Friday, October 17, 2008
Bad To The Bone
Around half of the Camp4Unity 15 went to court today to receive justice for blocking Cherry Street by City Hall last summer in protest of the homeless sweeps. We'd refused to accept the city's plea offer unless the homeless person of our number was exempted from threat of parole violation for the "crime" of sleeping in public space. The City Attorney, surprisingly, agreed to the condition, and crafted some narrow language that we found acceptable.
One person pled last June because she had a trip scheduled during the later court date. She got a soft-hearted DA who is now in trouble for agreeing to 90-days suspended and 8 hours community service. The rest of us, except for two who have priors, face stiffer penalties, and have elected to go to trial, took 24 hours of community service and a year suspended. Our attorney from TDA was told that Scott Morrow, as a habitual lawbreaker, should have been given stiffer penalties as well, but the city was willing to overlook their oversight and stick with their original offer. Guess they don't like Scott much.
The failure to obey charge was dropped entirely, and if I can manage to not get arrested and convicted for a year and complete the community service, the pedestrial interference charge will be dismissed as well. I think I can manage. Up until now I've had a pretty good run. My last CD was in the early 90's.
We also got them to agree to allow community service at any non-profit, except for the one at which several of us work or volunteer. The city felt that would be a conflict of interest.
When Rev. Liljenstolpe went to Window 17 to register for community service, he explained that we were given special terms, and could go anywhere except Real Change.
"Real Change. They're really bad," the woman at Window 17 said. She wasn't being ironic. "They do a lot more than they say they do."
Our organizing work is hardly a secret, but I'll still choose to take this as a compliment. As for my own community service, I'm planning on editing a video for the Western Regonal Advocacy Project that shows the oppression against homeless people and the courageous organizing to fight back that's happening up and down the west coast. I'm thinking it'll probably take more than 24 hours, but I don't mind going above and beyond for the city.