Battle of the Bulb - Page 3

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 introduces me to three-year resident Katherine Cody, or KC. With pink hair and a wide smile, she seems younger than her 60 years. She babies her shih tzu Eva and makes beaded jewelry. Before living in a tent at the Bulb, she lived in her van. One of the perks to living at the Bulb, she explained, is seeing dolphins swimming in the bay, and watching the 50 to 100 hummingbirds nest in the tree above her tent every year.

KC's past isn't so idyllic. She said she was stabbed 20 years ago and the traumatic experience of yelling for help to no avail made her grateful to find a place like the Bulb.

"I am terminally ill," she said on a recent afternoon, "So I need a lot of help sometimes, and without my having to ask or go begging door to door, my neighbors show up."

After losing a lot of blood from the stabbing, Cody contracted Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion. Despite its rough exterior, KC and other residents argue that their neighborhood at the Bulb is not any more conducive to drug addiction or infighting than any other neighborhood or town.

"They are not capable of doing this job," KC said of the Berkeley Food and Housing Project's efforts. "It's ridiculous to expect in that time span to be able to get the job done. It's just long enough to make it look like they were being kind and not throw us out immediately, but it's not long enough to really do anything."

For Neumann, who has never been homeless himself, watching his friends and people he has known for years struggle to find a place to live makes him want to resist the city's enforcement.

"They are criminalizing the status of being homeless in Albany," Neumann said outside of KC's tent. "Albany doesn't have anything. It doesn't have a shelter, it doesn't have transitional housing, it doesn't have available subsided housing, doesn't have any services. Nothing. Zero."

Neumann and some of the Bulb campers claim that police from surrounding jurisdictions told many homeless people, forced to leave their encampments in other areas, to go to the Bulb. Albany Police deny the charge, with a spokesperson telling us, "the Albany Police Department did not/does not have a policy of instructing homeless people to relocate to the Bulb."

Nonetheless, Neumann says, "For a long while, this was Albany's homeless shelter."

Amber Lynn Whitson, 32, said that she will celebrate her seventh year living at the Bulb on Oct. 31, if she is able to stay. But she is one of the few inhabitants, she said, who is actually preparing to leave.

"Me and my boyfriend have gotten rid of almost everything we own," she said between cigarettes. Whitson said she came to stay at the Bulb after moving around a lot.

"It's so nice here," she laughed. "When you have been kicked around from place to place and told you don't belong here, you don't belong there, it's so refreshing to be told by the local authorities you belong there."

Whitson said she isn't sure where she will go after the no-camping policy is enforced. She is sure though, that the fight to resist will continue.

"This won't be over in October," she said. "Even if we are out, it won't be over in October."

 

LIGHTS OUT

After we speak with some of the residents, Neumann and I part ways. Before he leaves, he encourages me to take a look around, meet people, and enjoy the art.

Along with the people residing at the Bulb, the art has become a major sticking point surrounding what the Bulb is and what it could be. Cheasty, while not wanting the people to stay, personally doesn't see the harm in keeping the art intact. In contrast, Laforce believes that part of making the Bulb into a "usable" park requires the removal of the art.

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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