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Sleepless in San Diego

                              Unemployment and Homelessness are on The Rise.

                      So, Are Zero-Compassion Public Policies and
                      Abuse of The Homeless.

                      The Official Jobs Report - 3/7/2008 versus The Real Rate of Unemployment, over 10%

  by William Schmidt, Ph.D. (Columbia University)
                                            (C) 2008 All rights reserved.  Reproducing any part of this page without
                                                            giving full acknowledgement is a copyright infringement.


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                                         Sleepless in San Diego

                              Unemployment and Homelessness on The Rise

                      The Official Jobs Report - 3/7/2008 versus The Real Rate of Unemployment, over 10%

                                     Officially, it would seem nothing much is happening to the unemployment rate.
                                    wpe4F.jpg (39188 bytes)

                           The official number for employment just out suggested a monthly loss
                 of non-farm 63,000 jobs nationally.   This is the biggest reduction in one month
                 since March 2003.  Since the US military is hiring anyone they can, this has to be
                 entirely in the private sector.  The real losses of job in January may be much more
                 like 200,000?     Many people have stopped looking for work.  The US Bureau of
                 Labor figures are only for those seeking a job.  The BLB survey techniques are seriously

                           Everyone knows they seriously underestimate the real numbers unemployed. 
                 But its the BLB figures which are reported in the newspapers and TV.  This is done to
                 prevent the reality from becoming a political issue.   But that is changing now.
                          What is the real level of unemployment?  The State of California estimates 56,000
           fewer jobs in February than the BLB in just the Riverside-San Bernardino area, alone. 
          Think what this amounts to nationally.  Even an economist from the Boston Federal Reserve
          estimates that real unemployment is always 1% to 3% higher than what the BLB.  The
          reality is that millions more are discouraged and have dropped out.   They are not
          considered unemployed.  I consider the official rate of employment to be a 
          flagrantly self-serving statistic, a disgraceful pretense    Just go to any city in America
          and you will see hundreds of homeless people who have given up.  And what about those
          who would like to be fully employed and are not, or accept poverty wages because they
          desperately need food and shelter.   Just as the real rate of inflation is minimized for
          political purposes, so is the real level of  unemployment.

                    As more and more Americans file for bankruptcy, lose their homes and live pay check to
          pay check, homeless shelters become more and more crowded.   "There is still a mind-set that
          the homeless are substance abusers who have made bad life decisions," says Ralph Plumb,
          of the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles. "But more and more, they are individuals
          responding to a catastrophic financial event. The homeless are us. They're regular folk."
          (Source: http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2003-08-11-homeless_x.htm )  Many of
          those now without jobs are those who were formerly employed in the financial services
          and construction fields.     In New York City, 100,000 people are homeless during any given
          year. According  to a Coalition for the Homeless report, 38,000 people sleep in a New York City
          shelter every night, including 16,000 children. Thousands more sleep in the streets and
          ( Source: http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/advocacy/StateoftheHomeless2007.html )
          Veterans make up 11 percent of America's adult population, but 26 percent of the homeless
           population. (Source: http://www.pr-inside.com/obama-we-will-not-leave-any-r468281.htm )

"Just Walk on By"

The local college newspaper has more to say about homelessness than the San
          Diego Tribune.  Gaia Veenis wrote in the Daily Aztec:  "Homelessness is a growing issue
          in San Diego and is rarely discussed in local news. However, this issue cannot be swept
          under a rug or easily remedied, especially with the inadequate help and little media attention
          it currently receives.   Probably the biggest cause for this issue getting so little attention is
          the lack of pity most people feel toward homeless adults. It is easy to assume these people
          wound up on the streets solely because of their own poor decisions or laziness."

