The government has been accused of handing itself

first_imgThe government has been accused of handing itself a “get out of jail free” card by proposing improvements to health and social care for people with learning difficulties but warning they will only be introduced if it has enough money.The criticism came after the publication of the Department of Health’s response to No Voice Unheard No Right Ignored, a consultation on improving standards in the wake of the Winterbourne View abuse scandal.The consultation was launched followed disappointment at the lack of progress made to move people with learning difficulties from inpatient hospital settings to community-based homes, and was issued earlier this year under the coalition government by the Liberal Democrat care and support minister Norman Lamb.It was aimed at making it easier for people with learning difficulties, autism and mental health conditions to escape institutional care – often in settings far from their original homes – and live independently in the community.The social care minister Alistair Burt said this week: “We expect to see a significant change in the experience of care and in outcomes for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions between now and 2020.”Among the government’s aims are that people will, by 2020, “expect to be supported to live independently as part of a community and in a home they have chosen” and will “know their views will be listened to and be able to challenge decisions about them and about their care”.But the document adds: “These proposals for action are put forward in the context of, and are subject to, the government’s comprehensive spending review [which is due later this month].”Among the proposals – most of which apply only to England – are new guidance for commissioners of health and social care services; to pilot access to a named social worker as the primary point of contact for service-users; and to improve information-sharing between agencies.It concludes: “We appreciate there will always be a small number of people who need care and support in hospital, especially in crisis situations, but we would expect that this will be for no longer than clinically necessary, and wherever possible located closer to where the individual lives or wishes to be.”But Andrew Lee, director of policy and campaigns at People First Self-Advocacy, said he was unhappy that the government had said it needed to do more work but could only make it happen “if there is enough money”. He said: “It sounds like a ‘get out of jail free’ card.  It is saying thanks for your responses, but if we don’t have enough money then we won’t be doing any of this.”He said he was also worried that there was no mention of whether disabled people and their organisations would be involved in writing the new guidance for commissioners.Lee said: “It also talks about giving clear information about people’s rights and support to help them make their views clear. “It again does not say how this will be done and with fewer self-advocacy groups, I cannot see how local authorities are going to ensure that people with learning difficulties get this information and are aware of their rights.”But he said he was glad that the government was taking the need for advocacy seriously, although he said advocates would need to be properly trained in how to work with people with learning difficulties and should be linked with local disabled people’s organisations.He added: “I also like the idea of have a named social worker. This could make sure that people do not get lost in the system, being moved from person to person.”But Lee said he had been expecting a much stronger document, and said it had failed to “lay down the law in a strong enough way”.He said: “We are talking about people being locked away, yet there is no talk of any consequences for people who continue to do this (local authorities or commissioners).“If there was another case such as Winterbourne View, what consequences would there be for the local authority and the commissioners who paid for this service and didn’t check that the service was working properly, that people had access to advocates and that people were being included in the decisions about their lives?”The government says in the document that respondents to the consultation were “clear that one of the most significant challenges to supporting people to live in the community was the lack of available community services in some areas”, while they also heard “how important advocacy is to people and about the need for this to be independent”.More than 100 of the 219 individual responses to the consultation came from disabled people.The latest target agreed by local authorities and NHS England is to reduce inpatient numbers from about 2,600 people to between 1,300 and 1,700, by April 2019.Campaigners have been attempting to persuade governments to end the use of inpatient beds for people with learning difficulties since the late 1940s.As far back as 1951, the National Council for Civil Liberties released a report describing the regime brought in by the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act – which confined hundreds of thousands of people with learning difficulties to long-stay NHS hospitals – as “one of the gravest social scandals of the twentieth century”.last_img read more

