Yeah, I’ve been busy with several things that haven’t quite made it onto the blog yet. For example, my concert last Saturday with my singer friend Perry Van Dran included the first of my “Songs of the OC Homeless” – a song in memory of Fermin Vincent Valenzuela, the homeless father who was tased to death last July by Anaheim police. (Remember that? It was before the killing of Adalid Flores and last week’s killing of Steve Salgado, right around the time they killed Danny Rendon, and a few months after they killed Gustavo Najera. If you’re keeping score at home…)
Thanks to Vincent’s family for telling me enough about him to write this song, which is in Cumbia style – the rhythm that’s so popular in barrios like the one I live in:
My name is Vincent Valenzuela, from sunny Anaheim,
Where law enforcement acts like being homeless is a crime.
But I mind my own damn business and I’ve never hurt a fly,
At most I nod and smile at all the people passing by.
Wo… I walk the streets till the sun goes down.
Wo… And I sleep in Maxwell Park.
And I want to see my son, ‘Cause I miss him every day, But oh, they tased my life away.
They locked me in a closet when I was just a little boy,
So four walls make me nervous now but freedom gives me joy.
And I’ll slay the Chupacabra just for Vincent Junior’s sake,
‘Cause I love my little fam’ly like a fat kid loves his cake.
Wo… I walk the streets till the sun comes up.
Wo… And I sleep in Maxwell Park.
And I want to see my daughter, ‘Cause I miss her every day, But oh, you tased my life away.
I’ll have about ten of these songs, alternately sung by a male and a female. Most of them aren’t about actual characters, but just common situations and typical stories of things the OC homeless experience… although I am going to end up with a reggae piece for Kelly Thomas (who loved reggae according to Baxter.) Meanwhile the People’s Homeless Task Force is preparing to return to the Anaheim Council next Tuesday to repeat our demands to rescind the Camping and Storage Ordinances, and re-open park restrooms 24-7. ‘Cause, look, the homeless are still getting their stuff taken by cops:
In the next video, of the last Anaheim Council meeting, just before the 2 hours and 17 minutes mark (jeez, don’t watch the whole thing!) you can hear Police Chief Raul Quezada blithely assure concerned councilmembers that the only property his officers take from the homeless is whatever’s been abandoned for 24 hours:
Which is really funny, because in this next video he is flatly contradicted, not only by the testimony of numerous homeless people themselves, but his own “homeless outreach” officer himself, Sgt. Conklin, who admits that his team does NOT bother waiting or “tagging” property before seizing it:
This Quezada dude, I’ve been sticking up for him a long time, but I can’t any more. I used to think he really didn’t know what some of his more rogue officers (gang unit, homeless unit) were up to, but adding all of this to his documented lies about the Ku Klux Klan melee last year, it’s obvious that he understands his main job as bullshitting politicians, public and press.
A troubled relationship to the truth.
One more new video from the tireless Roussan, see the homeless being jailed for being in a park after hours, just last night – the “Camping Ordinace” at work:
Finally, ONE MORE POLICE MURDER earlier this week
– this one in Santa Ana.
Santa Ana’s on fire right now. How many more unarmed, fleeing, young (mostly Latino) men are going to be shot fatally in the back by OC police until some kind of breaking point happens, and what’ll that look like? We were at his family’s place this afternoon at their funeral fundraiser, and the SAPD gang unit drove by slowly and tauntingly. Here’s a witness describing what happened Sunday night, to our friends at InLeague Press:
“The bloody massacre in Bangladesh quickly covered over the memory of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, the assassination of Allende drowned out the groans of Bangladesh, the war in the Sinai Desert made people forget Allende, the Cambodian massacre made people forget Sinai, and so on and so forth until ultimately everyone lets everything be forgotten.”
–Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
WEEKEND OPEN THREAD. Have at it.