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

By       Message James Armstrong II     Permalink
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You do not define our "quality of life."  Like I have stated, ad nauseum, my quality of life was ten times worse when I was "in side."  I was going nowhere, fast.  I was not writing, which is death for a writer.  However, now... now that I have decided to live this-type  lifestyle, I have flourished, and I am well on my way to becoming a published author.  The light has gone on.  Some of these kids out here may do the same in the future, or may open up their own businesses... so the DBA can exploit them someday, too.  Therefore, to tell me, and everyone else out here, that our "quality of life" is suffering... GO TO HELL.

And now they (DBA) are employing the "Art of War" tactic of "divide-and-conquer," by saying (or writing, rather) that we (the homeless) are costing jobs.  When they write "saves jobs!" they are saying, in the same breath, that all of us (homeless) out there are costing them their jobs as long as we are out there, which is irresponsible, because you are turning this argument into a tool to divide us so we fight amongst ourselves.  Their words dangerous and irresponsible.  Violence could be a bi-product of this phrasing in the future, and if any act of violence happens to me or my friends (as a result of those words used) I will hold the DBA and the city of Berkeley financially liable.  I see it in the looks I get from certain Block By Block employees' eyes.  And that is exactly what those in power (the .0001%) want of us.  They want us to kill off one another, so they can run off with the loot.  I've seen this movie before.  It never ends good for those holding the bag.

Third case: Again, the Hotel Shattuck is involved. 

One night, as I lay down to get a good night's sleep, (I go to bed around 10PM, nightly; yeah, I'm boring), I hear some commotion coming my way.  Three drunk males, all of them are from Ireland.  I can hear their drunken, bloviated accents a mile away.  They were attempting to access the rod-iron gate that I sleep behind.  After gaining access, through an immense struggle with an easy door knob, one of them decided he wanted to urinate in my area... so I yelled at them to get lost.  They started cursing at me... calling me a "p*ssy liberal!" and other stupid names.  I had to get up and chase them off, as they kept trying to come back and talked drunken trash to me.  

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I thought that minor issue was over... wrong.  I heard them, coming from my backside.  I heard as they crashed through the double doors at the office building behind where I sleep.  "Great," I was thinking, "they are going to screw this up for me."  After about three minutes of nothing, no noise, at all, I hear a burst of laughter and doors fling open from behind.  I am now thinking they did something really stupid.  Then I see them run past the rod-iron gate, holding what appeared to be a... fish?  That's right, a Koi fish, to be exact.  In the lobby of this business swam three perfectly-healthy, perfectly-beautiful, Japanese Koi fish, in a small pool their owner built for them.  The ages of these fish are around twenty-five-years, as they have been with each other for some time.  These type-fish can live up to 50 and even 60 years.  Apparently, these three Irish Idiots decided to steal two of the three fish swimming in that man-made pond.  These are thousand-dollar-a-piece fish, people.  This is theft and property damage, as well.  And, it did not come from homeless folks... it came from folks who stayed at the Hotel Shattuck.  How do I know this, you may ask?  I watched these three hungover douche bags come from the general direction of said hotel the day following the fiasco. (with the fish)  Did I see them, physically come out of the hotel itself?  No.  But I am somewhat intelligent, and I can make pretty solid conclusions, giving enough circum stantial evidence... and I had enough to figure out they came out of that very hotel. 

The three visitors looked at me as though they knew me, but couldn't place me, exactly... as they stumbled past me and on into Starbuck's Coffee, obviously hungover and searching for answers through bits of drunken flashes.

The three Irishmen surely went back to their country with tales of stolen fish and "stupid liberals," while the homeless got blamed for said crime.  That's right, I was in that very same lobby a couple weeks past, and found out the lobby is locked.  Once in the lobby, I was looked at in a suspicious way, and was then told the locking of the doors stemmed from "homeless people vandalizing the place."  Lies.  I immediately corrected this person.  If not for me, a homeless person, there would have been no record of what actually occurred.  I actually addressed the police officer (who was cordial and professional) who showed up to the scene, as the curator (and owner of aforementioned Koi fish) of the office building called the officer.  And that would have been enough for that lie to be perpetrated even further, for someone's political agenda... someone like the Downtown [Berkeley] Business Association's current witch hunt of the homeless and mentally handicapped.

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Sources who are close to me, who actually work at the Hotel Shattuck, tell me prostitution is rampant in that building.  Now, this piece of information does not shock me, nor should it shock any of you.  The Hotel Shattuck is a high-end-type hotel, so they are going to attract some high-end... escorts...  massage therapists... whatever.  We can enact this moral equivalency if the DBA wishes to do so.  I don't want to... because I don't care what people do in the privacy of their own hotel rooms... but if they (DBA) want to do this, I can oblige them.

What is worse in your mind, (legal-aged) teenagers trying to find themselves, selling small amounts of Cannabis (Which is virtually legal in California, if not completely De-criminalized altogether.) to other (legal-aged) teenagers, (And yuppies who do not have a connection and are only in town a short period of time while they stay at the Hotel Shattuck... yeah, I get requests all day long from these folks.) in order to keep alive, so they can find their purpose and place in society... or some 1%'er who comes into town for some small amount of time... who gets drunk as hell and starts trouble with those very same street kids... but not before that person paid for sex, which is obviously allowed to occur, since it happens so frequently at that hotel, specifically.

Which case is worse, again?  I am making no moral equivalencies here... but the DBA would... and are.

That's 3-0.

Fourth Case: This case of intolerance and injustice is brought to you by the Berkeley Police Department.  Now, before I go on hammering the Berkeley City Police Department, let me say that most of the police I have encountered in Berkeley are cool.  Most of them do their jobs, correctly.  However, some of them -- enforcers of the police chief, Gordon, and their Bully Boys -- come off the leash, once in a while. 

Case and point: Desemo Glass.  An Iraqi War Veteran who was picked up in his sleeping bag, while he was sleeping (unresponsive to police commands), thrown on the curb, and then picked up, and thrown on the police cruiser's hood, and handcuffed.  Mr. Glass is currently suing the Berkeley Police Department for this act of cowardliness.  First off, by law, the police are not supposed to wake up anyone between the hours of 9PM and 9AM, because police have been stabbed by homeless people in the past.  I believe the law is that someone sleeping has a window of around fifteen seconds to defend themselves against a would-be assailant, because your mind is not processing things clearly enough when you are first awakened.  Especially if you live on the street.  Your mind is set to "shoot (or stab) first and ask questions later," so to speak. 

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This ain't no game out here... this is real-life stuff.

Combine that law with the fact that this person was non-responsive to commands and you have a recipe for disaster, as the city has found to be the case, as they are being sued by this war-veteran street-kid.

So, there you have it.  Four cases where you have average-looking, "upstanding citizens" getting blitzed at the local watering hole... the very same watering hole (and hotel) that is trying to attract this sort of human being to Berkeley.  Because, they believe that, the more money a person has in their bank account... that it somehow means they are immune to all the dumb stuff that people do in society.  Here's a clue for you, DBA: people of all walks of life make mistakes.  Also, the people you are smearing, out here... these street kids, are guilty of nothing more than being artists who have to sometimes hustle marijuana, just to keep their art alive, so they can keep going... so they can be self-reliant in the future.  Furthermore, for the DBA to then claim they are artist-friendly, just to have Block By Block systematically harass these very same artists... tearing off fliers artists post so that the citizens of Berkeley can view this art... it's all bullshit, people.

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

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