Story Archives 2004

Little Housing Horrors, Open Letter To A Dear Returing Friend.

09/24/2021 - 11:12 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

For True Friends Who
Argue Then Shake Hands.

Welcome Back To Planet
San Francisco, Your Touchstone.

by Joe B.

Whew, today is a difficult day for me.

Its pest control by the San Francisco Housing Authority.

The rules are at least once monthly our S.R.O’s[Single Room Occupancy]apartments to make sure fleas, silver fish, roaches or ants aren’t in or starting to invade the space.

The inspections and the annual visit to S.F.Housing Authority for rent check stubs three months consecutively.

The S.F.H.A. has rules, for me its always been panic time especially when I have to been on time.

Because Poor’s Magazine’s media job in the beginning my home was full of newspapers, generated online information, my own reports, recorded interviews.

My place would be a constant mess and I had little time straightening it up.

My problem is time control when visiting S.F. Housing Authority and cobbling three months worth of check stubs when I explained my dilemmas and that I will be late at times due my jobs erratic hours.

Luckily, I’m a quiet, mind-his-own-business tenant.

Over the years I have collected books, kept old painting, drawings, photographic and other artworks collecting dust.

A very dear friend helped me get rid of lots of excess junk.

Patient and kind but ruthless in throwing out anything not relevant which includes all the defunct

Penthouse Men’s graphic adult Comics and R rated video tapes.

Yes, the young woman was royally pissed off.

"Joe, your not keeping all this porn here are you?"

"But Mmm…"
"But ‘nothin Joe, its against women and it not erotica"
"Erotica is Soft core Porn with better press"
"You know porn is against women made by men"

"Oh, I’ll throw ‘em all out but I’ll collect them again"
[I haven’t finished reading Daddy’s Little Girl Part II].

After all the graphic smut is thrown down the apartment’s basement garbage area I went back to my room and saw my friend fast asleep she had rushed back to my place after seeing what a real paper, book, and junk storm it is.

We began cleaning up she almost gave up when I argue about books being donated to first and second floor library downstairs now she is in deep sleep.

The window is crack for some air circulates through the stuffy room.

I lock my door to let her catch up on whatever sleep she had missed helping me after that I resolved to keep my place clean so the next time she or any other woman visited it would not be as wild and dirty as it had been.

That was a few months ago before she left the states now on her return and the Housing Authority I must again do battle with my place this time its not as bad and easier
to clean up.

I hope when she again visits she’s not as tired but if she is she can take a long safe nap in my apartment as I go downstairs.

I know they’ll be no more panic days of cover-it-all-up.

I return to my apartment because if my friend wakes up alone in my darkened room she’ll be startled, scared, and slightly stressed and I won’t cause her to feel abandoned; she has helped me now I help her as friends are suppose to.

Funny how a single human being can change another.

I hope when she returns she feels as comfortable and even if she’s rested may still have a few z’s and feel safe in my place.

The books are gone and no overdue library books to think about.

Soon she’ll be back, I’m nervous about her seeing my place again but this time most of the porn is still gone except for Pent House Men’s Comic’s Daddy’s Little Girl Part II.

Maybe she won’t be as hard on me this time.

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Do we really need more radiation weapons?<p>All I'll say about the above is "Have We Gone Insane?

09/24/2021 - 11:12 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Better, cheaper, renewable
energy will happen, when is the question.

Even a Selected 'Prez cannot stop all
progress world wide, we are not ROME.

Mr. Bush Jr. and his cronies are on their
way off the world stage. A cautionary tale,
the odd book on them will be all that's left
of their short vaingrorious reign.

by Joe B.

A Gamma Bomb won’t turn people into "Hulk" like mutated beings.

Do we really need more radiation weapons?

All I can say about the above is Have We’ve Gone Insane?

Now gonna worry about that but what about this Zero Point Energy business. Oh, we don’t have one yet cause we’re still in dead dino fossil fuels.

Looks like certain technologies are either being buried, suppressed, ignored, or being bought off by multi international corporate interests.

Though our applied sciences have been retarded, slowed buy those in government still thinking in 19th century terms they can no longer slow the natural process of innovation.

If America does not step up the plate other countries just as innovative will speed ahead as we continue stumbling behind because of 19th century minds stalling to suck up as much money as they can while refusing to go with the flow of inevitable technical change.

Wether its hydroelectric ,geothermal, hydrogen, solar, wind/wave, exotic matter, or zero point energies and others we may not know of now but will use in future the science and technology is already here and corporate dinosaurs must either join, help speed the change, or go out of existence unlike evolution in haphazard sometimes slow or quick spurts business must change quicker or they go out of business which means die.

On September 1, 2003 The Muni Railway Co. wants to up the Adult passes from $35 to $45, youth/senior monthly pass from $8 to $10 and no more disabled pass altogether and finally raise the para transit lift altogether.

Its bad enough that services are cut, busses are run late some of them in need or repairs, bad brakes causing maiming or fatally killing people.

I remember hearing of something like this before or after my birth in 1954.

The Montgomery Boycott that started spontaneously then with young Rev. Martin Luther King became a sustained bus boycott.

As the bus company lost money because most of the citizen’s riding are black and poor.

We might have to do this again only we have rainbow folks most of who are working poor lets see how much Muni can stand without money from the very customers they’re short shrift. San Francisco is already no-car and family city the bus-rail and Bart, company must learn again without the people’s input of cash they have no power.

I think we can do this again, what do you think?

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Al Franken Decade Pt 2. Fox News May Have Given Al Not Only Fodder for more jokes but also one hell of a payday.

09/24/2021 - 11:12 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

He's back and Fox News
great brains are stuck with him.

The phrase that pays or you
can't say that, its trademarked.

by Joe B.

b>Fox, The Fair And Balance News Station

The Fox News Network management may have bleeding of the brain and as gray matter spews out of their ears the words "Fail and Balanced" echoes across the land.

