Posts Tagged ‘homelessness’

Check out Mo’s essay on why to protest on Easter Sunday!

http://mokarnage.com/2014/04/20/sunday-sermon-the-appropriateness-of-an-easter-protest/

And some signs we are bringing –

easter1 easter2 easter3

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This bid was submitted to the City Clerk at 4:25 on March 24th in paper form.

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Karnage Creations LLC bid on Monroe Park

Whereas Monroe Park was declared by the Council of the City of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University to be Public Greenspace in Perpetuity, and the Park is now  being offered up to bids for Lease, and whereas the only bidder thus far (in fact, the only bidder expected or wanted to bid) the Monroe Park Conservancy (MPC) fails utterly to represent the best interests of the majority of the citizens of the City of Richmond, Mo Karnage (current legal name Moriah Karn) and Karnage Creations LLC are offering a competing bid which we believe to be a better deal for the City of Richmond and more importantly, the people of Richmond.

Karnage Creations LLC, while normally engaged in the business of revolutionary prose, childcare, old window repair and carpentry, will gladly lend it’s name and service to Keep Monroe Park Open and Free. Karnage Creations LLC does not agree with the privatization of any public park, but applies for this lease only in hopes of minimizing damage. Ideally we would think a park should always remain public, but we acknowledge the less than perfect practices of the current City of Richmond administration and the need for members of the community to step up and participate.

Karnage Creations LLC would like to object to the hasty way in which the Monroe Park lease bid was made public, and object to the favorable treatment given to MPC in this process. Ideally, Karnage Creations believes that the Monroe Park issue needs to be revisited in 6 months, after other organizations have had sufficient time to begin developing comprehensive renovation and maintenance plans. MPC had many years in which to develop their plans, as well as support from local government. Other organizations deserve equal treatment in the bidding process.

Karnage Creations LLC would also like to formally object to allowing Charles Samuels, Ellen Robertson, or any council member who sits on Venture Richmond’s board to vote on any issue which involves Venture Richmond. The conflict of interest seems obvious, and the politics of it seems corrupt.

Karnage Creations LLC is willing to make the generous (compared to MPC) offer of paying $1 a month for the lease of Monroe Park. Karnage Creations is requesting a month to month lease, that way, at any time, the citizens of Richmond can, via Council vote, revert the running of the park back to the Parks and Recreation department.

Karnage Creations LLC and Mo Karnage are well known members of the local community, with many years of organizing and networking experience. While financially we personally do not have much to offer, we have access to a much more valuable resource than money- the people of Richmond. We are fully confident that we will be able to organize and recruit the necessary donations and volunteers from a large variety of local businesses, non-profits, churches, and individuals. What we don’t know or have, people we know do or have, or know of other people who do or have. Their are many amazing, positive, talented, and smart people in Richmond that we would hope to make a welcoming space for collaboration of the betterment of Monroe Park and the community. We look forward to collaborating with many amazing people and groups in Richmond. It takes a village, and we happen to know one hell of a village.

Karnage Creations will create a special department to deal with all of the Monroe Park business, named the Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee.

