River Cleanup Hits Sandbar for One Redding Volunteer

river-cleanup-1

A Redding high school student we’ll call Pat writes in dismay about part of Saturday’s river cleanup event.

Today I volunteered at a coastal Sacramento River cleanup event associated with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy group. I was excited for the activity and very willing to eliminate pollution in our area. However, when the group leader gathered a large group of us together to ransack a homeless person’s camp, my morals were called into question and I was very hesitant.

Several small camps had already  been cleared and I expected this one to be the same; littered with beer bottles and wrappers. But when we arrived at the distant campsite barely visible from a rarely traveled trail, i was appalled. This campsite had several clean everyday items which seemed extremely distant from ‘pollution’. We filled up about five garbage bags full of clothes and carried out tarps and blankets that appeared clean and only slightly used. We carted out a clean empty book case and loaded into a trailer only to be brought to a dump. I wondered to myself if the person had purchased the bookcase at one time and I could barely stand to help anymore.

My friend who was volunteering by my side was born in another country and frequently travels back. She and I were so perturbed by this complete indifference to someone’s things that in India or Africa would be a common home. Why in America is this so unacceptable? Why must we disregard this makeshift home as merely trash? I understand that there was some trash in the campsite, but I also tried to remember that they do not receive a weekly trash pickup or possibly the energy to transport it along the trail we traveled for only one morning. The most accosting thing to me was when they threw away paintings and mats for framing without a second thought. I refused to participate in throwing away clean, useful things of this nameless person’s. Its not my place to judge what is someone’s trash, whether or not they own a foundation.

I come to you with this information because I hold your site in high regard. I believe if someone could make a difference or bring to light this situation, it would be you. What you choose to do with this information is yours to decide, however this morning I was associated with [an extracurricular club] and I wish to maintain anonymity due to my role as an officer and a member.

I feel their good intentions could be better directed and regulations or limitations could be put in place.

In these economic times, relations with homeless people are vital in our community and I believe it to be a pressing matter especially after this eye-opening morning. The disregard for homeless in our community especially in the teenage community were merely being reinforced by our blatant indifference to their things and I find this activity spineless and hypocritical.

Photograph from Sierra Nevada Conservancy.

...
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

36 Responses

  1. Avatar Laurie C. says:

    Bless you for having the moral accountability to question these acts of "goodwill". I don't know what the answer is, but thank you for bringing the subject to such a visible venue such as this.

  2. Avatar Margaret says:

    Didn't I just read an article this week about the high rate of unemployment and homelessness in Shasta County? But for the grace of God there go you and I. That will be heartbreaking to the people who lived there and have now lost the few belongings they had.
    Yes, bless you for having the moral accountability to question this act of "goodwill."

  3. Avatar Tammy D says:

    Wow, what an eye opener and what a sad situation!

  4. Avatar Chris says:

    California Civil Code 2080 – 2080.10 requires all homeless camp possessions taken to be held for 90 days, and every effort must be given to return those items…

    Assemblyman Jim Nielsen , you are a lawbreaker

  5. Avatar Chris says:

    CALIFORNIA CODES

    CIVIL CODE

    SECTION 2080-2080.10

    http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/code/getcode.html

  6. Avatar Mike Rhodes says:

    We filed a lawsuit against the City of Fresno for taking and destroying homeless peoples property. The homeless won a $2.3 million settlement against the city. Now the city must store any property taken for 90 days. They also have to post a notice, so people know where to re-claim their property. For more information, see: http://www.fresnoalliance.com/home/homelessness.h

  7. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    God bless you for caring enough to bring this to the community's attention. I hope you will let your wonderful moral compass be your guide throughout life. The world needs more people with your compassion and empathy.

