comment from a Homeless Task Force member: Administrative Mandate Building

Interesting comments have recently been presented to the Arcata Homeless Task Force (HTF), since these comments were not all made publicly available, I thought it best to present a background on what is being said and done. Professor Jane Holschuh, a self-described “survey expert” (HTF-City Council-HSU Consultant Team planning meeting, June 7, 2005), Principal Investigator of the Humboldt State University’s (HSU) Consultant Team to the task force, passed out a communique, she found “interesting,” at the HTF Meeting, June 2, 2005. It was subcommittee meeting minutes by the HTF sub-committee that was supposed, “to balance the rights of the homeless with the rights of the housed, to insure Arcata’s quality of life for all citizens,” but it soon degraded into the community impact sub-committee. The meeting was between Arcata’s chief of police Randy Mendosa and the sub-committee which included: Mark Leppanen, Dr. Virgil Davis; Business Owners: Kate Christensen and Julie Vaissade-Elcock; and Pastor Tim Doty- (HTF) chair. The meeting was held June 1, 2005.
The Mendosa report made many absurd accusations, but due to space restraints I only wish to touch on two and their implications for Arcata, the first is his coining the term “urban anarchists.” Prince Peter Kropotkin, an exiled Russian theoretical anarchist of the early 20th century, said; “Anarchism [is] the name giving to a principle of theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government – harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being.” We really have no way of knowing what Mendosa means by “urban anarchist”, but we do know from these minutes that: “they don’t cause physical danger”, “Randy [Mendosa]” is not sure they’re “all or even mostly homeless”, “they use services intended for homeless people in need”, “they create negative community backlash”, “decrease Arcata’s economic base and quality of life”, and “make people angry” (italics mine). What Mendosa certainly doesn’t say is that these “urban anarchists” are criminals. He does however, closely link the “urban anarchist” with the “urban traveler” and “homeless activist” and freely interchanges the terms.
Under the question on the minutes “Urban Travelers/Anarchists vs. Homeless People?”, he tells this sub-committee, “It would seem that many homeless people would want the Homeless Activists to leave because they just keep people from wanting to help them.” (italics mine). As a resident homeless activist, in Arcata, I believe that the tactic of implanting an idea as logical, by civil servant authorities, is really the act of politically lobbying the power base and those who wish to serve it. The Arcata Police Department regularly entices homeless to preform as informant/undercover/provocateurs in the villainization and arrest (primarily marijuana offenses and there resulting warrants) of other homeless. Why would I be surprised that the chief of police is advocating something that is easy for him to incite, especially when others who are closely associated with the desired outcome, “want[ing] the Homeless Activists to leave”, have advocated and offered support for this outcome?

Dr. Virgil Davis, a emergency room doctor, and a member of Arcata’s economic development committee, at the time of his appointment to the HTF, repeated Mendosa’s lobby in an editorial (Arcata Eye, June 7, 2005). The good doctor points out his belief that “almost all of the negative impact on our community” is done by “about 10 percent” of the homeless and they are either “urban travelers or homeless activists”. Though just this unqualified statement shows how Mendosa is inciting those from this sub-committee, Davis’ explicative statement, in the above editorial, “we want to run the 10 percent out of town!”; this is a hate crime at best and if their lynch-mob rhetoric goes too far, it could be accessory to murder. Hate Crime is defined as: any act that is intent on bringing violence upon any minority group (e.g. homeless activists); running someone out of town is violence.