Autos and Booze The SF Mission Bartender with a Car Passion

first_img 0% “That’s the sad part. I’m pretty sure that my apartment now is the last apartment I’ll keep.”His most recent car was a root beer-colored ’41 Chevy Master Deluxe, at least technically — after working on it for a decade, it was made of more modified parts than original ones, he said. “When I started, it was just a shell. A buddy of mine had found it in a field somewhere.”But apartments with garages were out of Shawnson’s price range, so he parked the car on the street every night. On many mornings, he was greeted with new dings and dents. “I was like, this is ridiculous. It’s not fair for me to own this car if I can’t take care of it.”Shawnson’s infatuation with cars began while he was an elementary school student at Thomas Edison Charter Academy, across the street from his home in the Mission District. Every day after class, the adults walked the students to nearby Jamestown Community Center to play sports or work on crafts projects until their parents came home from work. There, Shawnson assembled his first car: a miniature Hot Wheels.He practically grew up in a garage. During the week, his stepfather and step-uncles built cars to race on the weekends along the Great Highway. He would paint his Hot Wheels while he waited for requests from the grease-covered men, handing them tools when they called out.When he was 14 years old and still too young to drive, his parents bought him his first real car. It was a 1964 Plymouth Barracuda, and it didn’t run. “They said, ‘You’ve got two years to fix it.’ ” And he did.Later, he opened an auto restoration shop in Richmond, California. He loved the work, but hated constantly hounding his clients to pay up. The commercial rent was expensive, and thieves cleaned him out once. The shop became more of a burden than anything else.He started bartending at Elixir to offset his costs. He eventually gave up on the shop and put all his equipment in storage.Shawnson’s approachable, patient air — perhaps the product of about ten years spent pouring drinks at Elixir — has put him on a first-name basis with about two dozen regular customers. Many others, from bygone years, pop in to see him when their travels take them through the city. And people often stop Shawnson to chat while he’s out and about in the Mission District.“In other neighborhoods, people are more closed off. That’s not the kind of place I’d want to live in,” he said.But the newer residents seem to care less about “picking up trash in front of their apartment building, or having a conversation at the stop light while you’re waiting to cross,” he said. “With this gentrification, the people coming into the Mission don’t have any investment.”Shawnson might end up in Panama, Mexico or Hawaii, he said, where he’ll get a big garage and start restoring cars again.He already has his next car in mind: a 1969 El Camino. This is one of several profiles of the people who make the Mission District what it is today. They are part of our My Mission Zine. You can buy a copy here.  If you have trouble, just send us an email at With his trimmed, biker-style goatee and collection of tattoos, Shea Shawnson, 39, looks like he’d be at home behind a bar or under the hood of a vintage car.And that makes sense, because he’s made a living at both.Now one of the managers at the Mission District’s Elixir Bar, Shawnson dreams of the day when he can get back to restoring classic rides. But first he’ll probably have to leave this city, whose local character and cost of living is a far cry from the San Francisco where he grew up.center_img Tags: my mission Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

Photo Essay Light Spill

first_img 0% Photo by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. Chavez Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Photo by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. Chavez last_img

