Business Owners Hoodwinked Into Building Makeshift Housing for the Homeless
December 31, 2020 By Erica Sandberg
With the Covid-19 shutdown dragging on for months, and business owners and employees struggling to stay afloat, San Francisco’s restaurants, cafés, bars, and fitness centers were permitted to create patios, or “parklets,” so that they could operate outdoors. This option offered a critical lifeline. Running the gamut from modest to elaborate, the parklets soon became ubiquitous. They stretched by the hundreds along sidewalks and into streets and alleyways in every district in the city. Small-business owners and their staffs finally had some revenue coming in, and their communities rejoiced in any semblance of normal life returning.
Then, on December 6, the doors were abruptly shut on outdoor dining and health clubs. Business owners were forced to abandon the parklets that they had painstakingly designed and constructed. Many had decorated them beautifully for the holidays, counting on operating until Christmas. Since San Francisco hospitals were not overrun with Covid patients, California had given restaurants and gyms at least a few weeks to continue serving the public. Nonetheless, San Francisco mayor London Breed and public-health director Grant Colfax preemptively closed the parklets with a Stay at Home order. Almost overnight, activity in the now-abandoned spaces changed dramatically.
“My parklets are now being used as bathrooms,” says Brian Cassanego, owner of The Wine Jar and Noir Lounge. “Some guy was camping in one. I find empty cans of beer, needles. The parklets have become homeless shelters and drug dens. Even when we deep clean, which will cost us more money, who will want to sit in them when we are allowed to come back?”
Cassanego is asking neighbors to keep watch over his parklets when he can’t be there. He’s hesitant to board them up completely, explaining that it would make the city look awful. “It’s heartbreaking,” he says. “It’s hard to fight back, to get up and plan for another day. Pre-pandemic, I got threatened with $1,000 fines if I didn’t clean up homeless messes. They’re beating restaurants down.”
The city has approved $5,000 grants to reimburse small-business owners who invested in parklets, but the funds are not for everyone—they appear to “prioritize minority-owned businesses and businesses that advance the City’s equity goals.” Even if Cassanego turns out to be eligible, the cash will fall short. Before the cold weather started, he spent $2,000 on heaters and had a roof constructed to fit over the tables—for another $5,000. All told, the parklets set him back upward of $15,000. With his business closed, Cassanego’s bills and debts are piling up.
Empty parklets across the city are becoming magnets for transient people. A large percentage of those experiencing homelessness suffer from substance-abuse disorders or psychological illnesses. Rory Cox, CEO of Yubalance Fitness and founder of San Francisco Small Business Alliance, says that frightening incidents are occurring. For example, when one business owner asked a person not behaving rationally to leave the parklet, the person sprayed him in the face with pepper spray; the business owner spent five hours in the emergency room. Used syringes are frequently found inside the structures. Vandalism too, is a burgeoning problem, so when the businesses are permitted to reopen, expensive repairs will be necessary.
Elected officials and city departments continue to laud “shelter in place” hotels as a solution to homelessness. Rooms (with meals and services) cost the city $7,500 to $8,000 per month, per person, even as San Francisco descends deeper into an alarming budget deficit. Sanctioned encampment sites don’t work well, to put it kindly, but that’s not stopping supervisors from advocating that more be established.
Meantime, seven navigation centers — homeless shelters with wraparound services that the city opened with great fanfare — sit empty. These buildings, the latest of which cost the city $12.5 million, can be adapted to meet COVID restrictions, but they remain shuttered. Modular housing that could be constructed quickly and inexpensively has been rejected, mostly because labor unions oppose it.
Despite promises, legislation, and great expense, inept city leaders can’t seem to help the most destitute get off the streets. Instead, under an ongoing lockdown, it is the parklets, bereft of workers and customers, that act as de facto homes for this population. Certainly, any place that will help shield a body from wind, cold, and rain is preferable to being exposed to the elements. Compared to nothing, even a parklet with walls and an overhang can be an attractive alternative. San Francisco’s small-business owners could be forgiven for feeling hoodwinked: shelling out their own money to keep their businesses going, they have unwittingly created homeless accommodation apparently more desirable than anything the city offers.
Erica Sandberg is a widely published consumer-finance reporter based in San Francisco and the author of Expecting Money: The Essential Financial Plan for New and Growing Families. As a community advocate, she focuses on homelessness and crime and safety issues.
This article was originally published by City Journal Online.
