Poverty

Feds indict SFPD cops, alleging a drug ring and shakedowns of the poor

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Federal grand juries today indicted four San Francisco Police Department officers, an SFPD sergeant, and a former SFPD officer on a variety of corruption, civil rights violations, and theft charges stemming from illegal raids on poor residents of single room occupancy hotels in San Francisco.

“Our department is shaken,” Police Chief Greg Suhr told reporters at a morning news conference. “This is as serious a matter as I’ve ever encountered in the Police Department.”Read more »

The human price of Catholic conservatism

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A new book by local historian William Issel explains the key role the Catholic Church played in funding and supporting progressive causes in 20th Century San Francisco, and Randy Shaw's take on it is accurate: For a while, in the 1970s and 1980s, the Church funded a lot of the tenant advocacy and poverty work in this city. The other side of that is a piece of the debate over the new Pope that we're not hearing much.Read more »

Sequestration cuts would hit the Bay Area's most vulnerable

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While the looming federal budget cuts known as sequestration were designed to equally hit Democratic and Republican party priorities, from social services to the military budget, in the Bay Area they would disproportionately target society's most vulnerable citizens and strain already-stretched local agency budgets.

If Congress and the White House fail to forge a budget deal by March 1, the cuts could begin to withdraw $9-10 billion of federal support from the California. In the Bay Area, these cuts would have the biggest impact on low-income families, the homeless, victims of domestic violence, adults living with AIDS, and children ages 3-5.

Back in September, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed a U.S. Conference of Mayors' letter that called on federal lawmakers to resolve the budget conflict before the sequestration cuts could take effect, labeling the budget cuts "a threat" to local economies nationwide. Now, with the deadline looming, city officials and social service providers across the Bay Area are bracing for the impact. Depending to how the cuts are eventually allocated, San Francisco alone could lose more than $10 million in critical social services.

"All across the city, the sequestration hurts those most in need of services and support," Gentle Blythe, spokesperson with the San Francisco Unified School District, told the Guardian.

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Despite settlement, Wells Fargo still in housing activists' crosshairs

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Federal regulators cut a deal with 10 major banks to “speed up housing relief,” major news outlets reported earlier this week – but to exactly no one’s surprise, the amount promised to struggling homeowners is a pittance compared with the overwhelming losses sustained during the foreclosure crisis. Read more »

The rich, the poor and the state of SF

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The latest Forbes 400 is out, the list of the richest Americans, and a record number (according to my annual record-keeping) now live in San Francisco. This is a city with 18 people on the top-billionaires list -- and since the list cuts off at $1.1 billion, there are a lot of really, really rich San Franciscans who didn't quite make it this year. Read more »

The poetry of poverty

Winners of the POOR Magazine's Battle of All the Sexes, in verse

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Editors note: POOR Magazine's 5th Annual Poetry/Music Battle of ALL the Sexes was held on Valentine's Day. This years battle, POOR's Lisa Gray-Garcia tells us, "honored ancestors Uncle Al Robles, Mama Dee and all ancestors that have been victims of po'lice terror, racism and poverty."

I love POOR Mag and all the radical poverty activists there and about do, and as a show of support, I'm happy to run the winners here.

FIRST PLACE

Birth Out Mother EarthRead more »

Stuck in reverse

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Some days, you wake up, check the news, and wonder just what the hell happened to this country. And I'm not talking about that nutty right-wing view that we've strayed from the original vision laid out for us by the authors of the Constitution or the Bible. I have just the opposite view: I'm wondering why those people seem so intent on dragging us back into the bad old days of bygone centuries, when white male property owners ran things as they saw fit.Read more »

Poverty among plenty

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The Bay Citizen has a fascinating map by census tract of poverty in the Bay Area. Among the things that jump out: There's plenty of serious poverty in the area -- and it's worst than the map shows. The definition of "poverty" is a family of four living on $22,113 -- in the Bay Area. Hard to imagine how a family of four can even pay rent, much less eat, in this part of the world on $22,000.Read more »

U.S. Census begins, officials work to quell fears

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By Adrián Castañeda

Federal Census forms are being mailed out today, March 15. It’s a massive government effort to count everyone who lives in the United States that comes every 10 years, and it’s being matched by an equally strong effort by nonprofit groups to ensure that even marginalized residents get counted.

In a country that once counted slaves as 3/5 a person and did not count Native Americans at all, it appears that the 2010 census will come the closest to counting all people living in the U.S. Millions of dollars are being spent to inform people of the importance, and the function, of responding to the decennial census – and saving the feds from spending further millions on door-to-door enumerating. 

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