  8. Randall R. Smith Randall R. Smith says:

    This exchange is an interesting forum on how far "rights" have intruded into "responsibility". Illegal camping is not just a violation of law, it is a serious health threat and danger to our homes and shared community natural resources. All sites gathered in the Henderson Open Space were appropriately noticed and posted in advance by Community Service Officer Robert Brannon. There was no "taking" except what was left to despoil a wonderful place few know because most are afraid to enter and enjoy its matchless beauty.

    Human excrement, dangerous fires, serious poaching, hundreds of pounds of often dangerous litter, blocked public access, wanton disregard for the environment list just few of the effects from people who choose living on public park land rather than accept any constraints imposed by being a responsible member of a civil society. Freedom is a wonderful gift and its purchase price is behaving in a responsible manner. Anarchy is freedom carried to its logical extreme. "Pat" needs to spend more time with these folk, interview them, understand more fully what they seek. His moral compass might gain fine tuning not found in a single morning.

    • Avatar Bill Simon says:

      There are two things that I find most disturbing and they usually overlap. The first is when people are so concerned with their own comfort and their own laws that they have no concern for their suffering neighbors. The second is when people don't pay attention to what goes on in our world in our name. I'm sure Randall doesn't know any homeless or what their situation is. I just ran into the same problem in another situation. I had been at a peace demonstration and came home carrying my sign which said "No video game wars! No drones!' I expected neighbors to agree or disagree with me. Instead they just thought it was a funny sign. Most people know nothing about drones and nothing about the homeless.

      "The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -Anatole France

  9. Avatar Troy Hawkins says:

    Randall R. Smith….spoken like a true tight ass.

    Pat, I applaud your concern and the fact that you've brought this to our attention.
    Thank you!

  10. Avatar Mike Rhodes says:

    Response to Randall Smith:

    This argument is similar to what the City of Fresno said in Federal Court. The failure of this logic is that it leads to having two different sets of laws. One for the poor/homeless and another set of rules for people living in houses. Here is a brief example. Suppose Randall lost his bike. If the police found it on the other side of town, the response (by the police) would not be to have it confiscated and immediately destroyed. They would put it into storage and try to find the owner. Homeless people’s property should be treated no differently. If the police, city sanitation, or some other entity finds property of obvious worth to a homeless person, it should not be immediately destroyed. It should be stored and effort should be made to return it to the person who owns it.

    In Fresno, the police and city sanitation destroyed priceless property of hundreds of homeless people. Essential medicine, ID, contact information of friends and family, irreplaceable photos, and in one case an urn that contained the ashes of a grandchild was destroyed. In short, many homeless people lost everything they owned and in some cases the link that might have helped them end their homelessness (by calling a friend or family member).

    Personally, I don’t think it is enough that Pat feels “bad” about the situation. I think she, and anyone else that knows about this situation, has a moral obligation to do something about it. Getting a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction against whoever is destroying homeless people’s property would be a good start. This could be followed up by a lawsuit to compensate the homeless victims of this crime for their loss.

  11. Avatar BenMiles says:

    I must point out that this “Pat” did not raise any concerns with any of the supervisors or organizers of the event. Had he/she raised any of these questions with us, we could have addressed them in a more appropriate context than a public airing of criticisms from behind the veil of an anonymous post, and we could have all evaluated whether items of value were being unnecessarily thrown away.

    Secondly, it seems “Pat” was not listening during all preparations and introductions on the day of the event. Several times during the event, various organizers clearly stated that if anything of monetary or obvious sentimental value were found, that those items should be given to the RPD officer who would hold them and try to find the owner. Additionally, as was stated several times, the residents all received ample warnings that a volunteer event would be combing the area looking for trash. They were encouraged to take anything of value from their sites so that they were not mistaken for trash.

    Thus, “Pat” should not have thrown away anything that he/she felt was of value. If he/she did not follow the policy in place to protect the transients that use the area as both a camp and dump, then he/she should not complain that such policy was not followed.

