do with children or their oblivious-to-the-facts parents of why this measure is being proposed.  The sole reason this measure is being proposed is because these businesses (mostly the corporations, not too surprisingly enough) are blaming the homeless and mentally handicapped for their financial misfortunes, and, believe that if these folks are removed (illegally, if applied the way other [unconstitutional] measures have been adopted in other cities) from their immediate doorways (N.I.M.B.Y. [Not In My Back Yard]), that all their money problems will merely vanish, and the streets will then be paved with gold.  Everyone will be able to slurp down their yogurts with impunity, never having to see the reality of the facts, that our "elected officials" have sold us all out to the Military Industrial Complex, Halliburton, Privatized Prison Systems, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and, Gordon Realities...?

That's right.  Gordon Realities is involved in this sorted drama.

About six months ago, as I purchased my morning coffee at Tully's Coffee, in downtown Berkeley, I was told the "bathrooms are closed for 'renovations.'"  I immediately knew this was a lie.  First off, I had been writing, for about three months at that time, about how the Downtown [Berkeley] Business Association (DBA) were planning on "coming down 'hard on the homeless.'"  That was a direct quote I had received from more than just one source, too.  This quote had been sourced, independent of each other, and was brought to me.  I personally never had to look for the information; the information came to me.  Block By Block was coming into town from Kentucky, and they were going to "clean up the city."  An obvious euphemism for "getting rid of" people they do not like nor want in their immediate area. 

When I ask people about why there are no resources for these (mentally disabled) people, I am told "there isn't any money."  This is an obvious cop out, as there could be monies found, I am sure.  Hey, mayor ('Master') Bates, why don't you take a pay cut?  Why doesn't the entire city council take a pay cut, since they couldn't be trusted with the citizens' tax money in the first place; to allocate it correctly, since they have no money to fix the problem now; and instead have chosen the disposable route of things, like most Americans have been conditioned to behave. 

Just get rid of the problem.  Just sweep it under the rug.  Move it out of town.  Whatever works, eh?

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