Bakersfield California Op Ed Piece by Kern County District Attorney, Cynthia J. Zimmer [edited for brevity]
A Public Service Announcement for Kern’s Criminals:
Are you a convicted felon with a history of violent crime? A murderer? Rapist? Child Molester? Human trafficker? Armed Robber? Drunk driver who kills? Do you take pleasure in using firearms to ratchet up body counts in all types of crimes? Do you think it unfair that your history of violent crimes makes your punishment for new crimes higher? If so, I have an exciting opportunity for you.
On December 7, Los Angeles County swore in its newly elected District Attorney, (D) George Gascón. Gascón immediately pledged to make Los Angeles a sanctuary for criminals by announcing his refusal to enforce the most basic state laws designed to address serious, violent, and repeat offenders. There’s a catch though – his authority only extends to Los Angeles County. Here in Kern County, you’re stuck with me: A District Attorney that will strive to enforce laws and demand that crime victims receive justice.
Criminals, you really must ask yourselves – why continue living in Kern County when you can take your criminal activity to Los Angeles, where you will be greeted with open arms? Let me share why relocation of your criminal activity is really in your best interest.
First, (D) Gascón has declared he will not allege a defendant’s prior ‘strike’ convictions in new criminal cases – ever. Ironically, on the day he swore an oath to uphold the laws of California, (D) Gascón immediately vowed to break them. Prior strikes are legally required to be alleged by prosecutors. For you criminals, that means that the new LA DA is literally willing to break the law to ensure you don’t face the punishment you deserve!
* * *
When (D) Gascón left his DA position in San Francisco to seek control in LA, the President of the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association issued an ominous warning: “We are praying for the residents of Los Angeles hoping that (D) George Gascón does not do to their city what he did for San Francisco during his tenure; double digit increases in crime…cars broken into by the thousands and neighborhoods ravaged by open air drug markets and crime…We are happy he will be leaving San Francisco but feel he is taking his record of failure to an even larger county where he can cause even more harm to public safety.”
In Kern County, the District Attorney’s Office will continue to be an ally to victims and the community in our fight against crime. Gascón has taken the opposite approach. When confronted by the mother of a murder victim who opposed his policies, Gascón replied that she and anyone else who opposed early release of killers were “too uneducated to shut their mouths for once.” Gascón’s contempt toward victims and disregard for the law are designed to benefit criminals at every turn. I pray for victims in LA who are being abandoned by their DA and oppose nearly every policy for which Gascon stands. Criminals hoping for Gascón-style treatment in Kern County can stop holding their breath, because it’s not going to happen under my watch.
Story from Lawenforcementtoday.com
Posted by: Lynn Vance|November 24, 2020|Categories Featured, News
SEATTLE, WA – How’s this for irony?
The Seattle City Council passed the 2021 budget. Included in their new budget plan was a 20% cut to the Seattle Police Department. Meanwhile, as the council was busy restructuring and planning, two people were stabbed.
Yet they still voted to cut police funding in an 8-1 vote.
As the Seattle City Council met to discuss the budget on Monday, a man stabbed a woman to death in Belltown just before 11 a.m.
According to police, the woman was a caseworker at the apartment building, which is operated by Plymouth Housing and serves formerly homeless people.
Her identity has not yet been released and no motive has yet been determined.
Defunding the Police Experiment Begins in L.A. edited - full story at
Last week the Los Angeles Police Department laid out plans to deal with a smaller budget forced on the LAPD in part by a $150 million cut as a result of the police reform movement.
LAPD Chief Michael Moore announced cuts in air support, robbery homicide and gang and narcotics divisions. Additionally, desk hours at police stations would be reduced, manned only during weekday hours. The police will stop investigating automobile accidents with minor injuries involved and will require accident reports to be filed online. Perhaps, most significantly, the LAPD sworn officer core will be reduced from 10,110 to 9,752. Having 10,000 officers was a goal for the police and many past mayoral administrations.
Police officer representatives are painting a dire outcome for the cuts to public safety. Craig Lally, president of the Police Protective League, told the Los Angeles Times that the new proposals and cutbacks will be a “catastrophe for the safety” of citizens.
By Patrick Henry October 19, 2020
Several media sources, including Breitbart News, are reporting that one of the founders of the Marxist-leaning organization disguised as a civil rights movement [Black Lives Matter] has signed a production deal with Warner Bros. Television Group to produce content across that company’s platforms.
According to a release, the contract signed between Warner Bros. and Patrisse Cullors includes programming from animation to scripted and unscripted projects and digital projects. Variety reports that the content will be available on the group’s streaming services, TV, and film.
Not scary enough for you? Read on.
Defunding the police is the least of Cullors’ radical ideas. She has called through Black Lives Matter for the elimination of all federal police agencies, including the DEA, FBI, ICE, and Border Patrol and so on. She also advocates the “Breathe Act,” which would essentially close all federal prisons and detention facilities.