I’m half asleep listing to talk radio personalities joke about Fox News infringement lawsuit against Mr. Al Franken, humorist was half a comedy team and alumni of Saturday Night Live (Who in the early to mid 1970’s did his Al Franken Decade skit).

It this laughable lawsuit goes to court it may Al Franken’s decade part two.

Fox News is sewing because of the title in Franken’s book "Lies and the Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."

Fox Channels says "Fair And Balanced" was trademarked in 1995."

The cable new filed a trademark infringement lawsuit seeking a court order to force Penguin Group publisher, Dutton, to rename the book for unspecified damages
(The information gleaned from

Let me get this straight Fox is willing to sue a satirical, political comic, author for words used by almost anyone at every given time.

"How about "And That’s The Way It Is" by Walter Cronkite, or "Baby baby baby, I love you baby by the late singer composer, deep melodious voiced Barry White, or "Luke I AM Your Father" by actor James Earl Jones of the "Star Wars" Movies?

This is a stupid, bull move by Fox News to silence one person and thereby others in the process.

Anyone out there knows this is comic but at same time serious because if the suit by Fox wins it send a chilling messages to people who puncture blowhards and anyone thinking they’re the know all, be all and cannot be touched.

One last comment. A Dutton spokeswoman said Fox News' parent company, News Corp., is trying to keep the public from reading Franken's message, which she said is un-American. "True that."

Lets have the public make their own choice and let it go at that.

It looks like News Corp. not only wants to sue for so called trademark infringement but wants to go one step further and not have people read Franken’s book.

I do believe that border’s on censorship.

Fox should be shown they cannot own words or phases strung together. "Fair And Balanced" "Fair And Balanced" "Fair And Balanced" "Fair And Balanced.

"It’s a string of words strung together what else are they gonna Trademark "Late Braking News", "How Was Your Day", or "Life In The 21st Century"? Oh, sorry Mr. Cronkite has that one sewed up.

It looks like Mr. Franken has another book to write about guess who that "Fair And Balanced" news station.

This is what happens when info corporations gobble each other they actually believe they are all powerful lets break that illusion real quick so they know they are servants of the people and the airways are public.

Meanwhile New York, Detroit, and Canada have had a full blown blackout.

It looks like Con: Edison has extended itself too thin.

First its lightening, then maybe a fried animal or just too much usage beyond peak hours.

Yet the internet which originally was defense a department computerized failsafe in case of a nuclear exchange and fallout.

I have an idea lets finally develop alternate energy strategies instead of being on one huge electrical grid.

Will New York citizens and the rest of those affected now be forced or scared then gouged by electric companies as prices rise instead of not only repairing the problem but looking into and investing in renewable technologies.

Remember what happened to California a few years ago?

It could now happen all over in different cities in the United States as energy companies may see ways of making brown and blackout profitable for them.

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I Loathe Using The Luv World

09/24/2021 - 11:12 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Yeah, supposedly one of the most dreaded
words and actions causing unending pain
within the Human Psychie.

That dreaded 3 letter word... Luv!

by Joe B.

Well, it seems another labor day is about to happen.

Who is this Wrong, Rip off, ‘uh Warmed over Connolly, what is his problem with this 54 crock-a-crap.

He wants a color blind society only problem is in the 21st century is still riddled with racist, homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic country.

We even had a made up name "Negrophobia" or an irrational fear of black people and this is a time early in the century when blacks are routinely brutalized by rape, murder, castrated for being nothing other than blessed by the sun.

The reasons was fear, hatred, and there was no scorecard kept of how many men, women, children, or families to be spared after the killings.

This Ward guy is being paid lots of cash for his proposition, bill, or whatever this 54 thing I hear its to help visible minorities who are turning into the majority population by not counting who lives, dies, gets sick or is more susceptible certain medical ills or not accepted in schools.

It seems race matters still leaving out important squares in boxes for the sole purpose of ignoring reality doesn’t make sense.

As for Mr. Ward’s money trail it should be followed and traced and tracked an see where it leads.

As for love I try rarely using the word unless it really is special.

I don’t love TV, radio, technology, people, all types of entertainment, food, or any trend and fads.

I do love my family, life in all its complexity, both love and loathe this country in equal measure.

I like women, in all shapes, sizes, ages 30 and beyond they tend to know who they are before the age above are so confused about themselves, friends, boys, men, or their female lovers.

It will take time to turn extreme likeness into solid all consuming love, if I can love but one woman whole until the end of my or her life then I can say through her I would’ve learned to love all women from then on.

I may at this time only strongly like women but do love pleasing them.

Though its true they can cause their own pleasure it is also known one can get only so much from self pleasuring machines.

Even the best batteries, in the lightest or heaviest of humming objects begin to pale it just takes time as boredom sets in; too much of good thing will always do that.

For myself it always takes too long probably half physical and psychological whatever it is from youth I thought a problem now maybe it’s older women who appreciate time and care mostly young ones tire out.

I guess its a true saying also "They don’t make girls strong but when they’re older past their late teens then they become stronger and beyond their early 20’s finally begin gaining their true strength beyond flesh and bone but in mind also.

As I said love is rarely used but when used it does mean more to me than an emotional trick, gesture, physical power over another I means a solemn, sacred act between two whether friends or bitter enemies.

Yet I’ve learned the very best kind is mind to mind, soul to soul, giving to giving, no taking its all mutual giving which is the very best way to prove ones passion long before consummating physical act.

This is rare but if you find it keep it precious to you, hold it loosely and savor all its flavor because it maybe a long time bliss

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Baby Shower In Oaktown, Expentent Mother's, Friends, Gifts, and Life's Ongoing Mysteries.

09/24/2021 - 11:12 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

It's my first Baby Shower
full of womanly secrets.

Now one question...

Is a guys last Batchelor's as
life affirming or one last blow out before

by Joe B.

I was half listening in 2002 last year when I hear "I want to bring new life into the world."

It slips my mind at the time as one loses track of things especially verbally.

One year I’m oblivious to a new life forming in my bosses womb.

