My Summer Note About Saving Our Planet

Let this be my summer note.

I’ve been thinking about sharing this with my tribe, as defined by Junger.  His book is something I appreciate and criticize.  I welcome a feminist analysis of the same issues which is not too much about criticizing the maleness of his perspective; I acknowledge that.  But, I would contemplate a less gender specific discussion of the world’s tribes.  And the values described.

My friend Adrienne explains many aspects of being homeless and prompts me to write. I have met and spoken to our sisters and brothers of whom she writes.

Close to Home – Adreinne Lauby August 27, 2017

CLOSE TO HOME    Why do the homeless leave their things?


After the homeless micro-village nicknamed Homeless Hill was cleared, someone who is a wonderful ally looked at the “after” pictures and asked: Why so much abandoned stuff? Consider this: You and all your neighbors get a two-week notice to be out of your house. You can’t believe this is really happening. You think how nice the neighborhood is, how much you care about one another and all the things you and others have done to make the neighborhood nice. It’s unjust. You feel targeted and humiliated.

You live on a hill and have hand-carried everything you own up a steep single-person path over months — or years. You have no money, and the last time you tried to rent a storage unit, you failed to keep up the payments and lost everything. You have lost everything you own several times in the past. You don’t trust anyone, especially cops, social service agencies and government workers — people just like them have tormented, bullied and harassed you in the past.

Rumors run through the neighborhood that a lawyer has been obtained. That no one will have to move. That everyone is getting into a house. That those who stay the longest will get motel vouchers and not have to go into the shelter. That the cops will be here tomorrow, or the day after … or any minute now.

If you use drugs you live in fear that people will steal what little you have. You dare not leave without everything of value on your back. Informal agreements among neighbors have broken down. Old irritations flare into hostilities.

The police come through and say everyone is going to have to leave. Social workers come too. You

feel barraged by police and social workers who give inconsistent messages. Some of your neighbors leave. Others vow to stay no matter what.

You’ve been in shelters and found that you couldn’t sleep, were harassed by staff, picked on by other residents, couldn’t take the crowding, found your sobriety threatened by the drug and alcohol use, were made sick by bad air, couldn’t eat the food, were allergic to the perfumes and cigarette smells on people’s clothes, were traumatized when they kicked you out for a rule infraction, were traumatized

Adrienne Lauby is a member of Homeless Action! a group of service providers, church congregants, homeless people and caring individuals. They meet at 9:30 a.m. every Monday morning at First United Methodist Church Santa Rosa.


I am making very strong recommendations that you read these books word for word; then act.  However, I am also looking foe other current thinkers who can contribute to thought.  I am especially looking for a good discussion of what happened at Standing Rock.
I read both Elisabeth Warren (This is Our Fight) and Naomi Klein (No Is Not Enough).
A third highly recommended book I haven’t read yet is Jane Mayer’s Deep State
What else would you recommend? (Remember – current writing.)
I’ll dig deeper on Klein and Warren at some time.  So watch for it – and please comment.
A strange thing that happened is a phenomenon I have observed in this complex electronically connected world.  I posted a detailed and comprehensive discussion of Santa Rosa’s homeless initiative to upgrade Quality of Life (QOL) infractions to misdemeanors.
I forwarded it to city leaders and staff and advocates.
Lo and behold, not one person commented.
Without any judgement or implication, I ask, – I wonder what that means?
My current thinking is – We are living in critical times for our planet.  The solutions are in us together.
Peace be with you.
Gerry La Londe-Berg

Santa Rosa – Infractions to Misdemeanors process critique

Although the City of Santa Rosa did not cite the Santa Rosa Homeless Collective in the staff report or at the City Council there is a clear link to the Santa Rosa Homeless Collective Accountability Committee – Final Report March 29, 2017 Recommendation #3.

The report cites a business survey of 80 businesses. No methodology or references are provided in the report.

More importantly no data over time for the number of infractions is given as to the basis of the Collective recommendation or the Staff Report for the Council.

The lack of linkage and citation may be the belief that members of the City Council do not want the Collective to be cited because there is no Brown Act nexus, hence recommendations provided have a different standard for consideration.  If, however, the Council members did in fact use the report they should at least have discussed it openly.

