Battle of the Bulb - Page 2

Eviction day nears for the homeless inhabitants of a colorful stretch of shoreline in Albany that nature lovers want cleared

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The Albany Bulb is a shoreline landfill turned art space turned homeless encampment turned park and nature trail.
PHOTO BY ALAN SANCHEZ

Neumann said he worked unsuccessfully with the people living at the Bulb in fighting the 1999 eviction, telling the Guardian, "People were unorganized and it felt hopeless and despairing."

Neumann said little has changed. The Bulb remained the same, a landfill, albeit without a regular crew of humans living on it. In 2002 the planning of the Eastshore State Park moved ahead, and Neumann, not content to let the Bulb become homogenized, formed the group Let It Be, advocating to keep the "wildness" of the space. It didn't go over well, and plans moved forward to clear the plateau of its coyote bush, in an area directly north of the racetrack, and fill it in with dirt.

Norman Laforce, who chairs the Sierra Club's East Bay Shoreline Park Task Force and East Bay Public Lands Committee, has been involved in the planning since its creation. He says hundreds of people worked to make the park possible. He believes that because the city of Albany did not engage in strict enforcement of illegally camping after 1999, it was ripe to be occupied again. And it was.

The city of Albany handed over the deed of the park to the state park system, and the cap and seal order from the Regional Water Board — which stated that the area was clear of any hazardous waste leaching into the bay — was lifted in 2005. Over time, the Bulb's current 64 residents sought refuge there, about the same number of people who were forced to leave in 1999.

Of those, at least 36 residents don't have any regular income, while those who do rely mostly on government programs such as Supplemental Security Income. Laforce and Neumann may not agree on much, but both understand the impending enforcement of the no-camping policy to be a new chapter in the Bulb's story.

 

 

WHOSE PARK?

As Neumann makes his way to one of the resident campsites, he stops to take in the view. It's an unrivaled panoramic portrait of the San Francisco skyline against the glittering bay. He shakes his head when I ask him about the people who oppose campers at the Bulb.

"I think there is a small group of people who are committed to kicking people out of here," he said.

"Our position has been that the Albany Bulb is a part of the McLaughlin East Shore State Park and is not to be privatized," Laforce said of the Sierra Club's view. "We fully support the removal of the illegal campers that are currently out there."

The Sierra Club and the Citizens for East Bay Parks cite safety concerns as a reason the campers need to leave.

"I was attacked by somebody's pit bull," Cheasty said. "It's happening regularly out there. It's the antithesis of open space and public land."

The city of Albany, hesitant at first to ruffle feathers, now supports the removal of campers. "The City Council is working to achieve the Strategic Plan Goals, adopted in 2012," said Albany City Clerk Nicole Almaguer in an email." The goals include maximizing park and open space for all members of the community."

Almaguer noted that the Albany City Council retained the services of Berkeley Food and Housing Project with a $60,000 contract to conduct outreach and engagement services to the city's homeless, and voted unanimously to extend this agreement to help the campers at the Bulb.

But she made it clear that once October arrives, the people will need to leave. They will receive verbal and written warnings if they don't. (A camping violation generally amounts to $161 in fines, according to one of the Bulb campers.) One of the major problems, both Laforce and Cheasty say, is that some of the campers don't want BFHP's or the city's help.

They just want to stay on the Bulb.

Comments

Just another factional day for the Bay Area left.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

As a life-long environmental advocate (and a 12-year vehicular self-houser/victim of Bay Area society's failure to provide enough affordable housing), I feel qualifed enough by commitment and experience to state: Albany must bear homeless housing cost, not public-park-owners. Where's the beef, Albany?

Posted by David Isaac Tam on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

Norman La force is a reactionary not a leftest and the left of the sierra club should replace him John Muir would spit in his face for his lack of empathy and soul.

