Thursday, January 26, 2006


On Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day a pregnant woman who is past her due date was arrested by the Arcata Police Department and held in Jail.

The Arcata Police Department arrested a pregnant woman who is past her due date to give birth. She was arrested for allegedly missing a court date. She would have been forced to give birth while being held at the jail if she had gone into labor in the jail cell.

Earlier in her pregnancy, the same woman had been thrown to the ground by an Arcata police officer as part of this city's overzealous efforts against those percieved as "homeless."

Incredibly, at her arraignment in front of the judge the overzealous District Attorney/ Prosecuter demanded that she should be kept in jail, demanding that she give birth while in the custody of the Humbolt County Jail, as a punishment for missing an infraction court date by a few minutes.

Reportedly, this deputy District Attorney prosecutes child abuse cases.

This raises the question of: Whether someone who seeks to force a baby to be born into a jail cell is qualified to prosecute child abuse cases? Does the city council take any responsibility for endangering the imminent life of this child?

A community effort was put into effect when her family and friends attempted to give the urgent message to the police and the court system to free her from jail. The police said nothing could be done until her arraignment. More than 24 hours past before the arraignment and then another six hours of waiting to be released to her family and friends.

P.S. The original alleged offense, stemming from an incident in which the cops shot a taser stun-gun at the puppy that the woman was caring for at the time, was that she allegedly assaulted an officer. The cops put her in wrist constraints that were so tight that they left a mark on her wrists that was there for days and was documented by Arcata copwatch volunteers.

Sunday, January 15, 2006



If distributed equally, the world produces enough food to feed everyone. There is an abundance of food. In fact, in this country, every day, in every city, far more edible food is discarded than is needed to feed those who do not have enough to eat.

The reason this is not already happening is no accident. We do not have a democratic say in how food is produced or distributed. People would certainly elect to eat. In hierarchical economies, the threat of the loss of a job allows owners to keep wages low. An underclass is the result of policies which encourage domination and violence. In our society, it is acceptable to profit from other people's suffering and misery.

Poverty is violence. One expression of the violence of poverty is hunger. Millions of Americans, almost half children, go hungry every day and childhood malnutrition contributes heavily to infant mortality rates, which are higher in parts of the U.S. than in most other nations of the world. By spending money on bombs instead of food, our government perpetuates and exacerbates the violence of poverty by failing to provide food for everyone in need. Food Not Bombs has chosen to take a stand against violence. We are committed to nonviolent social change by giving out free vegetarian food thus celebrating and nurturing life.

Food Not Bombs was recently approached and asked to cook at the Arcata Endeavor on Saturdays where there is plenty of food that would otherwise go unprepared and unserved on weekends. This is in addition to FNB’s meals served throughout the week that are cooked in the homes of volunteers. It was discussed and decided that it would be tried.

For several months now, there has been healthy vegetarian food served at 1:00 pm on Saturdays at the Endeavor (at no extra cost to taxpayers), and there are still enough volunteers to prepare and serve dinner at 5:30 pm on the plaza. Many of the volunteers now cooking lunch at the Endeavor on Saturdays were not previously affiliated with Food Not Bombs.

These events make clear that the facilities exist for those in need to be given the opportunity to help themselves. Instead of acquiring large sums of money to study the obvious lack of basic necessities, and spending lots of money hiring people who reinforce the separations between service providers and service recipients, Arcata could allow the already existing facilities to be used by those who are willing to volunteer to provide services to themselves and others. The costs of operation (utilities, supplies) could be covered by the money saved.

Not only would this less-hierarchical approach save money, and time spent to acquire that money, but it would also set an example of this historically tested and trusted method of social planning that involves less professional authoritarianism, and the actual meeting of more needs. The D Street Neighborhood Center is a perfect place to open up. Currently is sits locked and empty most of the time.

The direct action of preparing and sharing meals helps to relieve some of the pressures that create tensions in our community. Healthy and nutritious meals provide relief from the immediate discomfort and anxiety of being hungry, and prevent the long-term negative effects of malnutrition. For those overwhelmed by the cost of living in today’s society, FNB’s free meals provide relief from the competition for ever more scarce dollars.

Preparing meals together is a good way to engage our innate ability to get along and work cooperatively to meet our common needs. By addressing the issue of hunger directly, FNB also demonstrates our ability to solve community problems from within the community.

another look at the Mental Health Services Act

In the Mental Health Services Act Community Support and Services Plan put out by the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health Branch, the claim is made that:
“among the estimated 2000 homeless adults, 80% of homeless adults suffer mental health issues; 90% suffer substance abuse.” (page 35)

The overlap (“co-occurrence”) of “mental health issues” and “substance abuse” is estimated at 4% in the MHSAA CSS Plan.

This would mean that 76.8% of homeless adults have “mental health issues” exclusively, 86.8% of homeless adults have “substance abuse” exclusively, and 3.2% of homeless adults have “co-occurring” “mental health issues” and “substance abuse.”

These numbers exceed 100% greatly, and thus are impossible!

