By Doug Porter
Jeez…the weather. Can you believe it? I spent 90 minutes getting home yesterday after hunkering down in the basement of a building at UCSD as all hell broke lose. Rain –then hail– came down sideways, trees flopped back and forth like rag dolls, and then we saw the eerie greenish glow of the sky associated with tornado events…
…At least I wasn’t homeless in San Diego. El Niño’s arrival has ripped off the tarp local politicians had thrown over our homeless problem.
KPBS reported there were 800 people in downtown San Diego hunkered down in tents and under plastic tarps. City Beat tells us that 91 people died from various causes on the streets of our city last year and the backup foul weather shelter plan announced by the mayor earlier this year amounts to “an unfunded, re-wrapped package of Father Joe’s longstanding practice of opening its dining halls.”
From KPBS (published on Wednesday):
Yana Titova, spokeswoman for Father Joe’s Village, said the organization opened its emergency shelter again Tuesday night, despite the weather conditions not meeting its criteria of being below 50 degrees and having at least a 40 percent chance of rain.
Father Joe’s was not planning on opening the beds Wednesday night, “because the weather still doesn’t meet the criteria and is predicted to be more mild,” Titova said.
San Diego is still short hundreds of beds for the homeless, McElroy said. Some homeless also decline to stay in the beds that do exist because they don’t want to leave behind their belongings or pets. To stay at Father Joe’s, they have to do that.
From City Beat: [Emphasis added]
“Father Joe’s Villages is paying for the inclement weather nights and is currently raising money to pay for those nights,” mayoral spokesperson Craig Gustafson confirmed in an email. “You should consider asking your readers to make a donation.”
Last year the City Council approved a plan moving the government’s response to homelessness from seasonal tents to a more permanent shelter that would include services to keep the homeless from returning to the streets.
The “housing first” approach is considered to be a better solution to the problems of homelessness, given that many people living on the street lack access to the kind resources and services needed.
In San Diego, with the fourth largest homeless population in the nation, not enough resources were considered (and there are people who dispute this) to be available to support a program including a sufficient number of temporary beds.
Homeless advocate Katherine Rhodes pointed out–as she has many times–in a comment left at KPBS:
Less taxpayer money is being used than before, and a Net decrease in Emergency Shelter Bed Nights. Failure.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer asks the public for charity when he is siting on $28 million Cash Reserves in the Low Moderate Income Housing Asset Fund (LMIHAF). Civic San Diego has been Hoarding the Cash since 2013. Mayor Faulconer and Civic San Diego’s Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP) includes delaying any Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) until FY-2018. Too late for many Homeless who will die.
Perhaps it’s time to reopen this discussion. Maybe it’s not as sexy as the football stadium the city and county were willing to spend $350 million on. But it’s the right thing to do.
Police Killings Issue Isn’t Going Away
The City of San Diego commissioned a public opinion poll following the release of the surveillance video of a disputed police shooting to bolster their case against the request of the dead man’s family to move the trial of their $20 million lawsuit to another jurisdiction.
Just a few months back the city was arguing against release. Now that it has been released, along with a commentary favoring the city’s legal position, they say “no problem.”
From Voice of San Diego:
The city’s original argument about the potential for problems finding an impartial jury was made in a September filing, when it was trying to prevent the release of video footage showing Browder shooting Nehad.
But a judge cleared the way for the video’s release in late December.
Now, the city is responding to an effort by lawyers from Nehad’s family to move their lawsuit out of San Diego. The lawyers for Nehad’s family say that two press conferences held by Dumanis – including one where she pre-emptively released edited video of the shooting before the judge’s order would have allowed it to happen – unfairly slammed Nehad. Dumanis’ actions, Nehad’s family says, mean potential jurors in San Diego would be biased in favor of the officer.
Gosh, I wonder if there was something else needing the money the city spent on the public relations poll?
Second Thoughts About Calling 911 for Some
Fridoon Rawshan Nehad, the fatality in last spring’s SDPD shooting, was mentally ill.
Civil rights activist and author Shaun King has been delving into the background stories of the more than 1100 people the Guardian newspaper says were killed during encounters with police during 2015.
What he’s found is that many of the fatalities stemmed from 911 operators who either got good information from families but didn’t relay it properly to police, or the operators didn’t know how to ask about information from incidents relating to mental illness.
Here’s King in the New York Daily News:
While it’s a popular trope among many conservatives to say things like, “Do what the police say and you won’t get shot,” or “Don’t break the law and the police won’t show up,” these reductionist catchphrases simply don’t hold water for hundreds and hundreds of families who called 911 for help with their mentally ill loved one — only to see them killed by police instead of taken to the hospital.