Editorial from the New York Post, October 6, 2020, 7:51 PM
America’s most influential media stylebook [Associated Press] is discouraging the nation’s newspapers from reporting on mass urban violence, on the grounds that writing about what’s happening is “stigmatizing.” The Associated Press Stylebook, whose standards are followed by countless outlets, last week announced new guidelines around reporting on riots. “Focusing on rioting and property destruction rather than underlying grievance has been used in the past to stigmatize broad swaths of people protesting against lynching, police brutality or for racial justice, going back to the urban uprisings of the 1960s.”
And never mind that increasing evidence suggests most violence can be pinned not on real Black Lives Matter protesters (radical though their agenda may be), but on mostly white Antifa provocateurs.
AP suggests replacing “riots” with “milder” terms such as “unrest.”
Property destruction has a human toll. The Insurance Information Institute says the riots after Floyd’s death have done well over $1 billion in damage. The unprecedented national destruction may lead to insurers excluding coverage for riot damage in the future — not that plenty of innocent small businesses aren’t already finding their policies badly insufficient.
In downtown Louisville, Ky., Fadi Faouri has slept in his store for 122 straight nights, trying to protect it from rioters and looters. “Stuff is being damaged on a nightly basis, people are shooting at each other every night,” he told The Post. “Every night we have a new store that got looted. They break in, they take whatever and go. They walk away.”
By Chris Elliot|September 28, 2020|Featured, News [edited for brevity]
Homeland Security Investigations authored a federal arrest affidavit for Nicholas Joseph Bantista, from Illinois, for taking part in a protest on September 25th. In the complaint, it is alleged that Bantista assaulted a federal agent by throwing a rock at them.
Federal agents were stationed in front of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office protecting it from rioters and looters. While one was on patrol, Bantista, allegedly, armed himself with a rock and threw it at the agent, striking him in the helmet.
While Bantista was being placed under arrest, federal agents reported finding an airsoft replica gun [looked real] from his person.
He claimed that he threw some type of bouncy ball at the agent.
Natalie Wight, an Assistant US Attorney, informed a federal judge that Bantista was currently staying in a tent in the city of Portland. He had been there for less than a week, and according to the Oregonian, she alleged that he had only come to the city “to wreak havoc during these riots.”
Bantista is familiar with the legal system as he is already on probation out of Illinois for assaulting a police officer. In that instance, he was convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm for waving a gun and telling police that he would fire it if they did not shoot him.
Despite [public defender] Francesconi’s claims, US Magistrate Judge Youlee Yim You sided with the prosecution on this case for now.
Headline: Iraq war vet was attacked and defended himself; political correctness got him indicted, now he's dead
By Pat Droney, September 21, 2020 [edited for brevity]
On May 30, Jake Gardner, an owner of a Nebraska bar and a military veteran who served two tours in Iraq was attacked outside his bar by “peaceful” protesters who were rioting, er, protesting in Omaha after the death of George Floyd. On Sept 20, Gardner killed himself, law enforcement officials and Gardner’s lawyers said.
The Epoch Times said that Gardner fatally shot one of his attackers, 22-year-old James Scurlock. The details were submitted to Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, who found Gardner’s actions “justified,” telling reporters the next week that the incident was clearly self-defense.
Author Droney then gave the details.
Gardner’s attorney Stu Dornan said, “Bottom line. Gardner lost his bars [a landlord ended his lease after the shooting], his home, his livelihood. And he was about to lose his freedom. Add in behavioral health concerns, and suicide was not a surprise,” the Omaha World-Herald reported.
Droney said, "Jake Gardner is another victim. A victim of an endless war in the Middle East and a victim to political correctness and the woke, mob mentality that has overtaken our country in the past four months. Sadly, there will likely be many more Jake Gardner’s."
[Gardner is on the left. Scurlock is on the right.]
Lawenforcementtoday.com - Jenna Curren|September 17, 2020
A grand jury has indicted a man who is accused of injuring a Portland Police Bureau sergeant by shining a high-powered laser capable of starting a fire into his eye during a violent protest. The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Bryan Kelley has been charged with one count of second-degree assault, one count of unlawful use of a weapon, and two counts of unlawful directing of light from a laser pointer.
According to reports, the indictment says that Kelley intentionally aimed the high-power laser at an officer’s eyes during the overnight rioting at Portland City Hall on August 25th.
According to court documents, a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) sergeant said that Kelley shined the light into his eyes multiple times throughout the night.