The Santa Rosa Homeless Collective is also sponsored OrgCode Trainings in Sonoma County, Summit on Homeless Solutions and follow up trainings.

The Santa Rosa Homeless Collective includes the following people: (included based on the web site and appearing in meeting notes or correspondence. Several of these people are no longer in these roles.)


Participants Listed:

Jenny Abramson, Community Development Commission, Sonoma County

Amy Appleton, SHARE Sonoma County

Lea Barron- Thomas, West End Neighborhood Association

Dick Carlile, Carlile-Macy

Susan Castillo, Behavioral Health Department, Sonoma County

Caitlyn Childs, Social Advocates for Youth

Continuum of Care, Sonoma County

Lee Dibble, Santa Rosa Together

Michelle Edwards, Boys & Girls Clubs, Central Sonoma County

Robert Etherington, Santa Rosa Junior College

Exchange Bank

Willow Farey, American Medical Response,

David Guhin, City of Santa Rosa

David Gouin, City of Santa Rosa, Planning and Economic Development

Danial Hage, consultant

Kris Hoyer, Probation Department, Sonoma County

Jennielynn Holmes, Catholic Charities

Chris Keys, Redwood Gospel Mission

Akash Kalia, owner, Palms Inn

Jenni Klose, Santa Rosa City Schools

Mark Krug, consultant

Jim Leddy, Community Development Commission, Sonoma County

Laurie McFadden, American Medical Response

Ray Navarro, Captain, Police Department, Santa Rosa

Ernesto Olivares, Santa Rosa City Council

Kathleen Pozzi, Public Defender’s Office, Sonoma County

Heidi Prottas, Sonoma County Task Force on the Homeless,

Railroad Square Business Owner

Tom Robertson, business owner

Janet Rogers, Santa Rosa Metro Chamber

John Sawyer, Santa Rosa City Council

Tom Schwedhelm, Santa Rosa City Council

Hannah Scott, Burbank Housing

Sonoma County Chiefs of Police Association

Brian Staebell, Sonoma County District Attorney’s office

Steve Suter, Fire Department, Santa Rosa

Steve Thomas, Tickler & Thomas, former SRPD

Katrina Thurman, Social Advocates for Youth

Jack Tibbetts, Santa Rosa City Council and St. Vincent de Paul Society

Holly Trujillo, Community Development Commission, Sonoma County

Jeff Weaver, Police Department, Sebastopol

Karen Weeks, Design Review Board, appointed by John Sawyer, Urban Community Partnership worked for the city of Santa Rosa as a housing specialist in the Economic Development and Housing Department developing the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, homeless programs and affordable housing projects

Liana Whisler, jail sergeant, Sheriff’s Office, Sonoma County

Shirley Zane, Board of Supervisors, Sonoma County

On May 2, 2017 the Santa Rosa City Council conducted a study session


This Study Session will provide the City Council with an overview of the City’s existing ordinances regarding quality of life in the City, and of past, current and proposed practices to enforce those ordinances.

The staff report is here:

The video of May 2 QOL session is here:

On August 8 the Santa Rosa City Council approved going forward with reinstating a policy of allowing law enforcement officers to issue misdemeanors rather than just infractions for what are called Quality of Life Infractions (QOL).

The staff report is notable in that it is little changed from the May report. It is here:

Gerry La Londe-Berg testimony 08/08/17 [Over 3 minute version]

“The City of Santa Rosa should not change its laws considering people who are homeless until it has done everything it can possibly do to mitigate the situation. Increasing penalties penalizes many people for no good reason.  The law as suggested for change today does not serve the people who we are trying to get off the streets and make it to productive citizenship. With acknowledgment of what is being planned, increasing the instruments of control are not the best step.  To be fair the data must first indicate this is the proper step.

Please identify on the City’s web site all the public bathrooms open during the day and which are open at night.

These particular changes to the city regulations were developed by the Santa Rosa Homeless Collective.  Transparency is what is needed.  It is unclear to me the genesis of who thought this would be a good idea.  I would like to have a conversation with them.  Better yet, I would like them to have a conversation which is documented with people who are homeless and who are suffering and who are standing by while you make such a decision as you consider tonight.