    I appreciate the support we received from so much of the Redding community, as well as some of the transients who thanked us for removing 1800 pounds of trash from the area they use, and I encourage “Pat” or anyone else with concerns to contact me directly at Shasta Land Trust. I am always happy to respond to any community members.

  12. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    Ben Miles,

    Did you consider the possibility that the homeless person these items belonged to may have been hospitalized and did not receive your warning as a result? This would not have been an unusual circumstance given the generally poor health of people who are constantly exposed to extreme temperatures and the many other hardships associated with an unsheltered existence.

    And what was the attitude of the attending RPD officer toward taking charge of items found in these camps? If it was true to form, his or her attitude would have clearly been one of disdain and disinterest.

    • Avatar BenMiles says:

      Ms. Barrett,

      I appreciate your well-known concern for those less fortunate members of our society, and recognize your many efforts to assist them.

      I also understand your point that some folks may have not have noticed the multiple signs and postings around the entire area, and may have missed the repeated visits leading up to the event letting them know that they needed to vacate the area and take valuable belongings. However, even if these were the circumstances, the event was not intended to be disposing of valuable possessions, and I contend that it did not. If there were items that were questionable in that regard, I did not hear about it on Saturday.

      Finally, I must object to your assertion of “disinterest” by our RPD official. The City of Redding, and the officer on site, continuously displayed the utmost respect for the people that use that area. The City and RPD participated in this event to the great benefit of the clean-up effort, which I believe benefits all people of the area, whether they have an address or not.

      Sincerely,

      Ben Miles

  13. Avatar Jenni says:

    Hi Pat:

    I just wanted to say a few things directly to you because I was very moved by the piece you wrote. My memories were engage to all the times I felt exactly the way you described…..I hope you don't mind a little bit of advice from an old geezer.

    I have felt like you described many times in my life – In conflict with something that does not feel right…trying to understand a larger picture…trying to trust more experienced individuals …or even worried about the reputation of an agency I might represent at that moment………I have felt all that…..just as I believe almost every person responding to your column has felt all those same mixed feelings that come from the new situations we find ourselves in as we grow into responsible adults. (Even those who may seem to have forgotten!)

    I appreciate that you wrote about your experience, and I hope your writing helps you sort out the situation, reflect on your approach your final decision and help you plan for what you might do "next time".

    Unfortunately the "next time" will always be a little different! That makes it tough!

    I do have some general advice…from an old person to a teen…..always trust that inner voice…your intuition.

    If something feels wrong, you need to address what is bothering you right away.

    Take a time out…don't just react…first Think, Consider, Seek counsel, Reflect if you need to and only then proceed. Don't be afraid to ask questions….In this case I would chose some less invested adult around you ……..or even your own parents….if you have a cell phone you might have been surprised at the good ideas your parents (or other experienced individuals you respect) might have given you!

    I think you sound like a great kid…with an awesome brain in the head on your shoulders….trust it and trust yourself and never hesitate to ask for further input from those you trust around you.

  14. Avatar Pat says:

    To Randall,
    In my single morning of ransacking the campsites of homeless people, I had nothing against disposing of clothing covered in excrement or “pounds of dangerous litter”. However, as I mentioned, the last campsite was the only situation that I found morally questionable. This campsite was not even visible from the trail, and contained no “dangerous litter” of any sort which was the root of my anger. How dangerous is clothing? I find home owner’s litter much more disgusting than a homeless person’s tent and I’m surprised you feel differently due to your involvement in this good intentioned cause. The civility of a person should not be compromised by their lack of a home and I reject your assumption that they all maliciously camp illegally. I believe your comments are mistaken due to your absence from our clean up of this particular campsite. My reflection on the clean up was to provoke change, such as the formation of a homeless campground to accommodate those who have no option but to illegally camp.
    To Ben Miles,
    I’m slightly offended by your assertion that I was wrong in not alerting my leaders during the clean up. I watched the leader of the clean up throwing away these items and although I was taken aback, I did not feel it was my place as a representative of a club at my school to undermine their authority. Earlier in the morning I had turned over a key to the leaders in case it contained value to its owner, thus following the policies. The campsite in my reference was ‘discovered’ not by the police officer, but by another volunteer. Therefore, his warnings most likely were not reached by this unseen homeless person. In addition, this particular campsite was far from “combed” for trash, but ransacked without care. My complaint in this activity was due to the fact that my authority figures did not follow the policies, instilling in such impressionable youth quite faulty morals. I did not throw away things I considered of value, thus following the policy.
    To those of you who supported me,
    I thank you very much. I am overjoyed that fellow Redding citizens mirror my sentiments and I have faith that this may bring about a respect for the homeless and awareness of our good intentions sometimes gone wrong.

