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Letters Oct. 10 - Oct. 17

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We need to stop to conflating these two phenomena under the rubric of "homelessnesss."

I've been homeless myself. There's always another place to go (and — housed or not — another way to approach life).

We're told to have respect and compassion for our "unhoused neighbors," but where's their respect or consideration for the neighbors on whom they foist themselves? Even an addict can can avoid getting in peoples' faces, or tossing used syringes into playgrounds or onto the street.

If these people have such deep roots in the community, why won't any of their supposed neighbors put them up? The answers obvious. Respect and consideration are a two-way street.

No more "whack-a-mole." Time to move on, for the better and for good.

Take a tip from one who's seen (and lived with) this predicament from both sides. Now, THAT's empathy!

Mitchell Halberstadt

What ever happened to the concept of flying under the radar when you are living in tension with the law or public opinion? Squatting discretely. ;)

Homelessness is a huge problem-on that we all agree. Solutions, if ever, won't come this week.

But here is what can, because this can be done on an individual level at any time:

L-E-S-S-E-N ... T-H-E ... N-E-G-A-T-I-V-E ... I-M-P-A-C-T-S

If the encampment occupants would dispose of trash with their spare time (it absolutely can be done), minimized the presence of their own waste (ditto-poop on newspaper over plastic ... pee into containers/chamber pots etc — and dispose reasonably), didn't block public access to roads and sidewalks, and didn't use their domiciles to harass pedestrians or launch raiding operations from (how many stolen amazon boxes fit into a tent?) ... the entire character of the problem would change, and I dare say there might be a lot more compassion shown by the general population.

As it is, I see little effort made at flying under the radar ... rather, I see a lot of push back attitude and sense of entitlement that sponsors "I will do whatever I want!" as the M.O. of each day. The latter is anarchy, and that doesn't fly well at all with the average citizen.

From on high-how about laying down some ground rules and getting some R-E-S-P-E-C-T into the mix, (in both directions of course). Something like an extension of the old "will work for food!"

EX: "you" keep the place picked up, and off the sidewalks and streets — and "we" (the other side-community, city, state, NGOs, whoever), hand out porta-pottys ... pizza ... flu shots ... whatever the encampments can readily benefit from. A give and take win/win. Hire a couple locals to liaison with. Keep it simple, and keep it real.

Everyone on both sides of this problem can do a lot more than they are to mitigate the negative effects of homelessness.


Please come to Webster and 6th in Oakland and take a look at the encampment under the 880. Take note of how, over the course of two years, City of Oakland officials, and CalTrans, have allowed the encampment to slowly encroach over the entire sidewalk, in violation of state law. Now the encampment is encroaching into the public street. The first tent is so large that the residents built a platform out of pallets and it extends about two or three feet onto Webster. People in wheelchairs cannot get through, parking spaces are blocked, pedestrians put themselves at risk by having to walk in the street. Oakland Police responded to an incident here Sunday evening. One of many over the years. But officials won't enforce existing laws and won't find solutions.

The Salvation Army business across the street is complicit with affording the encampment residents with anything from furniture to clothing to exercise equipment, which ends up in the street. At one point over the summer there was a full size refrigerator in the street and an exercise bicycle in the encampment. A Homeless Gym. On the other side of Webster as you enter the Posey Tube, is the encampment's landfill. No one but the encampment residents toss trash here.

Further down under the 880, between Webster and Franklin is an area under the Broadway exit ramp. Years ago CalTrans installed wrought iron fencing to keep people out. There is a gate that had a lock. The homeless cut off every lock Caltrans puts on it and then they set up their little community. Many of these people smoke methamphetamine and steal bicycles. One woman in particular has shown violent tendencies by swinging a 2x4 at passers by. She is also a hoarder so frequents the piles people illegally dump at the Salvation Army after hours. It's another trash pit, with rats, in this location. Mattresses included.

Oakland, Berkeley, and Caltrans could do more to SOLVE these issues but they let red tape and rhetoric get in the way.


Hayward is Eyeing Unincorporated Cherryland for Annexation, Seven Days, Oct 9

Careful What You Wish For

Why does Hayward want to annex Cherryland? So they can get their hands on our property taxes without giving us any improvement in services.




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