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Who Gets to Live in San Francisco?

March 8, 2014

By Nina Alter : thebolditalic – excerpt

Earlier this week, The Examiner reported that the SFMTA is widening its ban on oversized vehicles in the city, adding 61 new locations to the list of areas where people aren’t allowed to park vans and RVs that many use as their homes. “This is just one more tool in SFMTA’s tool box for parking management,” claimed the company’s project manager Andy Thornley, who’s heading the pilot-project initiative prohibiting the parking of large vehicles from 12 p.m. to 6 a.m. on certain streets.

Have we as a city really become this cold?…

“We are not out to evict the homeless but we just want to have the nice neighborhood we deserve,” Eileen Reimonenq, head of the Alemany Clean Committee, told The Examiner

“In my mind, this is displacement, it’s not effectively getting to the root of the problem, and the problem is people are living in vehicles, and they’re being criminalized for it,”said Nick Kimura, a volunteer at the Coalition on Homelessness.

Entitlement can be a fickle bedfellow. Context and perspective informed by direct personal experiences, an excellent antidote…

My mom was a retired social worker, an upper-middle class divorcee, and an elder struggling with mis-diagnosed bipolar when she fell homeless.

All known data considered, I’m unable to see this ban as anything more than a prejudiced, misinformed effort to clear subjectively defined riffraff for the benefit of appearances to real-estate investors, and as the least-expensive possible “fix” to crime. Crime that, all data compiled, I don’t think has anything to do with our vehicularly housed homeless neighbors, by any association… (more)

Evicting people by parking tickets is a novel approach, but one that a smart city with a smart traffic control system was bound to add to its eviction toolbox. After all there are so many ways to get caught and ticketed in SF and so many government agencies watching cars it is hard to imagine they have time to investigate serious crime.

We counted over 8 different government-sanctioned authorities charged with protecting the public from cars and unruly drivers. The Police Department’s Traffic Division, the Sheriff’s Department, the California State Highway Patrol, SFMTA’s meter minders, the university and college campus police, Federal officers. If you aren’t caught by a human, there are cameras at bridge crossings, on Muni buses and at bus stops and street corners that can tag you. Theoretically any camera can catch you and some can automatically spit out a ticket through the mail.

Anyone who has been evicted or foreclosed upon should sympathize with people living in vehicles. Instead of evicting people from the streets, city authorities could invest time and energy into setting up a legal park for people who still have cars and other vehicles to park with access to standard plumbing and other amenities. The cheapest housing is a trailer park, but, when it comes to housing the homeless, the real goal is creating wealth through public funding for developers, contractors and financiers of low income housing.

RELATED:
homeless resources
MTA expands off-limits parking for RVs, trucks in S.F.

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