    Sincerely,
    PAT

    • Avatar BenMiles says:

      Dear Pat,

      I am very grateful for your participation and efforts that helped clean up the public land on Saturday. We truly appreciate your help, and hope to address your concerns in a professional manner. My intent was not to offend you, but in my opinion your concerns would have been far more productive had you voiced them to us on the day of the event. Perhaps we could have identified and removed certain valuable items from the trash, if that was warranted. If I did offend you, I do apologize.

      I am very interested to know what particular items brought about so much emotional concern from you. The entire area was posted with signs, and we are fairly certain that the site from which the trash removal caused you to profess our ‘disregard’ for people, had several signs posted right there. As far as I can tell, there was a fairly limited amount of trash taken from that site, and that it was not ‘ransacked.’

      I would welcome a discussion with you regarding the event and your concerns. Please contact me at your convenience. I hope that this event did not leave you with an unfavorable impression of Shasta Land Trust. We always strive to serve the public as we work to conserve our local environment. Again, thank you very much for your efforts and your concerns.

      Sincerely,

      Ben Miles

  15. Avatar Ardo says:

    Reading the article and the posts above, I feel like I have to add a comment on my understanding and views of the clean up event that took place. The argument at this point, as I understand it, is between people who were trying to do the right thing (cleaning up the environment) and people who are trying to do the right thing (protect the rights of the homeless). In this particular case, where is the middle ground? Can any of you answer that, have you even thought about it? If there is no middle ground, what is the point of even having a conversation or a debate. Personally, I feel like Shasta Land Trust and those involved with the cleanup did all they could or should be expected to do when it came to notifying the transients that lived in that area. Judging from the amount of trash and debris that was collected from the area, I would venture a guess that it needed to be done. That being said, I agree that this was a temporary fix to a rather serious problem. I also agree that the homeless should have a place to stay and it should not be the location that they are currently in. However, there is nothing any one of you can do about that at this point. You really need to stop getting angry with each other about this because all of you are are TRYING to do the right thing. Shasta Land Trust, I applaud your efforts in this clean up I know that you have a great staff and volunteer base that care deeply about the environment and human effects on it, homeless or not. "Pat", I honestly think you are a bit of a coward for not speaking up or leaving the event when you felt morally compromised. I am not judging morality, but I have no problem calling you a coward because you did very little to nothing about how you felt.

  16. Avatar Chris says:

    A Victory for the Homeless in Fresno

    "Judge Wanger said that he did not think the police should be put in the position of deciding what was valuable property or not. He said "one man’s treasure is another man’s junk."

    READ MORE:

    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/10/19/18321

  17. Avatar Loves to Eat says:

    This may come as a real shocker…anyone think that perhaps the "homeless" could have been illiterate? They don't have a clue that their belonging will be thrown out or removed. This is sad in my opinion.

  18. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    Ardo,

    I believe "Pat" is a lot more perceptive than you are giving him or her credit for. I'm sure RPD's long-standing disrespect for the possessions of the homeless (which is well documented) and the general contempt for the homeless themselves by people in positions of authority was something this young person picked up on quite easily. I can certainly understand why someone of that age would be hesitant to confront the adults in charge on the spur of the moment in a new situation, or to interfere with their apparent determination to dispose of these items, which it seems was done in a very deliberate and hasty manner. Even an older person with more expereince might easily have experienced some in initial confusion.

