Commentary

Opinion pieces, first-person stories, reviews, etc. News that might not fit anywhere else.

Saying Goodbye to C.W.

Street Sheet, Nov. 15, 2016

San Francisco Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius’s coverage of homelessness provided the public face of anti-homeless sentiment. (more)

SF Homeless Project Roundup: A Review of SF’s Media Blitz on Homelessness

Street Sheet, July 15, 2016

Recently, an ambitious media project was launched, filling dozen of minutes in broadcast airtime, hundreds of column inches and gigabits per second in bandwidth. Analysis

Amplifying the Voices of Homeless People

San Francisco Examiner, June 29, 2016

The stories I often hear often escape mainstream media’s attention and fall outside the usual narratives. Yet, we have a lot to learn from homeless people’s experiences. Part of SF Homeless Project.

San Francisco Supervisor Tries to Ban Tents in Winter

Street Spirit, Feb. 7, 2016

An open letter to Scott Wiener on his proposal to enforce a ban on sidewalk tents in the middle of an El Niño winter. (more)

A Homeless Person Is Not a Broken Window

Street Sheet, Sept. 15, 2015

The term “broken windows” is used as a metaphor to describe a gateway to urban decay. Homeless advocates and policy experts will challenge the thinking behind the criminological theory in a panel discussion in San Francisco. (more)

Nonprofit Execs Get Rich Off Homelessness

Street Spirit, Feb. 14, 2015

Raising Our Voices examined the financial records of San Francisco’s 15 biggest homeless-serving nonprofits. It found the vast majority of funds go not to food, clothing or housing, but to the salaries of managers and directors. Investigation republished from 2001.

Dissecting the News Media’s Claim of Anti-panhandling “Clamor”

SF Public Press, Sept. 23, 2011

“Aggressive panhandling” made Page One of the San Francisco Chronicle again. But the report, like so many before, left readers with more questions than answers about whether the trend indicated by the paper really existed. Analysis.

Finding Libraries’ Clean, Well-lighted Places

Street Sheet, March 15, 2011

The public library might be the last place that welcomes poor and homeless people. But a San Francisco Examiner reader wrote to the paper that they are “taking over” the place. If these remaining public spaces are denied to them, where else could they go? (more)

A Place to Hang a Hat

Race, Poverty & the Environment, Spring 2009

People in Sacramento’s homeless encampments will be given safe storage for their belongings as part of a deal to enter temporary shelters. But will they be extended the same “property rights” as corporations and landowners? (more)

San Francisco Wants Panhandlers’ Change

Street Sheet, June 2008

Homeless parking meters? The city proposes a scheme to benefit area nonprofits by encouraging tourists to deposit their spare change in the meters instead of giving to panhandlers. But this isn’t the first time such a nickel-and-dime idea has been suggested. (more)

Making the Homeless Count

etc. Magazine, Spring 2007

The April 2007 issue of Street Sheet reads “6,377? or 8,000? or 10,000? Who Knows?”  San Francisco’s count of the homeless population can be spun in many ways, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. (more)

Book Review: “Back to the Streets” by George Wynn

Street Spirit, March 2005

A collection of short stories by George Wynn is reviewed. (more)

Who Would Mel Kill?

Freedom Voices, June 2004

Fine execution in “The Passion of the Christ,” pun very much intended. Mel Gibson might have affirmed his faith in filming the Crucifixion, but does he also believe Jesus’ punishment — or any death row inmate’s — is just? (more)

Play Review: “Nickel and Dimed” Performance Works for the Community

Poor Magazine, Oct. 14, 2003

Barbara Ehrenreich’s investigation of low-wage labor is dramatized by two Bay Area theater companies. (more)

Adventures on Minimum Wage

Poor Magazine, July 15, 2003

Some people blithely reminisce of their first job. My memories aren’t so wistful. Still, those memories resurface when I signed on as a petitioner for $6.75 Is Not Enough, the latest drive to increase minimum wage in San Francisco. (more)

Book Review: “Homes Not Jails!” by Michael Steinberg

Poor Magazine, May 7, 2002

A novel on the early days of a housing advocacy  group is reviewed. (more)

Patriot-ism and the Super Bowl

Poor Magazine, Jan. 28, 2002

A point after about the confluence of football and militarism as a native New England Patriots fan watches his team win their first Super Bowl. (more)

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