Cashless Care/City Hall. A glorious free for all, Democracy at its sneakiest.


root - Posted on 31 December 1969

I kept myself from sleeping
by sittin on tacks.

Someone had to speak up, I
doubt it should to be me.

by Joe B.

It began in the C.O.H.
[Coalition On Homelessness]
brain storming and food before City Hall.

A rushed thing it was then someone came announces "Newsom’s speaking" or words to that affect.

I stuffed my mouth with a baloney and cheese on wheat bread looking for gooey mayonnaise to spread between them as I hastily drank some juice while making another sandwich to eat on the way to City Hall.

So many people wanted to speak both for and against I believe they ran into the hundreds on both pro and con side of Proposition N’s Care Not Cash Initiative.

No tape recording, or paper, completely unprepared to report, interview, or take photo’s.

I’m to write my name on green or orange cards, my name would be called to speak yes or no proposition N.

Odd things begin to happen first so many people are in the building that the regular large cathedral like room where usually all the people would have seats were packed to standing and had move to the first floor in the lunch room that are hastily stacked with folding chairs.

Up on the second floor I don’t know if more of the Care Not Cash folks are there on the first floor but it seems there are more C. N.C.’s than Anti’s though both are very vocal in for/against the initiative.

I found a pen, some scratch paper and wrote.
Odd stuff like the rule

Supervisor Tony Hall as moderator lays out a few rules:
1)Balanced views from both sides of the issue.
2)Because of overflow after a few people in the upper room is called the same amount will be called downstairs.
3)one and a half minutes is for persons to speak.

There are others which I’ve forgotten for now.

Back to back Care Not Cash people spoke then opposing speakers.

But when Tony Hall recognized a pro Care Not Cash speaker who he knew spoke both English and Spanish who first spoke in Spanish then was to speak for someone else with a CNC cause.

Mr. Hall didn’t go for it saying "I’ve seen you before, you speak English, your for Care Not Cash, and you are now interpret for him, no, let him speak without an interpreter."

Supervisor Mat Gonzalez, himself bi-lingual helped explain to supervisors and both upper and lower floor audience clearing up slight language problems.

After hearing Lisa, A. Fay’s, and many others my name is called and as I rush upstairs not knowing what to say there is heart thumping fear "What to say, How to say, and when to be through?

Joe, what are you gonna say?

Mr. Hall asked my name I answer and tells me to come up and speak. [Thought I had more time, well here goes].

It came out in a rush. "You’ve cloned prop. N from New York it won’t work, not only 10 people died in New York more died you don’t know about; there underground!

If those 10 million, ‘uh, billion were used to help people instead of putting them in jail, getting jobs, and homes…"

I paused for a second. "Review Prop. N, fix it, its not right."

I paraphrase myself because I really don’t know if what I said so rapidly made sense to anyone listening in that room.

I try sitting when a guard tells me that "Speakers are to leave after they’ve spoken."

I thank her and shakily going outside.

I briefly met the Honorable, Reverend Amos Brown.

My heart is pounding less as he motioned me to sit and talk.

I know he saw my Anti-N stick-on patch but he spoke to me about his Third Baptist Church, where its located, and if I’d visit Sunday.

I also tell him why I don’t really think I can sing.

The cause, being speared in the throat in High School.

He said he has someone knowledgeable to test my voice.

Always when elderly or young woman, seasoned women or men, priest’s invite me to church I take as a sign or a nudge from God/Goddess, a spiritual shoulder tap by higher powers to keep soul and body safe and I go.

I quickly walk downstairs taking a seat.

After another speaker ends their speech I leave feeling tired, drained and not knowing if my words meant anything if they help sway anyone?

Now I can look forward to church and finding if my voice was permanently damaged or slightly improved I always dreaded singing never letting myself go for fear of sounding like bull frog or fog horn guess I’ll find out in God’s House.


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