Homelessness in Santa Rosa will not be solved by increasing costs at the jail and increasing costs to the individuals who have no money and are therefore living homeless on the streets of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.

Exactly what do you hope to accomplish with this law?

The 25 or 28 goals you have spelled out or not prominent enough everywhere. You have not achieved a level of transparency which would tell me the Catholic Charities is doing a good job; I know personally from close observation that Catholic Charities is doing good job and has done so since 1985.

If any Community can solve homelessness, the lack of housing for people who need housing, Santa Rosa and Sonoma County can do it they can set the example for everyone everywhere at least in the United States.

I call upon the city council and the alumni of leadership Santa Rosa and the advocates who are both living on the streets and helping to support the people who are living on the streets we must all come together to find out the 98% that we can agree on.”


Here’s the video of Tuesday’s 08/08/17 hearing:
Presentation begins at 1:22:18
Council Questions begins at 1:31:30
Public Comment begins at 1:52:44
Council Discussion begins at 3:01:40 – 3:36:23

As of 170816 Homeless Action! Has signatures opposed to this move of 818 people on an on-line petition and 97 who signed personally.

Perhaps we should all study the extensive actions under the Homeless Emergency and not artificially separate QOL issues from Homelessness,

RESOLUTION – EXTENSION OF PROCLAMATION OF LOCAL HOMELESS EMERGENCY RECOMMENDATION: It is recommended by the Housing and Community Services Department that the Council, by resolution, approve an extension of Resolution No. 28839 which formally proclaimed a local homeless emergency within Santa Rosa. Regular Meeting Agenda and Summary Report City of Santa Rosa Page 6 of 11 City Council AUGUST 15, 2017 Staff Report Resolution Presentation Attachments

Staff Report on Homeless Emergency 08/15/17It is impressive what has been done.

The next step, according to the Sean McGuin, City Manager, is to return to council with an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office and a request for money that is not in the budget.

Notes after the August 8, 2017 meeting:

The final outcome was that they will go ahead with the change. They were not scheduled to vote, they were just reviewing a policy renewal which they are now billing as simply a return to practice prior to 2012 as they said at the May 2nd meeting. The large number of Advocates was not only diverse and well-spoken but they covered a lot of territory. It seems to me now there was a major misunderstanding and miscommunication because the city staff is presenting things in a rather broad brush manner. So they lump together weed abatement and urinating in public. Most of the council members including Chris Rogers and Jack Tibbetts we’re supportive of the change and stated their concerns.

The staff report from 08/08/17 is almost exactly the same as the staff report from May 2nd with no changes and in particular there is no data of any kind presented.  Somewhat surprisingly Ernesto Olivares even did a long statement concerning the need for data which would give us accountability.  Their basic position is that this is a tool to be used which will only be used in problematic recurrent situations.

Without Baseline transparent data there is no way to judge success.  The City of Santa Rosa has this capacity but fails to use it in circumstances where it is not convenient – even though is is already collected in various data systems.

See: Tackling Homelessness with Data: The City of Santa Rosa, California

Another somewhat false hope that was brought up by most of them was the idea that restorative justice practices could be used in the Misdemeanor Court cases of people.  From my opinion if they can’t have subtlety and accuracy in the ordinances that they have, they’re not giving the judges the tools that they need to understand the intent of the laws. Judges have no recollection, or even consideration, of compassionate statements of intent made during City Council meetings.

So basically, the City of Santa Rosa is talking out of both ends of the spectrum and they think that they’re trying to do something useful while they add a level of threat.  Without accurate transparent baseline data there really is no way to measure success.


And because you read to the end you found the photos.

