So you know when the police come and roust some homeless person on the street and take away their shopping cart? Ever wonder what happens to the shopping cart? Do they become part of shopping cart relays? Are they used as part of a Burning Man art installation? Or are they returned to the stores they were stolen from? Berkeley, being Berkeley, has come up with a unique idea: they store them in a deep freezer, along with all the other confiscated items. In response to complaints about the “vermin infested” carts left by the homeless, Berkeley bought a refrigrated container, leased land from CALTrans, and now puts the left-over shopping carts and other items in the deep freeze to wait for their rightful “owner” to pick them back up once their stay in detention is over. Owners have 90 days to pick them up, but if they don’t, the carts are either recycled or put in the dump. As usual, this has brought upon the usual complaints from concerned citizens wondering why a city with a 7.5 million dollar budget is using money to hold shopping carts in storage for people who’ve been detained partly for using the shopping carts.
There’s other news on the Berkeley homeless front. A city-wide plan to move it’s locker-storage rooms with which they’ve set up for the homeless to keep their belongings is also under fire by people who don’t want to be stuck next to a locker storage facility for the homeless. This includes the new neighbors, an outreach program for drug and alcohol addicts who don’t want new riff raff mixing with their riff raff. And if one of those homeless people cause any trouble, they'll be sent to the brand new Alameda County Homeless Court, a court specifically set up to deal with homeless. In the court, homeless people fined or arrested for the general act of being homeless are allowed to have their fines and penalities waived if they show they are making an honest attempt at being less homeless. All of which sounds a little on the crazy side, but not nearly as much as a program set up to wash homeless people's feet.