Restrooms & Teri DuBose and her take-back-the-plaza group

Below are two letters covering some recent developments in several realms.  Anyone interested in organizing around restroom/homeless issues, please contact us.  What’s happening is inhumane and then some.

To the E-R, 7/11:

It seems that good is barely out of bed while evil has already made three trips around the world.

Your recent coverage of the possible Peet’s coffee shop closure leaves readers with the impression that “vagrants” are to blame.  I’m in Peet’s many times every week and I’ve talked with staff about “vagrant” impacts for years.  I’ve also observed, first hand, how much impact the poor/disabled/homeless have on the business. It’s minimal, but the apparently very well heeled landlord, who owns much of downtown Chico, is bound by some commercial code to demonize the homeless at every opportunity. Then we have an E-R editorial asking the city get some restrooms open.  Great idea, because the homeless are now

Then we have an E-R editorial asking the city get some restrooms open.  Great idea, because the homeless are now locked-out for ten hours each day.  But, why does the E-R care?  Is it because so many people, living brutal lives, are further punished, humiliated, degraded and criminalized by having no place to legally urinate and defecate?  No. Instead, it’s the inconvenience Bank of America or Morgan Stanley might experience when some poor soul takes a dump on their stoop.

Lastly, we have news that Michael Madieros and Ron Reed are opening a legal clinic for the homeless–with lawyers available three hours a week.  But, Madieros is a vocal proponent of criminalization, the very engine of legal entanglement and misery for the homeless. Something doesn’t add-up.

To the CN&R, 7/11:

I appreciate the CN&R’s coverage of civil rights issues affecting the homeless in the public space–specifically Chico City Plaza.  I have no doubt a battle is underway, as many in our city government and commercial sector seek to “take” the public space from “vagrants.” (Where they are supposed to go is never explained.

While I was quoted as saying I was “surprised” that Teri DuBose and her take-back-the-plaza group provided “bottled water and Otter Pops” to the homeless, it was never my impression that the take-back group intentionally provided anything to the homeless.  They don’t.  Affirming homeless people in the public space is clearly not their mission.

On the other hand, Chico Friends on the Street has delivered many tons of food, clothing, blankets, tarps and toiletries to the street, during the last year-and-a-half.  Our involvement has made us ever more aware of the profound lack of support for the visible poor.

In that regard, the homeless are now shut-out of public restrooms for ten hours of every day, while public urination and defecation are crimes. People need restroom access 24/7; this is a non-negotiable human right.  Anyone interested in engaging our city council on this issue, please contact: [email protected].

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