To further insinuate Mendosa’s theory HSU, HTF consultant, Dr. Betsy Watson stated at the HTF/HSU/City Council planning session meeting, June 7, 2005, that she had been informed by “people at the night shelter” that I did not represent the homeless. As homeless activists, we have always been supportive of the night shelter. We always held the All Faith Partnership up as a model of efficiency, generosity, community and, at least to me, a good example of God’s Love working through people. They are the people who opened their churches last winter during the coldest night. We did, however, have one problem with the rules of the night shelter, and that was – that nobody who stays at the night shelter is allowed to be absent after curfew and thus can’t participate in government, at city council meetings and homeless task force meetings. This grievance has never been addressed, because only rarely does someone want to go to the meetings. Does Professor Watson want me, or maybe those who don’t know the issue, to believe that people at the night shelter, who have only seen one task force meeting (Thursdays, 7:00 pm, channel 12) at best, think I don’t represent them, and Mendosa does?
This community impact sub-committee has self-decided to tackle the task of stirring up contempt against those who live different lifestyles, (chosen or not). Mark Leppanen states (Arcata Eye, letters to the editor, May 25, 2005) that “environmental catastrophe”, “illegitimate government”, and the “status quo [being] not only ‘non-sustainable’ but inherently evil”, and those beliefs by the “homeless by choice” is “disillusioned[ment]” and “hyperbolic rhetoric” that “is patently hysterical and insidious”. The good doctor Davis suffers from the disillusionment that he “live[s] in a democracy”instead of a country that has a Bill of Rights, to protect the individual and from a majority rules, democratic, mob mentality. “Might” made “right” in fascist Germany, but, at least in theory, people here have liberties. This sub-committee, heavily representative of “Arcata’s economic base,” decided they needed a survey to prove the democratic realities of their gentrification agenda.
Professor Holschuh, the self-proclaimed survey expert, came to the rescue. The task force gave Holschuh a list of questions to poll non-homeless people about how they perceive homeless problems. The statecraft of measuring the psyche is called psychometrics. Psychometrics is the think-tank imitation of what science calls quantum mechanics. As any first-year social science student can tell you, statistics can be used to appear to prove any psychometrics theorem. If I asked 10 dentists, “would you recommend some particular tooth-paste, which is basically the same as other tooth-pastes, and 9 out 10 said they would, then I could claim honestly, “9 out of 10 dentists surveyed recommend this particular tooth-paste”. If I target a group of downtown business owners and their proponents with a question like Holschuh’s question in the original draft of the “community survey”:
“Should people who are homeless in Arcata be required to participate in a case management, social service, substance abuse treatment, or mental health treatment program (contingencies) to help them move out of homelessness in order to receive basic services such as: Food?, Showers/restrooms?, Emergency shelter?
I would be distorting the truth, planting seeds and inciting violence. To “require” “case management” “to help” in order “to receive” “food, restrooms and shelter” is violence! This question was eliminated by the next draft of the survey.
What ever the final version of this push-poll (a survey intended to propagandize) is, its repercussions will be harmful by planting the seeds of new forms of oppression and then justifying the policies made from the survey as “democratic” mandates. It further distorts the nature of homelessness and its main cause, lack of wage jobs, implying instead that irresponsibility, substance abuse, and mental illness are not just the cause of homelessness, but that the “contingencies” actually have been shown to work. For anyone, especially doctors, professors and city management personal to use their credentials to justify gentrification agendas (running homeless out of town) is what I would call insidious. At the time of this writing I don’t know how this poll will be gathered. Printing it in the homeless bigoted Arcata Eye tabloid, mailed to water bill holders and surveying at grocery stores are methods that have been suggested. It seems that when spin-doctors work at the tabloid stage we can point to the reports, at the report stage we can point to the data, but at the data stage the “experts” rein supreme. If the survey is skewed, then it should be skewed in defense of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Please fill out the poll, remembering that if one person ends up involuntarily medicated, imprisoned, exiled or otherwise assaulted due to their homeless status, these policies are unacceptably costly and therefore “inherently evil”. When will we see that it is past time to dismantle a machine that doesn’t work and grow an organism (community) that does?

love eternal


34 Responses to “comment from a Homeless Task Force member: Administrative Mandate Building”

  1. Fred Says:

    Anarchy isn’t necessarily lack or order, it’s lack of orderS.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    In summary, some people said the percentage of homeless performing illegal and nuisance activity in Arcata is very small. This is nothing new. APD has always been quick to calm people down and not have them lash out at the homeless.