By the time its noticed by me most of the female interns have the scoop while I’m still unaware.

There’s not much to say except there is scrambling for eating, drinking, and rest as my so active A.D.D. [Attention Deficit Disorder]employer and the father is and artist with A.D.D. too.

I’m thinking this isn’t good for loyal employee number 1. I’m to remind my boss and mother to be to eat meat, dairy products, ice cream, cheese omelets and other kinds of fattening foods so the alien (that’s what she calls the growing embryo growing inside her).
can gain weight and be a healthy child when finally born.

But its hard for someone used to practicing kick boxing, writing and performing play, creating poetry, plus running a non profit business helping to empower low to no income working poor people and families to drop everything, rest, and eat fattening foods for a new life within her.

It has to be a slow gradual process and being a man the best I could do is remind her "Its not about you, its about that new life in you but you do have to take care of yourself as best you can for both you and her/him.

Later I found out it will be a boy and boys need protein so do girls but it seems boys might need more.

Eventually she began to show looking like someone trying to shoplift a bowling ball from Target, K-Mart, or discount dollar stores.

On the one hand its on another I secretly worried knowing of another friend much younger nearly died from hospital staff infection.

When I saw her holding her child, the father standing by her it is a relief though seeing her tired and drained of blood from her face and arms well…

What joy for her is tempered with what almost happened.

Keeping my emotions under control that night I was able to walk a bit before taking a bus home letting the full rush of those emotions held in check.

Would Tiny have to go through this or will her child be an easier birth?

Both of these at different stages in their lives chose to give birth and for one it was almost a death sentence I pray it to easier in Tiny’s case.

There is yet another friend I’m worried about too but I sure she’ll make a great mother and take extreme care of herself besides whether with extra pounds or less she’s always a delectable.

The man who has her heart and soul is a blessed if he can also match her intellect, political awareness and sensitivity.

The Party was on Sunday, August, 10th. Ms. Ashley and Mrs. Non, Nun, None (I must ask her how to spell it) are with me in Ms. Ashley’s car headed to a warehouse in Oakland across the bay.

Its pack with friends of the family, people traveled from across country, across the bay and some I don’t from how far they traveled to be here?

Presents, food, a well trained dog, lovely women, guys with beer, and the guest or couple of honor.

There is a toast for an easy birth and that the child be a rabble rousing genius.

It was a great party I’m glad I went.

I’m deep in though while talking to Mrs. Non and the Ashley about the nearness of Mars and Venus trading places in months to come and how men, women, and people are getting into fights.

We see a full moon looming to left of us as drove back into San Francisco.

I rarely talk about politics, politicians, or political issues but Ashley and I conversed about how our old world is changing so fast and the few dinosaurs cannot let go, as Mars looms ever closer to earth.

We hug when she stopped her car across the street from my home, wishing each other safe journeys before parting.

I’m in my bed thinking

1) Am I good father material?

2) Will I ever get married, have children to prove it?

3) Some fertile men help make children but make lousy father’s or some are sterile yet are great nurturer’s to children not genetically their own, which am I?

4) Women it seems have a sense who is father material and who’s not; if they know what clues do men give that tells them?
And finally.

5) If I am lucky enough to be chosen by a woman to be a parent; in the quiet of a garage or bathroom if I let tears fall out my eyes because of a joy I cannot contain if my wife catches me in full flood would she think me as being weak, close a door leaving me along or join me placing her gentle hand and enfold me in her tender embrace?

These questions will remain until I become a full realized human and that means if not fatherhood then marriage sharing a life with another building or lives together.

Maybe fatherhood or marriage isn’t in the cards for me, I don’t know but if women can and do brave all kinds of mental anguish, abuse, hurts, emotional turmoil, the least I can do is be by her side; the one who chose me to be to be her mate hopefully for life and beyond.

Any Thoughts on the matter men, women, children, or young adults?

PS. Poor Magazine web site under reconstruction = reconfigured(some web designer tinkering with to improve it… again.)

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To Brutalize and To Kill

09/24/2021 - 11:12 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

The Citizen’s of San Francisco fight police brutality and abuse with a proposed police accountability legislation

by JANAK G RAMACHANDRAN/POOR Magazine/PNN Poverty Studies Intern/Mentor; Dee

As I eased through the traffic light in my aging Honda, I started at the intrusive bleep of a siren and the ominous flicker of red and blue. Fear coursed through my body as the rush of adrenaline activated the primitive fight or flight response that we’ve all inherited from our human genetic history. It’s a cop! What did I do? “Relax”, I thought, “he’s probably just trying to pass.” I moved over and…he moved with me. He was coming for me. I pulled over and sat nervously in my car as he approached my car window. He looked like a stormtrooper that, having stalked its bounty, was ready for the kill. Through my sideview mirror, I could see the tools of his trade—the baton, the gun, and the radio communicator that would bring more batons and guns should he decide to do so. I rolled down my window and greeted him with a simple “Hello.” Did I look friendly? Did I smile? How can I seem non-threatening? As these thoughts raced through my head, he growled, “I pulled you over because you look like a terrorist. You also seem, by the look of your car, to not have a lot of money. And I work for elite interests who have hired me to check on people like you and insure that we take more money from the poor to give to the rich. That way you’ll be so concerned about food and shelter that you’ll never galvanize into a collective voice of opposition.”

Actually, he didn’t say that but, in my fear and underlying anger at what the police have come to represent, that’s what I heard when he told me about my cracked windshield and that I would have to replace it within 30 days. I had no idea how I was going to accomplish this feat given that I still had difficulty paying for food, shelter, etc. from month to month.

But, then, at least I have food and shelter. At least I can afford to live in a one-bedroom apartment with electricity and a phone. And I have enough family and friends in my life to know that I will likely never end up on the streets. I have a haven where I am out of sight of the police for much of the time. What of those who have no food and shelter? What of those who cannot escape police scrutiny? To whom or what can they turn for justice?