  1. Neither Karnage Creations, nor Mo Karnage, nor any member of the Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee, will ever be paid for their roles in the maintenance or direction of Monroe Park. No profits will be kept by any of the above named parties, and all profits will be returned to the Parks and Recreation department of the City of Richmond for the use in maintaining and improving other parks in the City.
  2. The Board of Directors for the Park will consist of 2 houseless people, 1 formerly houseless person, 1 unemployed person, 1 senior, 1 public housing resident, 1 person from each neighborhood surrounding the park (Oregon Hill, Jackson Ward, Carver, the Fan), 1 student, 1 Parks and Rec worker, 1 City Council member, 1 elementary school student, 2 people from organizations which serve free food or distribute free clothing. We are willing to adjust this make up if other people have more ideas! The board WILL NOT include anyone who is a member of the Vulture ahem Venture Richmond organization, unlike the Monroe Park Conservancy who shares 2 members directly with Venture Richmond, and has 7 other compromised members either through family, or their employer sitting on Venture Richmond’s board.
  3. The Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will do it’s best to keep cash out of its control. As opposed to collecting donations, they will focus on collecting the items needed. We will ask for community support in the form of benches, seeds, mulch, playground parts, plants, and more!
  4. Renew Richmond a local 501c3 has agreed, via it’s director John Lewis, to partner with Karnage Creations LLC to create and manage edible landscaping in Monroe Park to provide food and community to the area. Both groups will maintain the edible landscapes and possible future community gardens and fruit/nut trees.
  5. Karnage Creations LLC will donate it’s existing office space at the Wingnut Anarchist Collective at 2005 Barton Avenue for any administrative needs specific to Monroe Park outside of Parks and Rec. Therefor no additional funding will ever be needed for Monroe Park offices, unlike the $3000 a month MPC expects to spend.
  6. The Checkers Building will be renovated into a community commercial grade kitchen, to allow for all organizations who want to serve free food in the park a place to cook that food.
  7. Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will help with the follow through of the City funded and mandated renovations of plumbing, electrical, bathroom and water fountain improvements, and pavers for the paths.
  8. Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will organize volunteer work days to help with maintenance and leaf removal among other things. The volunteer work days should reduce the amount of paid maintenance necessary.
  9. The Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will make legal guarantees that Monroe Park will not be used for parking.
  10. The Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will allow food carts to access Monroe Park and/or the surrounding sidewalks in compliance with local city ordinances and policies. We will build no special amenities for these food carts. If we ever were to create a permit process for food carts on the paths in the park, it would be limited to 2 at any given time, and the money from those permits would go towards supporting the use of the Checkers Building as a free community kitchen for free food programs.
  11. Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will organize to have utility bills for the Checkers buildings paid for by various churches and other non-profits interested in and invested in the availability of the commercial community kitchen for the feeding of all.
  12. Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will secure new benches, moveable tables and chairs, and community chess tables.
  13. Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will organize the construction of a play ground in Monroe Park, returning the swings and other fun aspects to engage both the young and the young at heart in safe, healthy activity.
  14. Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will never hire or use private security in the park.
  15. The Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will never fence off the park, and will work with any necessary contractors to ensure that a useable section of the park always remains open during renovations.
  16. The Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will not remove any trees without the direction of the City of Richmond’s Urban Forestry Department. New trees that might be planted will be part of the edible landscaping plan developed by Renew Richmond
  17. The Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will only ever charge a permit fee for events which themselves charge a fee. All money from these fees will go to the Parks and Recreation department. Events where no fee is charged will not be charged a fee, and will not be expected to apply for a permit. We will maintain a website, and a physical bulletin board in the park, where we will post dates of events in the park that we are aware of, that way folks can avoid conflict and overlap. The schedule for the community kitchen will be more officially organized just to make sure things run smoothly.
  18. The Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will guarantee that no corporation or other organization will get naming rights to Monroe Park or Checker’s building. This will never be Altria park, no matter who donates however much.
  19. Monroe Park will be a park of the people and for the people. Popular public events such as the May Day parade, Halloween Parade, Critical Mass bike rides and more will be supported by the Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee.
  20. The Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will do its best to ensure that Monroe Park will remain a safe and inclusive place for people of all classes, races, sexual orientations, abilities, gender identities, religions, ages, superpowers and more. We will work to improve the physical accessibility of the park. The Committee will work to provide free workshops in the park on a regular basis on a variety of relevant social justice issues. We hope to bring in outside organizations willing to donate their time to facilitate said workshops.
  21. The Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will promote public art and work with local artists to have free workshops available regularly on a variety of artistic mediums and crafts.
  22. The Keep Monroe Park Open and Free Committee will work to maintain, renovate, and encourage a Monroe Park that is a benefit to the Richmond community. We will do this not just with corporate money or money from a few, but with the grassroots support from a wide swath of Richmonders, which will make our task far easier and more fulfilling than anything being attempted by the Monroe Park Conservancy.

Some of the various documents and articles which we feel are vital to understanding our position, and why our approach will be more effective than that of the Monroe Park Conservancy for both renovating Monroe Park and also working in solidarity with the homeless to work towards a Richmond without a people without a home.

We strongly believe that the methods of the Monroe Park Conservancy to remove homeless people from Monroe Park is both cruel and also ineffective. The way to solve any problem is to address the root causes of the problem. Otherwise we will be stuck moving homeless people from place to place around the city, which is an incredibly cruel thing to do to our most vulnerable population.

The 2013 US Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Survey

http://www.usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/2013/1210-report-HH.pdf

Virginia’s Homeless Crisis Response System

http://www.vceh.org/extras/VCEHCoCReportFINAL.pdf

 

We would also argue that Monroe Park needs to remain a public area open to all – homeless and not, because non-profit organizations are not actually long term solutions to homelessness, and our dependence on them as a City puts our homeless at risk, especially in situations like with the Conrad Center, when it shut down last year. A public park should remain public, that way the homeless and others always have a place to congregate.

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From http://www.monroeparkoccupation.wordpress.com

After nearly a month, the nine occupiers who were detained on the night of March 17th, during the upheaval of the Monroe Park Occupation, appeared in Richmond-Manchester Court before judge D.E. Cheek.
Arriving early, only one person chose to maintain their pro-bono lawyer, while six others eagerly fired their bewildered public defenders. Shortly into the morning’s docket, one of the two occupiers charged solely with trespassing was tried, and plead guilty, for a fine of $25.

