The Mighty 763

root - Posted on 26 October 2009

by Bruce Allison/PNN

May 16th at 5:25pm, members of SCIU 1021 were taking names as people from SCIU, Senior Action Network, Planning for Elders, Gray Panthers, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, and a community of others, including Access of Love Youth Program, were about to march against the mayor's 70% budget cuts that will cripple public health for the future. The banner was set out, "The Bad A$$! March." As I stood by, I watched the banner go up, and the token politicians stand in the front of the line when they should have been in the back for causing the problem. The politicians were Supervisors Ross Mckeriny (?), and Chris Daly, carrying his young child on his shoulders, as well as others.

The March started, the line kept going and going. There seemed to be about 1,000 people, taking up one lane of traffic, stretching for three blocks, blocking the rush hour traffic as commuters were trying to get home. The March was trying to point out the average amount of chaos that will happen when the poor are affected by the drastic cuts in public health. As I counted to see how many were there, it went on for three blocks. Then, as the only reporter who reports the truth, I ran towards the front to keep track of what was happening: I saw families pushing babies in carriages, and medical personnel in uniforms, just fired two months ago for no apparent reason. I saw SRO residents, and the entire poor community of San Francisco, immigrants, day laborers, and homecare workers. As they marched, I ran past them, up about four blocks. As they marched, I saw the beginning again. They marched into UN plaza, all the way up to the steps at City Hall. The steps looked like the Bastille, surrounded by riot gates, so we held the demonstration at the park across the street. Suddenly, one member of the march jumped on stage and exclaimed, “no justice, no peace!” We shouted that for fifteen minutes, until the last marcher stepped on the green facing city halls. The grass was replaced with people. When you turned around, all you could see was an ocean of people.

Fred, one of the organizers, got up to the stage, and said, "We have been keeping you this long because we wanted to show how many people are involved to the members of the march," she followed by asking, "How many people here are homeless?" Over 300 people raised their hands. "How many people live in the Tenderloin?," she asked again. Another 1/3 raised their hands. Then suddenly, a woman got on stage and said she worked for Tenderloin Health Clinic, she said, "We are now only allowed to be open 2 hours a day, and we take care of over 500 people a day." Another person from Curry Senior Center got on stage and said that their ability to feed seniors will be restricted to the weekdays, that seniors will not get nutrition on the weekends.

As a senior, hot meals are very handy when it comes to living in this expensive city on an income of $900 a month with a rent of $600 a month. Average readers do not realize that this poverty scholar needs to use food pantries. With those resources cut, I need to find another way to get food. There are other things that could have been cut, like overtime for policeman and the cost of drivers for fire captains. I know, as a worker, that social security is expensive, but please, pay the amount you owe, the city will pay the other amount. That will give the city 100 million this year that could go to public health.


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