The 1% wants to ban sleeping in cars - it hurts their ‘quality of life’
April 16, 2014
Across the United States, many local governments are responding to skyrocketing levels of inequality and the now decades-long crisis of homelessness among the very poor … by passing laws making it a crime to sleep in a parked car.
This happened most recently in Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley, where new billionaires are seemingly minted every month – and where 92% of homeless people lack shelter of any kind. Dozens of cities have passed similar anti-homeless laws. The largest of them is Los Angeles, the longtime unofficial “homeless capital of America”, where lawyers are currently defending a similar vehicle-sleeping law before a skeptical federal appellate court. Laws against sleeping on sidewalks or in cars are called “quality of life” laws. But they certainly don’t protect the quality of life of the poor.
To be sure, people living in cars cannot be the best neighbors. Some people are able to acquire old and ugly – but still functioning – recreational vehicles with bathrooms; others do the best they can. These same cities have resisted efforts to provide more public toilet facilities, often on the grounds that this will make their city a “magnet” for homeless people from other cities. As a result, anti-homeless ordinances often spread to adjacent cities, leaving entire regions without public facilities of any kind.
Their hope, of course, is that homeless people will go elsewhere, despite the fact that the great majority of homeless people are trying to survive in the same communities in which they were last housed – and where they still maintain connections. Americans sleeping in their own cars literally have nowhere to go.
Indeed, nearly all homelessness in the US begins with a loss of income and an eviction for nonpayment of rent – a rent set entirely by market forces. The waiting lists are years long for the tiny fraction of housing with government subsidies. And rents have risen dramatically in the past two years, in part because long-time tenants must now compete with the millions of former homeowners who lost their homes in the Great Recession.
The paths from eviction to homelessness follow familiar patterns. For the completely destitute without family or friends able to help, that path leads more or less directly to the streets. For those slightly better off, unemployment and the exhaustion of meager savings – along with the good graces of family and friends – eventually leaves people with only two alternatives: a shelter cot or their old automobile.
However, in places like Los Angeles, the shelters are pretty much always full. Between 2011 and 2013, the number of unsheltered homeless people increased by 67%. In Palo Alto last year, there were 12 shelter beds for 157 homeless individuals. Homeless people in these cities do have choices: they can choose to sleep in a doorway, on a sidewalk, in a park, under a bridge or overpass, or – if they are relatively lucky – in a car. But these cities have ordinances that make all of those choices a criminal offense. The car is the best of bad options, now common enough that local bureaucrats have devised a new, if oxymoronic, term – the “vehicularly housed”.
People sleeping in cars try to find legal, nighttime parking places, where they will be less apparent and arouse the least hostility. But cities like Palo Alto and Los Angeles often forbid parking between 2am and 5am in commercial areas, where police write expensive tickets and arrest and impound the vehicles of repeat offenders. That leaves residential areas, where overnight street parking cannot, as a practical matter, be prohibited.
One finds the “vehicularly housed” in virtually every neighborhood, including my own. But the animus that drives anti-homeless laws seems to be greatest in the wealthiest cities, like Palo Alto, which has probably spawned more per-capita fortunes than any city on Earth, and in the more recently gentrified areas like Los Angeles’ Venice. These places are ruled by majorities of “liberals” who decry, with increasing fervor, the rapid rise in economic inequality. Nationally, 90% of Democrats (and 45% of Republicans) believe the government should act to reduce the rich-poor gap.
It is easy to be opposed to inequality in the abstract. So why are Los Angeles and Palo Alto spending virtually none of their budgets on efforts to provide housing for the very poor and homeless? When the most obvious evidence of inequality parks on their street, it appears, even liberals would rather just call the police. The word from the car: if you’re not going to do anything to help, please don’t make things worse.
accelerated “kill the poor” mandates moving along aren’t they
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New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is petty, vindictive, and weak on policy. Sound familiar?
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Wild Beast - Wanderlust (The Field remix)
Wubber Stumpper -A Pretty Penny
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Danny Brown - Shrooms In My Dressing Room (Sesh)
M83 - I need you
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It Ain’t Me Babe (Bob Dylan Cover by Haley Heynderickx)
they had people ready to go to Benghazi and were told to stand down so they could be tortured and slaughtered.
Wow! Actually I hate to break it to ya, but there was no stand down order given. A Republican-lead committee recently came to that conclusion after conducting an investigation into the matter. They also concluded that considering the circumstances, help would not have made it either way since military protocol states that you DO NOT EVER send troops into a “hot zone” until you know exactly what is going on. The CIA however immediately sent help within minutes of the attack. However the CIA never made it to the scene because they too came under fire along the way. What are your thoughts on the GOP controlled congress slashing funds for embassy security in the days leading up to the attack DESPITE warnings from both President Obama and Hillary Clinton that doing so would be “detrimental to the safety of our personel”?
If you want to talk about stand down orders, let’s talk about how ol’ Saint Ronnie Reagan got 200+ marines killed in Beirut after telling them to “stand down” and disarm, which gave a suicide bomber in a truck the perfect chance to strike. You scream Benghazi, we scream Beirut!
After more than 25 years working at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Rob Boston knows a thing or two about the Religious Right, their motivations and tactics, and what the future appears to have in store for them. His latest book gets to the heart of the religious freedom…
— (via teapartycat)
Tim Dukeman (potential rapist)
Wes Widner is a self-admitted and unapologetic rapist. He lives in Roswell, Georgia.
(Note: I edited the submitted text to consolidate these two images on one post.)
My stomach literally hurts from reading this. It actually is making me sick. The idea that someone should have complete and total access to their partner’s body at any time they want is incredibly, incredibly disturbing.
Do these people really think that a husband can’t rape his wife? Like, is that what they’re seriously suggesting? And they’re ok with doing so on a public fucking post?
I’m truly overcome with all kinds of sadness and anger. I know stuff like this shouldn’t surprise me at this point, but I guess the fact that I have tears in my eyes right now is evidence that I still care about all this and I’m not a totally cynical, jaded person yet.
HUGE artifact of our rape culture right here folks, HUGE.
J: All things have the potential to end and badly. This line of thinking and actions will, at some point in time come to a deadly climax.
SAY NO TO PALM OIL
Did you know that most of us are fueling one of the world’s biggest ecological disasters and acts of primate genocide in history?
Borneo and Sumatra are two of the most bio-diverse regions of the world, yet they have the longest list of endangered species. This list includes the magnificent orangutan. These two South-East Asian islands are extremely rich in life, containing around 20,000 flowering plant species, 3,000 tree species, 300,000 animal species and thousands more being discovered each year. Despite this amazing biodiversity and delicate web of species, an area the size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour in Indonesia and Malaysia to make way for the production of one vegetable oil. That’s 6 football fields destroyed each minute. This vegetable oil is called palm oil, and is found in hundreds of the everyday products, from baked goods and confectionery, to cosmetics and cleaning agents… many of which you buy in your weekly shopping.Keep Reading
WASHINGTON—Putting the nation on alert against what it has described as a “highly credible terrorist threat,” the FBI announced today that it has uncovered a plot by members of al-Qaeda to sit back and enjoy themselves while the United States collapses of its own accord.
Instant Classic from The Onion. For satire, their jokes are on point.