It’s such a serious problem, that many who are charged with caring for the mentally ill are having second thoughts about even calling 911 nowadays out of fear about what might happen if the police show up.
Halfway through last year, at least 25% of all fatalities caused by police were of the mentally ill. Another study determined that more than 50% of people who are shot and killed by police had a pre-diagnosed mental illness. In Maine, the number is 58%.
Racism, Old and New: Sterilizations in California
University of Michigan professor Alexandra Minna Stern has spent decades digging into the once popular practice of sterilizing people considered to be not worthy members of society. It turns out that skin color had a lot to do with making the determinations of who went under the knife.
Sixty thousand people were sterilized in the United States during the first half of the 20th century using “crude theories of human heredity that posited the wholesale inheritance of traits associated with a panoply of feared conditions such as criminality, feeblemindedness, and sexual deviance.”
California was among the more aggressive states participating in this practice. Fully one-third of those sterilizations were performed in the Golden State.
Now Stern reveals, via an article posted at KCRW’s Zocala Public Square, just who those 20,000 people in California were:
Our dataset reveals that those sterilized in state institutions often were young women pronounced promiscuous; the sons and daughters of Mexican, Italian, and Japanese immigrants, frequently with parents too destitute to care for them; and men and women who transgressed sexual norms. Preliminary statistical analysis demonstrates that during the peak decade of operations from 1935 to 1944 Spanish-surnamed patients were 3.5 times more likely to be sterilized than patients in the general institutional population.
Laws that govern the use of medical records require that we redact personal information to protect patient privacy. Even though we will never be able to divulge the real names or precise circumstances of the 20,000 people sterilized in California, we can still see the ugly underside of medical paternalism and how authorities treated Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, immigrant groups, and people with disabilities and mental illnesses in 20th-century America…
…This history remains relevant, considering a more contemporary episode of sterilization abuse, again in California’s public institutions. Although the state’s eugenic sterilization law was repealed in 1979, existing legislation provided leeway for operations in state prisons pursuant to a strict set of criteria. Between 2006 and 2010, 146 female inmates in two of California’s women’s prisons received tubal ligations that ran afoul of these criteria; at least three dozen of these unauthorized procedures directly violated the state’s own informed consent process. The majority of these female inmates were first-time offenders, African-American or Latina. Echoing the rationale of the eugenicists who championed sterilization in the 1930s, the physician responsible for many of these operations blithely explained they would save the state a great deal of money “compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children—as they procreated more.” In 2013, an intrepid journalist at the Center for Investigative Reporting broke this story and it eventually led to the passage of a bill banning sterilization in California state prisons.
Temp Agency Racism, 21st Century Style
Will Evans at the Center for Investigative Reporting has published the results of a lengthy inquiry into the hiring and placement practices at temporary agencies in the United States.
Temporary staffing agencies have grown from placing 1 million workers in 1990 to 3 million today. And, it turns out that some agencies are the last great bastion of discriminatory practices in hiring.
It’s not that they don’t accept applications from people of color (and other groups), they use race, etc., to not place them. Employers are using temp agencies desire to be seen as good providers to convey ‘special’ requests…
From Politico’s Morning Shift:
Allegations from lawsuits against staffing agencies illuminate just how entrenched such practices can be. Throughout the country, agencies have applied code names to races. “In New Jersey,” Evans writes, “blacks were called ‘number 2s.’ In Illinois, ‘Code 3‘ meant a Latino worker. A Texas temp agency called whites ‘blue eyes.’ An Ohio agency called them ‘vanilla cupcakes,’ ‘ hockey players,’ or someone ‘like you and me.’ Another agency owner in Alabama was accused of running her finger along her own white cheek to indicate a preference for whites. In Seattle, ‘no Mohammeds’ meant not to send anyone of Arab descent. In Florida, construction contractors said, ‘Don’t send me any monkeys,’ meaning blacks. In Texas, ‘bilingual’ often meant a request for Latinos in jobs where speaking more than one language wasn’t necessary.”
On This Day: 1892 – An explosion at Osage Coal and Mining Company’s Mine Number 11 near Krebs, Okla., killed 100 and injured 150 when an untrained worker accidentally set off a stash of explosives. 1953 – President Harry Truman announced the development of the hydrogen bomb. 1955 – Marian Anderson became the first African-American to sing at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.
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