Posts Tagged ‘Beverly Hills’

Defensive Architecture

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Anti-loitering architecture forces the homeless out into the shame

Dinner time for De-waged Americans_Where Excuses Go to DieKristin Hohenadel’s Slate.com piece on “managing” London’s homeless (“Are Anti-Homeless Sidewalk Spikes Immoral?”) points to a Change.org petition that insists we give a damn about vulnerable populations rather than ostracize them with defensive architecture. The “spikes” that sparked the outrage>petition>renewed UK debate>this blog entry were installed near the entrance of a luxury residential building in London on June 10, 2014.

The article’s example pictures of “anti-bum” devices, culled from artist Nils Norman’s international collection, show a callousness that is not, to me, the least bit surprising. For years, I’ve referred to nasty urban planning designs like these as “MAN-EATERS” since they frequently resemble shark teeth. Here in Los Angeles, in a world of caged trash bins and spatial confinement of the homeless, we have a disheartening array of them.

Pigeon Science on Human SubjectsWe’re not alone, though: across modern urban landscapes everywhere, commercial and residential developers are planning and designing “exclusionary” access ways and loading docks to discourage the poor from setting up shop in doorways and “gap sites,” those architectural nooks and crannies that most of us sinners have been grateful to find at one time or another – usually when drunk. But let’s face it: in every one of us lurks a little NIMBY contradiction, the sentiment otherwise known as, “not in my backyard.”

Partiers are grateful to find a place to pee, sure, but don’t want to work near or pass through one of these stink-holes on a daily basis. (By the way, if anyone is offended by the implication that you’d ever urinate in an alley or between two buildings, please discontinue reading now. I make no guarantee your head won’t explode when I start mocking those who feel a moral playing field has been leveled, now that anti-pigeon science is being used on humans.) (more…)

Bernard Kerik: The Wrong Man to Talk about Prison Reform

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Kerik, former Homeland Security Secretary nominee, should shut up.

face.jpgBernie Kerik is no friend to those who have been prosecuted excessively for drug crimes or, for that matter, to anyone serving time in prison. By my estimation, his unlooked-for discovery that America’s drug sentences have created a huge underclass of offenders is little more than fodder for Kerik’s own PR agenda.

Here’s both barrels:

For starters, though Kerik did spend time behind bars, he can’t speak on behalf of the general population. A former NYPD Commissioner and the man who once oversaw one of the facilities in which he was detained, Kerik definitely did not live among gen pop inmates. He was housed in protective custody, a much less transitory and smaller environment. Protective custody (a.k.a. administrative segregation) is mainly for informants, self-harmers, perverts, and anyone else facility administrators deem likely to become stabbing practice.

So from my perspective – and probably that of every other rational general population convict – Bernie Kerik is free to speak only for snitches and kid touchers. Sure, like me, he’s entitled to a second chance and the opportunity to use that chance and his platform productively. But I say, consider the source. (more…)