The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

San Diego:
Throwing Rocks at Homelessness

Aug 1, 2016

In late April, the City of San Diego, California installed jagged rocks along a freeway underpass to drive out homeless. The city officials said: “The new landscaping along Imperial Avenue is meant to address safety concerns raised by neighborhood residents in Sherman Heights who use it as their main connection to downtown.” Quite an inventive and colorful explanation to cover the city’s very appalling purpose!

The city’s e-mails discussing these rocks, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, showed that Sherman Heights, a working class district, was never mentioned in more than 700 pages of these e-mails.

Councilman David Alvarez, whose district includes Sherman Heights, said that his office was never consulted about this “landscaping project.” He believes Sherman Heights residents were used to deflect criticism of the project, according to the Times. Alvarez said that they asked for better lighting, but the City has not yet done so.

John Casey, a city official, who spearheaded and engineered this “landscaping project,” wrote in the e-mails that the rocks needed to be of different heights so that no one could put down a plank of wood to sleep. He was also very descriptive about the rock shapes. “We want to look mean!!!”, he wrote.

This city official included the installation of these “mean rocks” in a checklist of work to be done before an All Star baseball game. So, the real purpose was to remove the homeless from the area next to the stadium.

This is the very visible barbaric hand of capitalism. Instead of addressing the homelessness problem, San Diego, a very rich city, resorts to vicious means to increase profits of baseball team owners, including by making poor people invisible.