Dozens Gather at Albany Bulb to Oppose Eviction of Encampment

Roughly 100 people gathered for a meeting at the Albany Bulb tonight, Saturday, to talk about possible ways to stop the city's plan to begin enforcing the no-camping ordinance next month against the Bulb's estimated 60-70 inhabitants.

About 100 people opposed to the removal of the encampment of people living on Albany Bulb gathered at the Bulb on Sept. 28, 2013 to discuss efforts to stop the eviction.
About 100 people opposed to the removal of the encampment of people living on Albany Bulb gathered at the Bulb on Sept. 28, 2013 to discuss efforts to stop the eviction.
Roughly 100 people gathered at the Albany Bulb tonight, Saturday, for a community gathering to discuss how to avert the planned eviction of the long-standing homeless encampment.

After sharing food served on a long table set up temporarily next to Albany Beach, the group met inside a small amphitheather-style bowl on stacked stone seats at the entrance of the Bulb. 

Several topics arose, with proposals for cleaning up trash and addressing the issue of whether some of the makeshift living structures were too large.

Doug Anderson, who helped organize the gathering, said at the meeting that picking up trash and addressing the size of the structures would not deal with the chief issue, which he said is the City of Albany's decision to evict those living on the Bulb next month.

He stressed the importance of a planned camp-out at the Bulb on Wednesday, Oct. 2. A flyer said the "Solidarity Camp-Out @ the Albany Bulb" is intended "to prevent the eviction of its current residents + explore solutions."


The City Council – whose longstanding goal is to hand over responsibility for the city-owned Bulb to the East Bay Regional Park District to manage as part of McLaughlin Eastshore State Park – voted in May to ask the police department to begin enforcing the city's no-camping ordinance at the Bulb in October.

No date has been announced for when the enforcement will begin. An estimated 60-70 people live on the Bulb in a variety of tents and makeshift structures.

In June, the council agreed to hire the Berkeley Food and Housing Project to implement what the city calls "Project Hope" to help those living on the Bulb and other Albany homeless connect with social services and find alternative housing. 

Also participating in the ongoing effort are the Solano Community Church and the Albany Community Foundation.

Upcoming "Services Fair" next to the Bulb

The city is also co-sponsoring a "Services Fair" for the homeless on Thursday, Oct. 3, next to the Albany Waterfront and entrance to the Bulb. Several local service agencies are scheduled to participate.

The planned removal of the Bulb encampment has stirred much controversy, including many sharply contrasting views expressed in comments on Albany Patch news articles as well as blog posts and "Speak Out" board posts by readers.

The City Council agreed to consider the issue again at its Sept. 3 meeting, which drew a march by about four dozen Bulb residents and supporters. At that meeting, the council voted 4-1 to reaffirm its decision to proceed with enforcing the no-camping law next month.

City info page on Bulb issue

The city has also created an information web page about the issue called "Homelessness in Albany," with a FAQ sheet, photos, a summary of assistance provided so far to the Bulb residents and links to news articles and service agencies.


