Emergency CHILL (Community Help In Living Locally) Meeting
The only open remnant of geographically available housing for the houseless, Hippy Hill, is going the way of Palco Marsh. Eviction of the current population will take place Thursday May 19th. Hippy Hill is under fresh management and is a prime example of how gentrification works - put poor people on a piece of land and getting them off it raises the dollar value, sometimes exponentially. The money system mandates this ongoing eviction. Our "Business is Big Salaries" Governments are not far behind in their unwillingness to meet the social challenge. It is up to us to continue to create a citizen action movement that works for community values and not profits or taxes.
Community Help In Living Locally (CHILL) will have an emergency meeting on Wednesday, May 18 at noon at the Earth School Library in back of the Bike Co-op at 1007 2nd St. (If you have trouble finding it call Paul at 923 448, 298 7702 or Debra at 223 3607). Hippy Hill has been a longtime sanctuary for a number of emblematic disabled people. Where they will go should be of concern to all.
As well, CHILL will be planning revisions of its basic literature as well as our orientation material for the influx of trimmigrants, many of whom are already arriving. We think we have some reasonable solutions to our coming over-crowding. But we need land. Yes land.
The poor will not evaporate into the ozone, whatever Eureka's Police Chief thinks. His activities have created a reckless billiard ball effect that threatens to destabilize the entire County. Not that this bothers our County Supervisor who spells compassion with dollar signs: get it - compa$$ion. No matter that Eureka is a parasite that receives its social welfare funding from the County. Eureka has maybe twice the population of SoHum - it gets everything and we get nothing.
Eureka is meanwhile becoming another Los Angeles, with a police force training to be an army of occupation. We need to stop that disintegration by opting out on behalf of mercy instead of terrorism.
Come join CHILL to link up to stop the madness and end the drift toward internment camps now taking place and re-establish the Occupy idea of self-governing, cooperative villages for people who have been evicted from the economy.
yours faithfully, Paul Encimer
City of Eureka Publishes New Post-Palco Marsh Stats.
Little bit of a weird press release from the city of Eureka, below. It starts by listing police actions taken to enforce illegal camping in the city limits since last week’s eviction of homeless folks from the Palco March, and it ends by going off on a strange digression complaining about requests for public records.
The city says it “is concerned” that people are carpet-bombing it with requests for homelessness policy-related documents under the California Public Records Act. Why is it concerned by this? Because, it says, people might take the documents obtained through public records act requests and slip them to the 11 people suing the city in federal court!
This is hokum — documents are public or not public, and the city is not permitted to ask someone why they want the documents before they make that determination. If the documents are public documents, then the Palco Marsh 11 are as welcome to them as anyone else is.
Later the city claims that some of the documents requested are not, in fact, public, as they fall under specific exemptions listed in the Public Records Act. Which is fine — then you’re saying they’re not public documents. So you’re not going to provide them, and unless a judge tells you that you’re wrong and they are public documents, you don’t have to provide them.
So why are you worried about the ACLU and/or members of the media slipping the results of their PRA requests to the Marsh 11? If they’re public, then the Marsh 11 — and everyone — should have them anyway. If they’re not public, then you don’t have to release them to the public. See how that works?
Apparently Thad Greenson of the North Coast Journal has requested a truckload of documents and internal correspondence relating to the Palco Marsh eviction and homelessness policy in the city generally, and apparently the city is not inclined to give it up. So they’re gearing up for a public records court fight against Thad — which, incidentally, is a kind of fight they have lost before.
So it seems that the city, here, is putting Thad on blast, saying that he’s costing the public tons of time and money by requesting an overly broad range of documentation, most bits of which presumably require legal review and probably redaction. But them’s the breaks, right?
Anyway, read this whole thing. It’s kind of bizarre. From the City of Eureka:The City of Eureka continues to make emergency shelter available for the 11 plaintiffs as ordered by Federal Judge Jeffrey White. Six of the eleven plaintiffs are currently living in the container shelter operated by Betty Chinn. The remaining plaintiffs have refused the City’s offer of shelter, found shelter elsewhere, or have not responded to offers. The City continues to work with plaintiffs’ counsel and comply with the Court order.
Concerns regarding increased illegal camping in other greenbelts in the City continue to be addressed. Eureka Police Department has issued 18 EMC citations and arrested one person for illegal camping in the City. EPD received 248 transient related calls for service since May 2nd. Many of these calls were officer initiated contacts during foot patrols or field interviews. The illegal camping citations have been issued near Washington/Koster, Bayshore Way, foot of W. Del Norte Street, 3400 block of W Street, 2400 block of 2nd Street and along Broadway. Residents are urged to report illegal camping on their property or on City property.