Where so many have failed two SF officials take on cleaning up

first_img Tags: 16th Street BART • BART • mission street Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% District Supervisor Hillary Ronen talking with two constituents. Photo by Susie Neilson.Even with all the extra help, Dufty’s efforts feel a bit like taking a squirt gun to a wildfire. Which is his point, of course. And he says he will continue his Sisyphean task until BART meets his demands for the station: four hours of power washing a night — up from one hour, previously (which they have just started doing, according to Dufty, who can already tell the difference) — a cleaner on-site from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, specifically for the plaza, larger trash cans and clear signs in Spanish and English. “If Dufty wants to get more resources, we welcome that effort,” Gordon said. “But it does cost money.” The plazas are BART’s responsibility.Who does Dufty say he’s doing this for? Well, the station’s patrons, for one. The tech bros with briefcases, school kids with Spiderman backpacks, skaters, moms pushing strollers, elderly folks who take the stairs slowly. And then there are the ones who aren’t even there to ride BART, who’ve been hanging out here for as long as they can remember — some as far back as the ’60s. Most of them live in the SRO hotels, nearby tents or the station itself. For them, the Mission station is not just a throughway, but community center and meet-up spot, bar and kitchen, playground and living room — yes, even a bathroom (The Department of Public Works staffs two public restrooms here). They are the ones Dufty wants this project to benefit most, he says, but he can also get frustrated by them.    As he picks up a used needle and slides it into his tray for future disposal, Dufty wonders aloud why these community members can’t be afforded a little dignity. Safety, too. Of 8,025 instances of assault, burglary, drug offenses and robbery that happened in the Mission between 2015 and 2016, 3,447 of those — 42.3 percent — happened at 16th and Mission. Dufty hopes that purging the station of grime will discourage bad behavior. “Change is slow,” admits Hudson, who’s been at this full-time for over a month now and hopes a cleaner station will make people feel safer. “It’s getting there,” he said. “It’s gonna take awhile.”Before Dufty’s recent publicity effort, BART employed a system service worker to clean the Mission station at night, and a contractor to power-wash the station for one hour each evening. Public Works also staffs two monitors from the community organization Hunters Point Family to clean and monitor the station’s two public toilets through the Automatic Public Toilet Program, or Pit Stop Program. These monitors work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. shifts on weekdays.Recently, these workers have been cleaning in the plazas as well, said Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon. They’ve made a noticeable difference in the cleanliness around the station, but it remains anything but pristine.  Dufty says that others have tried to tackle Mission Station’s grime problem before him. But people spearheading these efforts — specifically Jack Davis of 2014’s “Clean up the Plaza” campaign, he says — often used “cleaning up” as a euphemism for “kicking out.” In other words,  they viewed the station’s homeless and low-income community as the scourge they wanted to remove. Dufty insists his goal is quite the opposite: he wants to clean the station for these folks, not of them. Though his campaign might have one believe otherwise, Dufty wasn’t the first to try and make the plaza clean and “dignified,” as he says. An effort by BART in 2015 involved trying to hold events at the Plaza and even ran a podcast program profiling some of the long-term denizens.  And not everyone who hangs out at the station trusts Dufty’s intentions. Just ask Dwight McQueen who, on Wednesday, sat on a little purple-and-yellow spray-painted BMX bike, popping wheelies in place. “In order to clean these streets, you’d have to clean us off of the streets,” McQueen says. “That means deleting me from the picture.” Others would like a cleaner station — they just think they could do it better than Dufty. “If I had my own damn push-broom, this place would be clean!” says Mark Berger, a young man in a green trench coat. A few people are already helping. Like Anne Griffin, 61, who’s been hanging out at the station for the last 35 years. “I know every child that hangs out here,” she says. “I try my best to make sure they don’t leave a mess.” “They all call me Big Momma,” she says. “They all know me.”The kids Griffin knows aren’t all kids anymore. Some are still around. Others have been killed. Others have moved away.James H. Williams said he has been sitting near the station since 1966, long enough to note the little things. He has a few words of advice for Dufty and his hoped-for armada of cleaners. “See that?” he says, pointing to crumbly debris piling up between the railings and the stairs on the northern plaza. He notes that when cleaning staff pressure sprays, they do it towards the station. “They should do it the opposite way.”Williams then indicates the stores around him — a Burger King, a Walgreens, Taqueria Vallarta. “They’re tearing all of this down,” he says. “Building a high rise.” Rumors were already circulating about rent prices, and Williams was in disbelief. “$2,500 a month for a studio?!” he says. Williams is referring to a 345-unit market rate project planned for 1979 Mission St. by Maximus Real Estate Partners, the estate agency behind the “Clean Up the Mission” project Dufty criticized. Activists dubbed the project “Monster on Mission,” and want to see a 100 percent affordable project there. So far, Maximus is promising that 24 percent of the units — the city minimum is 12 percent — will be affordable.This project has yet to be approved. But its looming possibility means Dufty’s project does not take place in a vacuum. Regardless, the test of Dufty’s project is, perhaps, how long he endures. On a Wednesday morning in mid-November, he and Ronen were still there, pushing brooms through the gathering puddles. Nonplussed by the rain, he recounted his latest esoteric rubbish finds — a mango and a jug of milk.  “I felt like I was on Iron Chef today,” he said. To the 12,600 people who pass through the 16th Street Mission BART Station on a typical Wednesday, the scene on the plaza can be simultaneously beautiful and ugly. Salsa emanates from junky boom boxes. Grimy stairs rise up into a rainbow-colored railing etched with birds and suns. Scrubby palms poke up around the circular concrete benches, where dozens of the city’s poorer residents sit munching on bagels and swigging from paper bags. Then the wind stirs, and — is that piss? Man, it reeks out here. There goes an urban tumbleweed: an empty Flamin’ Cheetos bag rolls along the cement. Just then, BART director Bevan Dufty runs across the plaza. “We just had a bad poop situation,” he says, pointing to the southwest corner of the southern plaza one day in early November. “On a scale of one to 10, it’s definitely a nine.” Human waste is a job for Public Works, so that cleanup will have to wait. In the meantime, Dufty will continue his work of the last six Wednesdays — work that he started after realizing that this famously grimy, famously peopled, famously crazy station didn’t have a single full-time cleaner on staff. Although Public Works has a contract with a nonprofit to maintain the portable toilets and those workers have recently started to sweep up in the plaza as well, Dufty wants BART  to clean the station. And until it does, he’ll go out there and do it himself, armed with an industrial-size wheelie waste bin, gloves and a push broom. So far, Dufty’s efforts have commandeered the attention and elbow grease of District Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who has helped him out the past three Wednesdays, and led BART to hire a temporary weekday custodian four weeks ago. Still, Byron Hudson, whom Ronen described as a “powerhouse,” cannot compete with the debris. With pinched noses and exasperated can-do temperaments, Ronen and Dufty enumerate all they’ve seen this morning. Used syringes. Empty alcohol bottles. Floods of cigarette butts. A dead pigeon. Human feces and urine. Just a few days ago, BART customer Meghan Johnson caught someone peeing in the elevator — right next to her son. “I had to stop them myself,” she says. 0%last_img read more

