Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

No Home, No Compassion


This must be my “lucky” day in terms of witnessing random (intentional) acts of unkindness, or maybe I’m simply no good at not noticing the human suffering swirling around all of us in the streets of high-tech, high-income-gap San Francisco.

After my earlier-morning witnessing of the eviction of a community of men living in tents on a sidewalk (https://cbmilstein.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/wake-up-call/), I then saw a Latino traffic cop hassle two Latino guys sitting in a van in a parking spot. There were cars in all the other legal spaces, and it seemed equally legal for the two clearly low-(or little- or no-)income men to be parking as well. But after a five/minute “conversation,” which might have included a ticket and definitely a stern warning, the two men in their truck drove away.

The cops was then met halfway in the street by the owner of the tiny bike shop right across from where the truck was parked. It’s the friendly, local place I usually (now, used to) go to for any bike issues, owned by a hip-looking white guy who has posters for radical projects like Shaping SF on his bulletin board and even a few anarchistic-oriented stickers. The cop listened, enthusiastically and with compassion, to the bike shop owner complain about how these two guys will “only be back later. They have their hobo things stored nearby and sleep in their truck,” he snitched happily to the police officer, who shook his head in a knowing way. “You should drive by here again later, to get those guys,” the bike shop owner added, his face a smug portrait of righteous injustice that he has to look at such unpleasantries across from his shop as the reality of what happens when homes become a luxury item.

*  *  *

If you’ve run across this blog post as a reposting somewhere, you can find other blog-musings and more polished essays at Outside the Circle, cbmilstein.wordpress.com. Share, enjoy, and repost — as long as it’s free as in “free beer” and “freedom.”

(Photo by Cindy Milstein, fragment of “wall of shame” mural, Clarion Alley, SF, March 2014)

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This entry was posted on March 20, 2014 by in Dispatches from Gentrifying San Francisco.
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