                Catherine Riddle is a case worker at one of San Diego County's resource centers.  She
          said this lack of adequate assistance is why she decided to go into her line of work.  She
          further explained how easy it is for people to become homeless.  In fact, many people are
          only one paycheck away from being homeless.  Once someone has been evicted, it is next
          to impossible to find someone willing to rent to you. When one doesn't have an address
          and a regular place to sleep and shower, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a new job"."             The San Diego case worker explained that "approximately half of all homeless women are
          thought to be domestic violence victims.  In all of San Diego County, there are 246 beds for
          domestic violence victims; sadly,   that doesn't nearly meet the demand. These abused
          people and their children need more safety than regular shelters can offer. This leaves two
          other options; either stay with the person who is abusing you and possibly your children,
          or sleep on the street when all the battered women's shelters are full."

wpe50.jpg (16962 bytes)    Want to meet some of the
           homeless.  The City Beat in San Diego introduces a new homeless person each week.

           wpe51.jpg (42995 bytes)
                                            San Diego's Ball Park Opening drew a protest of 100.

How San Diego Treats The Homeless

                      The SD police would arrest all of them for falling asleep outside.  (I thought this
          was banned under the Geneva Convention.  It was too "CRUEL".) 
The American Civil
          Liberties Union sued Los Angeles on behalf of several homeless individuals, and in
          April the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of   Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, ruled that the city's
          ordinance barring sleeping on public sidewalks was unconstitutional because there
          are more homeless people in Los Angeles County than shelter beds.
  In building
          San Diego's new baseball field, Petco Park and million dollar high rise condominiums
          numerous hotels that catered to low income people were bulldozed.   No provision
          was made for whey would have to go.

                 wpe52.jpg (10264 bytes)       San Diego's mayor Sanders and police chief
             Lansdown said they will not establish downtown safe zones where the homeless could
             sleep without the threat of illegal-lodging citations.
Sanders said: "(I)t sends the message
             that homelessness is an acceptable option. That we have given up – and so now, it's OK
             to sleep on the streets. That doesn't work for me.”
                           Observing all this is a downtown attorney. 
"As a sixth year criminal defense
             attorney, I know plenty of homeless people. In San Diego, our preferred method of dealing
             with the homeless is to harass the living shit out of them until they end up in prison, rehab
             or on someone else's doorstep.    Don't believe me- check out the priceless litigation over
             whether it is legal for the cops to arrest people for SLEEPING (PS the answer to that
             question before 3/27/07 was "YES").    You only have to check the comments section to
             any   immigration related article to see what incredible a@*!s San Diegans can be. Angry,
             angry, angry people- always ready to blame someone: the homeless, immigrants whoever.
              ...I find all the hand-wringing about the homeless "problem" to be pretty rich. After all,
             tramping  or hoboing has been an established social group in the United States since the
             railroad was   invented. Christ (was homeless.)... (T)hey even have their own King.  
             The fact is- many homeless grapple with  mental health and substance abuse issues,
             and if San Diegans weren't so unsophisticated we'd all realize that we could save
             a TON of money on emergency services (not to mention cop money) if we just built the
             homeless some shelters and kept them fed. The expenditure would pay off ten fold!
             (Source: http://catdirtsez.blogspot.com/2007/06/best-weeklyfeatureever-san-diego-city.htm )

                              Cruel Bullying The Homeless for "Sport"

Sadly, some Americans can be sadistic bullies.  Do they get that from Bush, I wonder.
             Physical attacks on the homeless are quite common.   Before I could intervene, I saw a kid
             pee in a bottle and then throw it on a sleeping homeless man in the bushes behind a bank.
             Here are others' reports.

                          "So I'm at champions last night after work having a beer, and i look outside and
          see these two "skeched" out skinhead looking punks pushing an older (I'm assuming)
          homeless man. i ran outside to see what was up, and they chased this dude across the
          street, and i watched as they beat and kick the guy in the entrance to the prudential garage.
          and no one did a goddamn thing. i even yelled at a group of about a half dozen younger
          guys about them just standing and watching... i called the cops.... since the old guy ran off,
           they had to let them go."  

                 (Source: http://www.yelp.com/topic/north-waltham-two-skinheads-beat-up-a-homeless-guy      )  

Egged on by a 17-year-old, two 10-year-old boys joined in the attack of a Florida homeless man,
         leaving him bruised and bloody, police said.  The incident highlights an upswing in violent crime across the
         U.S. against the homeless.  In 2006, there were 142 attacks and 20 murders, several involving teenagers
         seeking a vicious thrill, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Coalition for the Homeless....