The Faces of the Housing crisis

What Homeless Hill looked like before the organized encampment – Note the dates

The recent encampment – From Greg Fearon



Quotes from: Tribe, On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger

Quotes from Tribe, On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger, 12 Hachette Book Group, New York, NY, May 2016.
<><><> My reflections:
There is something fundamentally appealing and reasonable about the premise of Tribe, which is that we have much to learn from the community life of American Indians, as we understand it.  It was egalitarian, and it was non acquisitive as modern society has become. (Unfortunately, the actual traditions of many tribal peoples were lost to the ravages of the newcomers.)
Junger pays particular attention to the American Indian history of the upper northeast area of the United States, although he makes other less detailed references.
In the second part of the book he described the experiences of military veterans of U.S. wars.  His thoughts and observations are valuable in considering how we all support each other.
(I keep wanting to say “Go Local” because power derives from personal contact and commitment to shared values.  But that is for a different post.  )
I extracted quotes as I read.  I find them to be useful.  For me, Junger convolutes masculine roles and leadership.  He spends little time of analysis on female leadership roles.  In the mid section the discussion of types of leadership in a mine disaster also is used to argue that strong leaders early in the disaster cited were the masculine roles and  compassionate collegial leadership later on was the feminine side. I think we sell ourselves short by relegating compassion and collaboration to the feminine.  Feminine and masculine aspects are fundamentally different and we would do well to appreciate them rather than compare them.
There are other writers concerning community whom I may address at another time, such as Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier.  Nevertheless, in the face of a national and international politics as we have them today, there is something to be said for recreating the community spirit in which humans have developed for hundreds of thousands and perhaps a million years.
<><><> Quotes
  • How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage?
  •  A tribe would be defined as the people you feel compelled to share the last of your food with.
  • Humans don’t mind hardship. In fact they thrive on it.  What they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.  It is time for that to end.
  • Indians almost never ran away to White Society but many of the early Europeans moved to Indian Society.
  • Out on the fringes people tended to do what they wanted.
  • One of the women said, We had no master to oversee or drive us.  So we could work as we pleased, as leisurely as we pleased.
  • Cruelty in other words was very much the norm for that era and the native tribes of North America were no exception.
  • It’s possible that many people feel affluence and safety simply are not a good trade for freedom.
  • In a nomadic cultures surplus accumulation is kept to a minimum.
  • Early humans would most likely have lived in a nomadic bands of around 50 people. And they would have done almost everything in the company of others. They would have almost never been alone.
  • First Agriculture, and then industry, changed two fundamental things about the human experience. The accumulation of personal property allowed people to make more and more individualistic choices about their lives and those choices unavoidably diminished group efforts toward a common good.   And as a society modernized people found themselves able to live independently from any communal group.  A person living in a modern city or suburb can for the first time in history go through an entire day, or an entire life, mostly encountering complete strangers.  They can be surrounded by others and yet feel deeply dangerously alone.
  • A wealthy person who has never had to rely on help and resources from his community is leading a privileged life that falls way outside more than a million years of human experience.
  • Self-determination Theory holds that human beings need three basic things in order to be content:
    • they need to feel competent at what they do;
    • they need to feel authentic in their lives; and
    • they need to feel connected to others.
  • These values are considered intrinsic to human happiness and far outweigh extrinsic values such as beauty, money, and status.
  • As modern society reduced the role of community it simultaneously elevated the role of authority. The two are uneasy companions and as one goes up the other tends to go down.
  • In foraging communities one of the most common traits was the absence of major wealth disparities between individuals; another was the absence of arbitrary authority.
  • Authority is almost impossible to impose on the unwilling.
  • In current day foraging groups, group execution (killing the offender) is one of the most common ways of punishing males who try to claim a disproportionate amount of the group’s resources.
  • Boehms research led him to believe that much of the evolutionary basis for moral development moral behavior stems from group pressure.
  • Oxytocin creates a feedback loop of good feeling and group loyalty that ultimately leads members to self sacrifice to promote group welfare.
  • Most travel and subsistence level societies would inflict severe punishments on anyone who caused the kind of damage which the financial institutions inflicted upon the world. The fact that there was so little consequence shows how completely detribalized the country has become.
  • Democratic revolutions are just a formalized version of the sort of group action that coalitions of senior males have used throughout the ages to confront greed and abuse.
  • The beauty and the tragedy of the modern world is that it eliminates many situations that require people to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good.
  • What would you risk dying for and for whom is perhaps the most profound question a person can ask themselves.