... the thousands of art peices will be destroyed and thousands of art peices of the future will not be tolerated .one of my favorites was twenty computer mices hangin on trees with twenty mouse traps Every saturday i would go out to the bulb and see the new and old art since 2006

. at one point there was a donut for those of u who don't know a donut is a cicular track for skate boarders the "kids took a hundred bags of cement and made there space it was so kool to watch them skate board
the city of albany bull dozed it after a year and a
half
FINALLY I URGE U TO CLICK IMAGE ON GOOGLE AND TYPE IN ALBANY BULB YOU WILL SEE THOUSANDS OFway kool PHOTOS

strike unite what kind of pie occupy it's your future .

Posted by orion on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 12:53 am

Great work, Kate!
Sending a class of CCA students out to the Bulb this week. Your
article comes just at the perfect time.
xogf

Posted by Gloria Frym on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

As a life-long environmental advocate (and a 12-year vehicular self-houser/victim of Bay Area society's failure to provide enough affordable housing), I feel qualifed enough by commitment and experience to state: Albany must bear homeless housing cost, not public-park-owners. Where's the beef, Albany?

Posted by David Isaac Tam on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

"failure" of the Bay Area to provide you with housing that you can afford isn't THEIR failure at all. It's yours for choosing to live in an expensive place that you evidently lack the fiscal power to afford.

Don't make your problem into the problem of others. Fix it yourself, and don't play the victim blame game.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

Thanks to troll barrier for flagging the specious and self-congratulatory comments of "guest," whom I dare to self-identify.

Posted by David Isaac Tam on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

that's why i created it

if large numbers of us continue to spoil the fun of these trolls by throwing up these barriers, eventually many of them will leave

use both the subject and user name "troll barrier" for consistency

Posted by racer x on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

just bumping a troll a little farther out of the conversation

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

to ruin the debate. In fact, the longer you make this thread, the more probably it appears on the front page as "most commented on2 and so the more people read my posts.

So, thank you.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

vacuous accusations and trolling is, what, exactly?

Or do you just want to ruin this place?

Posted by anon on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

It means I post more, so as to provide more balance. And the folks I know who post here are all committed to staying here regardless, and in fact are MORE likely to continue to post.

So you failed. Again.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

Anyone can call anyone else a troll here. That's free speech. But it's also an admission that you do not have an argument, and I notice that you have not addressed any of the critical points made debunking your specious points.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

just one more little bump... ;)

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

Thanks to troll barrier for flagging the ad hominem attack on me. I dare "guest" to publicly identify her/himself.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

poster for posting as "Guest".

Classic.

Oh, and it's not an ad hominem attack to expose your cheap attempt to blame others for your own shortcomings.

You've been owned. Be a man and admit it.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 2:07 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

Few things are more entertaining than watching one sanctimonious cult of lefties battle a second sanctimonious cult of lefties. Game on!

Posted by Chromefields on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 9:28 am

the Russian Revolution degraded into Leninists, Trotskyites, Stalinists and so on. I swear that factions of the SF Green Party hate each other more than they hate a Tea Partier.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 9:55 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 10:08 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 10:24 am

the right is facist racist sexest and is trying to destroy liberal sexest racist capitalist imperialist phony democracy on the other hand the left is united against both.

Posted by orion on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 1:10 am

But damned if I know what it is.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 6:26 am
no

no

Posted by orion on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 1:06 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 10:09 am
Ugh

Gotta love that comment 'This isn't some wasteland'

Uh... Bc a wasteland is where the homeless belong?
Douchebag elitists.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 12:19 am

areas that are grim rather than delightful, then the answer is in the affirmative. Lots of homeless in the Tenderloin; very few in Pacific Heights.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 28, 2013 @ 7:35 am

I was interested in understanding this issue a bit more in depth so I created this short film to learn a bit about the residents currently living on the Bulb. https://vimeo.com/75180127

Posted by TruthBeTold on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 10:56 am

I was interested in understanding this issue a bit more in depth so I created this short film to learn a bit about the residents currently living on the Bulb. https://vimeo.com/75180127

Posted by TruthBeTold on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

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