    Also, the speaker considers case management and helping people to be violence. Oh, how interesting. Sir, you just lost any credibility you had.

    It’s a funny rant you wrote, but it’s just not up to snuff. I still have to give the Bizarro Award to the homeless who physically showed up to protest business owners who gathered to discuss establishing a public restroom that, yes, even the homeless could use. This at a time when homeless folks complain that they have to defecate in doorsteps and alleys because, well, where else you gonna go? The protesters seem intent on only one thing — stopping all discussion. Great job you’re doing there. Screw all the homeless to satisfy your own power and ego issues.

  3. Captain Ottinger Says:

    Nah, you simply cannot trump a homeless gadfly justifying his lifestyle to us and to himself by comparing himself to God. That pretty much trumps everything.

  4. the PLAZOID Says:

    It is agreed that the number of homeless causing “negative impact on the community” is small, but the disagreement is on who this small number of people is.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Oh, well, by all means then, crucify APD because, geez, they’re the people who get called when there are troublemakers, so they of course should have no clue who the troublemakers are or how many of them are in town. Yep, the homeless activists are far more informed about illegal activities than the police. Yep. Uh huh.

    Do you realize how you sound?

  6. the PLAZOID Says:

    It is interesting that “anonymous” considers criticism of the Arcata police department a “crucifixion” and seems to have no sympathy for the innocents who ACTUALLY SUFFER at the hands of the police and incorrectional facilities.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Yes Plazoid, go ahead and lie about me. I never said anything of the sort. I’m sure police abuse (in general) occurs in the country from time to time. That you think it occurs in Arcata is a flat out joke. That you then call everyone who gets nabbed and sent to the pink house “innocents” is just another sign of your fanatical delusion.

  8. Anonymous Says:


    One innocent soul arrested for allegedly hurting another innocent soul at an open air residence. Everyone’s constitutional rights were violated by glass manufacturers and railroad tycoons!


  9. Jeff Says:


    Good work posting the link to the article. Could you please try posting without the ridicule? I understand why you do it, but it adds to the problem. Plazoid makes some extremist claims to be sure, but he also makes some good points. If you’ve given up on him completely, then why post here at all? If you believe that dialog can help, I respectfully suggest that you refrain from ridicule.

    Plazoid, the article in the Times Standard that anon posted, and other such incidents, real or not, drives the mentality of those who want to “…want to run the 10 percent out of town!” It’s a foolish attitude, but you’re not effectively countering it. Trying to demonize your opponents isn’t going to help. They’re not corrupt instigators of violence against the homeless. They’re indviduals with opinions, some valid some invalid. This small number of causing the negative impact, who are they, and what can be done?

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Why post at all? It’s fun. I wouldn’t feel safe to banter with a wacko face-to-face on the Plaza. Here I can do it from relative safety.

    The views and solutions coming from city hall are exceedingly gracious, and yet the plazoids can only respond with flaming criticism and paranoia. They are nothing short of a joke. So, to repeat, this blog is really, really, really funny to read and interact with.

  11. Jeff Says:

    Yeah, I kinda figured that was your thing. That’s cool. You make some worthwhile contributions in between the banter. Me, I’m constantly trying to improve my skills as a communicator, and to add to a dialogue that adds to the solution. I don’t spend much time on the Plaza anymore, but I used hang out there a whole bunch in the late ’80’s. It was a much funner scene, and it’s not just because I got older. There were way less fights, way more juggling and music, and intellectual conversations. Now it does seem to be much more of the living room of not quite desperados. There’s more aggressive panhandling and less interesting busking. I’ve never felt threatened by the homeless. I assert that far more violence is committed against the homeless by than by the homeless. When Plazoid quotes the Dr.’s letter about running them out of town, and calls it a hate crime, I know what he’s trying to say. The homeless have been subjected to ridicule and physical abuse by those would run them out of town. To make a statement like that in the paper gives fuel to the thugs. But I don’t at all believe that the APD has institionalized malice towards the homeless. It’s not like the cops in Mississippi that set up the civil rights workers to be killed. Not even close. Of course my only source on that is Mississippi Burning, but I do believe that the police were complicit in those murders.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Ahh, but thoughtful contributions will not contribute to a solution with this crowd. They want what they want and everyone else is vilified. Faced with the prospect of closing the service center and toughening law enforcement in the downtown, they were instead afforded a very liberal task force that wants to expand services. Yet, this is not a good thing to them. It is evil and they fight it tooth and nail.

