Homeless on Front Lines of the Butte County Fires

On the morning the Camp Fire started, Robert Talk was on his way back from a job in the next town. He got home just in time to run in to his mobile home and grab the important stuff. He remembers having to drive past walls of flames just to get out of Paradise.


Now Talk is staying at Wallywood, the informal name for the informal encampment that has popped up outside of Wal-Mart.


We don’t need protection from the homeless. They need protection from us

Originally published in the LA Times

Los Angeles homelessness has increased significantly over the last several years. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

Two men who slept on downtown Los Angeles sidewalks were beaten to death with a bat last month. In Santa Monica, four other men were attacked while sleeping outside, allegedly by the same assailant, two fatally. In Mission Hills, in the north San Fernando Valley,


How Air Pollution Impacts Homeless People

originally published in the Street Spirit

Robin Silver first noticed the smoke from the Camp Fire early on Friday, November 9—the morning after the blaze broke out in Butte County. “I have asthma. I’ve had to use my inhalers twice as much as normal” said Silver, who has lived at First They Came For The Homeless—the homeless encampment on Adeline Street—since January.


But Friday morning was just the beginning of the smoke that settled over the Bay Area in late November,


Expanded Conservatorships: The New Trauma Detentions

All of us as San Franciscans have witnessed people in severe psychiatric crisis on our streets.  For most of us, it just feels wrong, and we wonder if that is really necessary. It is not, and there are true solutions to the crisis. One intervention being considered is SB 1045.  Senator Scott Wiener, with support from Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman passed a law in Sacramento that is a five-year, three-county pilot that would add a new form of detaining people with mental illnesses and removing their civil liberties.  


An overview of the rent control measures that passed or failed in Bay Area counties

After months of hard work, and with the support of countless people, we in San Francisco were able to pass Proposition C, a measure that will double funding for homeless folks and bring us closer to ending the crisis of homelessness in our city. But another initiative that San Franciscans fought hard for was Prop. 10, a statewide rent-control ballot measure that, if passed, would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Act, allowing cities to impose their own rent control measures.  


We Kept Our Eyes Trained on Home

This fall, the Coalition on Homeless has been working hard to pass Proposition C and finally make systemic changes to address homelessness. Now that it has passed, I reflect on the years of work our collective put in to finally get here.

The history of Proposition C can go back decades, representing years of struggle, failure, victories, learning, building, crying until there were no tears to shed, of trying a new path.


Global Climate Action Summit Fails Poor People, Environmental Activists

On September 11th, the day before the Global Climate Action Summit conference brought world leaders together to strategize around climate change, Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru sent an email to his entire staff to prepare them for a long weekend of hard work.

“Our city will be in the the spotlight and our crews have been working around the clock to make sure that people have a good, positive experience here,” Nuru wrote.


What’s Up With the Prop C Lawsuit?

The city is currently in court to resolve whether two voter initiative taxes on the June 2018 ballot required approval by simple majority or two-thirds of voters (Prop C/childcare and Prop G/teacher salaries).  Proposition C, Our City Our Home, passed in November and received 60 percent of voter support but did not reach the two-thirds threshold. Its fate rests on the fate of the other two measures.

The California Supreme Court made a ruling that based on constitutional wording,


Staying Safe During the Wildfires

Wildfire smoke is hazardous and contains pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter. When structures are burned one must account for incinerated plastics, chemicals, and other particulates as well. Adults with respiratory problems (such as asthma), diabetes, heart/lung problems, as well as small children and the elderly are especially vulnerable. Symptoms of smoke inhalation include headaches, sore throat, burning eyes, irritated sinus, runny nose, and cough.

Individuals should stay indoors whenever possible,


Homeless And Marginally Housed Have A Friend In Matt Haney

I was overjoyed to see that school board member and eviction defense attorney Matt Haney defeated Sonja Trauss and Christine Johnson (who, fun fact, accepted money from single-resident occupancy hotel owners suing the city to stop an ordinance that would prevent SRO conversion from going into effect) in the District 6 supervisor race.

Trauss and Johnson were backed by big money, and were endorsed by none other than Randy Shaw, executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic and a non-profiteer who has benefited from Care Not Cash.