    Pat,

    When I was 11 years old, I moved with my family from New York to Mississippi. I remember being horrifed that black people were forced to find "colored" restrooms and drinking fountains (which were few and far between), and were not allowed in most restaurants and many businesses. However, nearly all of the adults around me saw nothing wrong with this. I suspect this was one of those moments for you.

    You obviously have compassion and respect for other human beings, regardless of their station in life. Don't ever let anyone convince you that that's wrong.

  19. Avatar Ardo says:

    Patrecia,
    I never discussed RPD, nor am I prepared to talk about their role in the past since my own knowledge is limited. My discussion was based solely on the action of Shasta Land Trust and what I believe to be the environmentally friendly goals they were trying to accomplish. I think this has a lot less to do with RPD than you may realize. This clean up effort was part of an international event to decrease the amount of trash and debris in natural areas. As far as "Pat's" actions, I have a seriously problem with the way he approached the situation. I believe that he was disturbed by some of his actions or the actions of others even though I personally would not feel the same way in the situation. What I have a problem with is his lack of courage when addressing the issue. He did not voice his concerns at the event, he did not leave the event with his friend, instead he stayed, and continued to work. Only afterward did he decide, through an anonymous post no less, that he was morally damaged enough to do something about it. As far as his age, I could care less if he was 12 or 26, if he is grown up enough to write what he did accusing a great organization like Shasta Land Trust of possible injustice, then he is certainly old enough to voice his opinions in person on the spot.

  20. Avatar that 1 guy says:

    i think that its good that this guy has the right morals and everything but the fact is theres way to much trash. The homeless are learning a lesson here that maybe they should try to keep a cleaner area.

  21. Avatar me says:

    Is the point of this discussion to decide whether or not "pat" is a coward or if s/he handled the situation correctly? -or- Is it to decide how the belongings of a houseless person should be handled? The point is that there is a moral question that has been brought to our attention and needs to be addressed.

    "that 1 guy" stated — "The homeless are learning a lesson here that maybe they should try to keep a cleaner area."

    As was written in the original letter, this camp was an exception to many of the others. It was kept neat with a tent and clean clothes. How are we "teaching a lesson" to these houseless people if we destroy not only the dirty living areas but the clean one's as well?

    As for throwing the painting's out I think that brings forth the question of "Who has the right to choose what is considered valuable to another person?" Perhaps the houseless person was painting to create his own income?

    I feel deeply for the person who owned these belongings and I believe that the next time there is a cleanup these concerns need to be addressed much more clearly.

  22. Avatar Mike Rhodes says:

    If this kind of a clean up ever happens again, I hope someone will go to the event with a video camera and document the illegal destruction of homeless people’s property. A copy of that video should be sent to Michael T. Risher, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California, 39 Drumm Street, San Francisco, CA 94111 | T (main): 415.621.2493

    The lesson to be learned here is that you have homeless people in your community. They need to be treated with dignity and respect. You can’t throw their property away because you don’t like where they are living. Homeless people have the same rights under the constitution as everyone else.

    You want to protect the environment? That is an admirable and worthy goal. The way to accomplish both of these goals is to develop a campground where homeless people can live. The site must have toilets, trash bins, and running water. Civil society has a moral obligation to help out those who are less fortunate and providing a clean and safe environment for the homeless is a must.

    After the “safe ground” campsite for the homeless is established, I encourage you to look into setting up a Housing First program. Housing First ends homelessness by providing decent housing. Briefly, the concept is that Housing First is successful at ending homelessness because it provides people with a solid base from which to re-establish their lives and address whatever issues made them homeless in the first place. It is also a lot less expensive than maintaining the system of shelters, doing clean ups at encampments, policing, and providing emergency medical services.