    The only thing they are accomplishing is the establishment of a growing disquiet among Arcata residents who never really cared about city politics. They might very well vote in moderates, or even a conservative, to the next council.

  13. Jeff Says:

    You may be right, but I still believe in the power of rational communication. What you call this crowd tend to be kneejerk reactionaries, but they can still be swayed by reason.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Care to cite an example? I’m serious.

  15. the PLAZOID Says:

    to Anonymous….
    You don’t seem to really follow what’s going on with the task force or city politics. Apparently you don’t even talk to people on the plaza.
    But “we” love you anyhow.

  16. the PLAZOID Says:

    ok, anonymous, I read the article that you linked, but I guess I don’t understand your point in linking it. Do you mean to suggest that only transients get into fights? Or are more likely to get into fights? Do you think that these folks were “anarchists” or “homeless advocates/activists?”

  17. Joseph Says:

    How long have you people been lettlng “jackass” Hoover post on your blog as anonymous? He has always hated hippies since he was run off the plaza by them for being a narc.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Ahaha, I have a name for you Joseph. Assclown. I don’t even live in Arcata. I’ve read your Hoover-infatuated rants elsewhere though. Seriously, get a life.

    Plazoid, I follow the task force, etc. It’s pathetic that you believe anyone who disagrees with you must not be paying attention. I am paying complete attention. I just think you are absolutely batty.

  19. the PLAZOID Says:

    To anonymous:
    You obviously DO NOT follow the task force or else you wouldn’t get the facts ALL WRONG!!!
    It’s no thtat I disagree with your opinions, but you just state FALSEHOODS as if they were FACTS.
    Thank you for continuing to post on this blog. Your entries make for an excellent example of the kind of nonsensical criticism that has to be waded through on this issue.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Pot calling the kettle black.

    What falsehoods? Cough up examples. In coughing up examples you need to supply real verifiable facts, not more of your usual tilted opinion interspersed with tangential half-truths.

  21. the PLAZOID Says:

    to anonymous:
    FALSEHOODS, like accusing the homeless advocates/activists/anarchists/whatever of wanting to shut down the Arcata Service Center when EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE!!! Also, you repeatedly accuse the editors of this publication of generalizing that the entire homeless population is made up of saints who never do wrong. That’s just nonsense. You said in a comment on this post that “the protesters seem intent on only one thing — stopping all discussion.” What a bunch of crap. The “protestors” (who haven’t even yet staged a protest, with the notable exception of feeding people – Food Not Bombs) have continually advocated for MORE COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT and have utilized independent media (such as the very blog that you are currently reading!)to FURTHER DISCUSSION on the issues involved.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    OK, let me type REALLY SLOW so you understand. Cite these specific “falsehoods” instead of citing more opinions as if they are facts. Quote me and then prove what I said is factually not true. Not your opinion. Factually not true.

  23. the PLAZOID Says:

    Did you not read what I just wrote in the last comment? What part don’t you understand? Which FACT did you think is just opinion?
    It is FACT that the houseless advocates advocated supporting renewal of the Arcata Service Center lease at the Homeless Task Force meetings – in complete contrast to your comments already written at this post.

  24. Jeff Says:


    Um, he did quote you: “the protesters seem intent on only one thing — stopping all discussion.” This is such a logically fallicious statement that it cannot stand as fact. Plazoid made the claim that there have been no protests, so why do you call them protestors? You claim they wish to stop all discussion, and yet here we are discussing thanks to Plazoid taking the time to create this blog. I think he’s done exactly what you requested: “Quote me and then prove what I said is factually not true.”

