Every house I ever lived in was bulldozed to accommodate the tech boom. These demolitions and evictions happened while the City of San Jose was at a cross roads. Losing the charm of the former state capital that still had farms and orchards, undeveloped rolling hills and beautiful nature around 1990, to something that starts to look like an over developed Police state full of mostly vacant high rises, income disparity and violent policies of a City and County Government with no loyalty to the long time residents. My earliest home on a deadend in Palo Alto is now an off ramp to an office park once a little neighborhood not far from the University. The home of my formative years along the Guadalupe Parkway is now under HWY 87 near the airport. A small street of a couple hundred close knit families living in post war duplexes owned by Cal-Trans where the sun set behind the airport where west Gish now meets large beige freeway wall.
What is the final stage of gentrification? Once they tear down your BMX ramp, they cut down your favorite grove of trees, they paint over your first legal mural, they turn your childhood playground into a parking lot for police tanks and Cal-Trans cranes, they give your little spot of heaven beside the Guadalupe river to an “Urban Renewal" firm like the “Redevelopment Agency” to cement it over and put sweet poems in bronze a rich girl thought would look nice to remind you there used to be ducks and laughter in those ponds… they come for your children... to make them their children.
Your sweet little niece, grand daughter, cousin, sweetest little face you ever saw on Christmas morning disappears into a dark and conspiratorial system of snarky smiles and “I don’t have to answer that” or “I don’t explain myself to you” “take my word for it her well being comes first (as we brain wash her, delete her archived family tree, shuffle her to places where countless other kids, kids I knew, died and the paper shuffles again.) This is DCFS, this is the serial killer known as Santa Clara County Department of Child and Family Services. A name that doesn’t suggest foster families who sell children in motels, or torture them until they commit suicide in a dark closet, or gaslight them until spending 30 days in a mental hospital is the only time they feel safe from the double talk. It's a rigged game of adults who take huge pay checks to juggle children to rich sociopaths from the undemocratic Stazi state we think of affectionately as “the tech boom.” That prices us out of our homes and delivers our kids to our new stone faced technocrat rulers who curate our feeds and test mental war games on us like lab rats.
These are the “young urban professionals” raising our kids to unknown goals and brain washing loved and missing kids into thinking no one wanted them and this is the only reality possible, playing in the playpen of the cyber panopticon for coders who command the bulldozers, price us out of our neighborhoods and smile at us like they tasted something sour like “ugh locals, i hate people actually from San Jose, go away poor person. It makes me sad to look out my condo that replaced your home and see your tent” while calling goons to scrape your life's belongings into a dumpster like we see monthly in “The Jungle” off Keyes, “Jurassic Park” off Old Oakland Rd. Police and Conservation Corps march in to snatch clothing and belongings out of the hands of fleeing homeless who are terrorized because my friend are a blight on our tech palaces that annexed your hometown. Whats going on here is just the first tech nightmare to push out generations of history, It happened in San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle.
San Jose is famously harsh on the poor in court cases, but turns a blind eye to suspicious "Redevelopment Agency" fires like what claimed early version of Santana Row, or Downtown favorite Cinnabar, who had resisted years of abusive tactics to push them out like what claimed the historic rock tour circuit mecca, The Cactus Club.
Recently I had found out my niece was taken permanently by Santa Clara County Department of Child and Family Services. My sister had a kid with an undocumented gentleman named Eleazar. He is a hardworking guy but like my sister, despite working full time, ended up sleeping in a car. At some point he had a fight with my sister and ended up in jail. My sister has a history with Santa Clara County Social Services. There is prior animosity, over an older baby Gabriel who was already taken away forever. Due to their prior issue, this team never notified my family who was with out a doubt in their system, for my father. At an advanced stage in proceedings somehow my dad was notified once the ball was rolling to take her away permanently after the county and family at this time hadn’t seen my niece Annalise in 6 months.
During this time, my niece was assaulted by a temporary family she was placed with. She was punched in the face by a grandmother, my niece was 2 years old. This led to damage control. To protect them selves from any oversight, the foster team of Priscilla, Diana and Millie closed wagons and kept quiet on where Annalise was being shuffled around to until it was too late. My father was having heart issues so he wasn’t able to take Annalise, my sister was not showing up to drug tests and Eleazar wasn’t able to maintain a residence so both parental rights were terminated from "reunification process." Prior our notification to this a new family was attempting to file for custody with out any legal foundation. It's clear the staff had sought to get Annalise situation terminated as fast as they could to hide records of their bias, prejudice and wrong doing against our family.
My wife and I were alarmed by this and sent our names to be background checked, we were told they didn’t bother to run our names because we live outside the county. This situation all stems from bad blood between my sister and the social workers. The entire family was vetoed in private because they didn’t like my sisters attitude. My wife and I work long hours and travel often but we did all we could to call in on speaker to team meetings, we were clear we wanted to visit Annalise, We Sent large boxes of books, toys, clothes and were met with silence. When asked why we weren’t considered I was told it was because we lived too far away, and when i confronted then about Annalise being assaulted communication stopped. My father and sister had video chat visits, but my sister being unreliable if my father showed up with out my sister, he was turned away.