Missions New Years resolutions for 2019 get serious

first_img Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter What are some of your New Year’s resolutions? Mission residents tell us theirs, and get serious. Email Addresslast_img

ROYCE Simmons felt that it just wasnt Saints nigh

first_imgROYCE Simmons felt that it just wasn’t Saints night as they went down 35-28 at Warrington.His side staged a fantastic comeback from 18-0 down after 15 minutes to lead for a long period before the Wolves just edged it in the final stages.“It was a good fightback but you could tell it wasn’t going to be our night,” he said. “From the charge down to the fact that every 50:50 call went against us and the ball coming off the crossbar too…“We had penalites given to us in a row – which are only as good as one really – and they got one when they always seemed to need it. The little things went against us I thought.“At 18-0 down some sides would have said that was enough – they blew us out of the water and we hadn’t done much wrong. But to get back into it and get in front, then to get back into it late, well I was pretty proud of the boys. It was a good effort under the circumstances.“Half time came at the wrong time as I would have loved to keep on going. But we went out after half time and the penalties went against us and we couldn’t get one. Our play the balls became slower and our ball control went off a bit and the game went away from us.“Thankfully, we haven’t picked up any injuries but the dressing room is naturally down. To put all that effort to get into it and bust your bum can get you down. But we have to get back on the horse don’t we? We need to get a couple of wins under our belt.“But I think if we play like this again and the 50:50s go our way then tonight we win… but that’s Rugby League isn’t it?Saints are next in action on Friday July 1 as they take on Hull FC at the Stobart Stadium.Tickets are on sale from the Saints Superstore in St Helens Town Centre, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on to www.saintssuperstore.comlast_img read more