After nearly two hours of anticipation, and five of the eight remaining persons being singled out and removed from the courtroom for the most innocuous behavior – nodding, gesturing, changing seats – all were called up to the stand for a trial which was not only entirely laughable, but most certainly emphatic of the people’s power to represent themselves.

Armed with legal precedent, and other vital evidence of the farcical nature of the charges levied against the defendents, the group (while representing only themselves as individuals) moved for dismissal of all charges. The charge of obstruction of justice was soon addressed, and Jones v. Commonwealth, as well as Atkins v. Commonwealth were cited in a most succinct and successful manner, under the argument that no individual actually physically impeded the process of arrest, but only made the arresting officers’ task more difficult by reserving their 5th Amendment right. Already, the youthful commowealth attorney was clearly fazed by the actions of a seemingly motley crew of contemptuous dregs. While the CA attempted to stammer out more inaccuracy and untruth to argue forth that charge, the judge bemusedly rejected his claims after the defendants briefly clarified that the obstruction of justice summons was issued prior to convening with the magistrate, therefore containing the circumstances to the same of the cited precedents.

Moving on to the trespassing charges, the defendants proposed the unconstitutional nature of the statute defining park hours and use of the park accordingly. The clause contained within said statute explained the possibility of use of the park outside of regular hours by obtaining a permit from the mayor’s office, but did not clearly define the requirements or discretion used for acquiring this permit. The judge did not choose to fully recognize this claim, but also did not have the power to rule the statute unconstitutional outright. The defense next proposed that since all conventional and advised forms of action (i.e., contacting city council) had been exhausted, direct action was necessary, as was the presence of the occupation at night to successfully express the dire nature of the concerns being raised. Therefore, it was most simply an exercise of free speech. Also, questions were raised as to the conclusions left to be drawn from the most curious police behavior experienced during the occupation.
The state having very little to say in their favor, and having had much of that belittled by the judge, it was not long before the court settled on the dismissal of obstruction charges, and a $25 dollar fine for all but one trespassing charge, which was dropped due to its own false nature. The remaining seven who were fined are appealing the charge.

From the Website of the Monroe Park Occupation:
RPD continue to kick people out of other parks and camps in Richmond.The Monroe Park Occupation is now having people who get kicked out of places like Kanawha Plaza come to join the camp. A lot of the time though, RPD does not let people grab their belongings before kicking them out. So more blankets/tents/tarps/food/entertainment is crucial.
The Occupation had about …8 people show up in the middle of the night last night and folks are excited that the Occupation is a safe place to sleep, but would also like it to be warm!

To contact the Occupation come to the corner of Main and Laurel. You may also email monroparkoccupation@gmail.com or visit http://www.monroeparkoccupation.wordpress.com for more updates.

The Monroe Park Occupation is a group of people forming a community in Monroe Park near the corner of Main and Laurel.
They are a multi-issue Occupation that has been encamped in Monroe Park since 4pm on Monday March 7th.
A City Official informed the Occupation on Friday March 11th that City Administrators wanted to negotiate with the Occupation.

However, the Occupation will only meet to discuss demands once the City gets the cops to stop busting up all homeless camps. Once that is agreed upon, folks from the occupation will meet with City Officials in the park at 11 at night.

Current Demands:
– Don’t cut down trees in Monroe Park
-Legalize Squatting in Richmond
-25-100% of Monroe Park should remain open at all times
-Stop destroying/busting up homeless camps (more…)

This article was posted on the Oregon Hill neighborhood website by Todd Woodson. He gives his perspective on the Monroe Park Advisory Council and the history leading up to their current renovation plans. What is more interesting than the article itself is the comments. Online Commenter ‘Michael’ does a really nice job of arguing the reasons for keeping Monroe Park open during renovations.

‘Michael’, who is not associated with Food Not Bombs or other programs in the park  says:

“Renovations are done to important city infrastructure in segments ALL THE TIME. We don’t close the entire Fan District to address water pipes and repaving and whatever else has been worked on in the city. The park is an important resource to a lot of people, it would be very sad for it to be completely closed off for 18+ months.

As I understand it, the park has been used for feeding programs because of its openness and central location. It is a gathering place, a public space where people who aren’t as fortunate as you and I can go to gather their wits without having to deal with being constantly observed and shuffled about by owners of a building. It is a free space in a central location with public facilities, with lighting and nature and a variety of patrons. Its a special place that should not be shut down in the opinion of quite a many number of people who are tax-payers and concerned citizens.

Why not fight for this or that? I’m not in the business of deciding what is better for other people. This is a public place that others CHOOSE to utilize. We don’t have to bus people in and out, no one has to maintain a building, no one has to be shut away from the public eye, this is a public space and in my heart I believe it should remain that way. Want to renovate? Great, do renovations in the park, but find a way to do it without closing it down and locking people out. (more…)