The 1% wants to ban sleeping in cars - it hurts their ‘quality of life’
April 16, 2014
Across the United States, many local governments are responding to skyrocketing levels of inequality and the now decades-long crisis of homelessness among the very poor … by passing laws making it a crime to sleep in a parked car.
This happened most recently in Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley, where new billionaires are seemingly minted every month – and where 92% of homeless people lack shelter of any kind. Dozens of cities have passed similar anti-homeless laws. The largest of them is Los Angeles, the longtime unofficial “homeless capital of America”, where lawyers are currently defending a similar vehicle-sleeping law before a skeptical federal appellate court. Laws against sleeping on sidewalks or in cars are called “quality of life” laws. But they certainly don’t protect the quality of life of the poor.
To be sure, people living in cars cannot be the best neighbors. Some people are able to acquire old and ugly – but still functioning – recreational vehicles with bathrooms; others do the best they can. These same cities have resisted efforts to provide more public toilet facilities, often on the grounds that this will make their city a “magnet” for homeless people from other cities. As a result, anti-homeless ordinances often spread to adjacent cities, leaving entire regions without public facilities of any kind.
Their hope, of course, is that homeless people will go elsewhere, despite the fact that the great majority of homeless people are trying to survive in the same communities in which they were last housed – and where they still maintain connections. Americans sleeping in their own cars literally have nowhere to go.
Indeed, nearly all homelessness in the US begins with a loss of income and an eviction for nonpayment of rent – a rent set entirely by market forces. The waiting lists are years long for the tiny fraction of housing with government subsidies. And rents have risen dramatically in the past two years, in part because long-time tenants must now compete with the millions of former homeowners who lost their homes in the Great Recession.
The paths from eviction to homelessness follow familiar patterns. For the completely destitute without family or friends able to help, that path leads more or less directly to the streets. For those slightly better off, unemployment and the exhaustion of meager savings – along with the good graces of family and friends – eventually leaves people with only two alternatives: a shelter cot or their old automobile.
However, in places like Los Angeles, the shelters are pretty much always full. Between 2011 and 2013, the number of unsheltered homeless people increased by 67%. In Palo Alto last year, there were 12 shelter beds for 157 homeless individuals. Homeless people in these cities do have choices: they can choose to sleep in a doorway, on a sidewalk, in a park, under a bridge or overpass, or – if they are relatively lucky – in a car. But these cities have ordinances that make all of those choices a criminal offense. The car is the best of bad options, now common enough that local bureaucrats have devised a new, if oxymoronic, term – the “vehicularly housed”.
People sleeping in cars try to find legal, nighttime parking places, where they will be less apparent and arouse the least hostility. But cities like Palo Alto and Los Angeles often forbid parking between 2am and 5am in commercial areas, where police write expensive tickets and arrest and impound the vehicles of repeat offenders. That leaves residential areas, where overnight street parking cannot, as a practical matter, be prohibited.
One finds the “vehicularly housed” in virtually every neighborhood, including my own. But the animus that drives anti-homeless laws seems to be greatest in the wealthiest cities, like Palo Alto, which has probably spawned more per-capita fortunes than any city on Earth, and in the more recently gentrified areas like Los Angeles’ Venice. These places are ruled by majorities of “liberals” who decry, with increasing fervor, the rapid rise in economic inequality. Nationally, 90% of Democrats (and 45% of Republicans) believe the government should act to reduce the rich-poor gap.
It is easy to be opposed to inequality in the abstract. So why are Los Angeles and Palo Alto spending virtually none of their budgets on efforts to provide housing for the very poor and homeless? When the most obvious evidence of inequality parks on their street, it appears, even liberals would rather just call the police. The word from the car: if you’re not going to do anything to help, please don’t make things worse.
things about capitalism people take for granted:
if you don’t prove your worth (and not to society at large, but specifically to the people who already have the money), you’ll literally fucking die. this is considered totally normal and not at all evidence that the system is evil
"It is a rather frightening book" lol I bet.
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I made a bow today and put it on Dio
“We can change a flawed patriarchal system while wearing a kick ass shade of lipstick!”
when will this end
"How can you be a feminist? You wear a lot of makeup."
"How are you a feminist if you want to be a stay-at-home mom?"
"You like Disney? They give such unrealistic expectations for girls to live up to! Disney only teaches girls to be weak."
"Why do you care what you look like? That’s not very feminist."