Everyday the people of San Francisco and surrounding communities are harassed and brutalized by police charged “to protect and to serve.” Some, like Idriss Stelley and Jerome Hooper, are murdered. Idriss Stelley was gunned down in the Metreon by San Francisco police officers who were responding to a call from his girlfriend that indicated his need for crisis counseling. Instead of the expected mental health and counseling professionals and their comforting words, Idriss, crying out for help, was silenced forever by a swarm of police officers and a hail of twenty-eight bullets. Jerome Hooper, unarmed and unaware of the danger before him, was killed with four bullets to the chest at close range. According to witness James Thull, the plain clothes, off-duty police officer never identified himself as a police officer when he taunted and challenged Jerome Hooper into a fistfight. Angered by the fact that he was losing the fistfight, the off-duty police officer then decided to end Jerome’s life.

In response to this brutality and numerous other cases, the community saw fit to bring before the SF Board of Supervisors a charter amendment concerning police commissions. This measure, which would grant new, more sweeping oversight powers to the Office of Citizen Complaints as well as provide for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to appoint three of seven members to the police commission (the other four remaining in the mayor’s purview), was proposed by Supervisor Tom Ammiano.

On Tuesday, July 15th, I walked into San Francisco city hall to see whether this amendment would be put on the ballot this November. Passing through the security check has become routine at airports and government facilities though, as a person of color, I will never be used to the extra scrutiny that I always “randomly” receive. This security check was unique because, for the first time since September 11th, 2001, I was not dragged aside and forced to prove, in front of gawking passersby, that I actually have underwear beneath my pants. As I approached the massive, rounded steps that led upstairs to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting, I paused to notice the grandeur around me. On one level, the polished marble floors, enormous rooms and corridors, and unparalleled high ceilings were a vast, luxurious space that seemed to ennoble this seat of San Francisco government. On another, these same features were Goliath crushing David—they reminded me of how I felt when I saw the stormtrooper walking toward me in my sideview mirror. For I knew that the crimes committed against Idris Stelley and Jerome Hooper were not isolated incidents. And whether I’m next is just a matter of luck. Is this officer a model citizen who sees his/her badge as a charge “to protect and to serve” or a thug who sees it as a license to brutalize and to kill? For the poor and people of color, this fear is an everyday fact of life. I, myself, am momentarily terrified by the sight of a police officer or police car and yet, one might think that my relatively good citizen behavior, never having received anything more serious than a moving violation infraction, would leave me free of a fear akin to being in the clutches of Darth Vader. But there is no safety in being a good citizen around bad cops—just last August 25th, Marcus Law, an honor roll student (from the Bayview/Hunters Point area of San Francisco) with a full college scholarship and no criminal record, was sent to the hospital by the police and their batons for being an innocent bystanding witness of police brutality. He had just seen an unarmed Lee Collins, with his hands in the air, beat by police until he was unconscious. Another David crushed by Goliath…so there I stood gazing through the halls of Goliath, where the power of the wealthy and corporate elite gathering more for themselves occurred at the expense of the poor and underserved. How ironic that this foothold of the powerful is where those seeking justice for the powerless must come for a redress of their grievances.

After I found a seat inside the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting, several hours passed and neither the police commission amendment nor the vote on Proposition N that my colleague, Josh McVeigh-Schultz, was covering, had been selected from the agenda. “Maybe it’s a strategic move,” blurts Josh. “You may be right”, I respond. Is that the plan? Wait until those opposed have filtered out of the meeting and then bring up the measures at midnight? As the meeting drones on, I notice that hours are being spent debating whether people who have homes can have another “unit” inside their homes while measures that might help prevent the SFPD from harassing, beating, and killing those without a place to live (as well as those of us with homes) and that might save the small sum upon which the homeless subsist from becoming almost nonexistent are ignored. Late in the night, though, the board voted 7-4 to place the charter amendment regarding police commissions before voters this November. If it passes, some semblance of justice might be possible for those subject to police crimes.

To further investigate the measure’s chances of passing, I attended the kickoff meeting of San Franciscans for Police Reform and Oversight (SFPRO) one month later (August 18th). I was greeted by a variety of energized and concerned citizens organizing a voter information drive to galvanize support for the Police Charter Amendment. According to SFPRO, the measure would “help turn the Office of Citizen Complaints and the Police Commission into genuine restraints on police misconduct”. Mark Schlosberg of the ACLU chaired the meeting with an unassuming, almost shy, but direct and comfortable manner. Soon an action plan to build a volunteer force for literature drops, phone banking, and tabling had been created. The highlight of the evening’s planning centered around organizing a bus tour of San Francisco police crimes. Mesha Irizarry of the Idriss Stelley Foundation had devised the idea of a “tour of police brutality” that would create greater public awareness. “The community is ready to riot”, rings her gentle but emphatic voice as I interview her about the idea. “(We need to) get cops who live in the neighborhood to police the neighborhood.” The Idriss Stelley Foundation is planning an October march with the theme, Shape Up SFPD (a working title), to coincide with the bus tour. Malaika Parker, Director of Bay Area Police Watch, also pushed (at the SFPRO meeting) that the bus tour should tour not only those episodes where the city determined “police misconduct but (also) what the public perceives as misconduct.” The effort to stop police crimes and brutality was underway. For further information regarding the October march, contact the Idriss Stelley Foundation at 415-671-0449. For those interested in further information regarding the bus tour and the efforts of SFPRO, contact the ACLU at 415-621-2493. The bus tour will be occurring during the month of October and will make numerous stops, including the locations of the crimes against Idriss Stelley, Jerome Hooper, Lee Collins, and Marcus Law.

Though nothing untoward occurred when I was stopped for the crack in my windshield, I cannot help but remember the sign I read along the side of the road as I pulled away from that stormtrooper: Driving while black or brown (DWB) is not a crime. Perhaps, with the efforts of SFPRO and the votes of fellow San Franciscans this November 4th, the sign can add that police brutality is.


We don’t need to Beg – we don’t need to plead!!!