Then COVID hit. This was used as an excuse to end visits and have irregular video calls. Which the foster family ended as soon as the County moved with terminate rights. Whats interesting is the level of manipulation that goes into this game of keep away from the part of the family that are not homeless or addicts. Annalise and her grandfather are very close. Now the only contact is an email that goes to a new foster mother who sees no reason Annalise should have any contact with her family and pretends this is up to Annalise who she says doesn’t remember her brother and grandfather, it didn’t sound right. The new mom clearly wants Anna to forget her family and is too insecure to let us actually talk to her. When i offered to fly entire foster family to Disneyland this summer we were met with silence. When we asked for pictures, nothing.
Recently I had a CT scan for headaches I had, and the Doctor asked when did you break your cheek bone and orbital? It dawned on my i was slammed face first into a heavy wooden door at a foster care placement “quiet room” around 1996. I thought of my shoulder that had ripped out of its socket, tearing cartilage in my elbow that makes working a desk job feel like being in an electric chair. The deaths attributed to The Shelter, The Arc, Charter hospital and other stops on the foster care system gravy train led to all of these facilities being closed and kids are funneled directly into homes of families who receive large sums of cash to keep kids, thousands a month.
My skepticism remains. I can think of so many of my peers from the 90s' who were kicked out of foster care once they became teenagers, to the juvenile system which is a fast track to being thrown in adult system for questioning bad logic or standing up to threats of the bored and bitter ex college football stars that tended to cycle around these jobs. I come from a generation that was lucky to survive. I am the exception to the norm. The fact I am educated, working a high paying salary, have travelled the world and been married 10 years is distinct from majority of foster kids who end up having their lives torn apart by Department of Corrections. When thinking of my niece I know she is cute and happy, but i also know how she will become expendable when she is a teen and “too smart for her own good” like i was. For many years before i was able to get my life together I was in and out of the system because once they get you in the system, keeping you there is more profitable than your freedom.
My distrust of Santa Clara County foster system comes from nearly 20 years ago. I had written a series of articles about the kind of corruption comes from the social workers, courts, placements, facilities and how this overwhelmingly leads to children committed to the California Youth Authority. Its a money game. Kids with negligent parents get to take a ride of a massively funded circle of predatory counseling classes outsourced to other agencies. Kids who never smoked a cigarette can expect years of AA meetings, basically to give staff time to hang out and tell war stories. Sitting in classes with kids with arson and violence issues, and you may be there because you stole back a comic book from a teachers confiscation box and your parents didn’t answer the phone. The location where this used to go on was called “The Santa Clara County Children’s Shelter” which had “cottages” named after investors just like the Youth Authority, a huge warehouse of toys parents sent that never made it to their kids that were weren’t allowed to have either. This facility also had a lot of violence, rapes, suicides and runaways.
This is where it becomes a national issue. Thousands of children have been lost in the shuffle of Boarder Patrol, Federal Govt and more shadowy powers receiving children, who disappear once passed off. This creates a stunning threat of letting unknown groups with no oversight to auction children off to any one who desires them. Is this all Disney rides and a ticket to the jet set? Or the exact type of old game where rich predators under the cover of charity are using a crisis to disappear children into a meat grinder of bad environments. The reason this continues is its so profitable. Now a huge undemocratic industry exists to traffic kids with no oversight or ability of families like mine to see they're missing and exploited children. This is due to political pressure between Obama and Trump, now Biden. Where problems of past are seen as inconvenient unless it can be a big story before reelection. I have seen many serious brain injuries from kids thrown down stairs in juvenile hall, broken bones from correctional officers practicing police holds, chipped teeth and this is just the boys, the girls have much more sinister stories to tell.
Across the world we see a disparity between the parental rights of white christian Ukrainian families, or Syrian, African and Indigenous peoples who have universally been subject to horrors that go unmourned by the masses. Many of us have seen Facebook memes about “save our girls” addressing the epidemic of missing native women and children. We hear about organ traffickers arrested, or documentaries buried for implicating powerful men in sex abuse. We know about Catholic orphanages or single mother homes have mass graves in Ireland and Canada. We hear about the Yemenite Baby affair where Israel stole thousands of children from Yemeni Jews to be raised by white Ashkanazi families. Thousands of Native American children were taken from loving homes to be beaten until they forgot their language and customs. This is no different. Children of Undocumented migrants are being exploited to fill homes of tech professionals with little care for the bond between families and the children who are raised in seclusion and ignorance of their roots. Your gut always wonders why did someone not stop this? Why were those involved allowed to retire peacefully and the stories only come to light when the victims are in the 70s. We must do better. I want to save my niece from any more abuse, I want her to know her cousins, I want her to spend Sundays with her grandfather. This is not an issue we will let go. Where is Annalise?