                      "Daytona Police Sgt. Billy Walden said the teen and two boys were walking in their neighborhood
         around 9 p.m. when they saw 58-year-old John D'Amico. They began throwing rocks at the homeless man.
         The 17-year-old, Jeremy Woods, punched D'Amico who then fell over a concrete wall. As he lay on the
         ground,  one of the 10-year-olds -- whose names are not being released -- used parts of the concrete to
         bash D'Amico in the head, a police report shows. (D'Amico describes his attack)  D'Amico's eye was
         severely damaged in the attack. Woods and the two boys were charged with felony aggravated battery
         and are being held without bond at a juvenile detention center in Daytona Beach, Walden said. (Watch
         cuffed 10-year-olds in court"   (Source: http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/03/29/homeless.attack/index.html )

         wpe52.jpg (5101 bytes)    "(A) surveillance camera captured two teens beating a homeless man
         with bats in Fort Lauderdale,    Florida, on January 12, 2006.  Prosecutors say 17-year-old skateboarder Tom
         Daugherty, 18-year-old Brian Hooks, a popular hockey team captain, and a third unseen teen, Billy Ammons,
         a high school dropout, assaulted two more homeless men that night.   One of them was 45-year-old Norris Gaynor.
         A witness, Anthony Clarke, told police and CNN last year that he saw the three teens approach Gaynor as he
         slept on a park bench. Daugherty began whacking Gaynor with a bat, Clarke said.   The Daytona Beach area was
         the scene of another high-profile attack in which four teenagers confessed to beating 53-year-old Michael Roberts
         to death in the suburb of Holly Hill in May 2005.
                 (Source: http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/03/29/homeless.attack/index.html )

          wpe53.jpg (2289 bytes)  "Police don't know much about August Felix. No one has come forward as family,
           so Orange County took care of his burial in Chapel Cemetery.
Five Orlando teenagers have been beating the
           homeless for sport.    They are now facing second-degree murder charges for allegedly beating a homeless
           man to death. In late March, the body of August Felix, 54, was found at an electric substation. He died
           30 days later in the hospital.  "This attack was unprovoked. It never should have happened..."
           said Sgt. Rich Ring of the Orlando Police Department.
              (Source: http://jackiedowd.blogspot.com/2006/06/some-teens-idea-of-sport-beating-up.html )

          wpe54.jpg (16204 bytes)     Bullying the helpless is rampant.   
         Here's a guy who proudly says "Yeah, I'm an evil person who goes around beating up homeless people. I wonder
         if we can make it an Olympic event?"
http://forums.joeuser.com/post.aspx?postid=178033 and
              http://www.nationalhomeless.org/getinvolved/projects/hatecrimes/case_death.html     )

                   This Cruelty is widespread.  Here are more documented reports from 2006.       The source is

Eureka, California
Two teens charged as adults in murder of homeless man

March: Keyontae Lamar Taylor, 15, and Joaquin Fitzgerald, 16, are being charged as adults for the murder of Tracy Daniel Reynolds. The teens shot Reynolds in the leg and in the chest. 

According to authorities, the teens encountered Reynolds along railroad tracks. They drank some beers together and then the boys left. They allegedly returned a short time later when they robbed Reynolds and shot him.

Bangor, Maine   
Man burned to death: Hate crime suspected.

March 7: In a highly publicized case, the burning body of a deceased man was discovered under a bridge in Bangor. The body was identified later as Trevor Sprague, a 34-year-old homeless man. In April after an autopsy and further investigation, his death was ruled a homicide.

There is suspicion that this could have been a hate crime. It should be noted that other homeless people believed that Trevor was gay, and media reports speculated that either his homelessness or sexual orientation could have been reasons for him to be targeted. No further information on the investigation has been released and no charges have been brought in the case.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Homeless man dies after beating

March 23: 16 year-old Bilal Harris and a 14-year-old, whose identity is being withheld, stalked a homeless man and beat him to death in a wooded area behind a former veterinary clinic.