09/24/2021 - 11:12 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

The people revolt against the racist, classist legislation; Proposition M and its supporters; The SF Hotel Council

by JOSHUA MCVEIGH-SCHULTZ/Poverty Studies Intern- Mentor; Dee

I had taken Lora out to dinner to celebrate my new job. Later that night we sat in the living room whispering to each other. She was helping me write a “to do” list. Things were changing. We were no longer going to live as a couple in that big house on Court Lane. Her mother had just come back from Shanghai.

Nimen meiyou jiehun! [You two aren’t even married!], her mother had yelled at Lora earlier that night. I sat listening in her brother’s old bedroom, staring at the wall, wishing I didn’t understand the little I did. Downstairs, food lay cold on the table.

We should have called to tell her we’d miss dinner. I shouldn’t have had those beers. I should have said something when we got home.

“But, it’s not your fault; she’s mad at me, not you,” Lora would explain later. “It’s like I’d chosen you over her… my own mother.”

But I wasn’t completely convinced, so I made Lora write a list of things I could work on.

Number one: greet mom LOUDLY when you arrive home. “You’re too quiet; she doesn’t hear you,” Lora explained.

“At the very least say ‘hi’… just a simple acknowledgement.”

I looked at Lora, confused.

“I did say ‘hi’… didn’t I?”

But I had held back. I had tightened my lungs, not wanting Lora’s mom to smell the alcohol on my breath. I had muted the words, not wanting her to judge me, not wanting to be heard speaking English, not wanting to remind myself… of myself. Sometimes, it’s easier to say nothing at all.

“OK, I’ll practice,” I whispered back.
Sometimes… if it’s not said loudly, it hasn’t really been said.

The Nikko hotel shoots up high into the canopy of downtown San Francisco buildings. From their windows, hotel guests can peer down onto the sidewalk. On August 7th, a small group of protestors circled below carrying signs that protested the hotel council’s current ad campaign. I stood among them trying my best to play an unfamiliar part. I was not only a reporter that day but also an advocate. I cleared my throat.

“We don’t need to beg; we don’t need to plead; board of supervisors give the people what they need.” We chanted in unison, but I struggled to keep up, my words sounding tentative and meek. I thought about Lora and tried to sound more resolute. I imagined I was another person: stronger… unabashed… masculine… Chinese. I considered swallowing an old piece of gum that was drying out in my mouth. But I didn’t. The chewing was somehow comforting me.

At one point, a man with a powerful baritone took the loudspeaker. As he spoke, his words built momentum, rising higher and closer to the windows above.

“The hotel council has declared war on panhandlers by spending 65,000 dollars spreading hate messages throughout the city…. We’re here to protest the hotel council for their role in this new war against poor and homeless people.”

The powerful speaker was LS Wilson, coordinator of the Civil Rights Project and the Coalition for Homelessness. He was referring to the 65,000 dollars spent by the San Francisco hotel council to place anti-panhandling messages on signs and billboards throughout the city.

These ads have been getting increasingly critical attention for unfairly vilify panhandlers in San Francisco. Representing Supervisor Gonzales’s office, Jim Norcot argued that the protest should not be misrepresented as a challenge to free speech. “We don’t want to interfere with a person’s right to expression, but the campaign by the hotel council is mean spirited. We have had complaints in Supervisor Gonzales’s office not just from homeless advocates… but [also] from constituents from our district and statewide. They find these ads to be offensive and misleading.”

Despite these complaints, the ads have continued to use the strength of big business to drown out competing, and less well funded, viewpoints.

Far below the windows of the hotel Nikko, our loudspeaker was replaced by a microphone and a small battery powered amplifier. LS Wilson thrust the loudspeaker to me.

“You’re next, right?” he said smiling. I gulped. “What could I possibly say?” I thought to myself. But he was joking. I felt a wave of relief mixed with shame pass over me.

LS Wilson lifted the microphone to his mouth: “We’re here to tell the hotel council and big businesses to stop pointing fingers and start spending some of their money and using some of their power and influence to find solutions to help to end homelessness and poverty.”

“Shame on Nikko. Shame on Nikko,” we chanted together. I was getting louder now. We marched tirelessly in perpetual circles. Many hotel guests passed us, side stepping to avoid contact. Others gathered to watch.

But soon men wearing suits and disconcerted faces appeared at the entrance of the hotel. They were joined by several policemen. The protesters were told to move away from the area of the sidewalk that lay directly under the hotel’s awning. I stepped away from the circle of protesters to eavesdrop on the policemen’s conversation.

“No not you,” someone said to me.

“You can stay.”

“But I’m a protestor too,” I said.

I thought about how I must have looked: a notebook in my hand, a minidisk recorder in my pocket, a lavaliere mic clipped to my collar, that annoying piece of gum still in my mouth.

An officer approached Steven Chester from the Coalition on Homelessness to argue (erroneously) that a microphone without a permit was illegal. The message was clear: while anyone can enjoy the right to free speech, amplified speech is different. It requires special access to power.

The hotel council has wielded this kind of power by spreading their message on signs, vehicles, and billboards throughout the city: a form of spatial and visual amplification—but amplification nonetheless. These signs use ironic imagery to suggest that giving to panhandlers is a naïve and misguided form of charity. One poster depicts two smiling tourists and reads: “Today we rode a cable car, visited Alcatraz, and supported a drug habbit.” In a slightly smaller font below run the words: “Giving to panhandlers doesn’t help, it hurts.”

LS Wilson counters: “We need to come together as people and start addressing real solutions to why people panhandle. We need to understand that all poor and homeless people are not drug addicts and alcoholics. So why are you labeling us that way?” LS Wilson asked. Supervisor Gonzales’s representative seconded this claim arguing that “approximately 25 to 37 percent of all homeless people in San Francisco are families with children… The fact is that these people who are giving money to [panhandlers]… are giving it so [that homeless people] can put food money on the table to feed their families.”