"You’re not a feminist? I heard they hate men and never shave."
A feminist, by definition, is one - whether they be male of female - who advocates equality of men and women. In today’s society many view feminist in a very Western perspective. If you Google “feminist stereotypes,” the results are all similar. Feminist in our day and age has in sense become “the other F-word,” and what is ultimately disappointing is that many people believe these stereotypes to be true. According to a post of thefbomb.org by Sophie R., she points out the “…common feminist stereotypes include the image of a “mirthless, hirsute, sex-averse succubus” or as “single, lesbian, non-shaving, bra burning, angry” (R., Sophie, 2013). There is a stigma attached to the word feminist that all are “frigid,” “lesbians,” “hairy, smelly, and unattractive,” and this popular belief causes a backlash, in my opinion, to what feminism is.
Feminism, in a western view, idolizes the strength in women that is comparable to that of the male counterpart. A women is strong is she behaves like a man in the public sphere. However, when the strength of women is idolized in such as way, it sheds a negative light on femininity. Femininity becomes synonymous with weakness and submissiveness to patriarchal influence. This in my honest opinion is complete bullshit. This western perspective on who a feminist is, does one thing, it pits women against each other. Of course, there are groups of women who are against feminism, such as the Ladies Against Feminism, however, women who are consumers of beauty products and fashion should not be categorized with antifeminist groups.
In Glamour’s January issue, actor Zooey Deschanel spoke against female critics by stating “”I’m just being myself. There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f—king feminist and wear a f—king Peter Pan collar. So f—king what” (Deschanel, Glamour 2013). Feminism is not defined by how “girly” or not someone is. Is there something wrong with maintaining one’s femininity and being a feminist? There is no equality in attacking each other for being feminine of not.We must change they way we think of feminist in order to the feminist movement to move forward.
petition for straight women to stop writing these “feminism 101/in defense of ~femininity~” pieces PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!!!!!!! i’m begging you!
"kids my Emojid Ass"
because it’s not gender neutral. makeup is primarily marketed towards women, for women, to make us into “better” versions of ourselves…versions that rely heavily on what men want us to look like, how men want us to be.
it would be cool if makeup was gender neutral. but it’s not. when men put on makeup, it’s defying gender roles. they don’t perform femininity to survive, to feel good even in the slightest about themselves. women do. women have to, men choose to.
"make up is gender neutral" is bullshit, because the system still expects women to perform femininity by default, and gender nonconforming women are shit on left and right for not doing so. i don’t care about protecting a man’s ability to wear lipstick without judgement. i’m not here to proclaim "make up is gender neutral! don’t judge!1!1!!1!111" i’m here to make sure that the women who don’t wear makeup are safe, protected, loved, and accepted.
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And I always want to point out here: women, on average, possess more lower-body strength, while men, on average, possess more upper-body strength. There’s a lot of overlap and it isn’t always individually applicable, but that’s the generalization, averaging across the population.
But we SOCIALLY value upper-body strength, and upper-body muscles. So we construct women as weaker, because we refuse to measure them on the body parts where they may be stronger, we devalue those.
Lifting is mostly done with the legs. So women may be as good or better at heavy lifting as men. But we socially construct lifting as having to do with large, muscular arms and chests. You don’t really need powerful arms and chests to lift—you need powerful thighs, otherwise you’re gonna throw your back out. We actually lie about what makes a person strong and capable to favor men.
Push-up and pull-ups are upper-body strength exercises. So they’re socially valued. The military doesn’t tell you to do 20 squats as penance. No one is fucking impressed by all the squats you can do. Squats just sound stupid, hah, squats. We laugh at them because women might be better at them than men, on average. They’re worthless.
This stuff plays into all sorts of other body image problems, too. The body weight that’s regarded as ideal for women, for example, is really only achievable for individuals suffering from mild to moderate muscular atrophy. You literally can’t get there just by shedding fat - you also have to let your muscles waste away. We actually regard it as “normal” for a woman to be suffering from muscular atrophy.
In addition to having more natural lower body strength, women have a higher natural tolerance for pain and discomfort, and actually have more natural endurance because of this. As a matter of fact, women are optimally built for many types of strenuous physical activity, especially activities that require endurance like hiking or long-distance running. (Think about it—women have more natural fat reserves, lower centers of gravity, strong, short legs, and are also usually used to managing pain because of periods and other female-specific occurrences.)