  23. Avatar Jeremy Alderson says:

    I usually stay out of these things, but someone brought this discussion to my attention, and I find Ben Miles' comments so outrageous that I feel I must say something.

    Ben, let's just list a few things wrong with your comments:

    1 – You do not seem to feel any need to investigate this eyewitness report or seek corroborating or disputing testimony. That is utterly irresponsible conduct on the part of an organizational director, and on that ground alone, you are obviously unfit for a position of responsibility.

    2 – You regurgitate cla[ptrap about the responsibilty of the police officer involved, despite the fact that he was clearly involved with an illegal activity (as you were). What does it mean to say that a police officer showed "respect" when he is breaking the law he is sworn to uphold? If a logger illegally clear cut your land trust, would ou think it was all right if he did it with "respect?" Of course not, so the subtext of your declaration about "respect," is really the utter disrespect of human beings, their rights and the fabric of our society, and an insistence, instead, on your own personal priorities and prerogatives.

    3 – You are out of touch with the environmental movement itself. The probelm of poor people degrading environments out of desperation is common (and much more serious) all over the world, but you are the first "environmentalist" I personally am aware of who feels the solution is to further destroy the lives of the poor people.

    4 – You seem not to understand that what is destroying our environment is the same thing that is destroying the lives of homeless people. Do you think it is a coincidence that all across our country low-income housing has been torn down to make way for office buildings, while forests have been chopped up for the lumber with which to build and furnish them?

    5 – Why do you think we have movements — peace, anti-poverty, civil rights, environmental or whatever — in the first place? Don't you know that in the South, for example, the perpetrators of crimes against black people were often law enforcement officers, that juries looked the other way, and that the entire system of segregation was supported by the majority of whites? We have movements so that those suffering from what Martin Luther King called, "creative maladjustment," would have a way to unite and fight for what is right. What Pat brought to your attention, even more than the specifics of the issue, was the sacred flame that animates all struggles for a better world, and your response was to douse it with an insistence on following procedures and the dictates of authority. If that's what the land trust movement stands for, count me out.

    Really, Ben, you are a disgrace. Shame on you.

  24. Avatar Chris says:

    Who will defend Barbara, ( known as the catwoman,) who lives behind Raley's supermarket on Henderson Rd. ? Other transients beat her, (She must be all of 90 pounds.)and it seems the best solution R.P.D. has come up with is to steal all of her worldy possessions during homeless camp raids, and give her a several hundred dollar ticket for the Crime of Sleeping.

    Was it really necessary to steal her Cat and Dog food she uses to feed homeless animals during the River clean up several days ago ?

    After all Redding Community Christians, she is your Neighboor…

  25. Avatar Everythings.Gonna.B. says:

    Wow. reading this post, and being a young volunteer myself, this needs to be printed out (including the argumentative comments!) It should be posted up around coffee shops or anywhere transients may be found. It is sickening to know the less fortunate are being thieved of their 'goods'

    …and civilians who are 'afraid' of these people (yes they are REAL people!) you think they are going to harm you? why wouldnt you walk by and say "hello-good day!" Ask them something, anything, they need interaction..although some of them do walk around acting 'crazy' talking to themselves… you can thank the government and their testings for this! Dont think that some normal living person such as you or I just decided to give up what they had of a family and home for this bush lived life~ most of them have been through the wars, (or the 70's drug trip) or had the 'medical practitioners' treatment. They can not remember what has been done to them…this is all that they know, and they make the best of it!

    You tight ass fu(ks that work for the county should be ashamed of yourself.. you have a family, do you not? what if someone treated your grandfather this way? or your mother? your wife. husband. or child!? DO UNTO OTHER AS YOU WISH TO BE TREATED

    This 'new world order' that is taking over has put us all in shame! your doomed if you think that is the ways of life~ serve your purpose! If you are not serving, you will be served..when you do not teach, learn. live is an amazing thing. not a struggle to get through!