KEIRON Cunningham spoke about Saints creating a le

first_imgKEIRON Cunningham spoke about Saints creating a legacy at Langtree Park following an outstanding 18-14 win over Wigan Warriors.He paid tribute to his players – and the noise of the crowd – following the victory.“The boys played really well,” he said. “We weren’t great with the ball at times but we defended like troopers. We kept hanging on in there and finding a way. That is team spirit you can’t manufacture. You have to have that fight and want and we have. We are finding a way of doing things.“As soon as we get that combination of attack and defence together we will be a fair side.“Wigan are a good side and throw a lot at you. They challenge you on every play. I thought we got some really stiff calls at times – the forward pass is one I’m not sure of. Then, they went down the other end and Tommy Makinson made that amazing try saving tackle.“It was a special night, especially when you see players fighting for each other.”He continued: “In big close games you always get a chance to win it and we got a chance and took it. I am really pleased for the lads. There has been a lot of stuff said about certain individuals over recent weeks – let’s see what they say this week.“The Leeds performance encouraged us then to go to Cas and scrap for that win was massive – especially when you see what they did to Leeds last night. Winning becomes a habit, as does losing, and we don’t want to break this circle.“It was a semi final game at times – quick and physical – and definitely a classic Saints v Wigan match.“The place was rocking – we are creating legacies at this place. We are creating memories for kids and spectators in this fantastic stadium.”Keiron said Atelea Vea did well on his return and Mose Masoe was superb after what has been “a mini pre-season for him” over the last couple of weeks.“The halves were great and Jon Wilkin was superb too. I can’t praise him enough – he epitomises what St Helens is about for me,” he added.last_img read more

SAINTS first team squad were put through their pac

first_imgSAINTS first team squad were put through their paces at Altcar Training Camp this week.Army Physical Training Instructors Sgt Chris Brand, Cpl Stevie Wicks and LCpl Sam Coleman led the gruelling session which involved several challenges and an assault course.The training was made possible through the club’s link with Army Rugby League and WO1 Dave Williams and SSgt Andy Fyles from the team were on hand to offer advice.The Saints would like to thank WO1 ‘Spud’ Williams REME, SSgt ‘Andy’ Fyles REME, Sgt ‘Chris’ Brand APTC, Cpl ‘Steve’ Wicks REME and LCpl ‘Sam’ Coleman RAC for their help and hospitality at Altcar.Mobile users can see the below video here.last_img read more

Nurse Flu shots can protect you and others

first_imgWRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — It is that time of the year again time to get a flu shot. Flu season started last week in the Carolinas.The New Hanover County Health Department held a flu vaccine clinic earlier today at Wrightsville Beach Park.- Advertisement – They do this every year to provide flu shots.One of the nurses who gave people their vaccinations said it is not only important to get a flu shot for yourself, but for others.“It’s important to protect yourself, so you won’t become ill and also to protect others you know. Especially those who have a compromised immune system like the elderly and infants. ” Nurse Panze Mcneill said.Related Article: Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apartThose who worked the clinic said they had a steady flow of people who came out to get a flu shot.Last year they had close to 80 people.last_img read more

Mysterious boom rocks the area

first_imgFelt in St James. Loud boom like a tree hitting the house. Windows rattled (and nerves).— AVoter (@CarolGArmstrong) October 18, 2017Some people who live in the area described how intense it was and questioned whether it came from Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point. But the MOTSU public affairs office said they were not doing any type of testing last night.Related Article: MOTSU talks land use, buffer zones, future developments during public meetings Almost like a pressure wave. Our sliding glass doors bowed out, almost broke. We live in St. James. Testing at Sunny Point?— Tom Miller (@millerth3) October 18, 2017Many others say it was more like an explosion than a boom and definitely different than the loud booms we typically hear.We reached out to Camp Lejeune, where a public affairs officer confirmed they were doing artillery training last night. They would not go into detail about what type of training or explosions were taking place. (Photo: Kirsten Gutierrez/WWAY) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — All along the Cape Fear coast, people heard it and they’re talking about it.A loud boom rocked homes last night around the Southport/Oak Island and even as far up as Surf City. It had many questioning if it’s the same mysterious sonic booms, or Seneca Guns, that we occasionally hear off the coast.- Advertisement – last_img read more