The City has also received several Public Records Act (PRA) requests seeking documents and Council and upper management communications regarding the broad catch-phrase “homeless” or “houseless” from the ACLU and the media. The City is evaluating each request but, is concerned that the entities involved are using the PRA to bypass the federal discovery rules which would apply in the federal lawsuit that is currently pending against the City. This process would allow these individuals and entities to provide whatever records are disclosed by the City directly to the 11 plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit thus, bypassing legal requirements. Further, many of the records sought are exempt from disclosure per several exemptions such as Pending Litigation and Deliberative Process Privilege. The Pending Litigation exemption provides that records relating to pending or anticipated litigation are exempt from disclosure. The Deliberative Process Privilege protects records which would expose the City’s decisionmaking process with regard to the May 2 move-out.
The City has received one threat of litigation from the North Coast Journal. Thaddeus Greenson [sic] of the North Coast Journal has requested City Council and upper management communications since February 1, 2015 from a broad category of records related to “homeless.” This request includes records related to the pending federal lawsuit and the City’s decision-making process with regard to the May 2 move-out. The City has and continues to expend a significant amount of time and resources to respond to these PRAs. The City is taking steps to respond to this threat of litigation and will vigorously defend any lawsuit that is filed.
May 2 Marsh Exile
By Shanna ‘Blu’ Carlile Roy
May 2, 2016 was a highly anticipated and high stakes day. A force of dozens of police, heavy equipment and city workers swept through the Palco Marsh. A handful of journalists, designated observers and social workers were allowed past the police guarded barricades. When I arrived I learned that our other Humboldt Edge reporter and Board member, Nezzie Wade had been kicked out by the police and her press credentials disregarded. Nezzie is an outspoken homeless advocate and the President of AHHA (Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives) and chair of the Humboldt Human Rights Commission. Another reporter from Greenfuse was turned away as well. I was lucky to make it into the scene. My heart sank when I did. It looked like a warzone. The Coast Guard helicopter circled the area repeatedly. Smoke billowed from fires reeking of trash. Weary and stunned residents, many with no safe place to live carried their belongings in trash bags, on bicycles and make shift carts trying to take as much as they could in one load. They would not be allowed to come back. The temporary emergency container housing being offered to 40 people, without children, filled up quickly and was not enough to accommodate over 130 remaining residents of the marsh. The parking lot at the Department of Health and Human Services allows overnight camping from 8pm-7am but is not available during the day. Thirty overflow shelter beds for men were added at the St. Vincent de Paul dining hall on an emergency basis, without accommodation for couples or dogs. All of these options expire in 60 days when the 6-month emergency shelter declaration ends.
By 9AM all but a handful of houseless had been kicked out. They poured onto the streets with carts and bags, dogs trailing behind. They were burdened and broke, looking lost and violated. Their homes had been taken by force. Their belongings bulldozed into piles and scooped into dumpsters. For many residents of the marsh it had become the closest thing to a stable home and family that they had ever known. “We’re family. We pull together and help each other out. Everybody’s gone. Where are we going to go now? What are we going to do now? We’re one out here.” Mama D was one of the last residents to leave. She was one of the eleven plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the city. The judge ruled in favor of a restraining order against the police but did not include the rest of the marsh residents. She was trying to make her breakfast in the chaos. As we spoke city workers came and collected more of her things to take to the Betty Chinn container compound. Mama D told me that the plaintiffs were given priority in placement. “I’m severely depressed. I feel like I’m in prison or jail. I’m not used to being in closed in areas now. I’ve been out here three years but I’ve been on the streets for ten years. Every time I turn around I feel more lost, being uprooted again.” Mama D has suffered abuse her entire life. “Being stripped of my home and my children was the hardest thing. I just got over that. Now I’m being stripped of here, where I feel safe.” Stacy, another resident and plaintiff with anxiety and mental illness paced anxiously clearly distressed by the situation. She was offered a place at the container village but did not want to go. Brandi Wilson, a member of Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction tried to help and calm her.
Down the trail I met a young woman named Tricia. She struggled to load her things onto a dilapidated bicycle cart. There was three times as much stuff as the cart could carry and two dogs as well. The dogs had been licensed and vaccinated. Tricia was pregnant. Her fiancé had an asthma attack and left the marsh to find water. The police would not allow him back in to help her. She had no idea where they were going to go. Later I ran into some people from the St. Joseph’s outreach clinic and pointed them to Tricia. They helped her transport her things out of the area.
When I went back down the trail I learned that the police forced Brandi out of the area. Stacy’s anxiety was growing. The police told Stacy that the residents would have until 5pm to remove their belongings and leave. She had to shout to be heard over the noise of the helicopter, heavy equipment and cars. “The only place they’ve offered is the mission, which is Christian based. I’m pagan. I’m not going to go there. Or rehab. I don’t need rehab. I’m 43 years old. I don’t need to be told to go to bed at ten, get up at seven and do your chores. I don’t need that. I’m mentally fucking ill and I need my support system and they just made my fucking support system leave.” She called her lawyer’s office in desperation. I tried to hang around to make sure she would be all right. I felt some relief when she went and joined Mama D and a few others at their camp. The feeling of helplessness, desperation and sadness was heartbreaking.