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Lisbeth Allen September 30, 2013 at 06:03 PM
We used to walk around the Bulb. On a nice day, go out for some fresh air, look at the artwork, take the doggies for a stroll... Not any more. Last time we tried to walk there, we quietly walked past one of the encampments, minding our own business, and a bunch of pit bulls on steroids came out to fight us off. We turned around and left, and haven't gone back since.
David Sanger September 30, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Unfortunately many of the arguments defending the squatters on Albany Bulb would be just as applicable if they all suddenly decided one night to up and move their encampments to Memorial Park. "I feel safe here" "Albany has no homeless shelter or affordable housing" "Where should they go?" " It is their home, and they want to stay there" However I doubt any Albany residents would be at all sympathetic. In the big picture homelessness in the Bay Area is a regional issue better addressed by increased taxes and significant public funding of county and state programs. Long term, continued shanty towns on land set aside for a state park are not a viable answer
thorn October 01, 2013 at 04:07 AM
Amber you must be joking= asking a question with an implication that we will answer wrongly- made worse by the fact that you are wrong- it is Albany Property until it is turned over to Eastbay Regional Parks- which will not happen while you are there. SO how about you make a point...
Amber Whitson October 01, 2013 at 02:06 PM
What qualifies someone to be a resident of Albany? Is it the ability of someone to pay property taxes? I have seen the way that Albany treats those who live in their city and are unfortunate enough to end up experiencing homelessness. I have seen this, because some of them live here, on the Albany Bulb. I know people who grew-up in Albany, lived in Albany intermittently throughout their lives, And then, one day... BAM!!! Their entire lives were turned upside-down. They are homeless. And, now they live on the same dump that they used to ride down to with their parents, back when it was still a dump. And, what do they get, to help them to attempt to recover some sense of stability or dignity? Well, for (at least) 20 years: they got nothing. If you were in danger of *becoming* homeless, there was at least *some* assistance... But, what if you should end up completely homeless, while living in Albany? Well... Sorry, you have just disqualified yourself as an Albany resident. Please speak with Berkeley Food and Housing Project, and find yourself a nice slum in East Oakland, to live in. See you, whenever you work your way out of poverty! Good Luck! (You mentally I'll, drug addicted Bum!)
doris October 01, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Wow, Amber! I never thought it possible, but your last sentence shows you finally see the light. Excellent.
Amber Whitson October 01, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Way to avoid the actual facts, "doris". Now let's see you deal with some actual *facts*...
Kathryn Javandel October 01, 2013 at 02:43 PM
I daresay that "What qualifies someone to be a resident of Albany?" is having a legal residence in Albany regardless whether that legal residence is a house, an apt., a rented room or sleeping on somebody's couch (WITH their permission.) Trespassing and/or illegal camping does not qualify someone to be a resident just like stealing a bicycle doesn't make it YOUR bicycle -- it's still someone else's stolen bicycle even if you have possession of it.
Robin Onaka October 01, 2013 at 02:45 PM
No, regarding property taxes. Renters don't pay property taxes and there are plenty of us (renters) living here.
Kathryn Javandel October 01, 2013 at 02:54 PM
"I know people who grew-up in Albany, lived in Albany intermittently throughout their lives, And then, one day... BAM!!! Their entire lives were turned upside-down. They are homeless. And, now they live on the same dump that they used to ride down to with their parents, back when it was still a dump." I am dubious that any such people exist especially considering that the "dump" which became Albany Bulb was an construction waste landfill created in 1963, not the consumer trash/garbage dump that one might "ride down to with their parents." The current garbage everywhere is not from residents dumping their trash; it was brought there by the illegal campers.
doris October 01, 2013 at 03:13 PM
I also know people who grew up in Albany, some lived intermittently in Albany, and then one day...BAM! they realized they can't afford to live in Albany and they moved somewhere where they can afford to live. Some of those are my children. That's called life, that's reality, that's how it's done. Who says just because you've lived somewhere once you're entitled to live there all your life?
Kathryn Javandel October 01, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Two thoughts about Amber's passing shot at East Oakland: First: When my eldest daughter finished college, she moved out of my house into an apt. with roommates in East Oakland. It was what she could afford just like the other lawful rent-paying residents of East Oakland were living where they can afford to. So, the illegal campers are too good to live like law abiding people like my daughter? They are somehow inherently entitled to live rent-free on the waterfront with panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge in profile and the San Francisco city skyline, and nothing less will do?
Kathryn Javandel October 01, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Second: Yesterday, I had an appearance in Pleasanton at the DUI/drug possession arraignments. The judge recognized one woman who came up when her case was called. He commented that she was a "regular," that she hadn't been following the terms and conditions of her Prop 36 diversion, and that she still hadn't enrolled in a program as she had been ordered. She explained that she was trying to get into Very Good Program (she said the name but I can't remember it) but then got hazy about the detail of whether she couldn't afford it and was trying to persuade them to take her anyway or was trying to get the money for it somehow and so on. The judge told her that she was going to jail if she didn't get into SOME program as he had ordered her to. She complained that she didn't want to go to just any program, she wanted Very Good Program. The judge ended up telling her that he was terminating her current probation because she had failed to comply with its terms and conditions, that he was suspending her remand (being taken into custody) for a week, but that if she enrolled in a program within a week -- the program would notify the court of her enrollment -- then he would reinstate her probation and she could stay out of jail. From the expression on her face, it seemed pretty clear that she was probably going to jail next week because she was too good for anywhere but Very Good Program which she was having trouble getting into. What I continue not to understand is why these kinds of people seem to believe that they are better than everyone else, that they are entitled to the best of everything even if they can't afford to pay for it, and that they are so special that the laws don't apply to them.