The unidentified assailant pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was committed to a juvenile detention center. Harris is being charged as an adult in the murder. Authorities say the victim Steven G. Walsh is between the ages of 45 and 50 and was beaten as the two teens attacked him with bottles, rocks and an unidentified object ultimately fracturing his skull.

Detroit, Michigan
Fifteen year old boy charged with homeless man’s death

March 26: Braymond Harris, a 21-year-old homeless man, was shot in the head by a 15-year-old boy. Harris had fled during an altercation with three or four teenagers but was pursued by the 15-year-old who fatally shot him with a small-caliber gun in a McDonald’s parking lot. 

“I wish there was a motive like robbery,” said Police Homicide Sgt. Michael Martel. “At least I could understand it. But they just wanted to beat up a bum.”   

The boy has been charged as a juvenile for first-degree murder and for using a firearm while committing a felony.

Orlando, Florida
Man found beaten by five teenagers

March 26: August Felix, 54, was found dead after having been severely kicked, punched and beaten with an unknown blunt object. Felix was living near railroad tracks when a group of teenagers attacked him for fun. Other homeless individuals were also attacked, but Felix was the only resultant death. Five teenagers were arrested on charges of second-degree murder. Three of the assailants were 13 years old and the remaining two were 16 years old. They will likely be tried as adults.       

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Teens allegedly kill man after he ‘mooned’ them

March 29: Martin Malone, 47, was taunted as he rummaged through a trash bin and was then killed after he showed his buttocks to his attackers. 

Christopher McEneaney, 16, and Andre Mark, 18, were charged in the slaying of Malone.    He was stabbed with a multi-tool and bludgeoned with a shovel.



Orlando, Florida.
Homeless man slain while going to work

May 27: Ronald “Gumby” Klaas, a 51-year-old homeless man, was shot in the head and leg. According to police, Klaas was walking to the bus terminal Sunday morning headed for work when he was slain. His body was later found outside of a Bank of America building in downtown Orlando.

Those who knew him described Gumby, a nickname inspired by missing teeth, as a sweet man. He had been a fixture in the community for the past 20 years. Homeless by choice, he lived in a local shelter and worked long hours in theme-park kitchens.

The suspect is believed to be a young man, 17 years of age, about 5 feet, 6 inches and weighing 115 pounds. He was riding a blue, child-sized bike.



Spokane, WA
Handicapped homeless man set afire

June 23: According to police, a wheelchair-bound homeless man was killed as a result of extensive burns he suffered after being set afire in downtown Spokane. Douglas R. Dawson, 50, was flown to the city’s trauma and burn center in critical condition. He later passed away.

Dawson, who only had one leg, was well known in the area by police officers that patrol downtown. The attacker, Matthew Brian Trammell, 22, was believed to be involved in a robbery earlier that day in the area with Sean Paul Knold, 23. When the robbery was reported, Officer Dean Draper, who was nearby, saw the two men coming from the area where the fire had been reported. It is believed that Knold was not involved in the arson attack. Trammell was charged with first-degree murder. 



Little Rock, Arkansas
Homeless man dies after fatal attack

July 23:  William Wesley, 46 years old, was found unconscious in the front yard of a Little Rock home, the result of being severely beaten with a stick. Wesley later died from an infection due to the attack.

The attacker, 18-year-old Jonathon Brown, was charged with first-degree battery. Medical records are pending examination to determine if charges against Brown should be upgraded to murder.        

Ruskin, Florida
Homeless woman beaten to death

July 26:  33-year old registered sex offender Oscar Wesley Smith has been accused of beating Lynn Poelvoorde-Smith (no relation), 46, to death. Witnesses say Oscar Wesley Smith flagged down a passing motorist to help him with Poelvoorde-Smith’s body which he claimed to have found. Poelvoorde-Smith was found beaten to death with a claw hammer, laying in the fetal position. Hair and blood found on a near-by hammer matched those of Poelvoorde-Smith. Oscar Wesley Smith denied owning the hammer, but a co-worker reported seeing it in his truck the day before the murder.

Oscar Wesley Smith was charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail.