Until now, the hotel council’s loud and angry message about panhandlers has gone virtually unchallenged because the hotel council refuses to engage in dialogue with homeless advocates. LS Wilson maintains that “members of the hotel council have completely ignored requests from homeless advocates and service providers to… talk about their hate messages. Muni and the Cab Commissioner have refused to remove the hate messages and ads from their vehicles.”

LS argues that by scapegoating panhandlers, the hotel council has refused to look at root problems of poverty and homelessness in San Francisco. “Ask yourself one question. Why are homeless people on our streets? What can we do collectively to help people to exit homelessness to help people to find jobs, so they don’t have to panhandle? Some of that $65,000 could have went towards creating jobs in different neighborhoods. If the hotel council really wanted to help, why don’t they support policies that would get homeless people jobs housing and healthcare? If the hotel council really wanted to help people exit homelessness… why would they portray homeless people… in such a negative way?”

These rhetorical questions suggest the unfortunate answer that the hotel council doesn’t really care about poor and homeless people. And so far their negative portrayal of panhandlers has gone unanswered.

With the POOR Magazine poverty scholars i.e., folk who have first-person experience with poverty and homelessness who have been countering the stereotypical notions around panhandling since 1998, When they released The WORK issue of POOR which re-defined panhandling, recycling, mothering and other unrecognized forms of labor as micro-entrepreneurship, or WORK.

And on this day, August 7th , more new voices were heard, speaking truth to power, the very people who’ve experienced poverty and homelessness were portraying their struggle in their own words.

Delphine Brody took the microphone. Her voice wavered at first but picked up confidence as she spoke. The crowd was behind her.

“I’m Delphine and I’ve lived on these streets before. I’ve panhandled before. I’ve been swept off the streets before by hotel security guards it’s not fun. I’ve been kicked out for trying to table score my meals at their bourgeois restaurants… Let me tell you, it’s hard work trying to get any food at all when you don’t have money. And they’re taking away people’s money thanks in a large part to the hotel council. That’s not cool. And then they have the gall… the nerve to fuckin try to take away our right to panhandle… at the same time they’re obviously sponsoring Gavin Newsom’s campaign and his anti-panhandling campaign. Gavin Newsom’s not gonna be mayor… and we are not gonna have an anti panhandling law in this city—over my dead body.”

Delphine smiled broadly as people applauded. I was inspired by the way she had overcome her fears—something I was still struggling with myself. Her initial insecurities on the mic had made her performance all the more powerful. Later, I asked her to elaborate on her feelings about the hotel council.

“They’re the biggest hypocrites in the world. They just had their taxes reduced by the board of supervisors a year ago. Meanwhile they have the nerve to put these signs on buses. They’re putting words in people’s mouths and they’re trying to make it seem like all panhandlers are lying about how they’re gonna spend the money… They’re implying that all panhandlers are abusing hard drugs and that using hard drugs is some kind of sin that only poor people commit and they’re playing on the public’s racism and hatred of homeless people. ‘Cause it’s perfectly fine for a hotel Nikko guest or people who own the hotels who are on the hotel council for that matter to be snorting cocaine in the back rooms of their clubs and parties its not ok for us to be using drugs. To me that’s complete hypocrisy. Last but not least they’re spending their customers money 65000 dollars of it on this ad campaign.” I wished that I had swallowed that dried out wad of blah, but the gum was still there in my mouth.

On the way home I spit it out dramatically.

Before I even took out my key, I could feel the anticipation, the strange sensation of words building deep in my throat—not yet a reality… still merely potential. I took a deep breath.

“Hi, Mrs. Lai. I’m home!!!” I hollered through open door. It was 11:00 o’clock, and Lora’s mother had fallen asleep in front of the TV. At the sound of my booming voice she was startled into a half-waking confusion. For a split second, I imagined how her face might look and caught my breath. I felt like an intruder… invading her space, interrupting the tranquil hum of the TV with my oafish presence. She must be furious, I thought. But instead, the moment flickered and the TV went out—extinguished. Lora’s mother emerged smiling faintly. “Hello,” she said rubbing her eyes. She nodded as she passed me on the way up to her bedroom.

I was so happy.

They were the first words I’d spoken.


Resistin' and gettin' heard!!

09/24/2021 - 11:12 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

The Digital REsistance PRogram at POOR is making media and publishing access happen for poor youth and adults and is at-risk of closure due to loss of funding

by Tejal Shah/PoorNewsNetwork Poverty Studies intern. Mentor; Dee Gray

Whose voice is heard? Whose opinion is valued as expert? Who is seen? And Who decides who is considered an artist or writer? Since 1996, POOR Magazine/PoorNewsNetwork , a grassroots, non-profit arts organization, has been trying to answer these questions in innovative and radical ways � one of which is through trying to create access for poor folks in the visual and literary art and media worlds even though they are po themseleves. To access and enable new voices they have conducted literary, visual arts and journalism workshops in group homes, jails, schools, community centers and "outside" locations all over the Bay Area. In 2001 with a small grant they were able to launch the Youth in the Media Program for very low-income and homeless youth of color. The Youth in The Media Program trains youth in journalism, poetry and spoken word.

In 2003 with no definite funding, only fueled by hope and conviction to get these voices heard, POOR launched their newest program Digital Resistance! (ie the RESISTANCE to the very real Digital Divide that keeps poor folks down and out), offering poor youth and adults the opportunity to learn advanced graphic design skills and penetrate the elitist world of publishing by sponsoring the publishing of their Books, CD's and Magazine Projects through POOR Press. This program is specifically geared to very low-income, homeless adults, elders and youth of color interested in learning journalism and then developing a publication which addresses an issue related to the root causes of poverty or racism. There are several promising, talented young people ranging from ages 14 to 24, currently participating in this program, (which due to POOR�s recent loss of funding is at-risk of closure...)

