Even before the COVID-19 pandemic reached Los Angeles County, more than 66,000 of its residents were experiencing homelessness, and almost 600,000 low-income people were spending 90 per cent of their income on housing. The city ranked near the top of the list of places where renters experienced the highest cost burdens. And the state of California had one of the worst shortages of affordable housing in the country.
Towing practices have always been a particular plague for poor and homeless people, especially in San Francisco – the city with the nation’s highest towing fees, averaging $574 in the current fiscal year. However, the current pandemic has brought renewed attention to these “poverty tows” and possibly an opportunity to end them.
From mid-March to June 15, people in vehicles experienced some relief when ticketing and non-emergency towing were halted due to the shelter-in-place order,
Near the seven-hour mark of the July 8 meeting of the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Appropriations Committee on the San Francisco Police Department budget for the next fiscal year, I realized I simply could not go on. After two long presentations, dozens of questions from supervisors and almost five hours of public comment, the end was not in sight. I was exhausted.
This was, for some organizers, the goal. Many of the over 400 callers used a script,
As San Francisco starts to slowly emerge back into a false sense of normality, I wonder where that will leave the homeless population staying in “shelter In place“ hotels and shelters scattered throughout the city. Before I cover that, I must recollect what events took place to get us here today.
Back in March, everyone was on the fence about just how serious COVID-19 would be. No one could fully grasp then just how long we all would be under shelter in place,
Black Lives Matter and other abolitionist groups are leading communities across the country to recognize that the criminal justice system is a powerhouse of violence and white supremacy. Policing was racist at birth, with its origins in scalping Indigenous people and kidnapping Black people escaping slavery. It has a long history of keeping non-white, non-property owning people “under foot” and disempowered. From Reconstruction to Jim Crow and up to the present, police budgets across the country have continued to grow,