Even if we use the estimate of 50% “co-occurring” “mental health issues” and “substance abuse” that is asserted in the “Blueprint for Change: Ending Chronic Homelessness for Persons with Serious Mental Illnesses and/or Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorder” (US Dept. of Health and Human Services), we STILL get numbers greater than 100%!!! (40% exclusively “mental health issues,” 50% exclusively “substance abuse,” and 40% having both.)

Mental Health Services Act Community Support and Services (MHSA CSS) Plan available on the net at:

“Blueprint for Change: Ending Chronic Homelessness for Persons with Serious Mental Illnesses and/or Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorder” (US Dept. of Health and Human Services) available at:

from San Diego to Humboldt

The Slippery Slope:
from San Diego to Humboldt

The homeless “Round–Up” programs instituted in San Diego may be emulated here in Humboldt County.

Strategies for Reducing Chronic Street Homelessness (January 2004, 384 P.)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

San Diego’s Police-Based Outreach Teams
San Diego city has two innovative outreach programs developed by and located in the San Diego Police Department—the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) and the Serial Inebriate Program (SIP).

HOT combines a police officer, a mental health worker, and a benefits eligibility technician in outreach teams operating during the day and evening hours to engage mentally ill street people and connect them to services.

Because they combine police and mental health expertise and authority, they are the only outreach teams on the streets that have the ability to remove people either voluntarily or involuntarily, in addition to building rapport and making referrals.

SIP comes into play for chronic inebriates who do not voluntarily accept treatment. SIP is a collaboration of four city and five county agencies, including law enforcement, the city attorney’s office, the public defender, the Superior Court, health care, and homeless agencies working as a team in a court context. Mental Health System, Inc. is contracted to coordinate the program. SIP follows the Drug Court model in offering addicts a choice of jail or treatment, after assuring that the community was willing to pay for treatment if requested. SIP’s focus is on chronic alcoholics who populate the downtown streets of San Diego. Police officers arrest chronic street alcoholics for public drunkenness, and bring them to jail and subsequently to court. Once arraigned, caseworkers approach each person, conduct assessments, and offer treatment plus transitional housing as an alternative to six months in jail (the maximum allowed under California state law) to those who pass the assessment. Many people eventually accept the offer, although they may first serve a full jail sentence or even two before they are convinced to try.

The North Coast Journal Weekly (Arcata)
Judge Feeney, who presides in Humboldt County Superior Court, Courtoom 8, was born and raised in San Diego and says he has "been admiring their homeless court from afar for years."
In September, he went down to San Diego to observe a homeless court. "I was impressed," he says.
"Many homeless people have substance abuse issues and mental illness, and for those people it's more complicated," he says.
“…some infractions and misdemeanors might stem from the condition of being homeless, says Steve Binder, a deputy public defender in San Diego who co-founded the nation's first homeless court, in San Diego County in 1989.
"They (“crimes” of the homeless) are the result of their being homeless. They might be 'sleeping in public' or 'drinking in public' or 'peeing in public' -- things we do in the privacy of our homes, they do outside because they have no other options. Additionally, you'll find petty thefts [of food], because people might be looking to survive. Or you'll find people doing drugs, whether it is a way of self-medicating or just a way of surviving on the street. We're not trying to condone that."


original article on the web at:

What is the "Chronic Homelessness" Initiative?

The "chronic homelessness" initiative is a campaign to target federal, state, and local homeless assistance and other resources to people who meet the definition of "chronic homelessness."

What is the Federal Definition of "Chronic Homelessness?"
from “Ending Chronic Homelessness: Strategies for Action
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Report from the Secretary’s Work Group on Ending Chronic Homelessness, March 2003.
The definition of “chronic homeless”:
HHS, HUD, and VA have agreed on the characteristics of persons experiencing chronic homelessness and use the following definition in their collaborations:
An unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or has had at least four (4) episodes of homelessness in the past three (3) years.

By definition, the "chronic homelessness" initiative excludes the following groups of people:
CHILDREN (with disabilities and without disabilities) who are homeless with their parents;
PARENTS (with disabilities and without disabilities) who are homeless and who have children with them;
YOUTH on their own with disabilities who have not been homeless long enough to fit the federal definition;
YOUTH on their own without disabilities;
unaccompanied individuals with disabilities who have not been homeless long enough to fit the federal definition;
unaccompanied individuals without disabilities; and
unaccompanied individuals who are unwilling to be declared disabled.
Press releases, plans to end homelessness, and news articles are using the terms "chronic homelessness" and "homelessness" interchangeably, as though they were one and the same. In this collapsing of categories, all people experiencing homelessness are either pathologized or made invisible.

The "chronic homelessness" initiative fails to address the ROOT of the problem, POVERTY, and the affordable housing crisis that underlie homelessness for all populations. To separate homelessness from poverty and housing is fundamentally to distort its causes.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

sorry kids, "comment moderation" is in effect

Due to the excess of off-topic irrelevant personal and insulting comments on this blog, new comments will now have to be approved before they appear.

Have no fear - almost any thing will still be published! (even the mysterious mean little diatribes of "anonymous")

This blog coesn't get checked all that often, so please be patient and continue to comment!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Healthy Plaza Initiative?

Just thought I'd open this up for discussion - let you folks do all the work.