  26. Avatar Kelly Brewer says:

    A gentle reminder, please, that comments work best when everybody sticks to the issues and refrains from personal attacks. You know who you are. Don't make me come over there. 🙂

  27. Avatar Jeremy Alderson says:

    If anybody is still reading this thread, perhaps you will find this related story from San Diego of interest:

    10News.com

    Homeless Citizens Claim Workers Threw Away Personal Items

    SAN DIEGO — Advocates for the homeless in San Diego are speaking out after some homeless citizens claimed they were victims of cruel actions by police and city workers.

    Yolanda Dillard is homeless and lives in downtown San Diego. She uses a cart donated by a nonprofit group to store her belongings.

    "Basically, it's our house; I lost a part of my heart. I had sleeping bags, tents, clothes," said Dillard.

    The cart meant everything to Dillard, but on Tuesday she parked it on the sidewalk and went inside a church on 17th Street to have something to eat. When she left the church, she saw something very shocking.

    "I ran across the street. I started crying," said Dillard.

    She and 12 other homeless citizens said they saw police and city crews tossing carts — and everything inside — into garbage trucks.

    "I was begging, screaming, but the police said don't touch anything. It's heartbreaking and I get depressed all the time," said homeless citizen Robert Barajas.

    After it was over, Barajas was left with a tube of Chapstick. He lost his depression medication, IDs and the only remaining picture of his deceased mother. Dillard is now missing all the photos of her children.

    "That was everything I own, you know. Now I don't have anything," said Dillard.

    City crews said they were simply responding to complaints about trash and enforcing city codes.

    "We did post a notice," said Jose Ysea, public information officer for the city's Office of Environmental Services.

    A warning had been up for five days before crews came to clear the area.

    "You've got a whole row of carts with these worldly possessions and you're calling it trash?" asked 10News' Michael Chen.

    "If they're deemed to be abandoned, it's debris and they'll be treated as such," said Ysea.

    Homeless advocates say one person's trash was another's life, and a petition has been started in protest. Lawyer Scott Dreher plans to sue on behalf of the homeless.

    "You can't take somebody's stuff without due process, simple as that," said Dreher.

    "We have to start all over again," said Dillard.

    Homeless advocates also said they are suspicious about the timing, wondering why the cleanup occurred just as the homeless were inside eating.

    Police and city officials said it was a coincidence and the homeless were given plenty of warning.

  28. Avatar hosgs1 says:

    Pat: all I have to say is never, ever let someone tell you that you need to change your mind. ALWAYS stick to what you believe in.

    some "community leaders" do not like to be told on what they should do, etc. Don't let that discourage you in the future and speak up regardless what they think.

    you will always have people like us who will back you and make you strong.

    congrates for making this public and thank you for telling us your story.

    -Ron

  29. Avatar Mary says:

    That same club would have you in court if that was a beaver's dam or a bird's nest that was disturbed………people? expendable…remove…nature rules

    What have we become? I'm so sorry that person will find he or she has nothing left to help keep themselves warm or safe from the elements.

  30. Avatar Teresa Norman says:

    To Mary:

    You are so right. In general our society has placed far more value on "things" than people, whether it is a bird's nest, a fairy shrimp or nice homes and expensive cars. Your comments are right on!

    To the Sierra Nevada Conservancy group:

    I WOULD HAVE HAD YOUR HEADS ON A PLATTER if my kid volunteered to help cleanup anywhere and you had them taking items from the homeless or any other person. IF you had students under 18 yrs of age I certainly hope that you have signed releases from parents that detailed the nature AND point of your "River" cleanup.

    "Pat" doesn't state whether joining the effort was a school related project or just a couple of friends getting together on a Saturday to help in our community. If involvement came from school or club encouragement, the school had better take another look at a policy that would allow a minor to be involved. As a parent, I will tell you for certain that this story would not end here if one the volunteers were from my home!!