Martrice Kandler, a bright-faced nineteen year old young woman also attending City College of San Francisco has numerous creative gifts and interests. In the Digital Resistance Program, she creates a medley of poetry, creative writing, and a "little bit of art". Living in the lower Haight Street district with her grandmother, two younger sisters, a new baby, and five other extended family members, she definitely considers herself to be low-income. "Poor folks need to be given a voice," she begins, "because they�re the underdog, nobody ever listens to them, and they�re misrepresented through the media". Although she admits that all of these tasks she must undertake in the program involve a great deal of hard work, and must not be taken lightly, Martrice enjoys the sense of structure she obtains by having the deadlines, training and mentorship she receives at POOR.

The first issue she is writing about as a PNN Youth in the Media journalist and has passionate feelings about, is voting in a black community. Explains Martrice, "The reason I wanted to write about that issue was because when I turned 18, I didn�t know about voting and it was something that my grandmother struggled to do as a Black Southern woman�other than her nobody in my family voted. And nobody told us how to vote, i.e., what the difference is between democrat and republican, etc�there are all kinds of reasons youth �are discouraged or prevented from voting, especially black youth, because for example they might have felonies on their record, so I think that�s an important issue: To avoid the criminal Unjust-ice system and start voting so that we can get our side of the town improved." Martrice feels that the portrayal of African-Americans in mainstream media, like the Chronicle "[benefits] from our ignorance" and declares that we must learn to educate ourselves so that we can properly advocate for ourselves so as to provide the community with a more real image of the black community.

Of course, Martice does not only deal with issues of racism. In one of her poems, entitled "The Bus", she artistically sheds light on the concept homophobia: "the wheels on the bus go round and round, but that�s not the only thing in heavy rotation .."

Brandon Jones, a 16 year old, whose solemn countenance could easily let him pass for at least 20 has been putting together a CD comprised of "spoken word, like poetry, mixed with hiphop. Something you can listen to. Something real" along with his friend Rich. Inspired, one day he simply began writing off the top of his head and completed all ten songs on the CD within only three weeks. Living on Fulton in San Francisco with his Uncle who raised him, he muses that he must be low-income, since he�s "on Section 8, and [they] don�t have a lot of money".

His song "So Many Things" includes a particularly reflective section: "So many things got me wondering why money controls all the values we hold and everyday violence is just a story to be told, why so many people acting shady and cold; man don�t that shit ever get old? Oh, I remember the good old days, when people just chilled and blazed, now they wanna kill and act crazed; it�s affecting the younger group too, you got nine year old kids that�s acting like they�re 22, mouthin off to positive mother ____�s like me and you, but I ain�t trippin�; I don�t pay no attention, I just look at it all, sit back , and wait for the redemption". To Brandon, the essence of these lines is that everyday life which he lives and sees is just so "messed up�and money is the only value we hold".

Oji, a 24 year old who plans on attending City College, but is currently battling with systems to get support to go to school from welfare workers, who don�t see his extreme talent in visual and literary art says his teachers at POOR, is a man of few words when it comes to everyday dialogue. However, an extremely abstract thought-process is evident through his extremely brilliant artwork, twenty-five song CD, and poetry. There is no singular way in which to describe Oji�s poetry, in particular, but a few lines incite curiosity immediately: "listening, now that I have your attention, look through the windows of my eyes into a mind that�s scientific, since suspense tends to extending our minds in hidden dimensions. Now let�s begin an endless mission with infinite decisions. A effusion of transenducing music is self-illumining opportunist, fluidly rejuvenating a revolutionist movements, goin� though hell to get to heaven, it�s urban legends with commatic electromagnetic melon, within our genes which breeds kings and queens so weaves dreams, conceived, believed, and achieve anything".

Says Oji, of his CD and book "It talks about my potential, I guess what I could become". He feels that low-income members of the community should be heard because "everyone has a different perspective�we can teach. What we�ve learned, we can help others learn". Living with assorted family members from San Francisco to Antioch at different times, Oji feels that he is building a foundation so he can learn to rise above poverty, or as he simply puts it, from "nothing to something".


PERSONAL ABYSS, everyone has one what's yours?

09/24/2021 - 11:12 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

All of us have our demons, personal monsters and evil.

We win, we lose, sometimes its a draw.

This time pre labor day its been a reconfiguring
POOR Magazine's site.

Messing with the way and time I Write my Columns.

It has been my private "Personal Abyss."

by Joe B.

Folks, excuse me if my writing is kind of a downer now
change is coming and as with everything rough patches, road signs, and all manner of obscure and obvious ways show only hint at what lies ahead.

As anyone active in sports know especially in learning a new one be it snowboarding, incline or roller skating, surfing on land with wheels or waves, to icy mountain slopes there comes a time when risk is involved to find the level, go beyond what you’ve done or you stagnate, fall back and are stuck.

Last week I hinted at new name for myself right now its Ask Joe, He Don’t Know a reverse answer man or person column where readers supply answers since there are more you and I.

So far I’ve come up with Tell Joe, Unload on Joe, Joe’s, Can Is Fat. which is true many women have told me this some actually delight in pinching me; at least its my rear and not sack and head gropes if you know what I mean?

I don’t know that if I worked for, Slate, or any other online zines that I would have as much freedom of expression as I do here.

Yes, some of my writings have gotten so off color that I needed three women editors to edit my work. My third editor did lots of deleting,helped clarify self monologues. [For all those who were scratching their heads saying what "F" is he talking about and to those who got what I'm saying thanks for the effort and though I’ll try to change my ways it won’t be easy].

Metaphorically, I’m sitting looking down a long, dark, immense chasm.

Now I can try to jump across with a running start, walk around the rim of it to get to the other side or chop down a tree, use planks of wood, steel girders, or like "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" sprinkle dust over the edge, believing in faith and myself that I can cross over the abyss without harm.

Readers, I need your help on this!
Now don’t send digital photo’s of willowy, curvaceous, healthy feminine forms.

I am too susceptible to ‘em if I look at oval egg shaped light fixtures with decorated light green,purple, or blue especially blue lines lit up from its interior it begins to resemble light blue striations of a female’s well over developed mammary glands which is back pain to her but heaven to me.

