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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.
Kody (Pretty Boy) Ingham (pictured above) was found hanging from a tree in front of his white girlfriends house on July 15, 2013 (the same night as the George Zimmerman verdict) in Athens, Texas. it was chalked up as a suicide and no investigation ensued, even though two hours prior he called his mother to pick him up from the site he died at. no newspaper article, just a four sentence obituary in the local papers and his family has been trying hard to make any mainstream news channel blow up the story to find the killers.
Roy Veal was found hanging in Woodville, Mississippi in 2004. he originally lived in Seattle and went to his mother’s home in Woodville to help her fight for the rights to their family land against a white man. Oil had been found underneath the land.
Roy’s head was covered with a pillow case and burned papers of the documented proof he had to prove his mothers’ ownership were found burned at his feet. He was later found hanging from a tree. His death was ruled a suicide.
His family is still trying to get attention for the case
Reynard Johnson, 17, was found hanging from a tree on his front lawn on June 16, 2000 in Kokomo, Mississippi. His death was ruled a suicide even though the belt around his neck was not his. Authorities said since no hate group left a message by the body, there was nothing to investigate. Family members said the motive was his relationship with a white girl, he was constantly being harassed because of this.
Never been so shocked for hear about a celebrity’s death.
This poor girl, her poor children. She’s younger than I am, she seemed to be such a together person. I don’t know her, merely followed her on Instagram but she had so many followers who looked up to her and her parenting.
Those two boys will last night have gone to bed without their mummy. And woke up this morning without her smile.
It doesn’t matter what happened, what the speculation is. A young mother has died, leaving a husband, 2 beautiful children, her dad and her sisters.
She was all I thought about last night. Each time I woke up to feed my own chunk I thought of her. I thought of her babies not having that anymore.
Of her co sleeping babies who will be getting into that big bed with their daddy, and wondering where mummy is.
My heart breaks for them, no one deserves to go through that.
I believe her to be an extraordinary soul, she came through so much. She adored her boys and that shone through in every single post she posted on Instagram.
So much is being made of her last post on twitter. A picture of her and her mum when she was a child.
But this wasn’t her last post on Instagram. That was of her beautiful babies. I can’t help but think it must have been a dreadful accident. She seemed to be looking to the future.
May Peaches Geldof-Cohen rest in peace, may her family be given time and space to grieve, in a way that she has openly said she wasn’t able to for her own mummy.
Before you ask me when you have your first kiss or if you’ll ever have a boyfriend, I need to tell you some more important stuff first. What’s more important than a first kiss, you ask? Plenty.
First of all, don’t let that kid in your class, Danny, who called you fat, make you self-consciously wear oversized sweatshirts for the next four years to hide your body. That kid is horrible and years from now he will be boring and bald and trying to get in touch with you to come to the set of the TV show you work on. No, you don’t work on Cheers. That show’s not on the air anymore. That would’ve been awesome, though.
Another thing: Say thank you, always. Gratitude is the closest thing to beauty manifested in an emotion. When you’re grateful, people are attracted to you.
Also: Make sure you appreciate Mom and Dad. Yes, they never seem to let you do anything now except read books. Once you turn 18 you’ll never get to live with them again, and you’ll live far away, and you will miss them so much it hurts.
Next: Learn forgiveness and bestow it generously.
Finally: Don’t let anyone give you any crap. Mastering a balance of these last two will take you a lifetime, so you had better get started now.