Friday, August 8, 2008

Homeless get $2.3 million settlement in Fresno/Faith and Resistance actions

Homeless Case

FRESNO On June 6, 2008 the city of Fresno agreed to a $2.3 million settlement in Kincaid vs. Fresno to compensate for its policy of destroying the property of the homeless in unconstitutional raids.

A legal team headed by Paul Alexander of Heller Ehrman included lawyers from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and the ACLU of Northern California . They presented overwhelming evidence that led to summary judgment on key issues. Last year, Alexander's team won a preliminary restraining order that halted the city's unconstitutional raids.

Liza Apper of the St. Benedict Catholic Worker, who was an expert witness for the plaintiffs, was named by the court as the "Settlement Administrator" in today's settlement.

The mayor of the city of Fresno has never taken responsibility for the city's unconstitutional policies and practices calling the settlement "white collar exploitation of the homeless." The mayor was referring to those who advocated for the homeless in this statement, not downtown development interests that pushed the city to remove the homeless from a potential redevelopment area.

The video link below documents the city's unconstitutional practice of destroying the property of the homeless while they were at lunch at Poverello House:

Faith and Resistance Retreat Washington , DC

August 7, 2008 Baltimore

19 activists boarded the guided missile destroyer USS Sterett today. It is on display at Locust Point in Baltimore and will be commissioned there the evening of August 9. Participants in the August 5-9 Faith and Resistance Retreat traveled to Baltimore today to "tour" the ship and make a nonviolent witness against it. At a certain moment of the tour, they unfurled banners: "Disarm the Sterett: Love your Enemies" and "Jesus would never join the military." They then processed off the ship singing "Peace, Salaam, Shalom" and vigiled with their banners on the dock in front of the ship for over an hour while authorities decided what to do about our "breach of good order."

Pictures of the ship, the banners, the sailors are on the website.

Japanese Buddhist Nun, Sr. Ichi Kawa, joined the Faith and Resistance Retreat for the commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki . At the Sterett, she and others walked down Key Highway to the fence surrounding the pier at which the Sterett is moored and drummed and chanted, with others from the community, throughout the 2 hour witness.

On August 6, the gathered community witnessed at the Pentagon. Clare Grady, Liz McAlister, Eve Tetaz, Peter DeMott, Bill Streit were arrested while others sat in sackcloth and ashes in repentance for the bombing of Hiroshima and 63 years of continued nuclear threats. At the Pentagon, Sr. Ichi led the procession into the Pentagon and drummed and chanted throughout the vigil and then led the recession.

The witness was silent and powerful and seemed to draw in the employees rushing to work in a way that a more confrontational witness could not. For this anniversary, it seemed right!

Liz McAlister, Susan Crane


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