I wish science could find the cause of giatism of the breast, reverse or cure it so women would not suffer from an over abundance but also guys could finally be able to use to re-enhance or serious bulk up our own short comings.

Now that's true R&D applied science!

Am I really, lets say it together "Joe,Your sick."

Which is exactly the words of a young woman I was helping to move out said when she caught me looking at the light fixture mesmerized.

If I had a p.o. box I’d say sent them there.(those lovely photo's of feminine pultritude).

So, please give me suggestions I don’t know what I can do in return; to bad I couldn’t get a few dates out of this.

Donations C/0 Poor Magazine

1448 Pine Street #205

San Francisco, CA 94103



The Accusation –a narrative essay

09/24/2021 - 11:12 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Mothers and Fathers resist the lies of CPS and the Foster Care System

by Tricia Ward/PoorNewsNetwork Community Journalist/ Mentor; Dee Gray

The accusation, when it’s made, hits like a cold steel beam slamming into your body, knocking you to the ground, or cuts sharp and deep into you like a cleaver, leaving you gasping for breath. “Your son sure seems to have a lot of problems, doesn’t he?” That’s all it was, a dozen words, uttered to my sister, but the accusation hung there in the air, making my sister’s heart stop beating. Her son had been sick, it started with diabetes and insulin shots given daily. Then the depression came, after being teased over and over by the kids at school because he was ‘different’. On top of that asthma, and then the final ailment, strange mysterious seizures that came on daily, without warning. The doctors couldn’t find the reason for the seizures. Test after test, neurologists, specialist of every kind, psychiatrists. No explanation for this new, terrifying symptom. It was in yet another doctor’s office, where the accusation was uttered by a nurse. It wasn’t just the words she uttered; “Your son sure seems to have a lot of problems, doesn’t he?” but the threatening tone of voice, the sharp eyes beating into my sister, as she flipped through the child’s file. Somehow, my sister, who wanted nothing more than to have her child be well, healthy and happy, was being told that this woman suspected my sister was somehow responsible for his myriad of problems.

The accusation, when it’s made, is often followed by action. Action that’s quick, and reactionary in nature, not thought out, not rational, and not at all in the best interest of the most important person involved, the child. This is what happened when the accusation was made in regards to Byron’s 13-year-old son Ronnie. Byron tells the story of how Ronnie and his mother Barbara, had been evicted from their home. Barbara had her sister take Ronnie in until she could find permanent housing. She did this so Ronnie would have a safe place to live in the meantime. The accusation, in this case came from Ronnie’s aunt. The very aunt that had been trusted to look after Ronnie until Barbara could find a home for both of them. “Ronnie’s mom is not fit to care for him” was the accusation. The response came swift and quick. Ronnie’s aunt became his caretaker and began receiving money from the system, meaning Child Protective Services, which was supposed to be for Ronnie’s care. There was little Barbara or Byron could do. The Aunt had connections within the system who listened to her accusations and acted quickly and swiftly and changed Ronnie’s life.

My sister’s life changed years ago, the day her son was born. She and her husband had tried for years to have child and when the baby was born, he became the focal point of their lives. As he grew it became clear he had medical problems, but they sacrificed, did whatever necessary to help him. My sister had to quit her job at one point to stay home and take care of him. They eventually had to sell their home and move to a smaller rented apartment, because the mortgage was overwhelming on only her husband’s salary, but their concern was only for their son’s welfare. I asked her one Christmas what they would like for gifts. My sister’s response was “We want our son to be healthy, other than that, not much”. Now, this woman in the doctor’s office, this stranger, who didn’t know anything about my sister and her son, was throwing this terrible accusation at her.

Since Ronnie has been taken from Barbara both she and Byron have learned about the terrible mess that follows the accusation. Byron has learned how the system that is supposed to protect the child and restore the family unit is actually determined to do just the opposite. Byron describes “the triangle” as he calls, it of CPS, the judge and social worker who all work together to keep the parents from being reunited with their child. Byron took Barbara to parenting classes and programs that the court said she needed to attend. She got her certificate of completion, but she didn’t get Ronnie back. Byron attempted to visit his son, he spent the day and spent his own money getting finger-printed as the court ordered. His record came back clean, but the court still wouldn’t allow him to visit his son. Byron says they gave him no explanation as to why. They never do. Over and over again, the judge would give Barbara or Byron certain conditions to meet in order to get Ronnie back. And over and over they met these requirements, and still Ronnie was not returned. That was the day his anger reached its peak, when he realized this system was never going return his child. The aunt, the one who made the accusation, grew tired of keeping Ronnie, even though she got paid to do so. She lied again to CPS, said Ronnie acted up and Ronnie was moved again this time to foster care, to the first of several foster placements. Now Byron hears his son’s voice only occasionally. Ronnie will sneak a phone call to him. Ronnie is now 16. He’s already planning on being with his dad when he turns 18 and can walk away from the system. “I’m his dad”, Byron says, “And nothing can change that.”

Byron began to write. He needed to do something to make others understand. He began writing and since then has written over 2,000 poems. The words come easy when the story is personal and needs to be told. “They can talk about me all they want, but I’m still putting the word out there” he says of the people involved in the system. And the word is getting out – Byron has published a book, filled with the poems about his son and the CPS system. Ronnie’s 7-year-old eyes stare out at the reader from the cover. They are warm, brown, friendly eyes. Although you can’t see it in the picture, you can tell there’s wide smile beaming out just below his eyes.

The accusation made my sister act as well, for her the action is research, hours and hours of phone calls and of e-mail sent to others who might be going through the same issue, this new, mysterious ailment that has attacked their child. Focusing all her efforts into caring for her son and searching endlessly for the answer to his ailment allows her to pretend the accusation was never made, in hopes that the terrible action that sometimes follows the accusation never comes.

Byron Gafford’s book Thru The Eyes of A Child is available for sale by clicking on the POOR Press button on PNN. If you are a parent and would like to report your story to courtwatch – please email and put Courtwatch in the subject line.