    I am in agreement with you that Plazoid makes some pretty loopy statements. For example, in his most recent, and best post about Jessy, he starts out with refrence to Stalin’s Russia, and the Nazi’s.

    Plazoid, you would do well to check up on Godwin’s law, and it’s corollaries (if you haven’t already). There are many serious problems in our society, but your comparisons to nazis are unwarranted. You have some great things to say, and you seem energized and devoted to helping the homeless. I encourage you to keep writing, and continue to improve your argument skills. A well constructed argument helps the cause. An a poorly substantiated, accusatory, outrageous claim does much harm.

  25. Jeff Says:

    I do get the impression that anon has at least some familiarity with the taskforce. Where did he get this claim from: “…the homeless who physically showed up to protest business owners who gathered to discuss establishing a public restroom that…” I assumed this was at a task force meeting. Where did this occur?

  26. Jeff Says:

    Anonymous said…

    “Care to cite an example? I’m serious.”

    I’ll work on it.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Stringy, your quote of mine is an opinion statement. “the protesters seem intent on only one thing — stopping all discussion.” If you took it as fact, I still said “seem,” and thus you are wrong. But wait, “seem” to whom? Oh yeah, seems to ME. You don’t know what I think. I am the only person who can judge the truthfulness of that statement, and I deem it truthful. You are wrong on all counts.

    As for any comparison of me and Plazoid, yes, Plazoid raising Nazis in an Arcata discussion is, well, hmm, maybe he should receive some medical treatment in Eureka for his personal demons.

  28. the PLAZOID Says:

    what group of people were the first to be rounded up, incarcerated, then murdered, in nazi Germany?

    Anonymous seems to think that it is innappropriate to mention nazism in the context of Arcata. Where there is a prison in the area, there are nazis in the area. And, yes, we do indeed have a prison in the area. …just to point to one obvious source of nazi ideology and programming.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    You are officially nuts.

  30. Jeff Says:

    Plazoid, you’ve got some definition of nazi that I’m unfamiliar with. If there is a prison in the area, it’s because there are also rapists, murderers, thieves, child molesters, and antisocial types. There are serious problems in our justice system. For example, more than 1/2 the prisoners are there for victimless drug crimes. Rubuen ‘Hurricane’ Carter never should’ve been in jail. George Jackson was murdered. Yes, the police do commit crimes. Yes the courts do jail people for political reasons. There is much work to be done to improve our justice system. But to compare what’s going on in this country right now, with what happened in Germany in the 1930’s is ludicrous. It’s not that it couldn’t happen, but it isn’t now. To call the Arcata Police nazis makes light of the horrors of Hitler’s Germany, and it serves to disenfranchise you.

    As for your pop quiz, it’s always the disenfranchised that are demonized first by the emerging dictatorship. They’re who you practice brutality on.

  31. the PLAZOID Says:

    To Stringy:
    While your analysis of the prison system in-total as being inherently “nazi”-like, I was referring to the ideaology of white-supremecy, fueled by hatred and enforced by brutality that is programmed into prisoners of the injustice system while they are incarcerated. If you spend any time in Eureka, you will probably meet people who have adopted nazi ideology, likely while in prison or by contact with a former or current inmate. And not just in Eureka.

    I do think that the California prison industry should be analysed in respect to the characteristics of 1930’s Germany.

    One of the first groups, if not THE first group to be rounded up, incarcerated and executed in nazi-occupied Germany was the “mentally ill.” Check this website:

  32. insurgent Says:

    no, we arent fascists yet

    its merely a pre-fascist moment

    perfect time to plug up our ears

    and ignore the signs around us

  33. Anonymous Says:

    God I think my bowels just moved

  34. the PLAZOID Says:

    good, maybe it’ll clear the way for some analytical thinking to take place!

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