thorn October 01, 2013 at 04:10 PM
>>renters dont pay property taxes<< ??? maybe not directly but it you think it isn't part of your rent, you are mistaken. Us renters pay the property tax on our places or Landlords would not be making a profit./..
thorn October 01, 2013 at 05:38 PM
also for the millionth time Amber, stop trying to make an issue out of a non-issue. FACT>> The Bulb is a city-owned piece of land extending into San Francisco Bay from the foot of Buchanan Street in Albany. It was made from construction debris and dirt dumped into the Bay. The City Council – whose longstanding goal is to hand over responsibility for the Bulb to the East Bay Regional Park District to manage as part of McLaughlin Eastshore State Park/ PS- typically it is the responsibility of the COUNTY to provide welfare, shelter, and other emergency assistance not a city. Big cities like NY and LA have confused this issue as they are city and county combined. Point being people do not generally have the right to demand housing in a particular city.
Robin Onaka October 01, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Hi Thorn, I should have been more clear re renters and property taxes and said "renters don't pay separate taxes in addition to their rent." They probably are included in the rent. I just assumed everyone would know property owners pay property taxes besides their mortgage payments.
thorn October 01, 2013 at 06:20 PM
well for the record/ general information here- many homeowners do not pay separate taxes either... depending on how you structure your mortgage the taxes can often be included.. Bottom line we all pay property taxes, some of us get a bill some don't. More to the point, we live in a COUNTY that has a responsibility to provide services for us, not fair to put that pressure on the smallest city in a county.
David Sanger October 01, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Albany property? Do you think the Bulb is some kind of "wild autonomous space" Amber? Are you advocating "substantive resistance to the current efforts to evict the Bulb residents and manicure the space for "passive recreation"? ---------------------------------- ---- https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/30/18744120.php
Ross Stapleton-Gray October 01, 2013 at 10:01 PM
What really bugs me is when facts & discourse get hijacked, e.g., the use of phrases like "manicure the space for 'passive recreation,'" or "McPark," when nothing of the sort is proposed; "wild autonomous space" hardly fits a now densely-settled squatters camp with defensive dogs. And then, from Amber, the tarring of everyone not on her side as "right wing," when most of the opposition is almost certainly to the left of the Democrats in the Congress. I think there's a pretty clear picture forming of the circumstances of the Albany Bulb, despite all that.
Amber Whitson October 01, 2013 at 11:02 PM
My point about the Bulb, being Albany property was that: if there are people who have been living on the Bulb for close to a decade (leaving home in the morning, or whenever, and returns home to their domicile on the Albany Bulb, at the end of their day...) then that would make the Albany Bulb their "habitual residence", would it not? And, on the Bulb as "passive recreation", check out the section entitled "Intended Usage": http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=1280
dorthy manser October 01, 2013 at 11:14 PM
Whatever. Amber is on a mission, with infinite, if periodic, amounts of energy. I really hope she finds a place to live, someplace far from Albany. But if she thinks that I'm going to pay for her drug habit, she's living in a fantasy world.
David Sanger October 01, 2013 at 11:59 PM
so are you now claiming, Amber, that the Bulb is your "habitual residence" and you have no intention of leaving?
thorn October 02, 2013 at 01:06 AM
once again Amber directs us to read something without making a point// no part of the camping falls under the intended usage section- not to mention that section has a description of enforcing the no camping. OH MY- are you seriously claiming you are not camping but "residing" there thereby granting you the right to stay because "residing" has not been banned, just "camping" wow. That is not going to work. Much fun deciphering your cryptic messages Amber, but no one is really up to it. Tell us what you mean the first time please, this condescending mystical tone does not help. The fact that you are "habitually homeless" does not help either when you have no interest in being housed. Wanting to live outside does not guarantee you the right to make camp wherever you see fit. Being habitually homeless entitles you to housing assistance at best, not a place to camp.
Amber Whitson October 02, 2013 at 03:35 AM
I wasn't aware that the legal term "habitual residence" was also applicable to something as specific as the particular plot of land that one dwells on. It *does*, however, apply to the locality/jurisdiction within the state that one lives in. Like I told the City Council: I will be an Albany voter. Whether I do it from the Bulb, from a doorway (or bench) on Solano, or from a traditional housing situation, elsewhere in Albany. Albany will have been my "home" for 7 years, on October 31st. *Albany* is my "habitual residence".
thorn October 02, 2013 at 04:49 AM
oh boy. really not sure what you expect us to do with that information especially considering how many times you repeat how long you have been in Albany, or why it matters now. You start out asking us "who here thinks the Bulb is part of Albany" .. now this.. are you trying to trick us into saying you are an Albany resident and therefore entitled to something? ..... I think i know what your game is here and it how it will end for you ....{this time i'll be mystical}
Amber Whitson October 02, 2013 at 01:39 PM
On the City of Albany website, inZv the section "City Government", I am listed (again: by The City, themselves) as a "member representing the Albany Homeless Community - Selected by the Task Force". How about you ask *the City* whether, or not, *they* consider me to be a member of the Albany Community?...?
Kathryn Javandel October 02, 2013 at 02:23 PM
"I will be an Albany voter." Does this mean Amber isn't currently an Albany voter? If not, why not?
Amber Whitson October 02, 2013 at 04:39 PM
Actually, I am. My home address (according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters is: 1 Buchanan Street
thorn October 02, 2013 at 04:56 PM
time to make a point Amber.
thorn October 02, 2013 at 06:26 PM
oh wait, you almost did make a point but of course, again in the form of a mystical question >>How about you ask *the City* whether, or not, *they* consider me to be a member of the Albany Community?...? <<< SO tell us what difference it makes whether you are part of the community or not? Which answer justifies you staying on the Bulb forever?
Ricardø October 03, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Enough silliness, soldiers, bayonets out and CHAARRRRRGEEE. And I'm a peacenik liberal.


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