A valiant attempt by Albany Bulb residents, supporters and legal representatives to stave off eviction with a federal civil rights lawsuit failed today (Monday, November 18th), as the judge refused to issue a temporary restraining order against the eviction.
A federal judge cleared the way Monday for Albany to evict about 60 homeless people from their tents on a waterfront landfill known as the Bulb, saying they had failed to show that the removal would violate their rights.
At the hearing in San Francisco, Breyer quickly dismissed the arguments by lawyers for the homeless to keep the Bulb open – that wholesale evictions from the site where some of them have lived for years would deny them due process of law and constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
Tonight, however, after a rally and further pleas that fell on deaf ears at the Albany City Council meeting, residents and supporters took their own action:
On Monday, November 18th, residents of the Albany Bulb and East Bay community members gathered outside the Albany City Council meeting, opposing the city’s decision to evict the Bulb’s 60+ residents this week. After speaking against the eviction during the meeting’s public comment section, demonstrators marched to the Bulb to begin a community protection encampment, preventing Bulb residents’ homes from being destroyed.
No word as of yet as to the Albany Police Department’s response, if any.
Residents of the Bulb, some for as long as ten years, may soon be forced into two trailers which have been erected on the neck of the Bulb. The trailers are designed to hold 30 people in spaces smaller than, per person, the SHU units for prisoners in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay.
To add injury to injury, the cities of Oakland and Berkeley recently shut down a large homeless shelter (the City of Albany has no services for the homeless) and are desperately seeking spaces elsewhere for its residents.
As the cold and rainy season approaches, Oakland and Berkeley officials are scrambling to increase homeless shelter capacity in their cities for up to 100 individuals after a jointly run facility at the former Oakland Army Base was permanently closed in the spring.
And the City of Hayward recently made it all but illegal to feed the poor and homeless.
Far fewer handouts of free food will take place in downtown parks after the City Council unanimously approved rules that will greatly restrict the gatherings.
The new rules approved Tuesday will allow one food distribution a month at any city-owned property, including Portuguese Park, the most popular site. People handing out food will be required to get city permits and insurance.
The new rules are not intended to solve the problems of homelessness or hunger, but to help resolve a problem downtown and make it a more attractive destination, Councilwoman Barbara Halliday said.
“Our primary responsibility is to guarantee public safety and quality of life,” Halliday said.
If the goal of the East Bay is to rid itself of the poor and the homeless, they are leading the poor by fourteen and are first and ten on the homeless’ 20 yard line with the clock running down.