Portland Protest Experiences Survey issued by the Citizen Review Committee
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the Portland Police Bureau’s crowd control tactics during your experience? (Not appropriate at all) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (Highly appropriate)
Wonder what the survey will show?
Good story by Pat Droney from Law Enforcement Today:
Are the Democrats "war-gaming" a coup in the event President Trump wins in November? (op-ed) Hilary said, "Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances...."
Pat Droney is a retired police officer, having worked in the field in for over 31 years, up to and including the rank of Chief of Police. After retirement, Pat worked as Director of Campus Safety for a private school, as well as Loss Prevention Supervisor in the retail sector. He currently is a supervisor for a large passenger airline. Pat is a proud Reagan conservative patriot, loves his Irish heritage, but especially loves his country and is an unabashed supporter of our military.
I worked as a patrol officer at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and my superior was a former police chief.
Domingo Lopez was arrested in Oregon for starting a brush fire with a Molotov cocktail and was released without bail a few hours later. Within hours he was rearrested for starting 6 more fires.
Booking Info - MSCO online inmate data [with disclaimer]
SWIS ID 803070
Height 5 ft 6 in
Weight 130 lbs
Arresting Agency Portland Police, East Precinct
Booking Date 09/13/2020 06:45 PM
Assigned Facility PERM
Projected Release Date Unknown
Release Date 09/13/2020
Reason Released on Own Recognizance
Pulpit Rock neighborhood riot
Colorado Springs Police Department, Fri, 09/11/2020 - 3:40 pm
Following the riot, CSPD detectives were able to identify several rioters engaging in illegal activity. They also worked with the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office to ensure that these cases and the information they obtained in their investigation were prosecutable.
Arrest warrants were obtained for the following individuals. Search warrants were also acquired for the residences in Denver and Fountain:
36-year-old Sherrie Smith of Fountain, Colorado
As this is still an on-going investigation, the arrest warrants have been sealed at this time. Additionally, we do anticipate additional arrests in the near future.
Excellent news story from the New York Post included pictures
"Inside the privileged lives of protesters busted for rioting in Manhattan"
By Gabrielle Fonrouge September 9, 2020 | 8:35pm
On Sept. 9, 2020, Law Enforcement Today reported that Portland Police seized an explosive, dagger and body armor from rioters.
By James Anthony, thepostmillenial.com, September 6, 2020 9:15 AM
New York City Police arrested the 20-year-old daughter of a wealthy Upper East Side family for causing property damage in a riot organized by an Antifa-affiliated and a black supremacist group in the city on Friday. The damage totaled over $100,000.
According to the New York Post, 20-year-old Clara Kraebber is among the eight people arrested at the scene, where an angry mob in the area of 24th street wrecked shop fronts. The mob began their march from Foley Square and, over the course of the next three hours, marched north, causing property damage wherever they went.
By Marina Moyski, ChurchMilitant.com, Washington DC, September 4, 2020 [edited for brevity]
President Trump's announcing a plan to restore "patriotic education" in schools to overturn the havoc wreaked by Marxist infiltration comes shortly after he released his second-term agenda just before the Republican National Convention. The agenda prioritizes educational goals including providing school choice to every child in America and teaching American exceptionalism.
Father John Zuhlsdorf, a popular Catholic blogger, weighed in on the issue. Instead of defunding the police, Zuhlsdorf encouraged Americans to defund the colleges that graduate students who hate the nation.
He said, "Defund Academia. Defund public schools. The problems we face aren't coming from the police. They are coming from our classrooms.
"Grade school and high school present empty shells to colleges and universities, which in turn fill them up with dangerous BS," he pointedly observed.
"If you have any money designated in your WILL for your dear old alma mater, college or university ... change your will," he recommended, and, "If you can, get your kids out of public schools. And be wary of Catholic schools, too."
Report from Andy Ngo and Mia Cathell, September 3, 2020 8:19 PMA Portland-area trans person was federally charged with felony civil disorder after being arrested three times and released by local authorities at Antifa riots last month. According to court documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon, 25-year-old Joshua "Eva" Martin Warner, of Beaverton, Ore., directed a high-powered, green laser into the eyes of numerous Portland Police officers attempting to disperse a riot on August 8 outside the police union hall.
Andy Ngo and Mia CathellThe Post Millennial
Mug shots of three individuals arrested at Antifa riot in Portland:
1) Jacob Soto, listed male, 41, charged w/felony riot & more, band teacher in the Portland Public Schools system.
2) Riley Haralson, listed male, 18, charged w/multiple offenses.
3) Olivia Morgan, listed female, 29, felony riot, attempting escape, resisting arrest & more.