Phoenix, Arizona
Two men arrested for a series of crimes against the homeless

August 5: Police arrested Dale S. Hausner, 33, and Samuel J. Deiteman, 30, in suspicion of two counts of first-degree murder and 14 counts of attempted first degree murder.  The two are suspected in shootings that killed six and wounded 18 homeless people, in addition to fires started at two Wal-Mart stores over the past year.

According to a resident of the area, Deiteman described his involvement in the crimes as “RV”, random acts of recreational violence.  The men have been under surveillance by the police until enough evidence had been collected for their arrest.    

Nashville, Tennessee   
Homeless women pushed into river while sleeping

August 11: Tara Cole, a 32-year-old homeless woman, was killed when she was pushed off the edge of the dock where she slept into the nearby river. Two men, Timothy Webber, 21, and Josh Dotts, 22, were charged August 24 with criminal homicide.

The men also attacked Jesse Masters, another local homeless man who witnessed the incident and jumped in to save Cole when he was hit in the face by a bottle of beer thrown at him.  Dotts and Webber were also charged with aggravated assault for the attack on Masters.  Cole’s body was recovered from the river on August 21, ten days after her murder.   

Deland, Florida
Police searching for suspects in homeless beating

August 18: Police are searching for suspects involved in the brutal beating of a 43-year-old homeless man identified as Scott Dugrenier, an Army veteran. Dugrenier suffered severe head injuries and was taken to the hospital for treatment.    He clung to his life for more than two weeks after a savage beating left him comatose. He died after his family agreed to remove him from life support.
Adam Colando, the head of the Students’ Coalition to End Homelessness at Stetson University, visited Scott in the hospital after his attack. Adam wrote, “I kept looking at his eyes with the hope they might move or some sign that he could hear us. No response at all. I watched the breathing machine inflate his lungs and it would hold them inflated for a second or two and then deflate… This has really hit home, since I see and work with these individuals on a weekly basis.  The homelessness community is just like you and me, except they have more challenges to deal with, like mental and physical issues. I also feel that some of these individuals just make bad decisions and choices.”  



Miami, Florida
Four friends arrested for beating homeless man to death

September 2: 67-year-old Jose Perez died from injuries sustained during a brutal attack. The beating began after Jose yelled a pick up-line to Janice Guillen, 18, who then punched Perez. When Perez retaliated, Guillen’s boyfriend, Magdiel Wingfield, 28 and their friends Jason Cardenas, 19, and Kevin Stone, 27, rushed to the scene where the four friends proceeded to attack Perez with chairs, steel rebar and other objects.

Miami police spokesman Lt. Bill Schwartz described the attack as “pure blood lust”, claiming “there was no reason for this.” All four have been charged with second-degree murder.     

Savannah, Georgia
Homeless man shot and killed by teen

September 24:  51-year old Harold Boney was shot in Wells Park. 17-year-old Joseph “Jo Jo” Grantham told police he and two friends went to the park to “harass or beat up” a homeless man who frequented the park. However, when Boney made movement toward the boys, Grantham fired. The bullet entered Boney’s shoulder and pierced his heart. Grantham claims he did not know the gun was loaded and only wanted to scare Boney away.  Savannah police officials say there is enough evidence for a murder indictment. The two boys accompanying Grantham have not been charged but are still considered suspects.

Oxnard, California
Homeless man beaten to death

September 30: Pablo Chavez Garcia, 25, is suspected of beating to death Pedro Lopez Ortiz, 41. Police suspect Garcia beat Ortiz with a blunt object after finding him sleeping behind the bushes in his front yard when returning home with his wife. Ortiz was taken to a local medical center where he later died.

A judge set bail at more than $1.2 million for Garcia, who has several prior misdemeanors.  Garcia pled not guilty and remains in custody under a bail of more than $1 million. 


Bunnell, Florida
Two arrested in death of homeless man

November 11: Shane Linkows, 23, and Michael Blair, 43, have been arrested on murder charges following the discovery of a 41-year-old homeless man’s body. The sheriff reports that the body was found near railroad tracks, and is said to have been there since August. Police have not released the connection between the homeless man and those arrested.




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