Another pregnant woman stood by her makeshift cabin while the police took inventory of her things and she went through the rest to take with her. “Everybody’s got to be somewhere. I’ve been homeless off and on for 15 years. Right now I’m staying at the motel right up the road but I’m working on trying to get either a place or permanent housing, so I’m in the works. I’m not planning on trying to be outside anymore but I’m not guaranteeing that it’s not going to happen because it’s really hard to keep permanent housing.”
At a press conference held in the overflow parking lot of the Bayshore Mall the police department said, “Camping in an area without water, sewer, electricity, is just not a good option. The City of Eureka along with the Department of Health and Human Services has housed over 100 people. I think that’s an incredible number for a city this size.”
The houseless population in Humboldt County is estimated to be about 1,500. Many of the people that I spoke with that lived in the marsh had been directed to go there by the police during ‘Operation Cleansweep’. This was an effort last year to clear all of the homeless camps from other areas of the city. Many were told that the only place that they would be allowed to camp in Eureka was in the marsh. No services or utilities were provided except occasionally a portable toilet or dumpster. Mayor Jager previously said that he did not want the homeless to be disbursed throughout the city but with the Palco Marsh exodus that is exactly what happened.
Later that day we saw Mama D pulling a wagon while carrying a load of her things. She was sweaty and winded with another half-mile walk to the container camp. We stopped and helped her haul her things in our car. If not for that temporary housing she would not know where to go. As for the rest of the homeless, it is illegal to sleep in Eureka. The police can confiscate their belongings if it is placed on the ground. The current lack of permanent housing or a sanctuary camp has left the houseless wandering the streets being harassed and arrested for doing nothing more than trying to survive.
- As about 100 house-less individuals were evicted, several homeless advocates were watching the operation unfold from the sidelines. The Eureka Police Department did not allow them to enter the marsh.
The advocates said they were worried about the future for those who were living in the marsh.
Debra Carey, a homeless advocate, said she did not believe kicking people out of the marsh was a viable solution.
“Today is a tragedy,” she said. “When you send a lot of people out of the street and you're only looking at temporary solutions and not looking at real solutions.”
Carey felt the residents had been able to develop of sense of community at the marsh and the operation was destroying it.
“We've just scattered a community,” she said. “People that support each other and the services that support them are now not going to be able to find them.”
Nezzie Wade, another homeless advocate said, she was concerned about where many of the house-less were going to go and was afraid they could become targets if they were wandering around the city.
“Anything that happens, anything at all that happens, they're going to be blamed for it, regardless of whether they had anything to do with it or not,” Wade said.
Advocates weren’t the only ones showing support for the marsh residents. A traveling group of volunteers, The Vagabus, drove from Garberville to Eureka to stand in solidarity with the house-less. Its members said they sympathized with the residents as many of them had been in their shoes at one point in their lives.
“Most of the people on this bus, we were all homeless,” Steven Boutwell, a member of the Vagabus, said. “I think there are 11 members, 9 of us were homeless, and so we've been in these people's shoes.”
The eviction operation will continue on Tuesday.
Debra Carey writes:
AHHA Supporters: Now is the time:
Things are moving quickly, with Marsh Residents (except those named in the lawsuit) facing arrest if they do not leave the Marsh by Sunday midnight.
AHHA encourages the following:
Be there to witness what is happening on Monday (Del Norte Street Entrance). AHHA will facilitate a Community Conversation at 2pm there.
Be there Tuesday, at the City Council Meeting, where the City Manager is recommending against AHHA’s proposal for Sanctuary Camps to Tiny House Villages. The City Manager has stated “I believe the Council established three goals in releasing this RFP-No city funds, no longer than 6 month duration for a tent camp, and a preference for private property over public property. I do not believe that the Council would be supportive of using Housing Successor funds for a tent camp that transitions to a tiny house village.”
Please come to the Eureka City Council Meeting. Be prepared to speak in support of AHHA’s proposal and prepared to articulate why there are still not enough safe, legal places for the homeless being driven out of the Palco Marsh, and why disruption or destruction of their community and family support system is cruel and unusual.
AND write to your city council members and the mayor in support of AHHA’s community based proposal for the houseless. The link to the proposal is on the AHHA website www.ahha-humco.org
under Resources AHHA Eureka RFP final 2; the full versions of the Sanctuary Camp , Tiny House Village and Safe Parking Proposals are to be found there.
AHHA is posting the Lawsuit filed, and the City of Eureka Response and declarations on their website www.ahha-humco.org
Keep watching the news for more information about this travesty happening in our town.
See you Monday 5/2 at the DelNorte Street entrance to the Palco Marsh (the Mall north parking lot has been closed by the Eureka Police). Bring signs, stand in solidarity, be good and peaceful witnesses. The Marsh will be closed to the public from 5/2- 5/6 monitored by the Police. Even the Human Rights Commission Trained Observers will be prevented from being in the Marsh area.
See you Tuesday at Eureka City Council.